Study Guide

Bonnie and Clyde Crime

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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.

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