The Driver (1978)

Ah, the memories. This and Alien (1979): Dad and I going to the duplex to see this together, as mom wanted no part of burning rubber (even with Ryan O’Neal from Love Story starring) or “gooey human-bug people,” (her words).

We named-dropped this film a few times during our “Exploring: The Clones of the Fast and the Furious,” as directors Nicolas Winding Refn and Edgar Wright both cite this seminal Walter Hill effort (The Warriors) as a major influence over their respective films Driver and Baby Driver. Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill: Volume 2 pinch shots from The Driver. Yeah, it’s that good.

As with Driver and Baby Driver: The Driver was an art film — not a Bronson, Eastwood, or McQueen action film. Overseas, the film was as a smash, due to its French “New Wave” style. And Americans stayed away in droves, but of course.

The plot, at its core, is a western: a tale of a cowboy that can’t be caught and the sheriff that thinks otherwise — with O’Neal’s getaway driver the bane of a detective played Bruce Dern. And as with Two-Lane Blacktop: character names are dispensed and they are known for who they are: Driver and Detective.

There’s no online streams — freebie or VOD — but if you hit You Tube and Google and search “The Driver 1978,” you’ll find a plethora of clips from the film. You can easily purchase vintage VHS tapes, along with legal DVDs and Blus on Amazon.

About the Author: You can learn more about the writings of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.

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