Why So Violent?

         Many movies come and go. There are few movies that leave a lasting impression. One 1968 movie did leave a lasting impression on society leading the way for future films of the same nature. The 1968 movie was called Bonnie and Clyde.

        The film Bonnie and Clyde, directed by Arthur Penn, was based on the factual account of the famed 1930's gangsters Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker. The movie opens with Clyde (Warren Beatty) trying to steal an automobile from the Parker residence. Bonnie notices from her bedroom window that Clyde is up to no good. Bonnie (Faye Dunaway) is asked by Clyde to take a journey with him. He promises her she would be somebody, and that she would be well known. Clyde does keep his promise. They become well known as bank robbers and murderers as is seen in one of their first bank robberies because Clyde brutally murders one of the men that tries to catch him.

        Bonnie and Clyde find a hide out because they are now fugitives of the law. Buck, Clyde's brother (Gene Hackman), and his wife, Blanche (Estelle Parsons), come to visit one night at the small cabin. However, law enforcement officers catch up to the infamous duo and the rest of the gang.

        Bonnie, Clyde, Buck, Blanche, and C.W. Moss (Michael J. Pollard), their personal mechanic, try to escape as the shooting fest begins. Clyde's brother kills one of the policemen that had come, making himself and his wife fugitives from the law. Newspapers begin to refer to all of them as the Barrow gang. They continue to rob banks and run from the law. One time during a shoot out with more law enforcement, Clyde's brother is brutally murdered, and his wife is captured and taken to the mental health hospital. Both Bonnie and Clyde survive but are wounded.

        Moss takes Bonnie and Clyde to his house so that they can recover. However, Moss's father (Dub Taylor) was not proud of his son for running with the Barrow Gang. Therefore, while coming back from town one afternoon, Bonnie and Clyde were betrayed by Moss's father to the police, who violently riddled the two to with bullets while in their vehicle.

        According to the text, A History of Narrative Film, written by David C. Cook, the film Bonnie and Clyde is classified as one of the greatest of all gangster films. It also could be considered one of the anti-communist films of the 1960s, according to the text and a panel discussion. In History of the Cinema class, there were many elements of Bonnie and Clyde that fit the anti-communism movement. One might even say that Bonnie and Clyde could be considered communist. They did share the wealth after robbing the banks.

        Bonnie and Clyde is a very violent movie for 1968 American Cinema. There are many scenes that are just brutal. Blood and guts from gun shot wounds are shown. The fact that the film is very graphic explains why Bonnie and Clyde is a film that made a very significant contribution to the development of today's cinema. Bonnie and Clyde led the way for films such as The Untouchables and many more films that are extremely violent.

Work Cited

Cook, David A. A History of Narrative Film. 4th ed. York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2004.

Adam Morton

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