The Driver (1978) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Driver (1978)



Critic Consensus: A tough, highly stylized thriller with amazing sound design and car chases.

Movie Info

In this oddly haunting action thriller, a man known only as "The Driver" (Ryan O'Neal) is a master getaway specialist for a thieves' organization. He receives word of his jobs from "The Connection" (Ronee Blakely) and gets his alibis from "The Gambler" (Isabelle Adjani). He is followed by a high-strung police detective (Bruce Dern), who really wants to nail him. Many spectacular car chases are one of the highlights of this movie, which paradoxically has a quiet, reflective tone. This is Isabelle Adjani's first American film.


Ryan O'Neal
as The Driver
Bruce Dern
as The Detective
Isabelle Adjani
as The Player
Ronee Blakely
as The Connection
Matt Clark
as Red Plainclothesman
Felice Orlandi
as Gold Plainclothesman
Joseph Walsh
as Glasses
Denny Macko
as Exchange Man
Frank Bruno
as The Kid
Will Walker
as Fingers
Tara King
as Frizzy
Richard Carey
as Floorman
Fidel Corona
as Card Player
Nick Dimitri
as Blue Mask
Bob Minor
as Green Mask
Allan Graf
as Uniformed Cop
Thomas Myers
as Passenger
Bill McConnell
as Passenger
Peter Jason
as Commuter
View All

Critic Reviews for The Driver

All Critics (22) | Top Critics (6)

While we can readily identify these characters, we can't identify with them simply because Hill never bothers to tell us what makes them tick.

August 7, 2018 | Full Review…

The closing chase -- two great Drivers in a final showdown -- had me on the edge of my seat for two good reasons: I was thrilled. And I couldn't wait to leave.

June 15, 2018 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

I was thrilled. And I couldn't wait to leave.

August 8, 2017 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

You can almost smell rubber burning.

May 28, 2008 | Full Review…

A combination of brilliantly edited car chases and existential thriller which recalls the sombreness of Melville and the spareness of Leone.

January 26, 2006 | Full Review…
Top Critic

It is Awful Movie. It is Pretentious Movie. It is Silly Movie. It talks just like this.

May 9, 2005 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Driver

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.

Alex roy
Alex roy

Super Reviewer

Veteran badass Walter Hill creates another incredibly enjoyable and delightfully dated crime thriller. Ryan O'Neal is fantastic as the mild-mannered getaway driver and his counterpart Bruce Dern is equally enjoyable as the morally ambivalent and devilishly persistent cop. Hill's Los Angeles is dark, gritty, and replete with swanky bars and dimly-lit parking garages. Yet, perhaps the best parts of the film are the chase scenes. The fluid editing and Hill's ability to capture seemingly every conceivable angle of the chase, makes for quite an enthralling experience. However, the movie is not without its problems. The acting, while minimal, isn't the smoothest from the supporting cast. Also, due to the opening scene and the ice cool demeanor of the protagonist, Refn's Drive no longer feels so original. But in the end, one cannot help but love the ride that Hill's Driver takes us on.

Reid Volk
Reid Volk

Super Reviewer


Old school action car chase goodness. Just badass stunt drivers doing their thing. O'Neal is the usual prototype no-bullshit attitude you expect from a protagonist in a Hill flick. Having Adjani doesn't hurt things, neither Dern as the cop.

Tsubaki Sanjuro
Tsubaki Sanjuro

Super Reviewer

The Driver Quotes

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