Video Collection: BMW Films – The Hire

Videos | August 25th, 2009 by 38
bmw hire

Averaging about ten minutes each, The Hire was a series of eight short films produced for the internet viewing from 2001 to 2002.

A form of branded content, all eight films featured popular filmmakers from across the globe, starred Clive Owen as the “Driver”, and highlighted the performance aspects of various BMW automobiles.

The plots of each of the films differ, but one constant remains: Clive Owen plays “The Driver”, a man who goes from place to place (in presumably rented BMW automobiles), getting hired by various people to be a sort of transport for their vital needs. Many of you know Clive Owen as one of the recent stars in Hollywood who played in movies like Sin City, Inside Man, The International and Duplicity.

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Other famous actors, singers or runway models were featured in the series: Mickey Rourke, Forest Whitaker, Adriana Lima, Madonna, Don Cheadle, Gary Oldman, James Brown or Marilyn Manson.

On April 26, 2002, John Frankenheimer’s Ambush premiered on the BMW Films website and, two weeks later, was followed by Ang Lee’s Chosen. Soon after, director Wong Kar-Wai was tapped to make a third film entitled The Follow, a dramatic piece about a runaway wife being followed by “The Driver”. The film debuted at the Cannes Film Festival and received rave reviews. It was followed by Guy Ritchie’s “Star” and Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Powder Keg.

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The series has been very successful in terms of marketing and public awareness with BMW sales numbers going up 12% in 2001 from the previous year. The movies were viewed over 11 million times in four months. Two million people registered with the website and a large number of people share the films with their friends and family. These were times when Youtube hasn’t been born and video sharing wasn’t as easy. One can only imagine the impact and viral marketing that these videos would have generated across the internet today.

The films proved to be so popular that BMW ended up producing a free DVD for customers who visited certain BMW dealerships. The entire history on the series can be found on Wikipedia.


Today, with the help of our long time reader, Jordan, we are going back into the history and share with you a puzzle piece of BMW’s history. Jordan took the time to scope out the videos on Youtube and shared the links with all of us.

We hope you enjoy them.

38 responses to “Video Collection: BMW Films – The Hire”

  1. Miles Ransom says:

    star is the best one, ambush is good too

  2. J.T. says:

    Thank you so much for posting these! BMW please make some more!

  3. Matt Stokes says:

    Hostage!! John Woo, QUALITY… I have both first and second seasons on DVD, and also the rarer first season which has the original narration on “the Follow” (IIRC)

  4. Giom says:

    Thanks for posting these! I never got to see all of them :( But now I can :)

  5. Parker Despain says:

    I have the DVD. Watch it at least once a year.

    Such a cool set of short films.

  6. David Bosch says:

    Is the DVD still somehwhere available?

  7. Zion says:

    I especially enjoyed the Madonna one, hilarious.
    The first one I ever saw was “The Follow” featuring the beautiful Brazilian Adriana Lima. Enjoyed that one too because I’m Brazilian myself.

  8. seven40 says:

    Yea i love these films. BMW did an excellent job with these one of my favorite movies/series.

  9. sue Porter says:


    Love the Hire films – how can I possibly get hold of a copy of the DVD?


  10. Ian King says:

    I love this film so much check what I did.

  11. Scott says:

    What I remember was the BMW Films desktop application (created in Adobe Director) that downloaded each episode as it became available, along with images, to my computer – which I could play back at any time, offline.)

    This was back before streaming or progressive download video was practical; before modern codecs and fast internet connections.

    I think BMW films deserves some mention at the Streamy Awards ( as an historical precursor to the modern branded web series.

    I wish I could find this app again for my old Macintosh.

  12. Pierre says:

    Do you erase all bad comments? I have to admit that “beat the devil” is almast watchable, i almost made it through…. But even if it was avant-gardist, i really tried my best to watch as much as i could of those short movies ( I had too for a school prestentation) but i thought there weren’t really good…. Just too long by the way!

  13. ColinJ says:

    Man, I’d love to have these on blu-ray.

  14. Ian says:

    Will this ever be for sale at a higher quality to purchase for download on the app stores?

  15. Thanks for posting these! I never got to see all of them.

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