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Driving Miss Daisy

For the play, see Driving Miss Daisy (play).
Driving Miss Daisy
File:Driving Miss Daisy .jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Bruce Beresford
Produced by Richard D. Zanuck
Lili Fini Zanuck
Screenplay by Alfred Uhry
Based on Driving Miss Daisy
by Alfred Uhry
Starring Morgan Freeman
Jessica Tandy
Dan Aykroyd
Patti Lupone
Esther Rolle
Music by Hans Zimmer
Edited by Mark Warner
The Zanuck Company
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures[1]
Release dates
  • December 13, 1989 (1989-12-13)
Running time
100 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $7.5 million[3]
Box office $145,793,296[4]

Driving Miss Daisy is a 1989 American comedy-drama film adapted from the Alfred Uhry play of the same name. The film was directed by Bruce Beresford, with Morgan Freeman reprising his role as Hoke Colburn (whom he also portrayed in the play) and Jessica Tandy playing Miss Daisy. 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 25-year period.

At the 62nd Academy Awards in 1990, Driving Miss Daisy received nine nominations, winning four for Best Picture, Best Actress (Jessica Tandy), Best Makeup, and Best Adapted Screenplay.[5]


In 1948, Mrs. ("Miss") Daisy Werthan (Jessica Tandy), a 72-year-old wealthy white Jewish widowed school teacher, lives alone in Atlanta, Georgia, except for an African American housemaid named Idella (Esther Rolle). When Miss Daisy wrecks her car, her son, Boolie (Dan Aykroyd), hires Hoke Coleburn (Morgan Freeman), an African American chauffeur who drove for a local judge until he recently died. Miss Daisy at first refuses to let Hoke drive her, but gradually starts to accept him.

When Miss Daisy finds out that Hoke is illiterate, she teaches him how to read. As Miss Daisy and Hoke spend time together, she gains appreciation for his many skills and the two become friends. After Idella dies in 1963, rather than hire a new maid, Miss Daisy decides to care for her own house and cook her own meals. Hoke assists with the cooking and the two plant a vegetable garden.

The film explores racism against African Americans, which affects Hoke at that time. After her synagogue is bombed, Miss Daisy realizes that she is also a victim of prejudice. But American society is undergoing radical changes, and Miss Daisy attends a dinner at which Dr. Martin Luther King gives a speech. She initially invites Boolie to the dinner, but he declines, and suggests that Miss Daisy invite Hoke. However, Miss Daisy only asks him to be her guest during the car ride to the event and ends up attending the dinner alone, with Hoke insulted by the manner of the invitation, listening to the speech on the car radio outside.

Hoke arrives at the house one morning in 1971 to find Miss Daisy agitated and showing signs of dementia. Hoke calms her down and Miss Daisy tells Hoke that he is her best friend. Boolie arranges for Miss Daisy to enter a retirement home. In 1973, Hoke, now 81, retires. Boolie and Hoke drive to the retirement home to visit Miss Daisy, now 97. As Hoke feeds her and reminisces about the many years he spent driving her, the image of a car is seen driving into the distance.



Driving Miss Daisy was well received by critics, with particular emphasis on Morgan Freeman and Jessica Tandy's performances. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 81% based on reviews from 52 critics, with an average score of 7.1/10. The site's consensus states: "Warm and smartly paced, and boasting impeccable performances from Morgan Freeman and Jessica Tandy."[6] On Metacritic, which assigns a rating out of 100 based on reviews from mainstream critics, the film has a score of 81 based on 16 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[7] Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film a positive review, calling Tandy's performance "glorious...Tandy's finest two hours onscreen in a film career that goes back to 1932."[8]

Awards and nominations

List of Accolades
Award / Film Festival Category Recipient(s) Result
62nd Academy Awards Best Picture Richard D. Zanuck
Lili Fini Zanuck
Best Actress Jessica Tandy Won
Best Adapted Screenplay Alfred Uhry Won
Best Makeup Manlio Rocchetti
Lynn Barber
Kevin Haney
Best Actor Morgan Freeman Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Dan Aykroyd Nominated
Best Art Direction-Set Decoration Bruno Rubeo
Crispian Sallis
Best Costume Design Elizabeth McBride Nominated
Best Film Editing Mark Warner Nominated
47th Golden Globe Awards (January 20, 1990) Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy Driving Miss Daisy Won
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy Morgan Freeman Won
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy Jessica Tandy Won

Driving Miss Daisy also achieved the following distinctions at the 62nd Academy Awards:

  • It is the only film based on an off Broadway production ever to win an Academy Award for Best Picture;[9]
  • As of 2014, it is the last Best Picture winner to receive a PG rating;
  • Jessica Tandy, at age 81, became the oldest winner in the history of the Best Actress category.[9]
  • It was the first Best Picture winner since 1932's Grand Hotel which did not receive a Best Director nomination.[10] (This has only occurred once since, for Argo in 2012). Wings, the 1927 film that was the first to win Best Picture, did not have a nomination for director William Wellman. In his opening monologue at the 62nd Academy Awards, Billy Crystal made fun of this fact by calling it "the film that apparently directed itself".

Driving Miss Daisy also won three Golden Globe Awards (Best Picture, Best Actor Morgan Freeman, and Best Actress Jessica Tandy) in the Comedy/Musical categories.[11] At the 1989 Writers Guild of America Awards, the film won in the Best Adapted Screenplay category. Rounding out its United States awards, the film won both Best Picture and Best Actor from the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures. In the United Kingdom, Driving Miss Daisy was nominated for four British Academy Film Awards, with Jessica Tandy winning in the Best Actress category. Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman won the Silver Bear for the Best Joint Performance at the 40th Berlin International Film Festival.[12]


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 Gabriela Beňačková. The soundtrack was issued on Varèse Sarabande.

Home release

The film was successful on home video.[13] The film was released on DVD in the USA 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 finally was released on Blu-ray in the US in a special edition digibook in January 2013 by Warner Bros.

Vehicles Used

The first vehicle that appears at the very beginning, owned by Daisy, was a 1946–1948 Chrysler New Yorker, followed by a 1949 Hudson Commodore, a 1955–1956 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special, a 1965 Cadillac Calais Sedan and finally, a 1970 Cadillac. Boolie is seen arriving during one scene driving a 1948 Cadillac Series 61 Sedanette], later on a 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham and later driving himself and Hoke to the rest home scene in a 1965-1972 Mercedes Benz S-Class. Hoke is also seen arriving with his granddaughter driving him in a 1969 Mercury Cougar.


  1. ^ Fabrikant, Geraldine (1990-03-06). "How Major Studios Missed a Hit". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-11-07. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Daisy A Hit That Nearly Aborted". Chicago Tribune. 1990-03-08. Retrieved 2010-11-07. 
  4. ^ "Driving Miss Daisy". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ "The 62nd Academy Awards (1990) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved 2011-08-01. 
  6. ^ "Driving Miss Daisy (1989)". Flixster Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 29, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Driving Miss Daisy". CBS Interactive Metacritic. Retrieved April 29, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Driving Miss Daisy". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 29, 2014. 
  9. ^ a b "Academy's Diamond Anniversary Screening Series to Feature "Driving Miss Daisy"" (Press release). Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 2003-09-02. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  10. ^ "Academy Awards Best Director". Retrieved 2014-10-23. 
  11. ^ "Miss Daisy, Jessica Tandy Win Top Oscars". Chicago Tribune. 1990-03-27. Retrieved 2010-11-07. 
  12. ^ "Berlinale: 1990 Prize Winners". Retrieved 2011-03-17. 
  13. ^ "VIDEO RENTALS : 'Born' Can't Pass High-Revving 'Daisy'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-10. 

External links