Study Guide

Bonnie and Clyde Quotes

  • Crime

    BONNIE: Hey, boy, what you doin' with my Mama's car?

    This is the first line of the movie. Bonnie says it to Clyde as she spies him trying to steal her mother's car. Rather than scaring her or upsetting her, it intrigues her. Who is this nice-looking man, and why is he doing this illegal thing?

    CLYDE: I was in state prison.

    Clyde tells this to Bonnie upon first meeting her, and, though she wants to appear shocked, she's even more intrigued by him. After he tells her that he was in prison for armed robbery, she counters flirtatiously with "My, my the things that turn up in the street these days."

    BONNIE: What's it like?

    CLYDE: State prison?

    BONNIE: No, armed robbery.

    This brief interchange between Bonnie and Clyde shows Bonnie's deepening interest in Clyde's criminal lifestyle. She's clearly less interested in the consequences (state prison) than the act of robbery itself.

    BONNIE: But you wouldn't have the gumption to use it.

    To prove that he's indeed a bank robber, Clyde shows Bonnie his gun. She's immediately drawn to it and for a moment fondles the gun barrel in a very suggestive way. She's definitely aroused, but she wants to see if he can walk the walk as well as talk the talk. He takes up her dare, and their life of crime together begins.

    CLYDE: You got something better than being a waitress.

    After Clyde rebuffs Bonnie's sexual advances, he says he wants her to come with him because she's like him: she's special and deserves more than a humdrum life as a waitress. While she's frustrated that he didn't live up to his "advertisement" as a sexual partner, she's drawn to his point of view that she should strive for more.

    CLYDE: And you go home and you go into your room and you think, "Now, when—and how—am I ever going to get away from this?"

    Clyde has amazing insight into Bonnie's life. He has—as they say—her number. She feels that he already knows her and what she wants—a life with more money and more thrills; a life of crime.

    CLYDE: This here is Miss Bonnie Parker. I'm Clyde Barrow. We rob banks.

    We hear this line, or a variation of it, more than once in the film. And there is good reason for the repetition. Each time they say this line, Bonnie and Clyde are defining their career choice and their destiny: they're announcing to others that they're outlaws, and that they're proud of it.

    BONNIE: This is a stolen four-cylinder Ford coupe.

    Bonnie says this to C.W. Moss when they stop at the gas station he works at. He finds the fact that the car's stolen to be exciting, and, much like Bonnie, he quickly decides to abandon his humdrum life for the thrills and adventures that he thinks will come with being a bank robber.

    BUCK: I'm Buck Barrow.

    Buck proudly makes this declaration to a bank guard during a robbery. He may be a bit envious because all the law enforcement and media attention thus far has been only on Bonnie and Clyde. He's attracted to this work because it makes him feel like a big shot, a position he's probably never had in his life.

  • Family

    CLYDE: Now, that's murder, and now it's going to get rough. Now look, I can't get out, but you can. I want you to say the word to me and I'll put you on that bus back to your mama.

    Clyde tells this to Bonnie after he's killed his man. In doing so, he's asking her to choose between a life of relative safety and security with her mother and a life of danger and great uncertainty with him. Bonnie, of course, decides to stay with Clyde, who ultimately becomes her new family.

    BUCK: Hey, sis, I'm just so glad to meet you.

    By using the word "sis," Buck immediately accepts Bonnie into the Barrow family. Buck and Clyde have a unique relationship in the film. Instead of driving a wedge between them and their families, their decision to join up as outlaws brings them closer together. In a way, they make bank robbing the family business.

    BUCK: Hey, let me get the Kodak here. We'll take some pictures.

    This ritual of family life—taking group pictures—becomes a ritual for the Barrow gang at different times during the film. This is certainly one vivid way of showing that the group quickly becomes a de facto family.

    CLYDE: Now honey, I guess I'm going to have to keep saying this: Blanche is married to Buck and Buck is family.

    As the Barrow Gang continues on its journey, it takes on more and more of the aspects of family, one of which is feuding relations. Bonnie and Blanche, virtual sisters-in-law, don't like each other at all and are constantly squabbling. Clyde and Buck, who are very close, find themselves in the roles as peacemakers, Clyde constantly trying to negotiate between Bonnie and Blanche and Buck constantly trying to diffuse tension with humor.

    BONNIE: My family can use some of that money.

    As the story continues, Bonnie becomes more and more conscious of her own family; the family she left behind to be with Clyde. Sometimes, we even sense that she may have feelings of regret at doing this. As the gang's dividing up money from a recent hold-up, she speaks up for her family, people who—unlike the Barrows—can't benefit from the hold-up money.

    BONNIE: I want to see my mama. I want to see my mama.

    As the stress of being an outlaw increasingly takes its toll on her, Bonnie wants to re-connect with her family, especially her mother. This leads to a final reunion.

    MA PARKER: You try to live three miles from me, and you won't live long, honey.

    At the reunion with Bonnie's mother, Clyde, with much bravado, tells her that their plan is to live three miles away from her. At this, Mama Parker turns to Bonnie and cuts through the bravado with this astute insight. Hearing it, Bonnie is shocked. But, it helps her to understand that her decision to be with Clyde means that her relationship with her mother has now effectively ended.

    BONNIE: I don't have no mama, no family, either.

    CLYDE: Hey, I'm your family.

    Here, Bonnie admits to Clyde what she's been thinking. But, as he often does, Clyde turns her thinking around, telling her straight out that he's her family now.

    C.W.: Why don't you go back to your pa's house?

    BLANCHE: If I only could.

    As they go get a take-out dinner, C.W. and Blanche have a brief exchange in which we learn a bit more about each of them. Blanche, too, has forsaken her own family by deciding to stay with Buck. She'd like to go back to her father, who's a preacher, but realizes that now she never can.

    MALCOLM: Are you in trouble, son?

    C.W.'s father Malcolm asks this when C.W. comes to his house with a wounded Bonnie and Clyde. Although Bonnie and Clyde are really bad off at this point, Malcolm's first concern is for his son. Soon, family ties prove a powerful motivator for Malcolm when he tells Frank Hamer of Bonnie and Clyde's whereabouts in return for a light jail term for C.W.

  • Violence

    CLYDE: He tried to kill me! Why'd he try to kill me? I didn't want to hurt him…. I ain't against him. I ain't against him.

    Clyde says this right after he tries to rob a grocery store and the butcher attacks him with a meat cleaver. He is shocked that someone would try to kill him just for stealing a few food items from the store. But, to escape, he also hits the butcher, injuring him enough for him to be hospitalized. From this point on, the crimes and the violence will escalate.

    CLYDE: This afternoon, we killed a man, and we was seen…and that's murder and now it's going to get rough.

    When a bank hold-up goes awry, Clyde impulsively kills the manager. Bonnie doesn't seem to be too bothered by this, but Clyde realizes that things are going to get much more difficult for them. In addition to being a thief, he's now a murderer.

    BUCK: Listen, it was either you or him, wasn't it?

    CLYDE: What?

    BUCK: The guy that you killed—it was either you or him?

    CLYDE: He put me on the spot.

    BUCK: You had to.

    CLYDE: I had to.

    When Buck and Blanche join the gang just after the murder, Buck questions Clyde about the murder, probing for a justification. Clyde makes it seem like self-defense, which is clearly untrue. The man he killed was unarmed. After this, Clyde begins to see more of the killing he does as self-defense, whether it is or not.

    CLYDE: Hey. Hey. The laws are outside. They're blocking the driveway.

    Now that the gang is wanted for murder, the law steps up its efforts to capture the gang dead or alive. After getting a tip-off from a delivery boy, law enforcement officers descend on a house the gang is staying in. By now, the gang has a whole assortment of guns to use to fight back. In the violent encounter that takes place, two policemen are killed. The violence escalates dramatically.

    BLANCHE: I didn't marry you to see you get shot at. Please let's go, let's leave, let's get out of here…

    BUCK: I can't. I killed a guy. Now we're in this.

    Blanche pleads with Buck to leave the gang. But Buck knows that, since he's now killed someone (and a policeman at that) there is no turning back. He digs in deeper, and so does the law. Subsequent encounters will only get bloodier.

    BONNIE: C.W., C.W.—grenades.

    As Bonnie's mid-raid line lets us know, the gang is prepared for the law, not only with machine guns but now also with grenades. In this raid and the pursuit immediately afterwards—the bloodiest encounter yet—Buck's killed, Blanche's wounded and captured, and Bonnie and Clyde are wounded. But, along with C.W., they manage to escape. The escalating violence has reached yet another level.

    HAMER: I figure to have my picture took with them two just one more time.

    As another law officer looks at the photo the gang took of Frank Hamer with Bonnie and Clyde, Hamer makes this comment. He clearly isn't interested in capturing the two alive. He wants them dead, and he wants to have his picture taken with him the way a big game hunter might have a picture taken with a trophy kill.

    MALCOLM: You just be sure you're off the streets in that town when they get in their car.

    After he's told Hamer of Bonnie and Clyde's whereabouts, Malcolm tells C.W. not to get back in Bonnie and Clyde's car with them when they leave town the next day. He, of course, knows the plan to bring down Bonnie and Clyde.

    BONNIE: Hey, isn't that Malcolm there?

    These are Bonnie's last words. She says them as they see Malcolm standing next to what looks like a flat tire. Clyde gets out to help, and he and Bonnie are both killed in a hailstorm of bullets in the film's final ambush—in many ways, the most violent and shocking scene of all.

  • Justice

    CLYDE: You're worth more than that [being just a pick-up for men]. You're worth a lot more than that. And that's why you come along with me…. You're like me. You want different things. You want something better than being a waitress.

    Clyde says this to Bonnie just after she's thrown herself at him and he hasn't responded in kind. His argument to her, at least in the first part of the story, is that the two of them are deserving of special things in life, things they can buy with the money they get when they rob banks.

    CLYDE: You listen to me, Miss Bonnie Parker, you listen to me. How would you like to walk into the dining room of the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas wearing a nice silk dress and have everybody waitin' on you…? That ain't enough for you. You got a right to that.

    BONNIE: Hey, when did you figure all that up?

    CLYDE: The minute I saw you.

    BONNIE: Why?

    CLYDE: Cause you may be the best damn girl in Texas.

    Here, Clyde takes his initial idea further, describing the kind of experience he and Bonnie can have if they just had enough money. He obviously feels that he's worthy of having this experience. And he admits that, as soon as he saw the smart, beautiful Bonnie, he thought she was worthy as well.

    BANK TELLER: What money, mister? There ain't no money here.

    Clyde hears this from a bank teller on the first bank job he and Bonnie attempt together. He has assumed, of course, that, even during the Great Depression, all banks are filled with money. But, at least in this case, he's very wrong. This is one of many instances in the film where his assumptions do not mesh with reality.

    SINGERS IN FILM: We're in the money.

    This is the first line from a song in the movie, Gold Diggers of 1933, which Bonnie, Clyde, and C.W. watch after the three pull a bank heist in which Clyde, panicking, kills a man for the first time. The irony, of course, is that, while they're now "in the money," they're also in a great deal of trouble because Clyde has killed someone. Clyde, especially, now realizes that survival as an outlaw will be a lot tougher than he first assumed.

    BONNIE: There's always somebody in the next room or this room or in every other kind of room. Honey, don't you ever just want to be alone with me?

    Rather than wearing a silk dress and dining at the Adophus Hotel in Dallas, Bonnie finds herself crowded into hideouts…not only with Clyde but also with C.W., Buck, and Blanche. Increasingly, she's learning that the life she is leading is clearly not the life she signed up for when she first went with Clyde.

    CLYDE: Hey, hey, the laws are outside. They're blockin' the driveway.

    Another grim reality of life on the run that Bonnie and Clyde didn't figure on initially is the law's constant pursuit. At this point, Clyde notices police cars driving in the driveway where they are staying. Seconds later, a major shoot-out will take place and the gang members will all barely escape with their lives. As the story progresses, the shoot-outs will continue and escalate, suggesting a very different fate for the gang members from the lives of luxury that they initially saw for themselves.

    BONNIE: Hey, what do you do anyhow?

    EUGENE: I'm an undertaker.

    BONNIE: (turning to CLYDE) Get them outta here.

    After the gang picks up Eugene and Velma, they enjoy the experience of just chatting with other people. They seem happy and relaxed. Then, when Bonnie asks Eugene about his profession and he responds, the reality of their situation comes back with a vengeance. Someday soon, someone in Eugene's profession will be attending to them. And more acutely than any of the other gang members, Bonnie understands this.

    CLYDE: At this point, we ain't headed to nowheres. We's just runnin' from.

    During Bonnie's family reunion, one of her relatives asks where the gang is headed, and Clyde says this. Again, this has a big impact on Bonnie. At this point, there are no plans to enjoy the money they've accumulated from their robberies. They're just running, and there doesn't appear to be any future beyond that.

    MA PARKER: You try to live three miles from me, and you won't live long, honey.

    As well as constantly running and fearing for her life, Bonnie's been separated from her family…and especially her mother. Giving up a strong family connection by pursuing a life of crime is another major sacrifice Bonnie has had to make. Ironically, too, it's an experience she shares with her nemesis in the gang, Blanche.

    BONNIE: When we started out, I thought we was goin' somewhere. But this is it. We're just goin'.

    After the family reunion and her mother's final goodbye, Bonnie eloquently sums up their situation. She and Clyde embarked on their life of crime with great hopes and dreams. But they never achieved the life of ease and luxury that they longed for. Instead, they're in a desperate situation that will likely get even worse. For them at least, a life of crime did not pay the big dividends they expected.

  • Society And Class

    CLYDE: This here's Miss Bonnie Parker. I'm Clyde Barrows. We rob banks.

    Clyde says this to a displaced farmer who's just lost his home to a bank. He's doing a couple of things with this line. First, he's promoting himself and Bonnie by announcing the "Bonnie and Clyde" brand. Second, he's telling the farmer that, while the big bad fat cats at the bank got him, he and Bonnie will get back at the banks. This sets them up as a couple of Robin Hood figures, but, unlike Robin Hood, they give very little of what they steal back to the poor.

    CLYDE: I want to take one (a photo) of Bonnie alone.

    Buck and Blanche have just arrived, and Clyde wants to take a picture of Bonnie by herself for the camera. She strikes a flamboyant pose, slouched sexily against the front of a car holding her gun in one hand with a cigar in her mouth. Again, this is personal marketing. This is how Bonnie wants the world to see her: flamboyant, sexy, eccentric, rebellious, and very much her own woman.

    NEWSPAPER: Law enforcement officers throughout the Southwest are frankly amazed at the way the will 'o the wisp band of Clyde Barrow and his yellow-haired companion Bonnie Parker continue to elude their would-be captors.

    After the gang steals a newspaper, Buck reads this part of an article that thrills the gang in many ways. Bonnie, for example, is delighted to be mentioned. The gang also finds it funny that they supposedly have been spotted as far north as Chicago, where they've never gone.

    BONNIE: Take his picture! Listen, we'll take his picture. We'll send it to all the newspapers. And everybody's goin' to see Captain Frank Hamer of the Texas Rangers with the Barrow Gang and all of us just as friendly as pie.

    Instead of shooting or hanging Frank Hamer after they capture him, Bonnie suggests this alternative, one that not only humiliates Hamer but also raises the stature of the gang. She knows that the press could not possibly resist something like this, and that this will build their brand even more.

    BUCK: Take a good look, Pop. I'm Buck Barrow. We're the Barrow Boys!

    After humiliating Hamer, the gang robs another bank, and on the way out Buck makes a specific point of announcing that he is also very much a part of the Barrow Gang. A little envious of Bonnie and Clyde's celebrity, he clearly wants more attention as well.

    BANK GUARD: There I was, staring square into the face of death.

    After this robbery, we see snippets of press interviews with people involved in the robbery. This is the first, a bank guard's account, which is clearly sensationalized to grab headlines. Not only does this give the gang a greater celebrity mystique, it's exactly the kind of copy newspapers want to boost sales. For both the gang and newspaper companies, it's a win-win.

    FARMER: And all I can says is they did right with me. And I'm bringing me a mess of flowers to their funeral.

    During the same robbery, Clyde spares a farmer who said that the money in his hand was his, not the bank's. The farmer was surprised and delighted that Clyde let him keep his money and made this comment to the press afterwards. Acts such as this helped to increase Clyde's celebrity as a modern-day Robin Hood, even though he wasn't doing quite the same thing as the famed outlaw of Sherwood Forest.

    CLYDE: I expect you've been reading about us.

    Clyde says this to Eugene and Velma soon after the gang picks them up and drives away with them. Like Bonnie and the others, he enjoys the notoriety the gang has now achieved and the fact that most people around are following their exploits.

    SPEAKER 1: That's Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker.

    SPEAKER 2: What happened to them?

    SPEAKER 3: They famous?

    SPEAKER 4: Sure enough.

    These quotes come from various people in a camp of homeless people who see the wounded Bonnie and Clyde in the backseat of C.W.'s car. Everyone at the camp seems fascinated by the sight of the two, as if they're seeing a movie star or famous sports figure. They are, in a word, transfixed. One man even makes a point of touching Clyde with his hand. While Bonnie and Clyde's time might be running out, their celebrity is still growing.

    CLYDE: What you writing?

    BONNIE: I'm writing a poem about us.

    One of Bonnie's final acts of celebrity building (as well as personal expression) is writing a poem about Clyde and herself focusing on their love, how they lived, and their inevitable early deaths. In the film, this poem is published before their deaths, both enhancing their myth and giving Frank Hamer even more incentive to finish them off.