The Life and Times of Bonnie and Clyde

        Bonnie and Clyde is a film made in 1967 about Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, bank robbers who roamed the central United States during the Great Depression. As in real life, the couple is eventually ambushed and killed by law enforcement. The film was directed by Arthur Penn, and starred Warren Beatty as Clyde Barrow and Faye Dunaway as Bonnie Parker.

        The movie was partly filmed in and around Dallas, Texas, in some cases using actual locations that the real Bonnie and Clyde had either robbed or used as hideouts. Only loosely based on Barrow and Parker, the film sometimes deviated from the historical record and did not include many of the killings for which the real Barrow and his gang were responsible.

        When released, the film was controversial for supposedly glorifying murderers, and for its unprecedented violence. Bonnie and Clyde was the first film to feature extensive use of squibs--small explosive charges, often mounted with bags of red liquid and fired from inside an actor's clothes to simulate bullet hits.

        Bonnie and Clyde is also a landmark film in cinema history as it is regarded as the first film of the New Hollywood era, an era often regarded as Hollywood's second golden age. The film broke taboos, a common characteristic of the era; and its success opened doors for other films.

        The film made us sympathetic to the two bank robbers, for who wants to see a movie with unlikable characters? When Bonnie and Clyde are finally gunned down, many people fill that they should have just been arrested, not killed. I felt that way when I first saw the film, and I still do. I know that Bonnie and Clyde deserved what they got for all the bank robbing and murders, but I still wish that they had not died in the movie the way they did.

Amy Wolford

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