Bonnie’s Kids (1972)

Sisters Myra and Ellie have finally had enough of their miserable, dead-end lives. When their step-father Charley (The Bonnie from the title being long dead) tried to rape Myra, Ellie ventilates him with a shotgun, and the pair run off to their wealthy uncle’s mansion in El Paso. From that point on, the two undergo a transformation in their personalities, and start to enjoy living their lives on the wild side.

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Cracker-Jack drive-in rollick, among the best of its kind.

29 November 2003 | by EyeAskance (fabulous Las Vega$!) – See all my reviews

For small-fry entertainment, you can’t beat BONNIE’S KIDS…it’s clever, briskly paced, and sexy as Hell. Ambitiously played by a cast of highly capable performers, all of whom should have been better utilized in Hollywood, this unassuming little offering stands as one of the crown jewels of 70s drive-in fodder.

Noir-ish story revolves around a pair of gorgeous young sisters who are determined to get ahead no matter who gets screwed in the process. When a private detective comes round to deliver a “special package” to one of the girls, things really start cookin’…a crime story with more flurried excitation, concupiscent titillation, and shifty maneuvers than a Crisco coated Naked Twister marathon.

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On a scale of 1-10, BONNIE’S KIDS gets a solid 8.5…right up there with THE CANDY SNATCHERS as a sleazy must-see classic.

A true seventies exploitation classic!

9/10
Author: The_Void from Beverley Hills, England
13 February 2008

I do love a good sleazy seventies crime flick, and Bonnie’s Kids is certainly a very good sleazy seventies crime flick! The main reason this film works so well is because everything about it is absolutely spot on – writer-director Arthur Marks creates a real gritty and sleazy atmosphere that fits his plot brilliantly, while lead actresses Tiffany Bolling and Robin Mattson both manage to pull off performances that are sexy and tantalising as well as being deceptive and as far away from ‘innocent’ as you can get! The film makes best use of its elements and what we end up with is pure drive in gold! The plot focuses on two girls, Ellie and Myra, the daughters of deceased town tramp “Bonnie”.

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After their no good stepfather tries to rape the younger daughter, the older one blows him away with a shotgun and the two daughters decide to go and stay with their only relative, Uncle Ben, in his lavish mansion in El Paso. The two get involved with their new lives, and soon enough the older daughter is asked to run an errand for her uncle, but when a chance to steal a load of money presents itself; she takes it…

The plot of this film is great in that we get a basic premise and from there it’s never clear where it’s going to go. Arthur Marks’ script has plenty going on in it; the main story always revolves around the girls, but there’s enough going elsewhere and with other characters to ensure that it’s always interesting and the 105 minute runtime is certainly not packed with filler! The film is also good in that it’s clearly a product of the time in which it’s made – everything about the film clearly sets it in the seventies; the fashions, the music, the cars, houses etc are all exactly what you’d expect from a film like this. There’s a real lot of themes that are common in seventies exploitation that made it in too, from sex and shooting to lesbianism and teenage angst.

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The fact that the film is not predictable is carried on all the way to the end, and the climax really does come as a big surprise and was not what I was expecting! Overall, this might not appeal to all tastes, but for my money, Bonnie’s Kids is an out and out drive in classic and should not be missed by anyone who considers themselves a fan of films like this one!

Did Tarantino See This As A Youngster??

8/10
Author: shark-43 from L.A. CA
3 March 2005

This is a thoroughly entertaining 1970’s sleazy crime film – where desperate people do desperate things for sex and money. The clothes, the music, the lingo, the hair styles – a great time capsule of the early 70’s.

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The curious thing is the movie has some real interesting quirks to it – one being a “salt and pepper” hit team – white guy, black guy who spend a lot of time walking hallways, sitting in a car, sitting in diners and talking about this and that – very much like Travolta and Jackson in “Pulp Fiction”. Now, is THIS film the first to have such a hit team – probably not. But in the theatre midnight movie showing I saw it at – many people were shouting out the “Pulp Fiction” similarities. Hmmmm. Just like many people bring up the jewel robbery in the powerful Asian crime film “City On Fire” as the “inspiration” for the jewel robbery in “Reservoir Dogs”. Hmmmm. Anyway, the movie of “Bonnie’s Kids” is a blast – good and gritty and Alex Rocco (Moe Green in the Godfather and the Emmy-winning sleazy agent in the short-lived comedy Famous Teddy Z) is the white guy assassin.pdvd_062

They sure don’t make ’em like this anymore

Author: lazarillo from Denver, Colorado and Santiago, Chile
12 September 2008

It may be a bit hard to fathom why this is called “Bonnie’s Kids” when the mother character “Bonnie” is dead before the movie even starts and does not appear at all, even in flashbacks. But this is no doubt a reference to the movie “Bonnie and Clyde” which this film at times certainly resembles. Two sisters are living with their drunken, brutish stepfather after the death of their prostitute mother. The older sister (Tiffany Bolling) catches the stepfather trying to molest the younger sister(Robin Mattson) and shoots him dead.

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The two go on the lam and end up at the home of an uncle, who owns a fashion magazine, but (rather incongruously) is also a vicious gangster on the side. The older sister goes to pick up a “package” for the uncle from a dimwitted private detective. They fall for each other and when they discover the “package” is a large amount of cash, they flee with it with two of the uncle’s dangerous associate (Alex Rocco, Timothy Brown ) in hot pursuit. Meanwhile, the younger sister is seducing practically everyone in her uncle’s household from his studly gardener to his lonely lesbian wife. The ending makes the finale of “Bonnie and Clyde” seem positively cheery by comparison.

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This movie has a real early 70’s atmosphere of bleak pessimism to it, much like “The Candy Snatchers”, another cult film of that era starring Bolling. It isn’t just the downbeat ending though, but the fact that ALL the characters are totally amoral and unsympathetic, even the supposed heroines. The two sisters are more than willing to use their sexy bodies to get what they want and they seem completely untroubled by morals or basic human feelings. After convincing him to steal the money, the older sister is perfectly willing to betray her private detective beau and run off with a lecherous traveling salesman to save her own skin. The younger sister, meanwhile, is even more callous: she drives one of her lovers to suicide and then just laughs when she discovers the body. In the end, she doesn’t even seem to care about the fate of her older sister.

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These sexy but totally unsympathetic heroine roles were pretty much the specialty of Tiffany Bolling. So, not surprisingly, she’s pretty good here. This is one of Mattson’s first movies, but she would go on to a brief exploitation career (i.e. “Candy Stripe Nurses”), and a much longer career in American television. In way she almost manages to “out-Bolling” Bolling here. She was still pretty young when she did this role, but nevertheless men (and lesbians) everywhere will no doubt be thankful that they don’t have a malicious temptress like THIS for a stepdaughter. Director Arthur Marks, who also produced “The Candy Snatcher” would go on to do a couple influential “blaxploitation” movies (“Detroit 9000”, “J.D.s Revenge”). I can’t say this movie will fit everyone’s taste, but one things for sure–they don’t make ’em like this anymore.

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Some bonds needed to be broken!

7/10
Author: Brian T. Whitlock (GOWBTW) from WILMINGTON, NC
7 October 2012

Family bonds were meant to last a lifetime. But in the movie “Bonnie’s Kids”, it’s a whole new story. Two sisters Ellie(Tiffany Bolling) and Myra(Robin Mattson) are stuck in a town where nothing exciting goes. They lost their mother, Bonnie. They have a stepfather who’s a total jerk. He crossed the line with Myra when she was on the phone, and tried to rape her. Kellie comes home in time, and blitzes him with a shotgun. They would later travel to Texas, find their uncle who works for a fashion company, and takes the two under his wing. Unbeknownst to them, he’s involved in shady business. If you think that’s bad, the uncle’s wife Diana(Lenore Stevens) goes through enough abuse from him, she takes a liking towards Myra, while Ellie is away on business.

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Ellie meets the private detective, and falls for him. Then the sister bonding begins to break slowly between them. When Diana began to comfort Myra, she takes it to a whole new level. And in that case, Myra wasn’t cool with it. She berates and exploits her hard and fast. It was funny when she said, “You’re Disgusting!” after Diana shot herself. Ellie wanted to have a better life, but her greed just got the better of her. A very classic movie, with a lot of humor to go along with. A little exploitive to say the least. 2 out of 5 stars

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