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Driving Miss Daisy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Driving Miss Daisy
Theatrical release poster by Dave Christensen[1]
Directed byBruce Beresford
Screenplay byAlfred Uhry
Based onDriving Miss Daisy
1987 play
by Alfred Uhry
Produced by
CinematographyPeter James
Edited byMark Warner
Music byHans Zimmer
Distributed by
Release date
  • December 15, 1989 (1989-12-15)
Running time
99 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$7.5 million[2]
Box office$145.8 million[4]

Driving Miss Daisy is a 1989 American comedy-drama film directed by Bruce Beresford and written by Alfred Uhry, based on his 1987 play of the same name. The film stars Jessica Tandy, Morgan Freeman, and Dan Aykroyd. Freeman reprised his role from the original Off-Broadway production.

The story defines Daisy and her point of view through a network of relationships and emotions by focusing on her home life, synagogue, friends, family, fears, and concerns over a twenty-five-year period.

Driving Miss Daisy was a critical and commercial success upon its release and at the 62nd Academy Awards received nine nominations, and won four: Best Picture, Best Actress (for Tandy), Best Makeup, and Best Adapted Screenplay.[5] As of 2024, it is the most recent PG-rated film to have won Best Picture.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • Driving Miss Daisy (1989) Official Trailer #1 - Morgan Freeman Movie HD
  • Driving Miss Daisy (2/9) Movie CLIP - Back Seat Driver (1989) HD
  • Driving Miss Daisy (1989) - Behind the Scenes - Jessica Tandy Movie
  • Driving Miss Daisy (1/9) Movie CLIP - I Don't Need You (1989) HD
  • Driving Miss Daisy (1989) - 'Driving to Alabama' scene [1080p]



In 1948, Daisy Werthan, or Miss Daisy, a 72-year-old wealthy, Jewish, widowed, retired schoolteacher, lives alone in Atlanta, Georgia, except for a black housekeeper, Idella. When Miss Daisy drives her 1946 Chrysler Windsor into her neighbor's yard, her 40-year-old son, Boolie, buys her a Hudson Commodore and hires 60-year-old Hoke Colburn, a black chauffeur. Boolie tells Hoke that Miss Daisy may not appreciate his efforts, but she cannot fire him, because Boolie is his employer. At first, Miss Daisy refuses to let anyone drive her, but Hoke's patience pays off, and she reluctantly accepts the first two trips. Then she tries to get Boolie to fire Hoke after discovering a can of salmon missing from her pantry. Unprompted and before she is able to confront him, Hoke admits to eating the salmon and offers her a replacement can.

As Miss Daisy and Hoke spend time together, she comes to appreciate his many skills. She teaches him to read for the first time using her teaching skills and resources. After Idella dies in the spring of 1963, rather than hire a new housekeeper, Miss Daisy decides to care for her own house and have Hoke do the cooking and the driving. Meanwhile, Hoke buys the cars in which he drives Miss Daisy, after they are traded in for newer models, and he negotiates a higher salary with Boolie.

The film explores racism against African Americans and antisemitism in the South. After her synagogue is bombed, Miss Daisy realizes that she is also a victim of prejudice. American society is undergoing radical changes, and Miss Daisy attends a dinner at which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gives a speech.

Boolie declines when she invites him to the dinner, suggesting that Miss Daisy invite Hoke. She waits until the last moment, asking Hoke to be her guest during the car ride to the event. She attends the dinner alone while Hoke, who is insulted by the manner of the invitation, listens to the speech on the car radio, outside.

One morning in 1971, Hoke arrives at the house to find Miss Daisy agitated and showing signs of dementia: She believes that she is a young teacher again. Hoke calms her down. In that conversation, she calls Hoke her "best friend." Boolie arranges for Miss Daisy to enter a retirement home.

In 1973, Hoke, now 85 and rapidly losing his eyesight, retires. Boolie, now 65, drives Hoke to the retirement home to visit Miss Daisy, now 97.[6] The two catch up, and Hoke gently feeds her Thanksgiving pie. The final scene is an image of the black Cadillac driving on a road.



Box office

Driving Miss Daisy was given a limited release on December 15, 1989, earning $73,745 in three theaters. The film was given a wide release on January 26, 1990, earning $5,705,721 over its opening weekend in 895 theaters, becoming the number one film in the United States. It remained at number 1 the following week but was knocked off the top spot in its third weekend of wide release by Hard to Kill. It returned to number one the next weekend and remained there for a fourth week. The film ultimately grossed $106,593,296 in North America, and $39,200,000 in other territories, for a worldwide total of $145,793,296.[4] The film was released in the United Kingdom on February 23, 1990.[7]

Critical reaction

Driving Miss Daisy was well received by critics, with particular praise for the screenplay and performances by Freeman, Tandy and Aykroyd. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an 85% rating based on reviews from 104 critics, with an average score of 7.70/10. The website's critical consensus states: "While it's fueled in part by outdated stereotypes, Driving Miss Daisy takes audiences on a heartwarming journey with a pair of outstanding actors."[8] On Metacritic, which assigns a rating out of 100 based on reviews from mainstream critics, the film has a score of 81 based on 17 reviews.[9] CinemaScore similarly reported that audiences gave the film a rare "A+" grade.[10]

Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune declared Driving Miss Daisy one of the best films of 1989.[11] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times called it "a film of great love and patience" and wrote, "It is an immensely subtle film, in which hardly any of the most important information is carried in the dialogue and in which body language, tone of voice or the look in an eye can be the most important thing in a scene. After so many movies in which shallow and violent people deny their humanity and ours, what a lesson to see a film that looks into the heart."[12]

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone also gave the film a positive review, calling Tandy's performance "glorious" and opining, "This is Tandy's finest two hours onscreen in a film career that goes back to 1932."[13] The performances of Tandy and Freeman were also praised by Vincent Canby of The New York Times, who observed, "The two actors manage to be highly theatrical without breaking out of the realistic frame of the film."[14]

On the other hand, the film has been criticized for its handling of the issue of racism. Candice Russell of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel described Freeman's character as having a "toadying manner" which was "painful to see", and said that the film was ultimately "one scene after another of a pompous old lady issuing orders and a servant trying to comply by saying 'yassum.'"[15] The film's nomination for Best Picture at the Academy Awards over Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing was controversial. Lee later reflected on the controversial decision by saying that Driving Miss Daisy was "not being taught in film schools all across the world like Do the Right Thing is."[16][17]

Awards and nominations

Driving Miss Daisy received 9 Academy Award nominations and also achieved the following distinctions in Oscar history:

Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
Academy Awards Best Picture Richard D. Zanuck and Lili Fini Zanuck Won [21]
Best Actor Morgan Freeman Nominated
Best Actress Jessica Tandy Won
Best Supporting Actor Dan Aykroyd Nominated
Best Screenplay – Based on Material from Another Medium Alfred Uhry Won
Best Art Direction Art Direction: Bruno Rubeo;
Set Decoration: Crispian Sallis
Best Costume Design Elizabeth McBride Nominated
Best Film Editing Mark Warner Nominated
Best Makeup Manlio Rocchetti, Lynn Barber, and Kevin Haney Won
American Comedy Awards Funniest Actor in a Motion Picture (Leading Role) Morgan Freeman Nominated [23]
Funniest Actress in a Motion Picture (Leading Role) Jessica Tandy Nominated
Funniest Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture Dan Aykroyd Nominated
Berlin International Film Festival Golden Bear Bruce Beresford Nominated [25]
Best Joint Performance Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman Won
BMI Film & TV Awards Film Music Award Hans Zimmer Won
Boston Society of Film Critics Awards Best Actress Jessica Tandy Won [26]
British Academy Film Awards Best Film Richard D. Zanuck, Lili Fini Zanuck, and Bruce Beresford Nominated [27]
Best Direction Bruce Beresford Nominated
Best Actress in a Leading Role Jessica Tandy Won
Best Adapted Screenplay Alfred Uhry Nominated
David di Donatello Awards Best Foreign Actress Jessica Tandy Won
Golden Globe Awards Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy Won [28]
Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy Morgan Freeman Won
Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy Jessica Tandy Won
Grammy Awards Best Instrumental Composition Written for a Motion Picture or for Television Driving Miss Daisy – Hans Zimmer Nominated [29]
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards Best Actor Morgan Freeman Won [30]
Best Actress Jessica Tandy Won
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards Best Actor Morgan Freeman Runner-up [31]
NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture Won
Nastro d'Argento Best Female Dubbing Micaela Giustiniani (for dubbing Jessica Tandy) Won
National Board of Review Awards Best Film Won [32]
Top Ten Films Won
Best Actor Morgan Freeman Won
National Society of Film Critics Awards Best Actor 2nd Place [33]
Best Actress Jessica Tandy 2nd Place
New York Film Critics Circle Awards Best Actor Morgan Freeman Runner-up [34]
Best Actress Jessica Tandy Runner-up
Best Director Bruce Beresford Runner-up
Political Film Society Awards Human Rights Nominated
Producers Guild of America Awards Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures Richard D. Zanuck and Lili Fini Zanuck Won
Retirement Research Foundation, USA Wise Owl Award – Television and Theatrical Film Fiction David Brown, Richard D. Zanuck, and Lili Fini Zanuck Nominated
Writers Guild of America Awards Best Screenplay – Based on Material from Another Medium Alfred Uhry Won [35]

The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:

Oscar "test of time" recount

In 2015, The Hollywood Reporter polled hundreds of Academy members, asking them to re-vote on past close run decisions. Academy members indicated that, given a second chance, they would award the 1990 Oscar for Best Picture to My Left Foot instead.[36]


The film's score was composed by Hans Zimmer, who won a BMI Film Music Award and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition Written for a Motion Picture or for Television for his work. The score was performed entirely by Zimmer, done electronically using samplers and synthesizers, and did not feature a single live instrument. There is a scene, however, in which the "Song to the Moon" from the opera Rusalka by Antonín Dvořák is heard on a radio as sung by slovak sopranist Gabriela Beňačková.

Similarities have been noted between the main theme and the "plantation" folk song "Shortnin' Bread".[37] The soundtrack was issued on Varèse Sarabande.

Home media

The film was also successful on home video.[38] It was released on DVD in the United States on April 30, 1997, and the special edition was released on February 4, 2003. The movie was first released on Blu-ray disc in Germany, and was finally released on Blu-ray in the United States in a special edition digibook in January 2013 by Warner Bros.

In the UK, Warner Home Video released Driving Miss Daisy on VHS in 1989. Driving Miss Daisy was then released on DVD in 2005 by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment and then in 2008 by Pathé through 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.


  1. ^ "Driving Miss Daisy Movie Poster".
  2. ^ a b Fabrikant, Geraldine (March 6, 1990). "How Major Studios Missed a Hit". The New York Times. Archived from the original on December 1, 2010. Retrieved November 7, 2011.
  3. ^ a b "Driving Miss Daisy (1989)". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Retrieved December 2, 2022.
  4. ^ a b "Driving Miss Daisy". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on May 15, 2019. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  5. ^ "The 62nd Academy Awards (1990) Nominees and Winners". Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved August 1, 2011.
  6. ^ Uhry, Alfred (January 1, 1998). Driving Miss Daisy. Dramatists Play Service, Inc. ISBN 0822203359.
  7. ^ "Weekend box office 23 February 1990 - 25 February 1990". Archived from the original on July 6, 2020. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  8. ^ "Driving Miss Daisy (1989)". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on November 17, 2020. Retrieved July 2, 2023.
  9. ^ "Driving Miss Daisy Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on September 20, 2017. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
  10. ^ "18 of the Most Loved or Hated Movies: Films That Got A+ or F CinemaScores (Photos)". TheWrap. June 16, 2015. Archived from the original on July 1, 2017. Retrieved June 15, 2017.
  11. ^ Siskel, Gene (January 12, 1990). "'Roger & Me' Makes Point About The Common Man". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on April 7, 2016. Retrieved April 8, 2016.
  12. ^ Ebert, Roger (January 12, 1990). "Driving Miss Daisy". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on April 8, 2016. Retrieved April 8, 2016.
  13. ^ Travers, Peter. "Driving Miss Daisy". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on May 13, 2014. Retrieved April 29, 2014.
  14. ^ Canby, Vincent (December 13, 1989). "Review/Film; 'Miss Daisy,' Chamber Piece From the Stage". The New York Times. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved April 8, 2016.
  15. ^ Russell, Candice (January 12, 1990). "'Daisy' Mostly One-Note Film" Archived September 21, 2020, at the Wayback Machine, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Fort Lauderdale.
  16. ^ Stern, Marlow (January 15, 2015). "Spike Lee Blasts ‘Selma’ Oscar Snubs: ‘You Know What? F*ck ’Em’" Archived July 30, 2020, at the Wayback Machine, The Daily Beast.
  17. ^ Collins, K. Austin (January 22, 2019). "When the Oscars Chose Driving Miss Daisy Over Do the Right Thing" Archived August 9, 2020, at the Wayback Machine. Vanity Fair.
  18. ^ a b "Academy's Diamond Anniversary Screening Series to Feature "Driving Miss Daisy"" (Press release). Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. September 2, 2003. Archived from the original on February 20, 2008. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  19. ^ "Academy Awards Best Director". Archived from the original on September 1, 2009. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
  20. ^ "Academy Awards: Best Picture Milestones; 1980s". Film New York, NY: AMC Network Entertainment LLC. Archived from the original on September 19, 2020. Retrieved August 23, 2020.
  21. ^ "The 62nd Academy Awards (1990) Nominees and Winners". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on July 6, 2011. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  22. ^ Kehr, Dave (March 27, 1990). "'Miss Daisy,' Jessica Tandy Win Top Oscars". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on April 7, 2014. Retrieved April 8, 2016.
  23. ^ "AMERICAN COMEDY AWARDS". The Washington Post. March 18, 1990. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved July 1, 2020.
  24. ^ "American Comedy Awards winners announced Saturday". UPI, United Press International, Inc. March 11, 1990. Retrieved July 1, 2020.
  25. ^ "Berlinale: 1990 Prize Winners". Archived from the original on November 23, 2015. Retrieved March 17, 2011.
  26. ^ "Past Award Winners". Boston Society of Film Critics. Archived from the original on October 8, 2014. Retrieved July 2, 2017.
  27. ^ "BAFTA Awards: Film in 1991". British Academy Film Awards. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  28. ^ "Driving Miss Daisy". Golden Globe Awards. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  29. ^ "33rd Annual GRAMMY Awards". Grammy Awards. Retrieved May 1, 2011.
  30. ^ "KCFCC Award Winners – 1980-89". Kansas City Film Critics Circle. December 14, 2013. Retrieved July 10, 2021.
  31. ^ "The 15th Annual Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards". Los Angeles Film Critics Association. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  32. ^ "1989 Award Winners". National Board of Review. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  33. ^ "Past Awards". National Society of Film Critics. December 19, 2009. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  34. ^ "1989 New York Film Critics Circle Awards". New York Film Critics Circle. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  35. ^ "Awards Winners". Writers Guild of America Awards. Archived from the original on December 5, 2012. Retrieved June 6, 2010.
  36. ^ "Recount! Oscar Voters Today Would Make 'Brokeback Mountain' Best Picture Over 'Crash'". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on January 22, 2019. Retrieved January 3, 2020.
  37. ^ Bettencourt, Scott. "THE YEAR IN FILM MUSIC: 1989". Film Score Monthly. Archived from the original on August 5, 2017. Retrieved June 29, 2014.
  38. ^ Hunt, Dennis (September 27, 1990). "VIDEO RENTALS: 'Born' Can't Pass High-Revving 'Daisy'". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on March 28, 2013. Retrieved June 10, 2012.

External links

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