The Driver - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Driver Reviews

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½ August 22, 2016
So bad.

Typical 70's smultz.

Feels more like a TV show with bad detectives, bad car chases, um, spectacular car chases - lol.
½ July 5, 2016
Amusing little flick out of the 70s. Saw it suggested on a page for people who liked Drive, so I thought I'd give it a whirl. Starred the guy who starred in my least favorite Kubrick film, Barry Lyndon and the guy who played the General in The Hateful 8. I was not impressed by either actor. what saved the film were the car chases, I am always a sicker for s good one, but I'd stick with Vanishing Point or The 7 Ups before watching again. The story was so-so. It's a rainy day movie at best.
½ May 31, 2016
If a disaffectedly ruthless sheen can signify cinematic cool in this perpetually uncool day and age, then 1978's "The Driver," a bare bones take on the action genre, deserves a place next to deservedly godly classics like "Bullitt" and "Dirty Harry." Granted, it's more style than it is substance - making for stark contrast with the aforementioned masterworks - but "The Driver," with its dizzying car chases and its noiry exchanges, is devilish in the way it gets away with its sensuous self-regard.
Because this is the kind of film that has the audacity to respond to its own artifice. The characters don't have names: they are things, carrying around labels like, ahem, The Driver, The Detective, etc., and they don't exist to do anything besides what their title entails. Conversations ring with the pulp chintziness of a tête-à-tête between a femme fatale and an anti-hero circa 1946; the performances are not so much performances as they are imitations of classic character types.
Which is why "The Driver's" relative success is all the more impressive. It survives as an exercise in attitude, sometimes appearing to be, in itself, a comment on a genre that oftentimes struggles to stand above the tragedies that come along with sinking to formula. In the midst of its observation are we left with a lean, mean, and exquisitely tough thriller, intelligent in its crafting and more than a little exceptional in its delivery. It should be slight, pretentious even. But it concocts an astonishingly slick atmosphere Nicolas Winding Refn would kill to recreate, and it's hopeless for us to withstand its roguish magnetism.
"The Driver" finds its titular figure in Ryan O'Neal, a defining actor of his generation whose then-waning popularity perfectly suits the world weary persona of the man he's playing. His Driver is a man we've perhaps always dreamed of one day living as - a rebel on the wrong side of the law with the good sense to never get caught. He specializes in driving getaway cars, an unconventional job that pays off both monetarily and in reputation. He's one of the best in his slim field, and is gaining notoriety on both sides of the tracks.
The Driver is provided with all his jobs by The Connection (Ronee Blakley), a slinkily confident small-time crime boss, and his given his alibis by The Player (Isabelle Adjani), with whom he appears to have some sort of romantic interest (though we never really find out if such a notion is embedded in the truth). He could very well continue with his sinful career until the day he dies. But with the viciously ambitious The Detective (Bruce Dern) committed to stopping him dead in his tracks, The Driver's days of perpetuating neighborhood crime could be coming to a close.
But it's clear that these said days will never come to a close - these characters, all memorably portrayed by a satisfactorily disparate ensemble, will always have a place in the movies. There will always be a man like The Driver, a man like The Detective, and there will always be women of the distinct brands of The Player and The Connection. An endless game of cat-and-house is something we can always expect in the thriller genre, particularly in ones that get their jollies through car chases and badass attitudes.
So maybe "The Driver" would be more tiresome, more eye-rollingly predictable, if not for Walter Hill's coordinating of it all. Here is an auteur with a clear-eyed appreciation for film noir, for suspense, and for action. But unlike so many filmmakers who try to get away with a wispily tense ambience, Hill is an assured director and an assured storyteller, so much so that we're sure we're witnessing something original and not totally rehashed. And since "The Driver" is, essentially, a greatest hits collection of workable tropes, that's something to be proud of.
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..!
August 24, 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 October 17, 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.
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