The Driver - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Driver Reviews

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April 18, 2016
Watched in 1980 but have a faint picture - want to watch it again.
April 2, 2016
This is a film I love a lot and is exceedingly cool, although despite featuring some strong performances, some crime film archetypes that I love, some of the best car chases ever filmed, this film's characters and story are rather dull and plodding much of the time. Writer/Director Walter Hill has written and directed a number of classic action films, ranging from "The Getaway" to "The Warriors" to "48hrs" to even "Undisputed." Of all his films, "The Driver" is probably his coolest. Ryan O'Neal plays a getaway driver for hire who doesn't carry a gun and on a job only drives. $10,000 upfront and 15% of the take. Bruce Dern plays the cop going after O'Neal and Isabelle Adjani plays the love interest. Re-watching the film now, it almost seemed like a prototype for kind of films Michale Mann would later make, such as "Thief" or "Heat," slickly made films where characters operate with a single minded focus in an underworld that seem to operate within their own reality completely apart from the civilian world. A difference though is that Mann's film were slick in a modern way and Hill's film is more slick in a throwback net-noir sort of way, although the nighttime color schemes did remind me of Mann's films. I also never noticed until this viewing that none of the characters in the film actually have names and are only called by their occupations (i.e. "The Driver"). While that's kind of fun in an academic sort of way, it doesn't really help for character development. And when the story unfolds in a rather mechanical plot driven manner, the lack of fully fleshed out characters creates a distance between the audience from what's happening on the screen. However, while those complaints would mean the death of most films, they are minor quibbles when you have a film that features Ryan O'Neal getting to do a rare tough guy role, a gorgeous Adjani in her first Hollywood role, and also some of the best car chases ever committed to film. I was pretty excited when Nicolas Winding Refn made more than a few nods to "The Driver" in his film "Drive" which I think took some of the best elements of "The Driver" and made it into the film it could have been, featuring strong characters, action and story with style to spare. Overall, despite the shortcomings of "The Driver" I do consider it a modern action classic and one that should be watched by all fans of car chases.
October 18, 2015
An excellent 70s flick..!
July 9, 2015
Director WALTER HILL's (The Warriors,48 Hours) Sophomore Feature Is A Well Thought Out Film Noir-ish Crime Caper Between A Getaway Driver Who Is A Man Of Few Words And An Eccentric Cop Determined To Take Him Down.
February 1, 2015
After that Ryan has never been again over the top! Hill's movie are just a brand of class, costumes, dialogues, bravadas (the cowboy who's never been caught), and dark lights make this noir a must for all the desperados in the world!
½ July 20, 2014
Walter Hill made this right after the sensational bare knuckle fight picture, Hard Times and right before his big breakthrough picture, The Warriors. The script isn't much and Ryan O'Neal isn't very good but Bruce Dern is magnetic, Ronee Blakely brings some depth and the big set pieces are outstanding. Worth seeking out.
July 5, 2014
The amount of stuff Drive took from this movie is a little ridiculous lol. Great film all around and a sadly overlooked one. If you're a fan of stuff like Bullitt you should definitely give this movie a watch.
July 3, 2014
Shows it's age, and isn't the best assembled movie in the world. But Bruce Dern is marvellous (more Bruce Dern please!), and Ryan O'Neal is enigmatic enough, but doesn't quite have the laser beams to really nail the long hard staring he's constantly required to do.
The score is a weird blend of Schifrin and Cooder, which seems to fit in with writer/director Walter Hill's later dependence on Ry Cooder for his scores.
Car chases aplenty mind you, and very nice they are too; particularly given that all of it is real drivers driving real cars on real streets.
February 19, 2014
Not enough tension (imho), but still great. Great car chases. Drive and this are very different beasts, despite having eerily similar protagonists.
January 22, 2014
An exceptionally talented driver of getaway cars in robberies hasn't been caught yet. But a detective on his trail makes it a personal goal to do catch him. An exciting action film with plenty of gripping car chases. The quality of Walter Hill's film is enhanced by the performances, particularly Bruce Dern's turn as the self assured detective, who is magnetic, intense and conceals a certain hint at madness that uncovers a powerful undertone of obsession in this actioner from the late seventies that alone is able to distinguish it from the countless other flicks like it that were being made around that time.
December 13, 2013
I love "The Transporter." Recently I watched it, followed by "The Driver" a couple of nights later. And it was then I realised how great a movie "The Driver" is, and how much "The Transporter" owes to it. If one word can sum up "The Driver" it is "Dark". And slow, creepingly slow, and full of atmosphere and delicious "Godfather"-like pace. Yet with furious chases that are still, in a curious way, slow. It's because they are filmed in a very matter-of-fact way. If "The Transporter" is descended from "The Driver", then "The Driver" is descended from "Bullitt". I've read all about the complaints that the characters have no names. Well, I never remember names in movies anyway, do you? Name the character played by Gene Hackman in "Enemy of the State". Exactly. Who cares? It's one less thing to worry about. The driver has more offspring - a PlayStation game that spawned a series. To me this is the grandaddy of car chase movies. There is no equal. It delivers again and again, beautifully choreographed, filmed and driven sequences. From an age when CG did not exist. That can only add to the excitement. Stunts are no longer thrilling. And because we can never again trust that what we are seeing is real, we can assuredly state as an enduring fact - "The Driver" is, and always will be, the greatest car chase movie. Period. I must have seen it 5 times. It never tarnishes.
½ August 6, 2013
The tense, modern noir driver film that I believe was the major inspiration for the popular video game series Driver.

This is definitely a film of its era, dark scenes, minimal dialogue but through Ryan Oneal's performance it adds a dimension.

Filled with some great driving & stunts this film is a tense film full of atmosphere...a 1970's underground classic.
½ September 27, 2013
The two car chases that bookend the movie are awesome, the rest is kinda blah. Ryan O'Neil is not much of an actor. Drive took so much of this and I think, (blasphemy?) did it better.
½ September 4, 2013
The best car movie ever made. Even better than Steve Mcqueen's "Bullitt" or "Vanishing Point." Ryan O'Neil is slick, Isabelle Adjani captivates and Bruce Dern delivers.
½ August 16, 2013
Though the Driver takes so much influence from Le Samourai, it turned into something else, something more original, influencing great films such as the Transporter and Drive. If we watch it now, it seems the production and stunts are not that good, but understand the limitations of that period, it did quite well on my book. However the ending is a bit off unlike in Le Samourai, it was a real shocker.
½ July 28, 2013
Nice Walter Hill movie with a very cool driver played by Ryan O'Neal. Some great car chases also. The new Drive with Ryan Gosling has borrowed A LOT from this movie.
Super Reviewer
June 13, 2013
Walter Hill's The Driver is a pulse pounding neo noir action thriller that is bold, riveting, raw and in your face. With great characterization and flair of well executed action sequences, this picture is an entertaining affair that is one of the finest films in the genre. Ryan O'Neal is in one of his best roles here and Bruce Dern is great as the Detective hot on his trail. An intense game of cat and mouse follows and is a riveting piece of cinema that is sure to engage the hardened film buff. The plot is simple, but sometimes you can pull off something great with basic ideas, and that's the case with The Driver. Walter Hill uses the basics at his disposal and creates something truly exciting. From the first frame onwards, this is a taut, exciting film that is a must see for anyone looking for something truly original to watch. Films like this are rare, and 1970's action thrillers are just a bit more riveting due to the fact that they used less elaborate sequences as big explosions and quick cut scenes. The Driver is an accomplished action thriller with wonderful performances and great directing from Walter Hill, who has always crafted entertaining and worthwhile pictures that are sleek, stylish and lots of fun to watch. The Driver is a near flawless movie that is certain to delight 1970's cinema fans. This is a well crafted picture that relies on good old fashioned storytelling and well thought out action to give the viewer something truly riveting to watch. The Driver is one of the finest films of the genre, and it is a movie that really delivers an exciting hour and a half of one of a kind action thrills. This is a powerful work of cinema from director Walter Hill and one that you shouldn't pass up.
½ June 12, 2013
Drive borrowed a few plot points from this one.
May 31, 2013
Walter Hill's "The Driver" is a film that many have tried to duplicate buy simply can't.
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