The Film Makers’ Takes
Director Arthur Penn stated in an interview that in regards to historical accuracy of the film he doesn’t think “the original Bonnie and Clyde are very important except insofar as they motivated the writing of a script and our making of the movie…. So we hung our movie on them, but we don’t confine it to them.” Furthermore, Penn clarifies that the film “is not a case study of Bonnie and Clyde: we don’t go into them in any kind of depth.”[i]
Newman and Benton did their research on Bonnie and Clyde before they began the project. They, like so many writers (directors and producers included), had to determine a balance between entertainment value and complete historical accuracy. They explain in an interview, “[w]e had decided early on that, for dramatic purposes, certain figures of considerable importance in the true history had to be eliminated, certain adventures altered or dropped, certain facts ignored and certain legends adhered to, certain characters combined from many into one for the sake of simplification.”[ii]
[i] Wake and Hayden, Bonnie and Clyde Book, 7.
[ii] Friedman ed., Arthur Penn’s Bonnie and Clyde, 32-41.