Lovers on the Run

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An exclusive video traces from Bonnie and Clyde to Mickey and Mallory and all stops between.

One of the most tried and true tropes in all of movie history is that of lovers on the run. They can be petty thieves, master criminals, wrongfully-accused innocents, chance acquaintances, fleeing victims, or escaping wards, but whatever the impetus they are two lovers, usually young, who take to the open road to get away from whatever unforgiving lives they come from. Films about lovers on the run differ from other duos in similar situations because no matter how wicked said lovers are, the fact that they are in love always generates empathy from an audience, even if we can’t connect to the impulses or decision-making skills of the characters, we can understand their motivation to avoid capture and stay together no matter what: they’re in love. And yes, sometimes that love is an anchor and sometimes it’s a rocket, but in every case it is genuine love, perhaps more genuine than that found in traditional settings because it is a love forged under hardship, under persecution, and often it is the only silver lining in two lives constantly overcast.

To trace the history and evolution of lovers on the run in cinema, I’ve made the following compilation from a score of films that fit the bill, including Bonnie & Clyde, True Romance, Natural Born Killers, Badlands, Moonlight Kingdom, The Sugarland Express, Boxcar Bertha, The Getaway, and a handful of others you might not have heard of. Then, to make it especially sweet, I’ve set it all to the truest love song ever written: Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart.”

Watch it with someone you love.

Novelist, Screenwriter, Video Essayist