Ryan O'Neal plays a professional getaway driver. Out to get him is a detective played by Bruce Dern. They're similar in that they're both good at what they do and they don't tolerate fools. Helped by a girl played by Isabelle Adjani, the Driver gets away in a tight spot.
Next we see a group of thieves getting caught during a petty heist. Desperate to capture his nemesis, the Detective gets the robbers to help him catch the Driver in exchange for their freedom. He tells them to rob a bank and get the Driver to help them escape and lead him into a trap.
The robbers meet with the Driver, but he refuses to do the job on account of their incompetence. Eventually the Detective openly provokes the Driver, prompting him to accept the challenge. During the robbery, the thieves try to double cross the Detective and keep the money, but the Driver shoots one of them and takes the money for himself.
The driver sets up an exchange for clean money using lockers at a train station, but the Detective is on his trail. The set-up goes wrong, and the last robber still alive gets the key to the money. Another chase ensues, and the Driver wins out through superior skill and nerves.
Trying to get his money from the train station, the Driver is caught by the Detective, but it turns out they've both been duped: the bag is empty. Reluctantly, the Detective allows the Driver to leave, their feud still very much alive.
Best part of story, including ending:
The main attractions here are the beautifully filmed car chases. We have one at the beginning that is frenetic and spectacular, and one at the end that's more like a cat and mouse game. The Driver wins out in both because he's got nothing to lose.
Best scene in story:
There's a scene where one of the robbers asks the Driver if he's any good. He promptly takes them for a ride in their own car in an empty parking garage, systematically wrecking the car as they scream for help. It's a funny scene, but also unnerving.
Opinion about the main character:
The Driver obviously makes a lot of money, but he lives in a one room apartment. He wears the same clothes and he doesn't even own a car. He drives because he's the Driver and vice versa.