With the advent of new logistic, payment and mapping technology, a modern age of driving careers has arrived. Today just about anybody with a vehicle and valid drivers license can supplement their income or work full-time as a professional driver. And if you take into account the vast trucking, delivery and courier opportunities out there, it’s no wonder so many people are deciding to try it for themselves. But technology aside, driving has always been considered a cool job with a distinctly human component at its core.

Some of the the most popular movies and shows ever made have been about drivers and their role in society. The following driving focused movies have a lot to say about about what it takes to make it as a professional driver.

Smokey and the Bandit (1977)

The real hero of Smokey and the Bandit is the “Snowman,” a truth spoutin’ road cowboy that wriggles in and out of trouble while keeping a sharp eye on the task at hand. Burt Reynolds’ bandit mostly just screws things up. Snowman embodies everything a great trucker needs to be a success:  professional without being a pushover, an openness to the bumps and dips of road life and the determination to see a daunting task through to the end, which in this case, means delivering a trailer full of Coors beer cross country.

Ronin (1998)

Ronin is a car chase classic. And if you haven’t seen it, you should. Careening through the narrow streets of Paris at speeds no amateur could handle, Robert DeNiro’s character, Sam, does a memorable job convincing us that driving is best left to the professionals. Heart-pounding chase scenes aside, Ronin’s valuable career lesson is that keeping a cool head under pressure is not just a desirable asset in a driver, it’s an integral part of the job.

TAXI (1998)

Luc Besson’s film TAXI revitalized the driving genre, led to multiple sequels and the launch of the Fast and the Furious franchise. When a former pizza delivery engenieu turned taxi driver is busted for speeding, he must help police chase down a crime ring of suped-up criminals and win his license back. But for our purposes, TAXI is another great example of expertise in action. Without the cabbie’s expert negotiation of the winding streets Marseilles, France is known for, the cops would have been cooked. No matter how good your map app is, the mental atlas of a passionate driver is unbeatable.

Drive (2011)

Starring Canadian heartthrob Ryan Gosling, Drive is considered by most critics to be his best film. Gosling plays an unnamed stuntman who moonlights as a getaway driver. This moody film noir fully encapsulates the solitary poetry inherent to careers behind the wheel. Fares and passengers aside, a driver needs to be comfortable spending lots of time alone in thoughtful contemplation if he is to make a go of it. It’s also important to note that just like in the movie, many people drive part-time to supplement another career they love but doesn’t pay enough. These types appreciate the versatility that driving jobs can offer.

Taxicab Confession (1995 – 2006)

This groundbreaking show aired on HBO for over a decade and may very well be the finest reality show ever made (sorry Kim). It proves that spilling your guts to the stranger driving you from point A to point B is as natural a human inclination as sneezing into the sun. Confessions highlights the notion that cab drivers are good listeners as well as good drivers. Steering both the vehicle and the conversation, it almost seems that familiarity with the streets comes second after empathy and sound judgement. Almost.

These movies are a little reminder that being a professional driver is about more than just being your own boss, flexible hours and freedom. Driving is also about mastering the road, getting to know yourself and spending time with wonderful strangers who have stories of their own to share.

Work as a professional driver [here]

[Here] are some exciting trucking opportunities.

Or consider a career as a courier [here]

See also:

Interview tips from the Toronto Academy of Acting

7 salary negotiation tips from the movies

4 movies and a TV show that make driver jobs look awesome


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