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The Driver (1978)

R  |   |  Action, Crime, Thriller  |  11 October 1978 (UK)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 7,815 users  
Reviews: 71 user | 74 critic

"The Driver" is a specialist in a rare business: he drives getaway cars in robberies. His exceptional talent prevented him from being caught yet. After another successful flight from the ... See full summary »

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Title: The Driver (1978)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
The Player
...
The Connection
...
Red Plainclothesman
Felice Orlandi ...
Gold Plainclothesman
Joseph Walsh ...
Glasses
...
Teeth
Denny Macko ...
Exchange Man
Frank Bruno ...
The Kid
Will Walker ...
Fingers
Sandy Brown Wyeth ...
Split
Tara King ...
Frizzy
Richard Carey ...
Floorman
Fidel Corona ...
Card Player
Edit

Storyline

"The Driver" is a specialist in a rare business: he drives getaway cars in robberies. His exceptional talent prevented him from being caught yet. After another successful flight from the police, a self-assured detective makes it his primary goal to catch the Driver. He promises remission of punishment to a gang if they help to convict him in a set-up robbery. The Driver seeks help from "The Player" (Isabelle) to mislead the detective. Written by Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Game ... A Challenge ... A Chase to the Death! See more »

Genres:

Action | Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

11 October 1978 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Driver  »

Box Office

Gross:

SEK 2,958,988 (Sweden)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Theatrical trailer shows some deleted and extended scenes; Player kissing the Driver, longer conversation between Detective and Driver in Driver's motel room and scene is also edited differently than in the movie, longer dialogue between Driver and Teeth in Driver's place where he asks Teeth "How you gonna get down stairs" before punching him like in the final version of the scene, and deleted dialogue scene in bar between Detective, Red Plainclothesman and bartender. See more »

Goofs

When the Driver first takes off in the red truck, you can clearly see him working a floor mounted gearshift (almost falling into the dashboard during one shift)... later during the chase sequence, the close-up cuts to him working a column shifter, then back to a floor shifter in wider shots. See more »

Quotes

Teeth: How do we know you're that good?
The Driver: Get in.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

One Fine Day
(uncredited)
Written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King
Attributed to Linda Ronstadt (http://everything.explained.at/One_Fine_Day_(song)); original version by The Chiffons
Heard just prior to the first chase
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
An overlooked film on an under-rated director's filmography.
14 January 2013 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Action specialist Walter Hill is in his element here with this tense, entertaining thriller that he both wrote and directed. Ryan O'Neal stars as a getaway driver for hire, who is hounded by offbeat detective Bruce Dern. Dern is dying to righteously bust O'Neal for something, but O'Neal is simply very good at his job. The detective will resort to any method necessary, but the driver is smart and seemingly always one step ahead of him.

One can hardly fail to notice the way that Hill deliberately doesn't personalize his characters too much, giving them descriptions or nicknames rather than proper names. And with the help of his very able cast, they create some very good character moments that are the real meat of this story. Its car chases are among the best you'll see in this genre, but serve to support the story instead of the story setting up the action set pieces. Hill again recalls styles from films of earlier decades - while, for example, his "Streets of Fire" was an ode to '50s rock 'n'roll, this film does owe a fair bit to the film noir of the '40s.

The people who populate this story are often all business, especially The Driver, who lives by his own code. There are things he'll do and things he won't do. Among other things, he employs a "witness" (French beauty Isabelle Adjani) and works with a "connection" (Ronee Blakley) who comes to him with job offers. The actors are all great, with the supporting cast also including Matt Clark and Felice Orlandi as Derns' fellow detectives, Joseph Walsh and Rudy Ramos as thieving lowlifes, and Bob Minor & Peter Jason in bit parts.

This tale is taut and convincing, told in a straightforward yet compelling manner; technically it's expertly done, with excellent editing by Tina Hirsch & Robert K. Lambert, cinematography by Philip H. Lathrop, and music by Michael Small. Hill's screenplay is full of interesting dialogue, especially in exchanges between Dern and Clark.

Hill has certainly done many fine and entertaining movies over the years, but this is one that tends to get overshadowed by his bigger hits such as "48 Hrs". It's a little gem worthy of discovery or re-discovery.

Eight out of 10.


5 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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