Drive, He Said

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Drive, He Said
Drive he said.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJack Nicholson
Produced bySteve Blauner
Jack Nicholson
Written byJeremy Larner
Jack Nicholson
Terrence Malick (uncredited)
StarringWilliam Tepper
Karen Black
Bruce Dern
Robert Towne
Henry Jaglom
Music byDavid Shire
CinematographyBill Butler
Edited byDonn Cambern
Christopher Holmes
Pat Somerset
Robert L. Wolfe
BBS Productions
Drive Productions Inc.
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • June 13, 1971 (1971-06-13) (U.S.)
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited States

Drive, He Said is a 1971 American motion picture released by Columbia Pictures. It is one of the lesser-known works in the influential group of "New Hollywood" films of the late 1960s and early 1970s made by independent production house Raybert Productions (The Monkees, Easy Rider) and its successor, BBS Productions.[1] Based upon the 1964 novel of the same title by Jeremy Larner, the film, which stars William Tepper, is mainly notable as the directorial debut of Jack Nicholson (who also wrote the screenplay) following his breakthrough as an actor in Easy Rider (1969) and Five Easy Pieces (1970).[1]

Although it was coolly received at the time, and has subsequently faded into obscurity, the production brought together many significant Hollywood names. Director of photography Bill Butler gained renown for his later work on classic films such as Steven Spielberg's Jaws, Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.[1] Original music was composed by David Shire (then married to Coppola's sister, Talia) and the screenplay included uncredited contributions from future director Terence Malick.[1]

It starred several of Nicholson's friends and frequent screen collaborators in leading roles – Karen Black, Bruce Dern, Robert Towne and Henry Jaglom (although Towne and Jaglom became better known as screenwriter and director, respectively). Several younger actors who became familiar TV faces in later years were also featured in small supporting roles, including David Ogden Stiers (M*A*S*H), Cindy Williams (Laverne & Shirley) and Michael Warren (Hill Street Blues), who (like Tepper) was also a former collegiate basketball player.

It was filmed on the campus of the University of Oregon and other locations in Eugene, Oregon. The film is also notable for its then-controversial use of profanity, its depictions of sex and drug use, and for several scenes of male frontal nudity, including a locker-room shower scene, and the mental breakdown scene in which Gabriel (Margotta) is shown frontally nude, which led to an attempt by the censor to give the film an X rating.


The film is an examination of libidinous basketball star Hector Bloom, and contrasts his sporting prowess on the court to his bedroom antics. Most notably, Hector has an affair with his favorite professor's wife Olive that goes nowhere. This, and many other events, occur within a heated early 1970s backdrop of university politics, sporting hijinx, and anti-war sentiments. The title is related to driving to the basket in basketball.



Filming took place in Eugene, Oregon.[2]

Critical reception[edit]

The film was entered into the 1971 Cannes Film Festival.[3]

Contemporary reviews of the film were mixed. Steven Scheuer found the film "utterly downbeat, and unfortunately dated".[4] Roger Ebert found the film "disorganized", but also said it was "occasionally brilliant" with the performances being "the best thing in the movie", including the "laconic charm" of Tepper.[5]

In contrast, Leonard Maltin found the film "confusing", and while he also praised the acting performances, he found that the film "loses itself in its attempt to cover all the bases".[6] Vincent Canby lauded the film as being "so much better than all of the rest of the campus junk Hollywood has manufactured in the last couple of years".[7]


  1. ^ a b c d "William Tepper Dies: Star Of Jack Nicholson's 'Drive, He Said' Was 69". Deadline Hollywood. 2017-10-05. Retrieved 2017-11-04.
  2. ^ "Filmed in Oregon 1908-2015" (PDF). Oregon Film Council. Oregon State Library. Retrieved December 27, 2015.
  3. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Drive, He Said". Retrieved 2009-04-12.
  4. ^ Scheuer, 1990: 294
  5. ^ Ebert, 1972
  6. ^ Maltin, 1991: 325
  7. ^ Canby, 1971


External links[edit]