Bonnie and Clyde - Story of the mythical couple of murderers

Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, certainly the most famous criminal couple of the twentieth century will have inspired many artists from Fritz Lang to Arthur Penn. May 23, 1934, Black Lake, Louisiana. A Ford V8 is advancing rapidly on the road to Paroisse Bienville, suddenly a deluge of fire descends on its driver and passenger. 130 impacts later it's all over ... They'll never challenge the US authorities again. But who is behind the bloody myth of Bonnie and Clyde?

Bonnie and Clyde, the origins

Bonnie Parker was born in Rowena, Texas in 1910. From a modest background (and fatherless very early on), she nonetheless became a brilliant, eloquent student, passionate about poetry and gifted in public speaking. Married at 16 with a high school sweetheart, she separated from her husband Roy Thornton (never divorced) three years later. In 1930 in the home of a common acquaintance, she met the one who would remain the great love of her short life: Clyde Barrow, born in 1909 and also Texan. Coming from an extremely modest background (affected by the rural exodus) he very quickly sank into crime. Arrested in 1930 after several robberies and robberies, he committed his first murder in prison by smashing the skull of an inmate who had attempted to sexually assault him.

When he was released from prison in 1932, he once again engaged in illegal activities and formed a gang of associates with the aid of his brother Buck. One of his first recruits is none other than Bonnie Parker, who has not forgotten her lover during his time in prison. The poet turns out of love into a hardened criminal. It was the start of a series of armed robberies and violent crimes, which quickly earned Texan lovers a nationwide reputation. Joined by another thug, Henry Methvin, the Barrow gang plunges into an infernal and bloody spiral, the outcome of which can only be fatal.

Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow: a couple of criminals

In 1933 Buck, Clyde's brother was shot dead by the police. A few months later in April 1934, the desperate couple shot dead two police officers in Texas. The American authorities, ridiculed by the press, decide no longer to apprehend the terrible lovers but to shoot them. The hunt is led by ex Texas Ranger Frank Hamer, a local legend known to be adamant and ruthless. Thanks to the collaboration of the police forces of five states (an exceptional fact at the time) and what would become the FBI the following year, Hamer was progressing rapidly. The hunt eventually led to the ambush of May 23, 1934.

Six police officers, led by Frank Hammer, take up positions at dawn on a small road on the outskirts of the small town of Bienville in Louisiana. The couple of assassins is supposed to pass there to go rob a bank, aboard a Ford V8. The pipe turns out to be correct and the Barrows come out on the scene of the ambush. Heavily armed police opened fire, riddling the vehicle and its occupants with bullets. The latter die almost instantly without being able to retaliate.

The event, immortalized by numerous photographs and a 16mm film, will complete the couple's status as one of the emblems of their time. Symbols in spite of themselves of the harshness of an era (that of the Great Depression), romantic figures of a love perceived as liberated, the mobster and the poet will have given rise to a modern myth. A myth that would almost make you forget that the couple were responsible for a dozen murders ...

For further

- Les amants terribles, by Frédéric Perroud. Belfond, 1999.

- Bonnie and Clyde, from arthur Penn, with Faye Dunaway and warren Beatty. On DVD.

- The Highwaymen, fiction available on Netflix, which tells of the hunt for Franck Hammer.

Video: Wild Real Story Of Bonnie And Clyde (November 2021).