Bonnie and Clyde

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For anyone whose seen the film 'Bonnie and Clyde (1967)' starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway one of the most memorable scenes is probably when they break out of a hideout they have been well, hiding in. Suddenly awakened by the 'law' Clyde grabs an automatic rifle breaks a hole in the window and shoots at the encirclement of police outside. From another window Bonnie fires round after round from a pistol. Eventually Clyde, his brother, Bonnie and another gunman burst out of the garage amidst a hail of bullets in a large 1930s Ford V8. Clyde's sister in law runs from the house screaming in another direction. After dodging several cars and shooting two sheriffs they pick up Clyde's sister in law and speed into the distance.

One of the most interesting things about this scene is that even with Hollywood embellishment it is a fairly accurate rendition of what is reported to have happened on April 13th, 1933 when the 'Barrow Gang' were surprised by police in a house they had been renting in Joplin, Missouri.

The following is an account of the real Bonnie Parker and Clyde Chestnut Barrow's historical rampage across south-west America.

Background

Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker were raised in an America that was in a state of depression. Poverty was rife there was low employment and the Great Economic Depression was in its early stages. This particular era seemed to breed a whole school of crime and crime prevention. The next 10 years would see the emergence of Al Capone, Babyface (check full name), Dillinger (check) and the formal creation of the FBI. In these days all an outlaw could last quite a long time with a fast car and a borderline personality. There was also an anti-establishment mood present amongst a lot of the public at this time that although not condoning the outlaw did not wholly condemn them either (It is no coincedence either that a movie of this sort was released in 1967 when a similar anti-establishment movement was in process).

How Clyde met Bonnie

Bonnie and Clyde first met in January 1930 at Marco's Cafe in Dallas where Bonnie was working. By this time Clyde (21) was already somewhat of a hoodlum having been arrested already for robbing cars and breaking into local stores many times in a gang that included his brother Ivan known as 'Buck' who soon got caught for a robbery that the two had commited. Though young Bonnie (19) was already married when she met Clyde and her husband Ray Thornton was doing time in jail. With a mutual disregard for the law, a disenchanted boredom with life and a lack of money all in common it seems not so unusual that Bonnie and Clyde would get on well upon meeting.


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