Study Guide

Bonnie and Clyde Setting

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Rural Texas and Neighboring States in the Early 1930's

Bonnie and Clyde takes place entirely in rural areas in Texas and various neighboring states (such as Oklahoma, Missouri, and Louisiana) between the years 1932 and 1934.

These states, which were mostly farming communities, were one of the areas hit hardest by the Great Depression during the 1930's. Countless people who lived there lost their farms and homes. Families were destroyed. Severe hunger and even starvation were common. The American capitalist system of government had clearly failed the people who lived in these areas. People were angry and cynical.

Yeah, you've probably heard that all before.

So, the emergence of a pair such as Bonnie and Clyde represented a kind of hope for many of these people. Bonnie and Clyde were sticking it to the system. They were choosing not to play by the rules… and actually getting away with it.

They were—in a twisted way—heroes standing up to the rich and powerful, standing up for the oppressed. Don't be fooled: they weren't Robin Hood and his merry men. They didn't give the money they stole to the poor; they kept it. But they were—in their own minds as well as the minds of many of these oppressed rural Americans—standing up for something.

Within this macro setting, the film takes place in numerous specific settings: Bonnie's home, various small towns, banks, stores, hideouts, roads, etc. All these settings suggest the Barrow Gang's transient nature.

The gang had to keep moving—all the time—in order to stay one step head of the law.

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