Walter Hill is the doyen of American action films, hands down. 1978's The Driver is one of his best; the focus here is on momentum, pure and simple. There are great car chases and the slam-bang stuff is there in buckets--especially a great scene inside a parking garage in which the title character played by Ryan O'Neal demolishes a vermilion Mercedes Benz by screeching around corners all over the place, showing just how good a driver he is to skeptical crooks who need him as their getaway man.
A laconic flick to be sure, The Driver gives nobody names. Bruce Dern is the snartass cop who's after the driver and even recruits bank robbers to nab him. Natch, that doesn't work. You could even say this is the quintessential Hill flick (although I am very partial to Trespass), since dialogue is overshadowed by car chases and all the other stuff manipulative people (cops and criminals both) do to make their place in the world. What dialogue there is wastes no words, just like the plot wastes no time on what could be a possible romance (O'Neal and French lovely Isabelle Adjani), instead having the two of them partner up for a lot of dough--knowing glances, yeah, but no gooey stuff.
Ronee Blakley is also here in a smaller role as another great looking go-between for the driver, but she's not on screen a lot, and there's never even the faintest hint of any hanky-panky between them.
This is not only one of the best Hill flicks, but without question one of the best American action films ever made. The recent drivel, I mean, Driven, with Stallone deserves to crash and burn, while The Driver--tight as a drum and slick as greased lightning--is a red hot roadster of a film.
See it when you need a serious revving up.