The Highwaymen Movie Poster

Trivia for The Highwaymen

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  • The film was originally set up as a collaboration between Robert Redford and Paul Newman, but due to Newman's death in 2008, Redford left the project.
  • In 2013, Woody Harrelson was set to star alongside Liam Neeson, but Neeson left the project, and was replaced by Kevin Costner.
  • In 1994 Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis played an updated version of Bonnie and Clyde, Mickey and Mallory, in Natural Born Killers (1994).
  • On February 12, 2018, it was announced by Netflix that the film had officially entered production.
  • Woody Harrelson and Kevin Costner were both in Play It to the Bone (1999), though they didn't work together. Kevin Costner's role was only a cameo he did as a favor for the director. Woody Harrelson didn't know Kevin Costner was in Play It to the Bone (1999) until some one told him about it in an interview for this movie.
  • Both Woody Harrelson and Kevin Costner were considered for the lead in director Joel Schumacher's A Time to Kill (1996). based upon the novel of the same title by John Grisham. However screenwriter Grisham vetoed Harrelson as a candidate following the controversy surrounding his previous film Natural Born Killers (1994) (which was in effect a modern version of Bonnie & Clyde), while Schumacher decided against Costner, who had reportedly demanded full control of the project.
  • In the beginning Kathy Bates' character talks about digging up Wyatt Earp. Kevin Costner played Earp in Wyatt Earp (1994). At the time this film is set (1934), Earp had only been dead for about 5 years. The real Frank Hamer was born 3 years after the infamous gunfight at the OK Corral and was 36 years younger than Earp. Costner was born the same year that Hamer died (1955).
  • A scene from the trailer does not appear in full in the finished cut of the film. Kevin Costner's character says to Woody Harrelson's character that he hasn't even packed to which he produces his toothbrush. This scene appears in the final cut but a condensed version of it.
  • When Hamer and Gault cross the Oklahoma State line, Woody Harrelson (Gault) says to Kevin Costner (Hamer) 'It's open range now.' Costner starred in and directed Open Range (2003).
  • In the opening scene in the car, Bonnie Parker is seen flicking through the pages of the film magazine "Motion Picture" when a portrait of 1930s star Glenda Farrell can be glimpsed for a split second on one of the pages. Farrell was a prominent blonde star of the era, having appeared in gangster films such as Little Caesar (1931) opposite Edward G. Robinson.
  • When Bonnie Parker limps away from the car at the beginning of the film, this is historically accurate as she'd injured herself earlier in a car accident when Clyde drove their Ford V-8 off a bridge into a dry riverbed where the damaged battery leaked acid over Bonnie's left leg causing her third-degree burns. Her injuries were so severe she walked with a limp for the rest of her life.
  • While tracking the criminals, Gault finds an empty bottle of Laudanum, a pain killer. In Wyatt Earp (1994), which starred Kevin Costner, his girlfriend Mattie was addicted to Laudanum.
  • Woody Harrelson plays former Texas Ranger Maney Gault. Harrelson was the only one of the main actors who was born in Texas.
  • Kim Dickens plays Gladys Hamer. She is 10 years younger than Kevin Costner, who plays her husband Frank. The real Ida Gladys Johnson Hamer was born in 1890 and lived to age 85, passing away in 1976. Frank was 6 years older than her, and lived to age 71, passing away in 1955.
  • During the ambush in Bienville Parish Deputy Hinton did not use a Browning Automatic Rifle, but a Colt Monito R-80. The R-80 was the law-enforcement version of the BAR which had some design differences from regular Bard, and also used an easily recognizable 4-inch Cutts compensator which regular BARs did not have. In the movie's ambush scene Woody Harrelson uses a Colt Monitor, and the actor who plays Deputy Hinton uses a regular BAR M1918.
  • At the beginning of the manhunt, Hamer (Kevin Costner) corrects the lyrics Gault is singing. In Bull Durham (1988), Crash Davis (Costner) corrects the words Nuke is singing, stating; "I hate people who get the words wrong.".
  • Because the main focus of the film is more on the lawmen's pursuit of outlaws rather than on the outlaws themselves, you never really get a good look at Bonnie and Clyde until near the end. Whenever they are seen early on, it's usually in a long shot or, when closer, without much definition.
  • The film's screenwriter John Fusco had the rare privilege of spending time with the late real-life Texas Ranger Frank Hamer's son (Frank Jr) as a means of structuring the story as historically accurate as possible.
  • Director John Lee Hancock had previously collaborated just once with Kevin Costner as writer of A Perfect World (1993) in which escaped convict Butch Haynes (Costner) is pursued by Texas Ranger Red Garnett (Clint Eastwood).
  • Kathy Bates portrays Miriam "Ma" Ferguson, the first female governor of Texas. Ferguson's husband had previously been governor of Texas, but was impeached and convicted on embezzlement charges. Ma ran as a puppet candidate, making it clear her husband would be calling the shots, and she was every bit as corrupt as her husband had been. She was defeated after her first term but was elected again six years later. When first elected, about 40 Texas Rangers resigned instead of serving for a woman governor. Most of them found law enforcement jobs in other capacities. Ferguson then fired the remaining Rangers.
  • When Texas Ranger Frank Hamer was earlier portrayed by Denver Pyle in Bonnie and Clyde (1967), he was characterized as an incompetent fool, prompting his widow Gladys to sue Warner Brothers for defamation of his character. In 1971 an out-of-court settlement was reached.
  • J. Edgar Hoover founded the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) in 1935, the year after the Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow massacre. Hoover is mentioned occasionally throughout the film and at one point is referred to as a "high-flying sissy" by one of the Rangers.
  • Kevin Costner was offered the role of Frank Hamer ten years earlier, but turned it down because he felt himself too young to play a grizzled, retired lawman called back into service. Having gotten older he felt the role was a better fit, though he still decided to gain 15 pounds to give himself a more over-the-hill appearance.
  • Mike Young expressed interest in the role of Clyde Barrow, but was replaced by Edward Bossert.
  • Kevin Costner gained 15 pounds to give himself a middle-aged potbelly as Hamer. In contrast Woody Harrelson kept to his strict vegan diet during the shooting. Costner claimed there was amusingly anachronistic sights on-set of Harrelson drinking juiced greens from a jar while in costume.
  • The real-life Texas Governor Ma Ferguson is famous for saying "If English was good enough for Jesus Christ, it's good enough for me."
  • As said before the credits, 20,000 people attended Bonnie Parker's funeral service in Dallas on May 23, 1934.
  • As said before the final credits, Clyde Barrow's and Bonnie Parker's funeral services respectively drew crowds of 15,000 and 20,000 on May 23, 1934. One of the attendees at the funerals was telephone company employee Ellery Douglass Benton, father of writer-director Robert Benton who would go on to be Oscar-nominated for his screenplay for Bonnie and Clyde (1967) over thirty years later.
  • In 1935, after Miriam "Ma" Ferguson left office, the Texas Rangers were reconstituted.
  • As said at the end of the movie, Benjamin Maney Gault returned to work as a Texas Ranger until his death on December 14, 1947.
  • Frank Augustas Hamer, the most celebrated Texas Ranger of all time, returned home to his wife Gladys and retirement and died on July 10, 1955.
  • As said at the end of the movie, Frank Hamer and Maney Gault are buried in the same small tract at Austin Memorial Park Cemetery, Texas.
  • The events in the film take place before the United States federal investigative service, the Bureau of Investigation (BI or BOI), was renamed as the Federal Bureau of Investigation or FBI. (The Bureau is correctly named in dialogue although misidentified on an aircraft; refer to Goofs.) The film takes place in a era when most violent crimes were considered to be beyond the scope of federal oversight under the U.S. Constitution and were left to the states to adjudicate; notably, the only federal crime that Barrow and Parker were ever seriously accused of committing was transporting stolen autos across state lines. In the early 1930s, the Barrow Gang-along with the Dillinger Gang, the Barker-Karpis Gang, and others-exploited the lack of centralized interstate law enforcement authority by using newly-introduced high-performance automobiles and recently-constructed highways to quickly flee across state lines before local police could effectively respond to their violence. Soon after Barrow and Parker's deaths, the U.S. Congress federally criminalized bank robbery and other violent crimes, and greatly expanded the powers of the newly-renamed FBI.
  • In real life, Maney Gault, Frank Hamer's partner, did not join the search for Bonnie and Clyde until just before the end of the hunt. Also Gault was not an impoverished, unemployed loser whose home was on the brink of foreclosure. He had a job with the Texas Highway patrol when he joined Hammer.
  • In the opening scene Bonnie Parker fires her Thompson Submachine gun into the trees to assist in the escape of the prisoners. The weapon has a 100 round drum magazine. After she empties the drum there are no spent shells on the ground around her feet and no smoke coming from the barrel of the machine gun. When Frank demonstrates the power of his new Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) he empties the 20-round box magazine and the target is destroyed. The POV immediately shifts back to Frank. The air is clear and no smoke is visible coming from the weapon.
  • Benjamin Maney Gault returned to work as a Texas Ranger and served until his death on December 14, 1947.
  • Source for the following: "The Aspermont Star" (Aspermont TX), 10/4/1917. This can be found on the website, "The Portal to Texas History" Hammer's wife Gladys, portrayed as sweet and demure in "The Highwaymen" seems to have had a questionable past. "In 1917 Hamer married Gladys (Johnson) Sims, the widow of Ed Sims, of Snyder, Texas. Gladys and her brother Johnson were charged in 1916 with having murdered her husband Sims that year. In the fall of 1917, the trial of her brother was moved to Baird, Texas. On October 1, 1917, Hamer and Gladys, his brother Gus Hamer, her brother Johnson and his wife, were all on their way to Baird and stopped at a garage in Sweetwater to get gas. By chance they encountered Gus McMeans of Odessa, a brother-in-law of the late Ed Sims, at the garage. The Hamers and McMeans got in a pistol battle. McMeans was a former Texas Ranger and sheriff of Ector County. Hamer and McMeans "were clinched," and the latter died of a shot to the heart. Hamer was wounded. Ten shots were fired in the gunfight. Police collected a total of seven revolvers, two automatic pistols, and three repeating rifles from the members of the two parties. McMeans was survived by his wife and 11-year-old son, and three brothers." Gladys was cleared of the murder charge.
  • Bonnie and Clyde's "Death Car" is on display at the Whiskey Pete's casino in Primm Nevada along with the shirt Clyde Barrow was wearing when he was killed and other memorabilia.
  • In real-life Maney Gault did not join forces with Frank Hamer until planning for the ambush was underway, and the posse was being assembled.
  • Kevin Costner and Kathy Bates previously starred together in the movie "Dragonfly" (2002).
  • Kevin Costner previously starred in "No Way Out" (1987) and "Wyatt Earp" (1994) with Gene Hackman, who had a supporting role in the film "Bonnie and Clyde" (1967).
  • As Mrs. Hamer walks up the steps of her porch during the Ladies Auxiliary gathering, one of the ladies asks "Mrs. Hamer, may I help you with anything?" Mrs. Hamer replies "Keep Leigh Anne from spiking that punch." Two of the ladies playing Auxiliary members are Leigh Anne Tuohy and Collins Tuohy, who were both subjects of another of director John Lee Hancock's films, The Blind Side (2009).
  • When Hamer buys the guns he is not shown buying a Remington model 8. This was a special order through a gun shop in Austin that used larger, more powerful rounds and "police-only" high-capacity magazines. This was his main rifle.
  • At the time of the ambush there were $26,000 in reward pledges but when they tried to collect on this most of the pledges simply vanished. In the end, each of those involved received just $200. Hamer also kept most of the outlaws' guns for himself.
  • Woody Harrelson uses the term "Just Sayin'" which has become a very popular modern term. Not so much during the Great Depression.
  • Woody Harrelson's Gault calls J. Edgar Hoover (who's up in a plane) a "sissy," but the rumor about cross-dressing, which has achieved a mythical lore during the last forty years, wasn't yet heard of. In fact, Hoover was just starting out at this time. This was more-or-less a nod to modern audiences.
  • Whether a deliberate homage or coincidence, when the lady dabs some of dead Bonnie's blood with a handkerchief, the exact same thing happens at the end of John Milius's Dillinger from 1973, which was a film inspired by the success of the original Bonnie and Clyde.


  • After taking care of Bonnie and Clyde, Hamer (Costner) kept the arsenal he had purchased for the purpose, including the B.A.R.
  • The quest for historical authenticity prompted director John Lee Hancock to recreate the ambush/death scene at the actual location where it had occurred Wednesday May 23, 1934, just outside Sailes, Louisiana, in the rural Bienville Parish.
  • Much controversy has surrounded the circumstances of the ambush and shooting of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, among them questions of whether the pair was given any chance to surrender before being fired upon, and whether Bonnie Parker's life could have been spared. Members of the Posse each gave conflicting accounts before their deaths. Police were not concerned about what the public thought, only in getting the job done.
  • Bonnie Parker's two headed snake ring with green and red jewels was taken from the car by the sheriff after the shootout. It was kept in a box in his closet for 50 years until his family found it in 2013. They auctioned it for $20,000. The story was featured on an episode of "My Strange Inheritance".
  • The strive for authenticity was so great that John Lee Hancock, the director of the movie, filmed Bonnie and Clyde's death scene at the actual spot where they were shot near Bienville Parish, Louisiana.
  • Bonnie had food on her lap, as she was in the process of eating when they got killed. However, Clyde is wearing shoes, and in real life he had only his socks on.
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