The Driver (1978)

R | 91 mins | Drama | 1978

Director:

Walter Hill

Writer:

Walter Hill

Producer:

Lawrence Gordon

Cinematographer:

Philip Lathrop

Production Designer:

Harry Horner
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HISTORY

According to a DV news item on 4 Apr 1977, the title for The Driver was changed to Pursuit before going into production. A 5 May 1977 LAHExam news item reports actress Charlotte Rampling replaced Julie Christie in the role of “The Player.”      


The summary and note for this entry were completed with participation from the AFI Academic Network. Summary and note were written by participant Tom Gruber, a student at Emerson College, with Eric Schaefer as academic advisor. ... More Less

According to a DV news item on 4 Apr 1977, the title for The Driver was changed to Pursuit before going into production. A 5 May 1977 LAHExam news item reports actress Charlotte Rampling replaced Julie Christie in the role of “The Player.”      


The summary and note for this entry were completed with participation from the AFI Academic Network. Summary and note were written by participant Tom Gruber, a student at Emerson College, with Eric Schaefer as academic advisor.
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
4 Apr 1977.
---
Daily Variety
23 Jun 1977.
---
Daily Variety
26 Jul 1978.
---
Daily Variety
22 Sep 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
17 Feb 1977
p. 1, 4.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Aug 1977
p. 53.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jul 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
26 Jul 1978
p. 3, 19.
LAHExam
5 May 1977.
---
Los Angeles Times
28 Jul 1978
p. 19.
New York Times
28 Jul 1978
p. 8.
Newsweek
21 Aug 1978.
---
Variety
26 Jul 1978
p. 20.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Lawrence Gordon production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
Asst dir
2d asst dir
Asst dir trainee
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Key grip
Photographic equip by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Props
Props
COSTUMES
Men's ward
Men's ward
Ladies' ward
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
Orch
Mus ed
SOUND
Prod mixer
Rerec mixer
Rerec mixer
Rerec mixer
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Dial ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Titles and opticals by
MAKEUP
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Asst to Mr. Hill
Loc mgr
Scr supv
Transportation capt
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
DETAILS
Release Date:
1978
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 28 July 1978
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation & E M I Films, Inc.
Copyright Date:
7 July 1978
Copyright Number:
PA18883
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
DeLuxe
Duration(in mins):
91
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
25009
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In a parking garage, The Driver casually opens a car door with a shim, hot wires the ignition and drives away. In a casino, The Player deals a hand of poker, places her bet, then leaves the table to cash in her tokens while The Driver idles outside in the stolen car. As The Player exits through security, two thieves knock the guard to the ground and proceed to rob the casino. The Driver, who waits for them with the backseat door ajar, has momentary eye contact with The Player. She watches without expression as the two robbers pile into the car and The Driver takes off. An aggressive car chase ensues. The Driver accelerates towards two oncoming police cars, forcing them off course and enabling The Driver to make a clean getaway. He takes the stolen car to a dump to dispose of the evidence, leaving his shim inside, and collects his cash. The next day, The Detective and his two plainclothes associates pull the car from the junkyard and find the shim. In a line-up at police headquarters, none of the witnesses identify The Driver, including The Player, who insists he is not the man she saw at the casino. Undeterred by the lack of a witness, The Detective still believes The Driver is guilty and unsuccessfully tries to intimidate him into a confession at a bar, vowing to catch him eventually. Later, a band of second-rate thieves rob a supermarket and make an awkward getaway with an amateur driver. After getting caught, The Detective offers a deal to the head thief, Glasses: if Glasses ... +


In a parking garage, The Driver casually opens a car door with a shim, hot wires the ignition and drives away. In a casino, The Player deals a hand of poker, places her bet, then leaves the table to cash in her tokens while The Driver idles outside in the stolen car. As The Player exits through security, two thieves knock the guard to the ground and proceed to rob the casino. The Driver, who waits for them with the backseat door ajar, has momentary eye contact with The Player. She watches without expression as the two robbers pile into the car and The Driver takes off. An aggressive car chase ensues. The Driver accelerates towards two oncoming police cars, forcing them off course and enabling The Driver to make a clean getaway. He takes the stolen car to a dump to dispose of the evidence, leaving his shim inside, and collects his cash. The next day, The Detective and his two plainclothes associates pull the car from the junkyard and find the shim. In a line-up at police headquarters, none of the witnesses identify The Driver, including The Player, who insists he is not the man she saw at the casino. Undeterred by the lack of a witness, The Detective still believes The Driver is guilty and unsuccessfully tries to intimidate him into a confession at a bar, vowing to catch him eventually. Later, a band of second-rate thieves rob a supermarket and make an awkward getaway with an amateur driver. After getting caught, The Detective offers a deal to the head thief, Glasses: if Glasses agrees to cooperate in a sting operation to set up The Driver, he will be released without imprisonment. Although one of the plainclothes policemen partnered with The Detective is hesitant about the covert plan to stage a bank robbery, The Detective threatens to blackmail his partner if he doesn’t participate. Later, when The Driver meets The Player to deliver her payment, the Detective visits her apartment. Hiding in the bedroom, The Driver overhears The Detective’s attempts at forcing The Player to identify The Driver, but she refuses, despite his threats to expose her past transgressions. At a bar, The Driver meets The Connection, who tells him about a prospective group of clients. Although he expresses no interest in working with “shooters,” he meets them in a parking garage. To convince them of his abilities, he maneuvers them around the garage, nearly destroying their Mercedes. Although the team is convinced of his skill, The Driver turns down the job. Later, one of the shooters, The Kid, attempts to persuade The Driver to take the job at gunpoint, but The Driver knocks him down a stairwell and reiterates his refusal. In an effort to convince The Driver, The Detective goes to his apartment, offers him the shim he left behind in the junked car, and proposes a game. If The Driver successfully pulls off the heist, he gets to keep the money, but if The Detective catches him, he will win the satisfaction of putting The Driver in prison. Taking the shim, The Driver accepts The Detective’s challenge. When he tells the shooters that he has doubled his price, The Driver also stipulates that The Kid cannot be included in the operation. Glasses then reports to The Detective that they have made a deal with The Driver, and The Detective demands that there be no shooting during the heist. The subsequent bank robbery, however, is enacted recklessly. When one of the thieves sets off the alarm, Glasses shoots him before escaping in The Driver’s getaway car. After arriving at the safe point, Glasses points his gun at The Driver, assuming that he is unarmed, and tells him that the heist was a police set-up. The Driver also pulls a gun and shoots Glasses dead. After The Driver leaves with the cash, The Kid shows up at the scene and finds that his boss has been killed. The Driver stashes the cash in a locker at Union Station, checks into a cheap hotel and meets up with The Connection, who agrees to arrange an exchange of the dirty money for laundered money. Later, The Kid holds up The Connection at her apartment. After shoving his gun down her throat, she reveals the Driver’s hideout and the location of the cash, but he kills her anyway. The Player shows up at The Driver’s hotel room and tries to persuade him to lay low and wait six months before getting the cash, but he says that he wants to play out his game with The Detective regardless of the money. She swaps locker keys with an Exchange Man at Union Station while one of The Detective’s plainclothes partners describes the interaction to him over a payphone. After retrieving the cash from the locker, the Exchange Man boards a train, but is followed by The Detective, who looks for a suitcase that matches the plainclothes policeman’s description. After an altercation in the train’s bathroom, the Exchange Man is shot by The Detective and falls out of the window. As The Player leaves Union Station, The Kid steals her purse and makes off with the key to the locker that holds the laundered cash. Outside, The Driver waits for her in a car and they chase after The Kid. The treacherous pursuit through downtown Los Angeles concludes at a warehouse, where the two cars play a game of cat and mouse. When The Kid and his driver make a break to exit, they are confronted by The Driver, who accelerates towards them head-on. As their car swerves to miss The Driver, it flips over and becomes inoperable. The Kid refuses to give up and The Driver is forced to shoot The Kid dead when he draws his gun. After collecting The Player’s purse and letting The Kid’s driver go free, The Driver returns to Union Station to retrieve the cash. Opening the case, The Driver looks up to see The Detective, his plainclothes partners, and a small brigade of police officers waiting to arrest him. As The Player watches from afar, The Detective smugly declares “gotcha” to The Driver, but his self-satisfaction quickly turns to anger when The Driver presents him with an empty case. Commenting that they have both been swindled, The Driver walks away a free man. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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