Baby Driver is a 2017 action crime film written and directed by Edgar Wright. The plot follows Baby (Ansel Elgort), a music lover who is coerced to work as a getaway driver for kingpin Doc (Kevin Spacey). The film also stars Lily James as Baby's love interest, and Eiza González, Jon Hamm and Jamie Foxx as criminals who work for Doc.
The film features choreography in which the actors' actions synchronize with its soundtrack. Wright conceived the project after envisioning a car chase set to the 1994 song "Bellbottoms" by the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, which he used as the film's opening scene.
Filming took place from February to May 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. It was co-produced by Working Title Films, Big Talk Productions and Media Rights Capital, and was distributed worldwide by Sony Pictures Releasing and by TriStar Pictures in the US. It premiered at South by Southwest on March 11, 2017, and was released theatrically on June 28, 2017.
Baby Driver was praised for its screenplay, direction, acting, action sequences, and soundtrack. It was chosen by the National Board of Review as one of the top ten films of 2017. It grossed $226 million worldwide on a production budget of $34 million, The film received several awards and nominations, including three nominations at the 90th Academy Awards (for Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing), two nominations at the 23rd Critics' Choice Awards (winning one) and the 71st British Academy Film Awards (winning one), as well a Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy nomination for Elgort at the 75th Golden Globe Awards.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Edgar Wright|
|Written by||Edgar Wright|
|Music by||Steven Price|
|Box office||$226.9 million|
Baby is a getaway driver in Atlanta, Georgia. When he was a child, a car accident killed his parents and left him with tinnitus, which he blocks out by listening to music on his iPod. He ferries crews of robbers assembled by Doc, a criminal mastermind, to pay off a debt he incurred after stealing one of Doc's cars. Between jobs, he creates remixes from snippets of conversations he records and cares for his deaf foster father Joseph. At a diner, he meets a waitress, Debora, and they start dating.
Baby's next robbery goes awry after an armed bystander chases them down, but Baby evades him and the police. Having paid his debt, Baby quits his life of crime and starts delivering pizzas. While Baby is on a date with Debora, Doc insists he join a heist at a post office, threatening to hurt Debora and Joseph if he refuses.
The crew consists of easy-going Buddy, his sharpshooter wife Darling, and trigger-happy Bats, who takes an immediate dislike to Baby. While the crew attempts to purchase illegal arms for the job, Bats recognizes one of the dealers as a policeman and opens fire. They kill all of the dealers. Afterward, Bats makes Baby stop at Debora's diner, unaware of Baby and Debora's romance. Baby, aware of Bats' homicidal habit, stops him from killing her to avoid paying.
Doc is furious, revealing that the dealers were dirty cops on his payroll. He decides to cancel the heist, but Bats, Buddy and Darling disagree. Doc lets Baby decide; he chooses to go through with it. Baby attempts to slip away late that night, hoping to take Debora and leave Atlanta. He is stopped by Buddy and Bats, who have discovered his recordings and believe he is an informant; when they and Doc hear his mixtapes, they are convinced of his innocence.
During the heist, Bats kills a security guard. Disgusted, Baby refuses to drive away, causing Bats to hit him. Baby then rams the car into a rebar which impales Bats, killing him. The three flee on foot. After the police kill Darling in a shootout, Buddy blames Baby for her death and vows to kill him. Baby steals a car and flees to his apartment. After leaving Joseph at an assisted living home, Baby drives to Debora's diner to pick her up, where an armed Buddy is waiting. Baby shoots Buddy and flees with Debora as the police close in.
Baby seeks help from Doc, who initially refuses to help. After seeing he truly loves Debora, Doc supplies them with cash and directions to get out of the country, stating that he was in love once. The police confront the three in the parking garage, but Doc kills them all. Buddy then ambushes them with a stolen police car and hits and kills Doc. A cat-and-mouse game ensues until Buddy has Baby at his mercy. He shoots next to both Baby's ears, deafening him. Debora disarms Buddy with a crowbar and Baby shoots him in the leg, causing him to fall to his death.
Fleeing Atlanta, Baby and Debora run into a police roadblock. Baby surrenders, telling Debora she does not belong in the world of crime. At Baby's trial, Joseph, Debora, and several people Baby saved/helped during the robberies testify for him. Baby is sentenced to 25 years in prison, with a parole hearing after five. He receives postcards from Debora, who promises to wait for him. When Baby is eventually released, he finds Debora waiting for him.
Writer-director Edgar Wright conceived Baby Driver in 1995, while living in North London, after listening to the song "Bellbottoms" by the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. Wright envisioned a bank robbery and car chase set to the song, which became the first scene of the film. He adapted the first opening he conceived for the film into a 2003 music video he directed for Mint Royale's "Blue Song", starring Noel Fielding as a music-loving getaway driver for a group of bank robbers. A clip of the music video is shown briefly in Baby Driver as the main character flips between television channels. Other inspirations for the film came from the films Straight Time, Point Break, Reservoir Dogs and Heat.
The film was announced in July 2014. By January 2015 it was reported that Ansel Elgort was in talks to star. Elgort's audition required him to lip sync and dance to the song of his choosing. Elgort chose "Easy" by The Commodores which resonated with Wright to the point where he would include the song in the movie.
Emma Stone and Michael Douglas were also rumoured to be in the cast. On May 7, 2015, Lily James was reported to be in talks to be the female lead, a waitress and Elgort's character's love interest.
Jamie Foxx was reported to be in talks to join the film on September 8, 2015. On October 20, 2015, Jon Hamm signed on to play one of the villains, a former Wall Street trader turned member of the gang. Wright first met Jon Hamm when Hamm first hosted SNL, at the afterparty. He wrote the character of Buddy for him. On November 3, 2015, it was announced that Kevin Spacey had been cast as a veteran criminal and the boss of the crew. On December 16, 2015, Eiza González joined the film to play one of the bank robbers—the wife of Hamm's character. Jon Bernthal was cast as Griff, another one of the gang, on February 23, 2016.
Principal photography, which took place in Atlanta, Georgia, began on February 17, 2016, and concluded on May 13. Wright didn’t want to shoot “leafy, woody” Atlanta because a leafy freeway makes you feel like the characters have gotten away or looks too much like Smokey and the Bandit in the country. So for almost the entirety of the movie they shot in urban areas. The state of Georgia offered to shut down rural freeways for their use, but Wright wanted to shoot in the heart of the city.
Wright started writing the film properly in 2007, at which point he connected with then-music supervisor Steven Price who broke down the songs for him. Price went on to score The World's End and Gravity, winning an Oscar for the latter.
Wright also layered in the whine of the tinnitus through the studio logos leading into the beginning of the movie’s first song, which he put together with Steven Price. Quentin Tarantino read the script and told Wright about another song called “Deborah” by Dave Edmunds, but the character in the song was “a complete bitch,” so Wright opted to just use the T-Rex and Beck “Debora/Debra” songs instead.
The soundtrack album for Baby Driver was released on June 23, 2017, featuring thirty songs used in the film. A second volume, Baby Driver Vol. 2: The Score for a Score, was released April 13, 2018, featuring Price's original score, songs that inspired the film, and music from the film remixed with sound effects from scenes in the film.
In August 2015, Sony Pictures Entertainment announced that the film would be released on March 17, 2017. It was briefly pushed back to August 11, 2017 before a final date of June 28, 2017 was settled on. Baby Driver had its world premiere at the South by Southwest film festival on March 11, 2017. On the weekend of August 25, the film was re-released in 1,074 theaters.
Baby Driver was released on Digital Media on September 12, 2017, and on 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray & DVD October 10, 2017, from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The film debuted at No. 2 on both the NPD VideoScan First Alert sales chart and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart, behind Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.
Baby Driver grossed $107.8 million in the United States and Canada and $119.1 million in other countries, for a worldwide total of $226.9 million, against a production budget of $34 million. Deadline Hollywood calculated the film made a net profit of $51.5 million, when factoring together all expenses and revenues.
In the US and Canada, Baby Driver was projected to gross $12–20 million from 3,150 theaters over its first five days, with the possibility to earn more due to strong reviews. The film made $5.7 million on its first day (including $2.1 million from Tuesday-night previews) and $3.3 million on Thursday. It made $6 million on Friday, increasing five-day projections to $27 million. It ended up opening to $21 million (and a five-day total of $30 million), finishing second behind another new release, Despicable Me 3 ($72.4 million). This marked the biggest American debut of Wright's career, doubling the $10.6 million opening of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World in 2010. In its second weekend, Baby Driver grossed $13 million (a drop of 36.7%), finishing third at the box office; in its third weekend, the film made $8.8 million, finishing fourth. The film was re-released into 1,074 theaters on August 25 and made $1.2 million, up 34% from the previous week.
On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 93% based on 316 reviews, with an average rating of 8/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Stylish, exciting, and fueled by a killer soundtrack, Baby Driver hits the road and it's gone—proving fast-paced action movies can be smartly written without sacrificing thrills." On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating to reviews, the film has a weighted average score of 86 out of 100, based on 53 critics, indicating "universal acclaim". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.
Peter Debruge of Variety called the film "a blast, featuring wall-to-wall music and a surfeit of inspired ideas". The New York Times' Manohla Dargis listed the film as a "NYT Critic’s Pick", writing that the film "is so good that you want it to be better and go deeper, for it to put down its guns (or at least hold them differently) and transcend its clichés and cine-quotes so it can rocket out of the genre safe box into the cosmic beyond where craft and technique transform into art". Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave the film five out of five, listing it as his "film of the week" and calling it an "outrageously enjoyable petrolhead heist caper".
CNN's Brian Lowry wrote that the film "is a crackling-good ride, one that organically weaves music and humor into a slick showcase for its cast. Despite a few plotholes toward the end, writer-director Edgar Wright's stylish thriller consistently clicks on all cylinders". Brian Tallerico of RogerEbert.com gave the film three-and-a-half out of four, and called it "fluid and jaw-dropping—the kind of thing you want to see immediately again after it's over to catch all the things you missed". Empire's Terri White gave the film five out of five, calling it an "awe-inspiring piece of filmmaking" and "one of the most utterly original films in years".
However, there were several less positive reviews. Rating Baby Driver three out of five, Joyce Slaton of Common Sense Media praised the driving sequences and music, but felt that the film "quickly slump[s] into stereotypes" and "fails to grab viewers on a visceral level", particularly criticizing Baby's backstory and the portrayal of Debora and Darling. In a dismissive review, Richard Brody of The New Yorker cited many flaws, calling it "an imitation of generation’s worth of imitations."
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipient(s) and nominee(s)||Result||Ref.|
|Academy Awards||March 4, 2018||Best Film Editing||Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos||Nominated|||
|Best Sound Editing||Julian Slater||Nominated|
|Best Sound Mixing||Tim Cavagin, Mary H. Ellis and Julian Slater||Nominated|
|Alliance of Women Film Journalists||January 9, 2018||Best Editing||Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos||Nominated|||
|American Cinema Editors||January 26, 2018||Best Edited Feature Film – Comedy or Musical||Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos||Nominated|||
|British Academy Film Awards||February 18, 2018||Best Editing||Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos||Won|||
|Best Sound||Tim Cavagin, Mary H. Ellis and Julian Slater||Nominated|
|Casting Society of America||January 18, 2018||Big Budget – Drama||Francine Maisler and Meagan Lewis||Nominated|||
|Chicago Film Critics Association||December 12, 2017||Best Editing||Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos||Won|||
|Cinema Audio Society Awards||February 24, 2018||Motion Picture — Live Action||Mark Appleby, Tim Cavagin, Gareth Cousins, Mary H. Ellis, Glen Gathard and Julian Slater||Nominated|||
|Critics' Choice Movie Awards||January 11, 2018||Best Editing||Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos||Won|||
|Best Action Movie||Baby Driver||Nominated|
|Detroit Film Critics Society||December 7, 2017||Best Use of Music||Baby Driver||Won|||
|Empire Awards||March 18, 2018||Best Director||Edgar Wright||Nominated||
|Best Male Newcomer||Ansel Elgort||Nominated|
|Best Thriller||Baby Driver||Nominated|
|Best Production Design||Baby Driver||Won|
|Best Soundtrack||Baby Driver||Won|
|Georgia Film Critics Association||January 12, 2018||Best Film||Baby Driver||Nominated|||
|Best Director||Edgar Wright||Nominated|
|Oglethorpe Award for Excellence in Georgia Cinema||Edgar Wright||Won|
|Golden Globe Awards||January 7, 2018||Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy||Ansel Elgort||Nominated|||
|Golden Reel Awards||February 18, 2018||Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Music Score||Julian Slater and Bradley Farmer||Nominated|||
|Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Dialogue / ADR||Julian Slater and Dan Morgan||Nominated|
|Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Effects / Foley||Julian Slater, Jeremy Price, Martin Cantwell, Arthur Graley, Rown Watson, Peter Hanson, Zoe Freed and Peter Burgis||Nominated|
|Golden Tomato Awards||January 3, 2018||Best Wide Release 2017||Baby Driver||7th Place|||
|Best Action Movie 2017||Baby Driver||Won|
|IndieWire Critic's Poll||December 19, 2016||Most Anticipated of 2017||Baby Driver||Nominated|||
|Location Managers Guild Awards||April 7, 2018||Outstanding Locations in Contemporary Film||Doug Dresser, Kyle Hinshaw||Won|||
|Outstanding Film Commission||Atlanta Mayor's Office of Film & Entertainment||Won|
|London Film Critics' Circle||January 28, 2018||Technical Achievement Award||Darrin Prescott (stunts)||Nominated|||
|Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild||February 24, 2018||Feature Motion Picture: Best Contemporary Makeup||Fionagh Cush and Phyllis Temple||Nominated|||
|National Board of Review||January 4, 2018||Top Ten Films||Baby Driver||Won|||
|New York Film Critics Online||December 10, 2017||Best Use of Music||Baby Driver||Won|||
|NME Awards||February 14, 2018||Best Film||Baby Driver||Won|||
|Online Film Critics Society||December 28, 2017||Best Editing||Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos||Runner-up||
|San Diego Film Critics Society||December 11, 2017||Best Editing||Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos||Won|||
|Best Use of Music||Baby Driver||Won|
|San Francisco Film Critics Circle Awards||December 10, 2017||Best Film Editing||Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos||Won|||
|Satellite Awards||February 10, 2018||Best Film Editing||Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos||Nominated|||
|Saturn Awards||June 2018||Best Action or Adventure Film||Baby Driver||Pending|||
|Screen Actors Guild Awards||January 21, 2018||Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture||Baby Driver||Nominated|||
|Seattle Film Critics Society||December 18, 2017||Best Editing||Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos||Nominated|||
|St. Louis Film Critics Association||December 17, 2017||Best Editing||Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos||Won||
|Best Soundtrack||Baby Driver||Won|
|Best Scene||Baby goes for coffee (opening credits)||Runner-up|
|Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association||December 8, 2017||Best Editing||Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos||Won|||
On December 5, 2017, Wright confirmed that Sony Pictures would like to produce a sequel to Baby Driver, and that he plans to write the screenplay for it.