Bonnie and Clyde Return to the Big Screen

Many people are anticipating the primer of the History Channel’s miniseries Bonnie and Clyde. This new series is scheduled to be aired worldwide on December eighth and ninth. The previews portray them as a gun-toting criminal couple with Clyde the brawn and Bonnie the brains of their operation. Promotional pictures show the couple in classic 1930’s clothing with matching cigars and pistols. This sensationalized, romantic portrayal of this iconic criminal pair has everyone excited for the premier, but the truth behind the legend might seem underwhelming in comparison.

Bonnie Elizabeth Parker and Clyde Chestnut Barrow met in 1930 at a mutual friend’s house. When she met Clyde, Bonnie was already a married woman, but her relationship with her husband had quickly become distant, and then nonexistent, but she had never officially divorced him. Clyde was already on the path of a criminal, and shortly after the pair first met, he was sent to jail twice. He got out of the jail sentence by asking fellow inmates to chop off some of his toes.

Shortly after that began the two year crime extravaganza of the Barrow Gang. Other criminals came and went in the gang, such as Buck and Blanche, the former of whom died in a shootout with authorities and latter was captured when she stayed by his side while the other escaped their brush with the law.

Contrary to how the movies portray her, Bonnie was not the cigar-smoking gun-toting mastermind she is made out to be. While she was most likely a chain smoker, many former gang members do not recall her ever using or holding a gun except in the joking, playful pictures authorities found in the Barrow Gang’s hideout.

The Barrow Gang’s criminal career also wasn’t all that successful. Bank robberies often went awry, and the gang wouldn’t have had time to enjoy their stolen wealth anyways. Bonnie and Clyde were always on the move, stealing cars and trying to stay one step ahead of the law.

When they were eventually caught in 1834, Bonnie and Clyde did not go out guns blazing. Posses of law officers had actually been laying in wait where they knew the coupled would be passing through. When Bonnie and Clyde’s vehicle finally passed by them, the police opened fire. Clyde was killed instantly, and Bonnie followed soon after. Hundreds of bullets had been fired at the vehicle, and the couple had each been hit many times. Bonnie and Clyde were only in their early twenties when they met their end.

Bonnie and Clyde were popular in their time because of their publicity and their wild escapes from the law. They were sensationalized in a time where people were looking for escape from reality. Bonnie and Clyde made their run during the Great Depression, and Americans were looking for a pick-me-up to take them away from the harsh reality they faced. It only makes sense that the pair and their gang were fanaticized and immortalized in story and film.

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