Bonnie and Clyde Summary
Meet Bonnie Parker. She's a beautiful young waitress in small town Texas. She has big dreams—to meet an exciting man, road-trip across the nation, and…rob banks?
Yup. When dashing Clyde Barrow tries to steal Bonnie's mom's jalopy, it's love at first sight. When Clyde shows her his gun (not a euphemism: he actually just shows her his pistol), it's double-love. And when Clyde robs a bank right in front of her, she literally hops in his lap as he drives and starts smooching him.
But Clyde's not a "lover boy"—he's impotent. He can't give her XXX-rated romance, but he can give her the thrills of a lifetime. And he can make her the most famous (or at least the second-most-famous) bank robber in the American South.
Not only that, but he can make her one of the most lovable criminals in American history. From the moment when Clyde tells a destitute Depression-era refugee of the dust bowl that, "We rob banks," you just know these guys are going to be folk heroes. (It doesn't hurt that the man they speak to has just had his farm taken…by a bank.)
They soon join forces with a young mechanic named C.W. Moss, and their bank-robbing (and car-jacking) careers get well underway. But, almost immediately, there's a SNAFU: Clyde shoots a man at point-blank range.
Clyde's now a murderer, and because his mug shot's already out in the ether, it's pretty clear that the authorities know exactly who they're dealing with. Clyde—ever the gentleman—offers Bonnie a way out. But she doesn't want to go home; she wants to stay with her impotent lover boy.
Yeah; Clyde's inability to get it up is a big issue in this movie.
Two more players hit the stage: Clyde's brother Buck, and Buck's wife Blanche. The five of them hole up in a rented house in Missouri, but the cops get wise to their hideout location and they have to go on the run again.
Being on the run: a big issue. Also an issue? The fact that Blanche (a goody-goody preacher's daughter) and Bonnie hate each other. Also-also an issue? The fact that now Clyde, Buck, and C.W. have each shot cops.
But they all make the most of it. They read about themselves in a newspaper and all laugh at the wildly exaggerated tales of their exploits—even though they've been tooling around the Southern Midwest, the articles they read state that they've been as far north as Chicago.
During a pit stop, they humiliate a cop named Hamer. Nothing too bad (this ain't Reservoir Dogs), but bad enough to give Hamer a case of V for Vendetta: he now personally has it out for the so-called "Barrow Gang."
Hilarity continues to ensue, and the Barrow Gang's fame and infamy increase. But the movie reaches a turning point when they meet a young couple named Eugene and Velma. Everyone has a great time until Eugene mentions he's an undertaker. This mention of corpses freaks Bonnie out, big time.
She wants to go visit her mom, so the entire gang meets the Parker family in an abandoned industrial area for the grimmest picnic in recorded history. When the day ends, Clyde says that Bonnie wants to eventually live three miles from her mama. Ma Parker says, ominously, "You try and live three miles from me, and you won't live long, honey. You best keep running, Clyde Barrow."
The downer continues. Another ambush leaves Buck shot in the head. Yet another ambush leaves Blanche blinded and captured by the cops. An injured Bonnie, an injured Clyde, and C.W. escape to C.W.'s father's house, where papa C.W. (otherwise known as Malcolm) tends to the wounded couple.
But Malcolm's not too happy about harboring fugitives. He gets back in touch with the formerly humiliated cop Hamer and arranged for Bonnie and Clyde to get captured, and for C.W. to get off with a few years in jail.
Ironically, at this point Bonnie and Clyde are closer than ever before. Clyde's impotence resolves, and he proposes to Bonnie. She writes a poem about the two of them, and it's published in the newspapers.
But finally, the day of Hamer's planned ambush arrives. Bonnie and Clyde go to town with C.W., but when the time comes for them to go back to Malcolm's, C.W.'s lurking the hardware store. (He was instructed to stay in town by Malcolm: C.W. knows exactly what's about to go down.)
Bonnie and Clyde drive back along a dusty road, obviously helplessly in love with each other. They see Malcolm, who appears to have a flat tire. Suddenly, a flock of birds flies out of a nearby tree…and Malcolm hits the floor. B & C take one last look at each other—they seem to know what's coming—and then they're blown away in a hurricane of bullets.
- Bonnie Parker, very young and very bored, slinks around her upstairs bedroom.
- She notices a young man trying to steal her mother's car, and she tells him to stop.
- The two are immediately attracted to each other—it doesn't hurt that Bonnie's basically naked at this point.
- She dresses and comes downstairs to talk with him.
- He figures out that she's a waitress. His name's Clyde.
- Clyde tells Bonnie that he's been in prison for armed robbery. (She obviously thinks this is hawt.)
- He then invites her to come into town with him and have a Coke.
- As the two walk down the street, Clyde tells Bonnie how he chopped off two of his own toes off to get out of doing hard work in prison.
- She finds this—and him—endlessly fascinating.
- As they drink their Cokes on the street, she presses him to prove that he really is a serious robber, so he shows her his gun.
- In a clear suggestion of her sexual interest, she caresses the gun barrel lightly with her fingers. (Yowza.)
- She challenges him to prove he can use his gun.
- He robs a store, and the two then run away in a stolen car.
- As the two flee, Bonnie is clearly turned on by what Clyde's just done and kisses him passionately as he drives.
- He pulls the car over and tells her to stop and that—while he doesn't like boys—he isn't much of a ladies' man, either.
- She's clearly disappointed and asks to be taken home.
- He tells her that, if all she wants is to get laid, she can go back home to her sleepy town of West Dallas.
- If she wants adventure (but no sex), she can stick with him.
- He tells her that she's different, and that she's special—"You may be the best damn girl in Texas"—and that if they stay together they can live an awesome, fame-filled life of crime.
- Clyde continues to charm Bonnie as they eat burgers.
- He seems to be able to understand just about everything about her just by looking at her: he knows that she was born into a big family and that she dropped out of school because she was so much smarter than everyone else.
- He's even is able to figure out that, in her mid-teens, there was a guy who she briefly considered marrying.
- "So then you got you your job in the café, and now you wake up every morning and you hate it. […] And you go on home and you sit in your room and you think when and how am I ever going to get away from this? And now you know."
- She's super-impressed by this.
- He orders her to change her hair (he's bossy like that) and then tells her she's "a knockout."
- They leave the burger joint, and Clyde steals a stylish convertible for them to drive away in.
- Bonnie wakes up alone in a deserted farmhouse.
- She finds Clyde outside.
- He's practicing shooting his pistol and promises to get Bonnie a nice new gun of her own.
- They meet a farmer and his family—they've just been evicted from the house that Bonnie and Clyde slept in and are just stopping by to see it one more time.
- B & C obviously have sympathy for the farmer's plight. Clyde lets the farmer him shoot the eviction sign the bank's posted in front of the house.
- The farmer and a hired hand take turns with target practice—this obviously gives them some satisfaction.
- As the farmer leaves, Clyde introduces Bonnie and himself and, for the first time, says, "We rob banks."
- It seems to be his way of telling the man that this is their way of getting back at the banks for causing poor people so much misery.
- With Bonnie driving, the two pull up beside a bank.
- Clyde goes into rob it, but the teller says that the bank went under and that there's no money.
- Clyde forces the teller to come outside and tell this to Bonnie.
- She finds this hilarious, laughs, and the two drive off.
- Clyde says he's happy she finds this all so funny, because they have hardly any money left.
- As Clyde robs a grocery store, a butcher comes after him with a meat cleaver.
- The only way Clyde can stop him is to hit him on his head with his gun.
- He escapes, and as he and Bonnie drive away, he says sadly,
- "He tried to kill me. Why'd he try to kill me? I didn't want to hurt him."
- Huh. Wonder why, Clyde. Wonder why.
- A scruffy young gas station attendant named C.W. Moss has just finished fixing a problem with Bonnie and Clyde's car—"dirt in the fuel line just blowed it away."
- Bonnie's impressed with his knowledge of automobiles, a skill they can use in their work.
- Together, she and Clyde try to recruit him to join their gang.
- He's tempted, even saying that he's spent time in reform school.
- To see if he means business, Clyde challenges him to rob the gas station.
- C.W. does, and, with that, they offer him a seat in their car and a place in their gang.
- We jump to a hospital room where the injured grocery store butcher's recovering.
- Law officers show mug shots to the butcher.
- He identifies Clyde.
- Bonnie and Clyde are in bed: she's awake and he's snoring.
- She moves over near to him, but decides against waking him, and goes back to her original position.
- We see that he's also awake and avoiding her advances.
- This is probably smart—C.W. is sleeping in a chair in the same room, after all.
- With C.W. driving the getaway car, Bonnie and Clyde rob another bank.
- This bank has money, and Bonnie and Clyde pretty expertly get the bank staff to empty their trays into a few bags.
- But C.W., who does seem to be a lover boy, has parked the getaway car in order to check out a pretty girl.
- It takes them a while to maneuver the car out of the parking spot and drive away.
- A man, who appears to be unarmed, hops on their car's running board in an attempt to stop them.
- In a panic, Clyde shoots the man dead.
- They escape.
- Clyde, Bonnie, and C.W. are all watching the film Gold Diggers of 1933 and listening to Ginger Rogers sing a song from the film: "We're in the Money."
- Clyde's super upset because he understands that, now that he's killed a man, he and the others will now be wanted for murder.
- C.W. seems sweaty and anxious about this fact, but Bonnie's cool as a cucumber: she just wants to watch the movie in peace.
- Clyde bonks C.W. on the head with his fedora, but keeps his mouth shut.
- We see Bonnie adjusting a necklace in a bathroom mirror. She's singing, "We're in the money."
- Clyde wants some real talk—that afternoon they committed murder. He know that the cops have his mug shot, and that it'll be easy to find out who he is.
- He tells Bonnie that she should go home: no one knows who she is yet, and she'd be able to get away clean and free.
- "You could get a rich man if you tried," he says.
- "I don't want no rich man," says Bonnie.
- With tears in her eyes, she makes it clear that she wants to stay with him. He seems to be aroused by this, and they try to have sex.
- But he can't perform—surprise, surprise.
- He makes it clear that he feels bad about this—he slams his fist against the mattress and says again "I told you I wasn't no lover boy."
- She shakes her head and smiles at him. It's clear that, despite this problem, she loves him. Aww.
- Clyde's older brother Buck and his wife Blanche arrive.
- Clyde and Buck are delighted to see each other—they have an adorable brotherly love thing going on, even though Buck is totally cheesy.
- Blanche seems uncomfortable with meeting everyone, especially C.W. (who comes out in his long underwear).
- They take some pictures with the Kodak camera.
- Clyde poses with a machine gun; Bonnie poses with a pistol and a cigar.
- Alone, Buck asks Clyde if he had to kill the man in the bank robbery. Eventually, Clyde indicates that, yes, it was something he had to do.
- Clyde suggests that they all go up to Missouri, where the law isn't looking for Clyde, and have a vacation together.
- In one car, Buck tells a bad (and super-long-winded) joke. This is something he evidently does a whole lot, and Clyde's cracking up.
- In the other car, Bonnie and Blanche sit stiffly and silently next to each other.
- Everyone's in a rental house in Missouri now—Buck's paid for a month.
- But they're not exactly all one big happy family.
- Bonnie's unhappy.
- She doesn't like Blanche—who's pretty stuck up and phony. Plus, Blanche and Buck canoodle on the couch while Clyde…hugs C.W. after he loses at checkers.
- Bonnie drags Clyde into the other room and does a mean (but totally spot-on) impression of Blanche.
- She also says that there's always someone in the next room and asks whether Clyde ever wants to be alone with her.
- Clyde dodges the question: he says he always feels like they're alone.
- Then he says, "I'm hungry!" and leaves the conversation.
- A young deliveryman brings groceries to the house and notices both Bonnie's secretive manner and the fact that the shades are drawn in the middle of the day.
- He leaves, very curious about all of this.
- As Bonnie reads one of her poems (Bonnie's a poet and we didn't know it) to the others in the gang, a police car comes up their driveway.
- Blanche starts screaming, and running around carrying a spatula. (Oh, that'll be helpful.)
- A major gunfight takes place, and the group manages to escape.
- In the escape, though, Buck kills a policeman and knows that he, too, will now be wanted for murder. C.W. also kills a few cops.
- There's no way out now.
- In the middle of their escape, Blanche starts freaking out. She's wailing at the top of her lungs.
- Bonnie tells Clyde to pull the car over because she wants to talk with him alone.
- He pulls into a wheat field and stops.
- They argue, Bonnie saying that she wants Blanche gone and that she finds Clyde's inability to have sex super-strange.
- They really start screaming at each other: she calls him a hillbilly and he tells her that she's nothing special.
- She calms down, however, and they make up tearfully—"I didn't mean that. It was just all that shooting. It was all those guns. I got scared."
- They return to the car and start driving again.
- Buck steals a newspaper out of a mailbox, and reads what it's saying about the Barrow Gang.
- They all seem thrilled to be celebrities and laugh at the article's inaccuracies—the article says they've been in New Mexico and Chicago.
- C.W. needs to stop to take a leak, so they pull off by a little lake.
- As they stop to oblige C.W., Texas Ranger Frank Hamer—who seems to have been tracking them—stops, gets out of his car, and tries to sneak up on them.
- Clyde catches him, and the gang takes his gun away and ties him up.
- The group now doesn't know what to do with Hamer.
- They debate shooting or hanging him.
- Then Bonnie suggests that they take his picture with the whole gang to humiliate him.
- They take a picture of him with Bonnie and Clyde and, for the picture, Bonnie kisses Hamer on the lips.
- When she's finished, Hamer spits in her face.
- Enraged, Clyde puts Hamer—who's still handcuffed—in a boat and sends the boat out into the lake.
- The Barrow Gang robs a bank, more confident than ever before.
- Seeing a farmer waiting for a teller, Clyde asks him if the money is his hand is his or the bank's. The farmer says it is his, and, since it is, Clyde lets him keep it.
- As usual, they escape—the crowd outside the bank shouts "The Barrow Gang!" and a little kid's voice chants, "Bonnie and Clyde! Bonnie and Clyde!"
- A car chase ensues, set to twangy banjo music. It makes the car chase look hilarious.
- This time the chase is intercut with scenes of law enforcement officers giving reporters great copy, and one scene of the farmer from the bank telling reporters, "I'm bringin' a mess of flowers to their funeral."
- Two cop cars chase the Barrow Gang. A lot of shots are fired, but no one seems to get hurt—even when one cop car rolls over.
- Inside the getaway car, everyone's laughing uproariously. Even Blanche looks chill.
- Finally, the Barrow Gang makes it Oklahoma border and the police decide to turn back.
- As C.W. works on the car, Clyde decides to divide the money the gang robbed from the bank.
- First, he splits it four ways, leaving Blanche out.
- After Blanche complains, he agrees to divide it five ways, including her.
- Bonnie's not happy about this at all, saying that Blanche doesn't do anything and therefore doesn't deserve anything.
- Blanche counters, saying that she risks her life and is wanted by the police, too.
- To Bonnie's annoyance, Blanche prevails, and Clyde cuts her in on the split.
- Meanwhile, C.W.'s found a major oil leak in the car and says that they have to steal a new one.
- The scene opens with a couple, Eugene and Velma, smooching on Velma's front porch.
- They notice that some people (the Barrow Gang—who else?) are stealing Eugene's car.
- Enraged, Eugene and Velma decide to pursue them in Velma's car.
- As they're in pursuit, Velma mentions that these people might have guns.
- This thought makes Eugene more cautious, and he suggests that they drive back and call the police.
- As they stop and turn around, however, Clyde decides to pursue them for fun.
- They stop Eugene and Velma and have them join the gang in the car they've just stolen.
- As they drive, Buck tells jokes, and everyone seems more relaxed.
- The gang members like that, at least for a time, they can just be folks chatting it up with other folks.
- Bonnie asks Velma how old she is, and she says "I'm thirty-three." Eugene looks weird—this is obviously way older than he thought she was.
- They drive on into the night, and they order take-out burgers. Everyone is so chill that they joke about French fries and suggest that Eugene join up with the Barrow Gang.
- Then, Bonnie asks Eugene what he does for a living, and he says that he's an undertaker.
- At this suggestion of death, a freaked-out Bonnie tells Clyde to kick Eugene and Velma out of the car.
- It's daylight now. The gang's looking for Bonnie and finds her walking through a cornfield.
- Clyde runs to her.
- She's totally breaking down. She's decided that she needs to see her mom.
- Clyde's also having a meltdown. He tells her to never leave him. They hug it out in the cornfield.
- Clyde promises to take Bonnie to see her mother. They're both on the verge of tears.
- With C.W. standing guard, the gang visits Bonnie's family, including her mother, at a picnic reunion in an abandoned gravel pit.
- Everyone seems to be having a nice time—there's food and one of Bonnie's relatives has made a scrapbook of clippings about Bonnie and Clyde.
- This scene's iconic: the visuals are subdued and the sound is weirdly muted. It looks kind of like an old photograph.
- It's obviously a beautiful day, but the scene is steeped in sadness.
- A little boy rolls down a hill and lies at the bottom.
- Bonnie bends over him. Because she's wearing black and the boy is lying motionless, it looks funereal.
- Eventually, though, people begin to leave.
- Bonnie wants her mother to stay a bit longer, and asks Clyde to try to convince her to.
- Clyde talks of retiring from robbing banks as soon as the hard times are over.
- Bonnie's mother is having none of it, though. "You best keep running, Clyde Barrow," she tells him.
- Soon, Bonnie's mother and the rest of the relatives leave, and only the gang members are left.
- We cut to a motel in Iowa. Everyone in the gang is cooped up, and C.W. has a hideous new chest tattoo.
- Feeling the tension and sensing doom, Bonnie snaps at the others in the gang.
- Clyde asks C.W. and Blanche to go get take-out.
- Alone, Bonnie tells Clyde how blue she feels, adding, "When we started out, I thought we were really going somewhere. Now, we're just going."
- He tells her that he's her family, and she curls up in his lap.
- Clyde tells her he loves her.
- Blanche and C.W. have a heart-to-heart on the drive: she tells him all about being a preacher's daughter and how her dad loved Buck. They talk about religion, too: they're both devout.
- At the diner where they're picking up take-out chicken, a man sees C.W.'s gun and calls the police.
- Back at the motel, the gang's ambushed.
- The members manage to escape, but Buck is badly wounded—he's shot in the head.
- The drive away is chaos—Blanche's screaming, "It didn't happen!" Clyde looks like a madman. C.W.'s crying.
- The group finally manages to elude the police and get to clearing in the woods.
- They realize how badly off Buck is—"Half his head's blown off. He's not going to make it."—and that Blanche's face has been grazed by a bullet, blinding her.
- For the first time ever, Bonnie's nice to Blanche. (That's how you know it's bad.)
- Blanche wants to go to a doctor
- Buck obviously has brain damage: he's shouting about how he thinks he lost his shoes and how the dog got them.
- They spend the night in the woods.
- The next morning they realize they're surrounded by police.
- Blanche's captured and Buck dies, but Bonnie, Clyde, and C.W. manage to escape into the woods on foot. They cross a river, and both Bonnie and Clyde are shot. They're not dead, but they're both badly wounded.
- Clyde manages to steal a car from a farm, and they continue on, with C.W. driving.
- With a wounded Bonnie and Clyde in the back seat of the car, C.W. drives into a camp of migrants fleeing the dust bowl and asks for water.
- The people huddle curiously around the car, realizing that the two passengers are Bonnie and Clyde. They're in awe.
- One man touches Clyde.
- One woman says, "Is that really Bonnie Parker?"
- Another woman gives C.W. some food, and C.W. drives on.
- That night, the three arrive at the home of C.W.'s father (otherwise known as Malcolm).
- Malcolm sees Bonnie and Clyde passed out—and bloody—in the back of the car.
- C.W. tells him who they are, and Malcolm's shocked. (He's also annoyed that C.W. now has a tattoo.)
- But he agrees to help.
- We cut to a police station.
- Frank Hamer—the guy who spat on Bonnie by the lake—asks to speak to Blanche Barrow.
- He throws a photo onto the desk in front of two other officers. It's the photo of him with the Barrow Gang.
- Hamer says he wants to have just one more photo taken of him with B & C—a photo in which they're dead. Ick.
- Malcolm plays a gracious host to Bonnie and Clyde, who are now recovering from their gunshot wounds.
- Clyde's pretty manic, and Bonnie's basically silent. Things aren't going too well.
- In front of B & C, Malcolm's all smiles.
- But once he's alone with his son, it turns out that this is all a front. He's insanely angry—both that C.W.'s taken up with criminals, and that C.W. has a tattoo.
- He calls all three of them "cheap trash."
- Then he throws a spoonful of hot oatmeal at his son's face.
- Hamer visits Blanche in her jail cell. Her head is wrapped in white bandages—it looks like she actually was blinded by that stray bullet.
- Hamer sweet-talks her, telling her that he knows that she's a preacher's daughter and a good person.
- He plays the "good cop" bit to the hilt, and manages to get C.W.'s name out of her.
- To be fair, it's not that hard—Blanche's pretty much hysterical.
- He leaves as soon as he's got C.W.'s name, but she keeps talking. Because her head is bandaged, she doesn't realize when he's left the room.
- Sitting in the car in the rain outside Malcolm's house, Bonnie reads Clyde the poem she's written about them.
- Clyde says he's going to submit it to the newspaper—that it's just that good.
- Then we see Hamer reading a copy of the poem printed in a newspaper and, finally, Bonnie reading the published poem to Clyde.
- By this point they're lying around in a sunlit field, having a picnic.
- He's delighted with the poem, saying, "You made me somebody they're gonna remember."
- They embrace passionately.
- We cut to Eva's Ice Cream Parlor.
- We see Malcolm—C.W.'s dad—meeting with Hamer. They shake hands.
- It's obvious that he's told Hamer where Bonnie and Clyde are.
- We cut back to the field where Bonnie and Clyde were just having a picnic.
- They're lying down: it's obvious that they've just had sex.
- Both are super happy, and Clyde's proud of himself.
- He asks her if she feels the way she's supposed to feel after sex.
- "You done just perfect," she tells him.
- He says, "I did, didn't I?"
- They both giggle.
- B & C are in a darkened bedroom—it's implied that they've done the nasty again.
- Clyde wants to marry Bonnie, and she responds, "Oh Clyde, why do you want to marry me?"
- Bonnie asks a hypothetical question: if they could start all over again, what different choices would Clyde make?
- He says they could live…in states other than those where they rob banks.
- She's sad that he wouldn't have chosen an entirely different kind of life, and that he would still be a criminal if he were given a clean slate.
- C.W. is sitting at the kitchen table, eating ice cream.
- Malcolm tells C.W. that he's made a deal with the law to get his son off with just a couple of years in jail.
- He stresses that, when C.W. goes to town with Bonnie and Clyde, he should not return with them.
- "Don't get in that car," says Malcolm.
- C.W. isn't impressed. He thinks that it's actually impossible for the law to catch Bonnie and Clyde.
- It's the next day, and we're in town.
- Bonnie and Clyde return to their car with groceries. They're grinning, and Bonnie's wearing a white, virginal-looking dress.
- They fool around: Bonnie's bought a figurine for the dashboard, and Clyde's wearing a pair of sunglasses that's missing a lens.
- Bonnie goes to the hardware store to get C.W., but Clyde sees some law officers assembling and decides it's better to just leave now with Bonnie and come back later to pick up C.W.
- C.W. peeps out the hardware store windows. He looks relieved that they've left without him, but he also seems guilt-ridden.
- Malcolm is stopped beside the road. It looks like he's trying to fix a flat tire on his truck.
- We cut to Bonnie and Clyde driving. Bonnie takes a bite of a pear and holds it to Clyde's mouth so he can take a bite, too.
- Malcolm sees their car coming and stands in the middle of the road, waving his hands.
- Bonnie's nestled up to Clyde with her head on his shoulder, but straightens up when she sees Malcolm.
- Clyde stops to help, and Malcolm seems super-friendly.
- Suddenly, a flock of birds rushes out of the nearly trees.
- Bonnie and Clyde wonder what's going on, but they also look happily at the beauty of the birds.
- Malcolm dives under the truck, and Clyde looks at him in confusion.
- In a split second, both Bonnie and Clyde know what's about to happen. They look at each other, smiling lovingly.
- Law officers hidden in the trees start shooting at them.
- In a hailstorm of bullets, they're killed—Bonnie's still in the car and Clyde's on the side of the road.
- All is silent as Hamer and others emerge to look at the dead bodies of Bonnie and Clyde.