Contrary to classical theory, a high proportion of bond failures by peeling involve progressive plastic adherend flexural yield. Such yield occurs with adherend thicknesses below a critical value, Tc, which is shown calculable by combining elastic peel mechanics with plastic bending criteria. The geometry of such “peel with yield,” and thence the moment-controlled peel forces, can be accounted for only if the adhesive is also recognized as behaving essentially plastically. Subsequent plastic adherend unbending is important with highly extensible adhesives. The geometry of “legging” peel in such cases is best described by fully plastic mechanics. These are derived and shown to account for literature data on dependencies of peel force upon peel rate and adhesive thickness. “Stick-slip” peel phenomena are indicated to be controlled by recurring interacting plastic–elastic transitions, in both adhesive and adherend: adhesive strain rate is critical in such phenomena. Four regimes of peel behavior can therefore apply as adherend thickness (T) increases, with peel forces proportional respectively to T0, T2/3, T3/2 (above Tc) and finally controlled by moment limitations due to joint configurational constraints (“cleavage”).