When it comes to how professional drivers are portrayed on the big screen, a lot of the nuances that make for five-star service get dropped for the sake of witty dialogue or furthering the plot.
With the Oscars around the corner, we rated the most iconic chauffeurs in popular movies based on the quality of their service. For your consideration, from best to worst:
Hoke Colburn played by Morgan Freeman
Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
Hired by Boolie (Dan Aykroyd) to drive Boolie’s mother Daisy (Jessica Tandy), Hoke does a perfect job. He takes pride in his work, anticipates Daisy’s needs, and provides excellent chauffeur service. He teaches her some things about equality just through their interactions, not by lecturing her like Mike in Fifth Avenue Girl. By the end of the film, Daisy and Hoke are best friends, there’s not a dry eye in the house. Perfection.
Joe (Joseph) played by Hector Elizondo
The Princess Diaries (2001)
Joe is great. The consummate professional, Joe still manages to build a warm relationship with his passengers, and he definitely goes above and beyond. Granted, he does later on fall in love with his employer, Queen Clarisse (Julie Andrews), but he is still completely respectful and professional. It is only when she reciprocates his affection that the boundaries between personal and business mix, but that doesn’t happen until the sequel. In the meantime, Joe gives Princess Mia (Anne Hathaway) great advice, and great limousine service. We should all have a Joe in our lives.
Argyle played by De’voreaux White
Die Hard (1988)
Argyle’s first day as a limo driver was probably the most eventful first day any professional driver’s ever had. He drives John McClane (Bruce Willis) to Nakatomi Plaza, and gracefully offers to wait in the garage until John knows whether or not he’ll need a ride back. Argyle gets locked in the garage during the heist, and samples some of the contents of the limo’s bar while he waits, which is a definite no-no. However, once he realizes there’s been a terrorist takeover, he thwarts their escape by ramming their getaway ambulance, and then knocking the driver out with one punch. After all that, Argyle still drives John and Holly (Bonnie Bedelia) home for Christmas Eve. Overall, Argyle’s did more good than bad, but he still shouldn’t be drinking on the job or enacting vigilante justice.
Darryl played by R. Darrell Hunter
Pretty Woman (1990)
We don’t see much of Darryl, but his defining moment is the scene where he drives Edward (Richard Gere) to Vivian’s (Julia Roberts) apartment to express his love. Darryl adjusts his route in the name of love, honks to get Vivian’s attention, and waits patiently for the couple. The only mark against Darryl is that he lets Edward stand up in the sunroof while he’s driving, which is a big safety concern, even if it does add to the romance of the moment.
Mike played by James Ellison
Fifth Avenue Girl (1939)
Mike’s subplot is basically the union of two stereotypes. The daughter of a wealthy industrialist falls for, and eventually marries, the socialist help (Mike). Once they’ve wed, Mike quits his chauffeur job—which is a good call to avoid a conflict of interest—to start his own repair shop. Otherwise, Mike just drives the patriarch around, and seems to provide decent service, but it’s probably best not to rant about politics to your employer’s daughter.
Tony the Chauffeur played by Dom Irrera
The Big Lebowksi (1998)
In what little we see of Tony, he’s telling The Dude (Jeff Bridges) a funny story which happens to be part of Dom Irrera’s stand up routine in real life. Tony brightens The Dude’s mood, which is great, but he sacrifices professionalism for the sake of the joke. While The Dude would probably give him five stars, Tony should have at least cleaned up the language.
Casey Meadows played by Deborah Foreman
My Chauffeur (1986)
The only woman employed at Brentwood Limousine company, Casey gets assigned the most difficult customers, so she gets some points for not letting it affect her spunky attitude. That said, she is the least professional driver ever. She’s charming, but plying a sad passenger with liquor, throwing cold water over another to wake them up, and taking a passed out passenger to sleep at her house (because she didn’t know where the passenger lived) is decidedly not protocol. Then she falls in love with her boss’s son (Sam J. Jones), who in a twist [spoiler alert] is actually her half-brother, but in a second twist [spoiler alert again] is revealed to have a different father. The two get married, and Casey doesn’t have to drive anymore since she’s now the heir to a fortune. Talk about a thrill ride. While her service is awful, Casey definitely has the most interesting storyline.
Lloyd Christmas played by Jim Carrey
Dumb & Dumber (1994)
Lloyd is not the sharpest tool in the shed, so he probably shouldn’t be behind the wheel. He’s very reassuring and friendly to his passenger, but he’s so focused on the conversation he takes his eyes off the road and runs a red light, causing a car crash that ends in an explosion. It’s a good thing Dumb & Dumber’s a comedy. For some reason Lloyd also thinks that being a limo driver entitles him to run through a closed gate at the airport. It’s a good thing he had a plan B career-wise.