A History Of Violence: Michael Mann, Quentin Tarantino, and Drive all owe a debt to this arty crime classic

With A History Of Violence, Tom Breihan picks the most important action movie of every year, starting with the genre’s birth and moving right up to whatever Vin Diesel’s doing this very minute.

The Driver (1978)

In the opening shot of Walter Hill’s The Driver, a broodingly handsome young man walks into a parking garage and then drives out in a stolen Ford. He pulls up behind a casino, and we immediately understand that he’s a getaway driver, his whole purpose being to ferry some fuck-up thieves to safety. He peels down near-abandoned, inky-black Los Angeles streets, evading an endless supply of police cars and finally getting lost in the night. That opening chase seems to go on forever. There’s no music, and almost nobody speaks. The only sounds we hear are sirens and engines revving. And when the Driver—he has no name; he …

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