Written by: Paul Schrader
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Starring: Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Harvey Keitel, Peter Boyle, Cybill Shepherd & Albert Brooks
Taxi driver follows Travis Bickle ( De Niro) as a loner who gets a job as a taxi driver. After being discharged from the military, Travis is lost in the world. He sees the scum and trash in the 70’s New York City. A man who becomes a vigilante as a result of his mind and surroundings.
Travis becomes obsessed with the idea of doing something. He tries to date which goes horribly wrong. His passengers too are often murderers, pimps and prostitutes. One of which the teenage Iris ( Foster) and her pimp (Keitel) play a pivital role in the bloody finale of the film.
Travis begins to unravel and removes himself further from normality and becomes a vigilante by the films end. Travis goes on a shooting spree killing a pimp, the muscle and a customer. Travis gets hit with some shots yet he survives and saves Iris. Travis tries to kill himself but has used all of his ammo.
By the end of the film Travis is a local hero. Leaving it up to the audience if he was right all along or are we following a man who may snap and murder again.
One of Scorsese’s finest films and a career defining role for Robert De Niro who’s “you talking to me” dialogue is still referenced almost 50 years later in pop- culture.
From the writing, directing, acting and the character of a grimy and seedy New York City are utterly perfect. The film has a dark and menacing tone, yet we can’t help but watch it all unfold before our very eyes.
I remember the first time I watched taxi driver. It was the summer of 2012 and I was 16. To say it was earth shattering was an understatement. I didn’t then understand fully the impact of the film. The themes and the subtly in part was lost on me yet I knew I was watching brilliance on the screen before me. Scorsese paints a picture with his films and Taxi Driver to me is a perfect film.
Robert De Niro commands the screen for the entire film. Travis Bickle has become such an iconic figure of cinema in the 20th century. A character and a film that will forever be one of the greatest ever created.
One thought on “#114 – Taxi Driver (1976)”
A brilliant film. Earth shattering is the word. The character of Travis Bickle is fascinating in every way. Paul Schrader once said: “When a Japanese cracks up, he’ll close the window and kill himself; when an American cracks up, he’ll open the window and kill somebody else.” And I think it sums up the film excellently. This is an ignorant, unintelligent American who doesn’t realise he should be killing himself instead of other people.