Points to Consider: Consider the mythic element in the film, particularly in its use of the popular culture. Consider the use of violence in the film. What points are being made about violence, socially and aesthetically? What is the function of the images we see in the credit sequence?
What do Bonnie and Clyde want? What do they fear? Describe Bonnie and Clyde’s relationship. Why is Clyde able successfully to make love with Bonnie near the end of the film?
How does C. W. Moss see Bonnie and Clyde? How do Bonnie and Clyde see themselves? How do the various “plain folk” see the Barrow gang? Consider the imagery by which the film establishes “seeing” as an important theme or motif.
What is the function of the visit to Bonnie’s mother? Why is the scene shot in soft focus? Consider the mixture of comic and tragic elements throughout the film. In what ways does this combination affect the audience?
How does this film compare and contrast with other films about the Depression, such as John Ford’s 1940 film The Grapes of Wrath? What is the vision of American society offered in this film?
Consider the tradition of the gangster film. What themes, images, patterns, or styles does Bonnie and Clyde share with other films in this tradition? Does Bonnie and Clyde share thematic concerns or styles with any of the other films seen this semester?
Selected Filmography of Arthur Penn The Left-Handed Gun (1958) The Miracle Worker (1962) Mickey One (1965) Alice’s Restaurant (1969) Little Big Man (1970) Night Moves (1975) The Missouri Breaks (1976) Dead of Winter (1987)