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Characters from the movie Drive.

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    The Driver 

The Driver
"You know the story about the scorpion and the frog?"
Played By: Ryan Gosling

"If I drive for you, you get your money. You tell me where we start, where we're going, where we're going afterwards. I give you five minutes when we get there. Anything happens in that five minutes and I'm yours. No matter what. Anything a minute on either side of that and you're on your own. I don't sit in while you're running it down. I don't carry a gun. I drive."

A mechanic and part-time stunt driver who moonlights as a getaway driver with a set of very specific rules. Quiet, reclusive and emotionally isolated, he slowly builds a tentative friendship with his new neighbor Irene.

  • The Ace: He effortlessly escapes from a chase from the police in the beginning and Shannon calls him the best driver he's ever seen.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: While his lack of words can be interpreted as shyness, his anger issues are a bit worrying.
  • Animal Motif: He designs himself after a scorpion, due to the insignia on his jacket and references the story of the frog and the scorpion.
  • Badass Driver: Well, obviously. He's a professional mechanic, part-time stuntman and getaway driver.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: He may be soft-spoken, quietly friendly, and loyal, but he can hold his own in a fight, has a serious capacity for violence, and knows a thing or two about getting away from the police.
  • Boring, but Practical: His entire MO. No hollywood-style chases, no pyrotechnics, no guns.
  • Broken Ace: Despite his skill, Driver is very aware of just how dangerous his job is, not simply because of his role as a getaway driver but knowing how his metaphor of the "frog and the scorpion" relates to his associates.
  • Byronic Hero: The Driver is a brooding, violent loner who's implied to have a Dark and Troubled Past.
  • Chest Insignia: The Driver has a yellow scorpion insignia on the back of his silver jacket, which the camera frequently lingers on. Later, he refers to the fable of the scorpion and the frog, which is about a good-natured frog who carries a scorpion on his back despite knowing full well its predatory nature, and ends up getting stung for his trouble.
  • Combat Pragmatist: The Driver doesn't fight with honor; he fights with whatever he can get his hands on. In the course of the movie he manages to kill or gruesomely injure people by means of a shower curtain rod, a pump-action shotgun he just snitched from a mook, a claw hammer, a knife, his boots and his bare hands. He waits until Nino is tipsy after a party, and then t-bones his car before drowning him.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: He seems socially stunted, rarely speaking or changing expression.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: It's not laboured on, but it's hinted that the Driver has one of these. The original novel goes into greater detail.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: One of his rules is that he never uses a gun, unless it becomes practical. He likely doesn't own one and wants to be the least involved in the crime. The only gun he fires the whole film he takes off one of the hitmen sent to kill him.
  • Drop the Hammer: Uses a hammer and a bullet on Cook.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": His real name is never revealed.
  • Hero Complex: It comes back to bite him in the ass.
  • Getaway Driver: His gig when he's not working as a stunt driver or in Shannon's garage. Shannon sets up the contacts and provides Driver with a car, and he does the rest, under very specific rules.
  • Hidden Depths: The Driver, who comes across as a deeply quiet and shy man who has a few minor criminal connections, but is later revealed to have great reserves of anger and darkness within him. His Backstory was explained in detail in the source novel, but only suggested in the film.
  • Iconic Outfit: His white satin jacket with embroidered gold scorpion on the back, driving gloves, skinny tight black jeans, light colored madison boots, and a hammer.
  • Limited Wardrobe: He takes his satin jacket everywhere, even when it's noticeably stained with blood. He also only ever seems to wear the same denim shirt under it. Obviously an homage to Ryan O'Neal's character in The Driver.
  • Motif: The story of The Scorpion and the Frog is a strong motif for the Driver. His criminal career is marked by his signature silver jacket with a golden scorpion on the back. He themes himself as the titular scorpion of the story but is ultimately revealed to be the good-natured frog. Who ferries the scorpion over the river, only to be attacked midway by the scorpion.
  • Mysterious Past: It's never revealed who he is, where he comes from, what he did, how he became so skilled...every single thing about the Driver is a big question mark.
  • No Kill Like Overkill: When he kills the assassin in the elevator, he stomps the absolute shit out of him. Three times probably would've been enough. He goes on for ages.
  • No Name Given: Known only as 'Driver'. The closest to a name we get is Shannon calling him "Kid". The soundtrack refers to him as "Deluxe", which is taken from a pun on Standard's name in the film.
  • Not So Stoic: He becomes very angry towards Shannon when he accidentally tells the bad guys about Irene. Also while stomping a thug's face into mush.
  • Not Wearing Tights: Hi's satin jacket with its scorpion motif is akin to this. In interviews, Ryan Gosling and director Nicholas Winding Refn have both likened the character to a superhero.
  • Oral Fixation: He has a habit of leaving a toothpick hanging out of his mouth, allowing him to look cool while pointedly not smoking tobacco.
  • The Quiet One: He is quite reticent, communicating more through his eyes and fleeting smiles than his words. In fact, he speaks fewer than twenty full sentences.
  • Redemption Failure: Though he tries to do the right thing, he ultimately misses out on being able to live a normal life.
  • Sociopathic Hero: He shows signs of this later on, but ultimately subverts it. He may have brutally violent tendencies but by the end of the film, is firmly motivated by good will.
  • The Stoic: Ticking him off results in a very small change in his overall manner. Destroying a man's face by repeatedly kicking him and then walking away like nothing happened qualifies for this trope. The only thing that makes him seriously lose his cool is finding out that Shannon told Bernie about Irene.
  • Tranquil Fury: He never raises his voice, even when he's breaking your hands or threatening to kick your teeth down your throat.Even when finding his friend Shannon dead, he doesn't change expression. But his demeanour changes.
  • Unscrupulous Hero: A brutal, but heroic criminal.
  • Unstoppable Rage: When he gets angry, he's very capable of this. Nino, Tan Suit and Bernie found out the hard way.
  • Would Hit a Girl: If you're lying to him. Blanche gets first-hand experience.
    And now you're lying to me. So how about this? From now on, every word out of your mouth is the truth. Or I'm going to hurt you.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: This trope explains why Driver gets involved in Standard's robbery scheme in the first place, to protect Irene's boy who was given a bullet by the mook who beat up Standard. In effect, the desire to protect Irene & her child is what drives Driver throughout the film.


Played By: Carey Mulligan

Irene: Sorry about the noise.
Irene: I wish you would.

A single mother who moves in next door to the Driver. She forms a friendship with him while waiting for her husband to be released from prison.

  • Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder: Toyed with, then averted.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: Gives one to the Driver.
  • Broken Bird: Her husband's incarceration took a toll on her and she still seems to have a feeling of betrayal and fear. Mostly subverted though since she isn't bitter like the typical examples.
  • Girl Next Door: To the Driver.
  • Innocent Bystander: The Driver does not involve Irene and avoids telling her specifics that might make her an associate with him. In the end, after several more murders, he chooses to never see her again.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Although it's easy to sympathize with her, she did manage to get involved first with Standard and then the Driver. But they're either charming or seemingly harmless, so it's hard to fault her too deeply.
  • Morality Pet: For the Driver.
  • Race Lift: In the novel she's a Hispanic woman named Irina. In the film she's played by Carey Mulligan. Ironically, Irene is a valid Hispanic name.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: With the Driver.


Standard Gabriel
"You know, we're here celebrating but it's a shameful thing... what I did. And I have a lot of making up to do to everyone."
Played By: Oscar Isaac

Irene's husband who is released from prison after a stint for an unspecified crime (implied to be armed robbery). He still owes protection money to an Albanian gangster from his time in prison.

  • One Last Job: For Cook, to pay off his debt.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Turns out he is this as a husband. He initially gives off dangerous vibes during his return party and sounds a bit patronizing, but it turns out he genuinely loves his son and wife. He reacts very maturely to his realization that a man has been sniffing around his wife during his absence and respectfully gives them space to settle their affairs.
  • Redemption Failure: Standard does want redemption, and wants to try. Unfortunately, his past never truly lets go of him and he dies shortly after being released from prison.
  • Robbing the Mob Bank: Although he didn’t know.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: His sudden murder marks the film's jump from being a character study with a crime backdrop into becoming a full fledged violent crime movie.
  • Surprisingly Sudden Death: He's abruptly shot in the back halfway through the movie.



Played By: Kaden Leos

Irene's shy young son who bonds with the Driver.

  • Morality Pet: To the Driver, along with Irene.
  • The Quiet One: He doesn't talk much, which is probably why he gets along so well with the Driver.


"What happened to all the ashtrays in this town?"
Played By: Bryan Cranston

Nino: How you doing, Shannon? How's the fucking leg?
Shannon: I paid my debt.

The Driver's limping, chain-smoking boss who arranges his stunt work and getaway jobs. He was previously indebted to Jewish mobster Nino Paolozzi, and stil has a business friendship with Bernie Rose.

  • Game-Breaking Injury: His broken pelvis put a lot of things on hold for him.
  • Greed: Shannon's biggest flaw is his greed, which got his pelvis broken in the first place.
  • Motor Mouth: Unlike the Driver, Shannon is always making conversation, and later on ends up telling Bernie about Irene.


Bernie Rose
"My partner is a belligerent asshole with his back up against a wall, and now, so am I."
Played By: Albert Brooks

Driver: My hands are a little dirty.
Bernie: So are mine.

An affable Jewish mobster, ex-movie producer and Nino Paolozzi's partner. He has a fragile business friendship with Shannon, whom he tolerates out of mild sympathy.

  • Affably Evil: One could almost forget Bernie's a mobster, with how amiable he is. Hell, he genuinely apologizes to Shannon when he slits his wrist and comforts him while as dies, and is visibly shaken with his death afterward. He seems very regretful that all of this violence has to happen.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: With Nino.
  • Brutal Honesty; He always seems to be giving you the unvarnished truth. In the end, he promised that the girl was safe, and said outright that he couldn't offer the same to the Driver once they left the restaurant. Sure enough, he stabs him in the parking lot.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: He seems to be a Knife Nut and is never seen handling a firearm, even when he goes alone to kill someone.
  • Evil Old Folks: He is getting on in age, but he still able to go toe to with the Driver, and he prefers attacking up-close with knifes over using guns.
  • Eviler Than Thou: Due to Bernie's level-headedness, you'd think Nino would be the true villain of the story due to his vengeful ambition. But, Bernie is able to execute Shannon, Cook and even fatally injure the Driver. According to his actor, Bernie's kills aren't done in a professional manner, it's more like "Look at what you made me do".
  • Knife Nut: He does all of his killings with bladed weapons. He's even got a very nice box of expensive knives and razors that he puts to good use.
  • Kosher Nostra: He and Nino are crooked Jewish mobsters and serve as the primary antagonists.
  • Retired Monster: According to backstory created by the director and Albert Brooks.


Played By: Christina Hendricks

Standard: I can't do this thing alone.
Cook: You got Blanche.

Cook's beautiful and quiet moll.


Nino Paolozzi / Izzy
"I pay three-hundred for something, I want everybody to fucking see it!"
Played By: Ron Perlman

A Jewish mobster and Bernie Rose's partner in crime. More aggressive than Bernie, he was responsible for breaking Shannon's pelvis and giving him a limp.

  • Big Bad Duumvirate: With Bernie.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: He's certainly an intimidating criminal, but he wants more and isn't quite as formidable as Bernie.
  • The Bully: To Shannon, who he belittles knowing full well Shannon can't/won't fight back.
  • Casanova Wannabe: He is implied as such by a vulgar retort Shannon makes to Driver about a(n equally vulgar) comment from Nino regarding one of Shannon's cars. Later, at the party at Nino's pizzeria, Driver sees Nino dancing and cutting up in front of a beautiful woman who ignores him, and he leaves without her, looking irritated.
  • The Dragon: Sort of, to Bernie. They're pretty much on equal footing, but Bernie is smarter and savvier. Nino tends to be more subservient to Bernie and doesn't seem able to succeed much without him. Played straighter with the East Coast Mafia.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Never seen firsthand in the movie, but he was the dog for the East Coast Mafia and his attempt to steal from them is largely motivated by anger.
  • Fake Nationality: In-universe example. He's a Jewish man who pretends to be Italian and his real name is actually Isaiah.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Thinks he's a charmingly evil criminal boss. He's only three of those four things.
  • Hidden Depths: Nino is actually an insecure man desperate to claim some respect he's never going to get.
  • Jerkass: He isn't particularly nice to Shannon, and because he's so difficult to work with he ends up starting the conflict by calling the robbery on the east cost mob and wanting the Driver killed afterwards.
  • Kosher Nostra: He and Bernie are crooked Jewish mobsters and serve as the primary antagonists. Nino's motivation is never receiving respect from the Mafia because he's not Italian.
  • Meaningful Name: Nino is a real Italian name, but in Spanish, it means "child," reflecting both the character's behavior and how the East Coast Mafia doesn't take him seriously (see Motive Rant below).
  • Motive Rant: Gives one to Bernie regarding the East Coast Mafia who he's just robbed.
    "What fuckin' family? The family who still calls me a fuckin' Kike? To my face! You know, I'm fifty nine years old, Bernie! They still pinch my cheek like I'm some fuckin' kid! Family?"
  • Mugging the Monster: He robbed the East Coast Mafia, and much of the conflict comes with his attempts to cover up his betrayal.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Only once. Otherwise, he tends to wear shabby tracksuits.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: As one can tell from the above quotes, Nino is very fond of cursing with most of his dialogue being littered with swear words. It's also worth noting that of all the characters, Bernie is the second worst in this regard, and even he doesn't use half the amount of bad words that Nino uses!
  • Too Dumb to Live: His idea to steal from the East Coast Mafia sets the plot in motion and ultimately gets him and his partner killed.



Played By: James Biberi

An Albanian gangster to whom Standard owes money.

  • Asshole Victim: He's a sleazy, smug jerk so it's hard to feel sorry for him when Bernie kills him.
  • Bald of Evil: Very bald, and rather evil.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: He thinks he's the guy in charge, bossing around Standard and the Driver and doing a bit of evil posturing. In reality, he's an expendable and incompetent moron.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Gets a fork impaled in his eye and then a butcher knife stabbed into his throat by Bernie.
  • The Dragon: To Nino, albeit not a very effective one.
  • Eye Scream: Bernie blinds him by sticking a fork in his eye before killing him.
  • He Knows Too Much: Bernie and Nino don't trust him not to talk, and given his general incompetence, they're probably right. Bernie subsequently murders him.
  • Jerkass: Cook is a needlessly sarcastic asshole to absolutely everyone.
  • Loan Shark: His gang offered Standard protection in prison, then jumped the price up and used violence to extort him.
  • Smug Snake: Cook looks down on the Driver, Standard and Blanche. He insults them and still expects them to work for him. He also tries speaking to Bernie and Nino on their level, which Bernie isn't having any of. In short, he's proud of abilities he's imagined.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Cook still thinks he can take on the Driver after being thoroughly trashed by him. If he had half a brain, he would have sensed the change in the room's atmosphere in the moments before Bernie kills him.


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