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Overview of Bonnie and Clyde

Question:

Discuss narrative structure and its relationship to the themes of the two flims.
 

The film Bonnie and Clyde is a film that was directed by director Arthur Penn in the year 1967. The film was based on a crime that was biographical. The film was an American film. The star cast of the film was Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty, who played the main and primary characters in the film such as Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow.  The said film also featured Gene Hackman, Michael Pollard along with Estelle Parsons. The other persons who were featured in the film were Dub Taylor, Denver Pyle, Evans, Mabel Cavitt and Gene Wilder in those roles that were supporting. Robert Benton and David Newman were the persons who wrote the screenplay. There were important contributions that were rendered by Beatty to the said script. The film was also produced by Beatty. Charles Strouse made the composition of the sound track of the film (Bence and Charlotte).

The film was considered as the landmark film. The film was seen among the first films of the New Era of Hollywood. The film was immensely popular among the youth generation and broke several cinematic taboos. The film was regarded as a “rallying cry” for several member who belong to the counter culture. The success that was achieved by the Bonnie and Clyde film inspired the other makers of the film to create films that openly represented violence and sex. The ending of the film was also considered as one of the several bloodiest scenes in the history of cinematography. The film was awarded by the Academy Awards with the award for the best actress (Connolly and Matt). The award was given to Estelle Parsons. The film was also awarded for having the best cinematography. Burnett Guffey received the award. The film Bonnie and Clyde was among the hundred first films that were considered for preservation in the Registry of National Film in the territory of United States (Chater and Alissa).

The film Goodfellas was considered to be a film that was based on crime. The film was directed by Martin Scorsese and was an American film. The film was based on the adaption that was made of the non-fiction book named Wiseguy written by Nicholas Pileggi in the year of 1986.  Nicholas Pileggi was also the co-writer of the screenplay along with Martin Scorsese. The film makes the narration of the rising and falling of the mob associate named Henry Hill including his friends from the time span of 1955 to 1980. Henry Hill was in the role of first person narrator in the said film (D’Onofrio). The film Goodfellas was initially given the name of Wise Guy but was later postponed and changed to Goodfellas. Rey Liotta, Joe Pesci, and Robert De Niro played the primary characters of the film. The primary characters often spoke to the writer and the co-director Pileggi for making the understanding of their role that has to be played as the main characters in the film. The film Goodfellas was considered one of the best films of all times. The film was regarded as one of the best films based on both generality and crime genre. The Empire Magazine in the year of 2008 ranked the film as sixth out of the five hundred greatest films of all times (Deal and Raw). 

Overview of Goodfellas

The film Goodfellas was regarded as historically, aesthetically and culturally significant. The film Goodfellas was also selected for the purpose of preservation in the Registry of National Film.

The plot of the film Bonnie and Clyde was that the main characters Clyde and Bonnie met with each other during the time of the great depression. At the time of the meeting, Clyde made the try to steal the car of the mother of Bonnie. Clyde also intrigued Bonnie, who was frustrated during the doing the job as a waitress. As a result of the frustration of Bonnie, she decided to become the partner of Clyde in committing the crime. They began their partnership by pulling off certain holdups, but such were not much lucrative. The partnership then shifted their gear and started committing bigger crimes. They began to rob banks. They also started making violent exploits. When they were caught while committing the bank robbery, Clyde kills the bank manager and then moves on the running board of a car that is moving (Fußinger and David). Then the police were successful in detecting the location of Bonnie and Clyde and C.W. they were located in the house of the father of C.W. named Ivan Moss. Then Ivan strikes the bargain with Hamer and then sets a trap related to the outlaws for the leniency that was shown by the boy. After this, when Clyde and Bonnie made a halt on the other side of the road, to help Mr. Moss for fixing a tire that is flat the police that was hiding in the bushes opened fire; that riddled the body of them with the bullets. Then Hamer came out from hiding and started looking at the bodies of the couple pensively (Grist and Leighton).

The film Bonnie and Clyde was made with an intention to be presented like the version of romance and comedy that was presented in the films of 1930's that was related to the violent gangster scenes. The film Bonnie and Clyde made implementation of the modern techniques of film making. The director portrayed or used some violent scenes with the help of comic tone and then made the shifting to graphic and horrific violence. There was a strong influence of the new wave directors of France in the film, in respect of editing and using tones for several scenes, that was evident particularly during the ending sequence of the movie. The script of the film was handled first in the year of 1960 (Haggins and Bambi).                     

In the film GoodFellas, the film starts with the statement of Henry Hill that states that the sole motive of his life was to become a gangster. After making this statement, Hill referred his idolization to gangsters in the Latin American culture. Henry Hill left his school for the purpose of joining the group of gangsters. After leaving school, Hill was able to make a life for himself and in that process learned two things that are never to rat on the friends and to keep his mouth shut always. The lesson was delivered to him after he was acquitted of the charges of criminal in the early ages of his life. In the year of 1967, Hill was involved in the robbery of Air France. Hill was enjoying his criminal life and also spend most of their nights at Copacabana and was involved in the act of carousing with girls. Then Hill marries a girl named Karen. Karen in the initial years protested against the criminal activities of his husband but in the later years was seduced the lifestyle of her husband that was glamorous (Humphreys and Brianna).   

Plot Summaries

Henry then sets her mistress Janice in an apartment and then establishes certain relationship with the mistress. When his wife came to know of the relationship she threatens Henry under gunpoint. Then Paulie directed Henry to live with his wife. Later on, Henry accompanied by Jimmy went to collect money from a gambler but was arrested by the police. In the prison, Henry involved himself in selling drugs to support his family from outside (Kolker and Robert). After getting released from the prison, Henry again involved himself in the activity of selling of drugs and ignored the warnings delivered by Paulie. Later on, while organizing a drug deal, Hill was arrested by the police and also received a nervous wreck due to the use of cocaine and suffered from insomnia. Then he came to upon his release from Karen that she had flushed a significant amount of cocaine that amounted approximately $60000 (Porfirio and Robert). Then Henry forced to leave gangster life and lead his life like a normal man. At the end of the movie, Hill narrated that "I'm an average nobody. I get to live the rest of my life like a schnook”. 


The film GodFellas was scheduled to be opened in Chicago in the 21st of the September. Henry Hill made the narration of a kid who is of the Irish-Italian origin. The primary objective of the kid was to become a “wise guy” from his early age. Karen was another narrator of the film. Karen narrated the story of girl of the Jewish origin. The girl made the realization that her total social life was under the Mafia. The wives of the mob never went to anywhere in the society or never made the talking with any person who is not the part of the mafia world. In accordance to the girl, the values of the Mafia society are the basic values of the society. The critics reviewed the film and stated that the film is the finest among all the films that are based on organized crime (Grist and Leighton). Though, the two works that are GoodFellas and Godfather are not subject to comparison but still the film GoodFellas is far better than the film Godfather in accordance to the critics.

In the film GoodFellas, Henry Hill has been subject to the anonymity on the part of the procedure of witness of the federal government. He told everything knew to the reporter named Nicholas Pileggi over the time of four years. The screenplay that was made by Scorsese and Pilleggi distills such memories that are in a fiction relating to the plays that are documentary and also contained much feeling and information about Mafia (Leotta and Alfio). The film finally made the creation of the similar claustrophobic feeling that was discussed by wife of Hill. The feeling that was possed by the wife of Henry was that the real world is the mob world.

It is held by the critics that for the film GoodFellas, Scorsese was the right director. In fact the critics also reviewed that Scorsese was the only director suitable for the story material of the movie GoodFellas (Katz and Jack). The reason behind such review is that the director knows the story material of the movie inside out. The director got the formative experience from the fact of his growing up in Little Italy in New York. The director as an outsider made the observation of everything.

Influences and Significance

The film GoodFellas like the Godfather movie is a long film with the leisure and scope to explore and expand its themes. The film is not about any plot that is particular. The film is about the life that exists in the world of mafia. The good things and the bad things that exist in the life of mafia is the basis of the movie. In the beginning, there exists good times and there also exists the movement of camera that is astonishing that follows Henry and Karen in their first meeting at the night club of Copacabana. The director used the method of slow expansion in the movie in order to make the levels of Mafia clear to the audience. The characters of the film were introduced casually. Some of the characters introduced in the movie have not developed later in the film (Musil and James).

The film Bonnie and Clyde was one of the most talked movie of the sixties. The film was a volatile one that involved controversial or gangster crime along with terror, comedy, ferocious violence and love. The Warner Bros. made the production of the film. The studios used in the movie seemed appropriate for this revisionist and innovative film. The film romanticized and redefined the crime genre and made the screen violence depiction forever (Humphreys and Brianna). 


The producer of the movie Bonnie and Clyde named Warren Beatty, who was 28 years old, also played the title role in the movie of Clyde Barrow. The movie displayed the story of the rise of Clyde and then the story of his self-destructive fall. The fall of Clyde was in the form of a criminal gangster who is an anti-authoritarian. The film depicted both figures of outlaw significantly exemplify the innocents who try to make the function as a family and cling together. The film Bonnie and Clyde as a gangster film involves numerous moods that is opposing. The film also made the inclusion of the shifting in the tones that is from comical to serious (Deal and Raw). For the inclusion of the opposing moods and the shifting tones, the film Bonnie and Clyde stands as a cross between a tragic-romantic film, a gangster film, a buddy film, a road film and a film of screwball comedy. The film Bonnie and Clyde made the exemplification of several features of experimental film-making such as the New Wave movement of France. The poser of the movie made the depiction of the message “They’re young…they’re in love…and they kill people”. Hence, it can be said that the primary poster of the movie depicted romanticism and violence.

In the Bonnie and Clyde film, the two good-looking and young gangsters tend to become romantic fugitives and counter-cultural. The couple in the movie also became folk heroes having the status of semi-mythic celebrity, which recalls the outlaws that emerged in the west.

The film Bonnie and Clyde made the use of slapstick comedy that is based on the style of cartoon. The film also made the inclusion of the banjo music. The introduction of the banjo music helped to introduce the music of the country in the mainstream films. The film also made the inclusion of the ballads that accompanied several of the scenes of the film (Egan and Kelsey). The overall impact of the film heightened by the examination of Clyde’s impotence sexuality and its link to violence of gun-toting in open terms. The influence of the film Bonnie and Clyde reached commercial merchandise in the shape of hairstyles and authentic music of the thirties. The film also got commercial merchandise in the form of retro-clothing of the gangsters, their breasted suits, fedoras, maxi-skirt and the berets.  The film Bonnie and Clyde also made the alteration of the substance and the form of the popular films (Chater and Alissa).                 

Narrative Structure and Techniques

From the discussion of the plot and story of the two films, it is evident that the two films are based on the crime theory. While the film Bonnie and Clyde is a romantic crime story based on comedy, the film Goodfellas is a personal narrative story of Henry Hill. The context of the two stories is quite different from each other. The theme of the film Bonnie and Clyde is based on the factor that whoever commits any wrong or indulges himself or herself in criminal activities, is ought to be punished to that extent of losing the life. The theme of the film Goodfellas depicts that there is scope for every wrongful doer to rectify himself or herself but if one neglects those scopes or opportunities to rectify himself or herself, then life also turns its face from that person. Hence, it can be said that although the films are based on criminology, the two films differ on their themes (Lombardo and Patrizia).    

Reference List

Bence, Charlotte. "Does the gangster have to die?." Film-Philosophy Conference 2014: A World of Cinemas. 2014.

Chater, Alissa. "We Rob Banks: The Influence of 1960s Counterculture on New Hollywood Film." Kino: The Western Undergraduate Journal of Film Studies 4.1 (2013): 5.

Chater, Alissa. "We Rob Banks: The Influence of 1960s Counterculture on New Hollywood Film." Kino: The Western Undergraduate Journal of Film Studies 4.1 (2013): 5.

Connolly, Matt. "The permanent crisis of film criticism: the anxiety of authority." Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television 36.2 (2016): 255-257.

D’Onofrio, Alberto. "D'Onofrio. Film." Month (2014).

Deal, Raw. "Riding the New Wave: The Case of Bonnie and Clyde." Poetry77 (2015).

Deal, Raw. "Riding the New Wave: The Case of Bonnie and Clyde." Poetry77 (2015).

Egan, Kelsey. "Film Production Design: Case Study of The Great Gatsby."Elon Journal of Undergraduate Research in Communications 5.1 (2014).

Fußinger, David. "The Mafia Gangster in American Crime Fiction: an analysis of the phenomenon of the mafia with reference to" The Godfather"," Goodfellas" and" The Sopranos"." (2012).

Grist, Leighton. "Adventures in Reagan and Bush Sr’s USA: The Color of Money and GoodFellas." The Films of Martin Scorsese, 1978–99. Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2013. 90-121.

Grist, Leighton. "Adventures in Reagan and Bush Sr’s USA: The Color of Money and GoodFellas." The Films of Martin Scorsese, 1978–99. Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2013. 90-121.

Haggins, Bambi. "The Cinematic Seduction of Not a “Good Fella”." A Companion to Martin Scorsese (2014): 442-458.

Humphreys, Brianna. "Heroes or Hoodlums: A Comparative Analysis of an Italian and an American Gangster Film." (2013).

Humphreys, Brianna. "Heroes or Hoodlums: A Comparative Analysis of an Italian and an American Gangster Film." (2013).

Katz, Jack. "Culture within and culture about crime: The case of the “Rodney King Riots”." Crime, Media, Culture (2016): 1741659016641721.

Kolker, Robert. Film, form, and culture. Routledge, 2015.

Leotta, Alfio. "Mediated Ethnicity: New Italian-American Cinema. Giuliana Muscio, Joseph Sciorra, Giovanni Spagnoletti, Anthony Julian Tamburri, eds. New York: John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, The City University of New York, 2010." Quarterly Review of Film and Video 31.1 (2014): 103-106.

Lombardo, Patrizia. "Style and Signature in Film." Memory and Imagination in Film. Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2014. 80-93.

Musil, James, et al. "CROWDSOURCED PAIR-BASED MEDIA RECOMMENDATION." U.S. Patent No. 20,160,034,454. 4 Feb. 2016.

Porfirio, Robert. "The Strange Case of Film Noir." A Companion to Film Noir(2013): 15-32.

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