7.2/10
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The Driver (1978)

"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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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
The Player
...
The Connection
...
Red Plainclothesman
Felice Orlandi ...
Gold Plainclothesman
...
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
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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:

He's the best getaway man in the business...and the deadliest. See more »

Genres:

Action | Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

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|

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Release Date:

11 October 1978 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Driver  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The studio wanted Charles Bronson for the lead as Walter Hill had previously worked with him on " Hard Times ". However, Bronson wasn't happy with how Hill had edited Jill Ireland's performance in " Hard Times ", and that was the end of that. See more »

Goofs

During the chase sequences, several background cars are seen over and over again; in particular, a blue mid-'70s Chevrolet Chevelle pops up multiple times throughout the two major chases. In the first chase, the Driver passes a white Ford pickup truck at an intersection, then a few seconds later almost sideswipes the same truck at the same intersection. Also, in the first part of the final chase, the same near-collision in mid-intersection with a station wagon is seen twice - once from the viewpoint of the driver of the front car, and later again from the viewpoint of the back car, supposedly in a different place. See more »

Quotes

The Detective: Now, about last night... oh, I forgot.
[chuckles]
The Detective: Your memory's not too good about last night.
The Driver: I remember everything.
The Detective: Alone in your room.
The Driver: Yeah.
The Detective: You can do better than that.
The Driver: I don't have to.
[the Detective dumps a full cup of hot coffee in The Driver's lap; reacting to the pain, he jumps up into a fighting stance]
The Detective: Go ahead, throw it! It'll cost ya two years.
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in 48 Hrs. (1982) 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
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Frequently Asked Questions

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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.


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