These bank robbers are among the most notorious criminals in history. Many famous movies have been inspired by Bonnie and Clyde, including 1967’s Bonnie and Clyde.
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Arthur Penn’s Bonnie and Clyde is a major influence on today’s films about likeable outlaws and outcasts. The film adaptations of the infamous bank robbers’ lives and deaths during the Great Depression changed not only criminal literature, but Hollywood as well. Bonnie and Clyde destroyed any subtlety and openly denounced authority while applauding rebellion as a reaction to the conformist social order and media of the 1950s.
Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty rose to fame in the wake of the film that launched their careers, which featured criminal anti-heroes as the final bastions of true freedom and maintained their memory alive. It didn’t stop filmmakers from imitating the namesake couple’s actual and symbolic crime-ridden road trip, even if the romanticization of the relationship continues to be questioned today. Here are ten films that, in both a true and humorous manner, were inspired by the 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde.
11 Special Mention: From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
Robert Rodriguez’s caper, famed and beloved for its abrupt shift in genre, starts off like a classic Bonnie and Clyde story before taking an unexpected turn. Prior to vampires and comically excessive quantities of gore showing up, From Dusk Till Dawn’s focus on the crazy Gecko Brothers seemed like a gritty updating of the criminal road trip.
Unlike Beatty and Dunaway’s iconic film, From Dusk Till Dawn sought to study vampire innards rather than social worries, making it more subversive. The Geckos, a Bonnie and Clyde-styled combo who stood out in an era of forgettable crime films, were introduced in this cult classic.
10 The Doom Generation (1995)
While a time capsule, Bonnie and Clyde reflects the generational anxieties of the sixties, and Gregg Araki continues this theme with his black comedy. With its bleak attitude on life and refusal to accept a boring future, The Doom Generation is known for its focus on a trio of apathetic and hedonistic youths.
Some have panned Araki’s “Teenage Apocalypse Trilogy,” while others have lauded it for its snarky tone and sarcastic humor. A dismal vision of freedom, its supporters, and the never-ending quest for it pervades The Doom Generation, as did its predecessor.
9 Natural Born Killers (1994)
Oliver Stone’s parody on crime and celebrity culture, termed “the most expensive student film ever made,” is simply Bonnie and Clyde on a terrible drug trip. Surrealistic graphics and a psychedelic soundtrack elevate an otherwise cynical attack on society into a masterpiece of “style above content” (which it is).
An understatement to describe this film as “controversial” is in order. Disgusted by it, Quentin Tarantino only acknowledged his involvement in the names Mickey and Mallory in the film’s credits. Natural Born Killers, despite its controversy, is a must-see film.
8 Easy Rider (1969)
Bonnie and Clyde may have spawned the counterculture movement of New Hollywood, but Easy Rider is its most recognizable symbol. This historic Dennis Hopper picture also follows two disillusioned rebels (i.e. hippies) as they make their way to New Orleans from across the country in pursuit of freedom.
Bonnie and Clyde themes like challenging authority and searching in vain for the American Dream have been amplified here, making this an especially somber ode to those values. Easy Rider could also be interpreted as a swan song for freedom, thanks to Hopper’s need on a steady supply of narcotics.
7 The Wild Bunch (1969)
One of New Hollywood’s most strident rejects of authority and what passes for civilization, The Wild Bunch is sometimes accused for putting an end to the classic Western. Bonnie and Clyde bemoaned the loss of individual freedom, while in The Wild Bunch, an old band of outlaws argues that dying rather than waiting to be slain is a preferable option.
Peckinpah’s cynical Western signified the end of a kind of outlaw that Hollywood and real world were moving on from, although Penn’s film is hardly a barrel of sunshine. There’s a good reason why there are less and fewer Westerns today.
6 The Devil’s Rejects (2005)
Bonnie and Clyde were romanticized, whereas The Devil’s Rejects revels in the nasty and pathetic nature of its serial killers. Those who detested the romance of Bonnie and Clyde would like this film’s approach.
To some, Rob Zombie’s most highly lauded picture can be seen as an extended version of the 1967 film’s last minutes, portraying what really happens after a horrific crime spree in which the criminals seem to escape prosecution. It’s a grindhouse reworking of Penn’s masterpiece in its own right, and it’s just as brutal and heart-wrenchingly tragic as it should be.
5 God Bless America (2011)
This dark comedy, directed by the voice actor of Pain in Hercules, uses Bonnie and Clyde’s fundamentals and ratchets up the satirical slapstick. God Bless America takes aim at American society rather than the system with its teenage and middle-aged spoofs of Bonnie and Clyde.
Because it goes after individuals who are allegedly undermining rather than defending America’s conservative principles, God Bless America can be seen as the antithesis of Bonnie and Clyde. In contrast to the 1967 classic, this film goes out of its way to criticize and expose the hypocrisy of its rebellious heroes.
4 O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
With a setting in the 1930s Deep South and a cast of fugitive outlaws, the Coen Brothers’ (very loose) rendition of Homer’s Odyssey has a lot in common with Bonnie and Clyde in terms of setting, themes, and visuals.
O Brother, Where Art Thou? resurrects the same themes that Beatty and Dunaway tried to explore in 1967, and then some (i.e. racism). In contrast, the 2000’s initiative makes fun of the self-important and inflexible elite rather than agonizing about their domineering presences. In addition to that, the audio is just stunning.
3 True Romance (1993)
A Bonnie and Clyde remake is the closest thing to a Tony Scott action romance in this list. True Romance is more of a fable than a statement since it is idealistic and romanticized. Finally, Bonnie and Clyde get the happy ending they so desperately craved in this edgy yet uplifting tale.
Having written the screenplay while Scott directed, Tarantino gained notoriety as well. While Tarantino was enraged by Stone’s Natural Born Killers, Scott rewrote the film’s gloomy ending, which Tarantino adored.
2 Heathers (1988)
In this dark comedy, Bonnie and Clyde are placed in a public high school, where they are mocked rather than revered.
Instead of idealizing outlaw lovers, Heathers exposes the insane and naive individuals who believe that inflicting harm on others is a romantic or a meaningful way to make a message. It’s impossible to make a modern version of Heathers because it’s a time capsule from the late ’80s that can’t be replicated.
1 Thelma & Louise (1991)
However, Thelma and Louise stands out as an exception because of its devastating conclusion, which follows in the footsteps of Bonnie and Clyde’s original plot of morally bankrupt misfits who are unjustly saved by fate.
The title characters have always felt like outcasts in an unfair world. Rather from using their upcoming road trip as an excuse to engage in violence and negativity, they see it as an opportunity to live the life they’ve only imagined. In spite of the fact that Bonnie and Clyde were the ones who launched the uprising, Thelma and Louise were the ones who saw how desperate the people were for a revolution.