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Taxi Driver
Year:
1976
Country:
USA
Genre:
Drama, Thriller
IMDB rating:
8.5
Director:
Martin Scorsese
Robert De Niro as Travis Bickle
Jodie Foster as Iris
Harvey Keitel as Sport
Leonard Harris as Charles Palantine
Peter Boyle as Wizard
Diahnne Abbott as Concession Girl
Frank Adu as Angry Black Man
Gino Ardito as Policeman at Rally
Victor Argo as Melio (as Vic Argo)
Garth Avery as Iris' Friend
Harry Cohn as Cabbie in Bellmore
Copper Cunningham as Hooker in Cab
Brenda Dickson as Soap Opera Woman
Harry Fischler as Dispatcher
Storyline: Travis Bickle is an ex-Marine and Vietnam War veteran living in New York City. As he suffers from insomnia, he spends his time working as a taxi driver at night, watching porn movies at seedy cinemas during the day, or thinking about how the world, New York in particular, has deteriorated into a cesspool. He's a loner who has strong opinions about what is right and wrong with mankind. For him, the one bright spot in New York humanity is Betsy, a worker on the presidential nomination campaign of Senator Charles Palatine. He becomes obsessed with her. After an incident with her, he believes he has to do whatever he needs to to make the world a better place in his opinion. One of his priorities is to be the savior for Iris, a twelve-year-old runaway and prostitute who he believes wants out of the profession and under the thumb of her pimp and lover Matthew.
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Reviews
A Shattering Tale In First Person Singular
The impact that "Taxi Driver" had in its day hasn't diminished, on the contrary, it has acquired a relevance of Shakesperean proportions. Travis's loneliness is a hyper representation of the same loneliness most humans have experienced at different times in different measures. It is always associated with a nightmare and Martin Scorsese delivers it like a nightmare. Travis, possessed by Robert De Niro at the zenith of his powers, cruises in his taxi enveloped in Bernard Herrman and we, well, we're the passengers and everything looks terrifying and familiar at the same time. Paul Schrader sensational screenplay comes to life with the jolting force of a rude awakening. Like it happens, more often than not, with masterpieces, it signed in a rather direct way the lives of the ones who live it in a movie theater and the ones who made it. Scorsese being the giant that he is, survived it and will continue startling us I'm sure but I also bet that for years everything he did was compared to this movie. De Niro and his "You looking at me" became such an iconic phrase that even he himself ended up impersonating it. Jodie Foster awoke the insane devotion of a real life would be killer and New York, the greatest city in the world was shown with its underbelly up. A work of art, a superlative reminder of what film could actually give us and very rarely does.
2007-10-11
Travis Bickle is the definitive Gotham City avenger...
If only bad-ass cartoon characters like Batman and Spawn could muster one-tenth of the psychotic rage Travis Bickle possesses. Bickle's cape is the Vietnam Marine jacket that he wears throughout the film. The way "Bickle" is stenciled on the back it might as well be a giant "S" or the insipid Bat logo that various actors have exhibited though a series of pointless films. The whole film unspools like a dream that a Vietnam grunt could be envisioning while dying in a rice paddy on the other side of the world. (Oh, wait, that was Jacob's Ladder...) Travis is a gratingly rascist and moralistic character and the black pimps and drag queens he regards with such contempt through his cab window could be stand-ins for the Vietcongs he couldn't quite vanquish when he had the chance. His plan to assassinate the Presidential candidate is undertaken with the same ritualistic precision of a military mission. For Bickle the war has not ended and he has simply transposed the conflict onto the streets of New York. His bipolar view of the world--people are either angels like Betsy or "scum sucking scum" like Sport--is eerily prophetic of America's current perception of world events. (You're either with us or you're with the terrorists) When Travis wishes for "a real rain that'll wash the scum off the streets" he sounds chillingly like John Ashcroft or, Dubya, or even Guiliani (who almost accomplished what Travis couldn't) It's sobering to think that an outlook as disturbed and childishly naive as Travis' could morph into the mainstream point of view.

(POSSIBLE SPOILER) Current politics aside, the little coda at the end of the film, when Travis is back at his job, a reluctant hero among his fellow cabbies--albiet with a lingering soreness in his neck --has always mystified me. Could it be that that last ride with Betsy, whom Travis merely glimpses at through the mirror, is in fact his out of body release into death as he sits amidst the bloodbath back in the hotel room? I think Scorsese strongly implies this when De Niro takes one last look at himself in the overhead mirror and suddenly his face disappears from view. Notice the musical sting right when that happens. It's utterly chilling; a depiction of death more unnerving than anything I've ever seen in another film. (Or at least on par with the flash of white leader when a man shoots himself in Mean Streets.) The film is timeless and it reflects meaningfully, like a looking glass, on each era we pass through.

2002-01-12
A difficult film to review...
What can you say about "Taxi Driver" that hasn't been said already? It's phenomenal. I'm not a fan of Scorsese's other directorial efforts, really--nor am I a big DeNiro fan--but everything about this film is absolutely, unquestionably RIGHT. So many people seem to be confused when they watch this movie: they either root for Travis Bickle when he finally loses his marbles, or they feel that "Taxi Driver" tries to justify racism and misogyny. I don't think there's any need to go to such extremes. Yes, there are elements of racism and misogyny here, but the film doesn't promote those attitudes. And as for Travis being the nominal "hero" of the film, I don't believe that this was Paul Schrader's intention, either. There ARE no heroes; ultimately, this is just the very grim story of a marginalized man who loses what little control he had to begin with. This is why "Taxi Driver" appeals to people, I believe, but it's also why the film is routinely misinterpreted. As Schrader has said, this is a film about alienation. "Taxi Driver" tells an interesting, engaging human story and that's what makes it great--not the social commentary, or what's viewed as such.
2004-07-09
Profoundly disturbing but brilliant tale of urban isolation, obsession, and rage
Arguably Martin Scorsese's best film, writer Paul Schrader's best screenplay, and actor Robert De Niro's best performance. De Niro plays unstable Vietnam veteran Travis Bickle who the film follows down his rabbit hole of isolation, obsession, and eventual violent rage. The plot, as it is, has Bickle working nights as a NYC cab driver, becoming infatuated with pretty campaign worker, Cybill Shepherd, but when he sours that relationship due to his weird behavior, he becomes obsessed with saving pre-teen hooker Jodie Foster from her slimy pimp, Harvey Keitel. The plot could easily have become a simple Charles Bronson/grindhouse tale of urban vigilantism, but it's much more than that. Much has been written about "Taxi Driver" in terms of urban decay, isolation, desire, sex, misogyny, and as a critique of the media, all by others more eloquent than me, so I won't even try, but I will say that on a visceral level, the film is a ferociously disturbing piece of filmmaking. The audience is slowly drawn closer and closer to Bickle's madness, in a similar way to "Repulsion" or "Peeping Tom.". The audience almost understands and sympathizes with his where his thinking is coming from and are found rooting for him against the even more despicable of characters during the film's disturbing finale. Scorsese has presented a New York City that truly is a brutal urban nightmare, but at the same time has created surreal hallucinatory vision of NYC that may only be Bickle's perception of reality. Also of note, the film features memorable performances by Victor Argo, Peter Boyle, and Albert Brooks. Additionally, this was the final film scored by Bernard Herrmann and he delivers a memorably unrelenting and oppressive score that ranks among his finest. Overall, "Taxi Driver" is one of the finest pieces of cinema ever committed to celluloid, though due to it's profoundly disturbing nature will likely deny the film wide appeal.
2017-10-15
Suck On This!
If you ask me - I think that Taxi Driver is one of those truly puzzling films that has been seriously over-rated (way-way-way out of proportion). It really has.

With me giving Taxi Driver 5 stars, I think that I am actually being quite generous with that rating - 'Cause, at best, this film was an average production that seemed to contain an almost endless stream of filler-scenes where absolutely nothing of any interest ever happens.

Now 40 years old, Taxi Driver (which contained some of the most inane dialogue and preposterous situations imaginable) certainly doesn't hold up very well today.

And fresh-faced actor, Robert De Niro, as the psychotic vigilante, Travis Bickle (and his double-talking, dime-store philosophy) was pretty dull stuff, for the most part.

And, speaking about Taxi Driver's climatic final showdown - I actually burst out laughing as I watched how badly this sequence was staged. And the over-dramatization of the violence, after the fact, was one of the worst examples of bad directing that I've seen in a mighty long time.

All-in-all - This highly-praised picture barely managed to rise above mediocrity on only a few occasions.

P.S. - If you want to see a real stand-out performance worthy of a "Razzie", check out Cybill Shepherd, as Betsy, the airhead political organizer.
2015-02-27
The Most Organ-azized Drama Ever
Taxi Driver is an American drama directed by Martin Scorsese and written by Paul Schrader inspired from 1956 John Ford film 'The Searchers'. The screenplay is crafted so artistically by Paul showcasing a raw, nerve- wrecking and powerful look at depression and solitude. The film has the capability to become an altogether successful venture when the actor-director synergy can make astonishing wonders happen. De Niro and Scorsese happen to be one such example. The collaboration between these two has given us some of the really extravagant films. The movie starts with a Taxi moving in a slow motion as it leaves a foggy smoke behind as credit starts appearing in the cloud of smoke giving a more artistic feel to the beginning of the movie. Travis Bickle an ex-Marine officer suffering from chronic insomnia returns to Manhattan, New York after the Vietnam War. A person having no real life experience in flesh-and-blood human relationships gets alienated in the city of aflame and enthusiastic people. Travis takes up a job as a taxi driver on a night duty travelling around the city watching the night- life and prowlers that rule the streets of NY after nightfall. He is a person who tries to mimic the interactions he sees on the streets and goes horribly wrong, watches dirty movie in a porno theater, falls for a girl working in the Senator Palantine's campaign, takes her for a porn movie making her feel awkward and terribly angry. His small acts highlight his lack of human touch and his unstable mind. The director had pivoted the confused notions of the protagonist successfully as the audience was meant to assume him to be a psycho. Travis in the latter half of the movie, fails in repeated attempts to get his love back and finally makes up his mind to assassinate the Senator only to flaunt his prejudice. After a failed Palantine assassination, Travis freeds himself from frustration as he guns down three men who he holds responsible for corrupting a girl's youth in a brothel to rescue a 12 year old prostitute named Iris in an unsurpassed bloodbath. Scorsese proved himself a creative genius through Taxi driver. Only part remains undisclosed in movie is the reason Iris chose to run away from home only to become a prostitute at an age where she ought to be going to school, giving an uneasy feeling to the viewers. Like all the Scorsese directed films, redemption is the soul of the film. The audience, terrified and overwhelmed by urban crime will readily respond to any film about heroic vigilantism in future. Courtesy: Martin Scorsese. The review title pertaining to a stupidly cracked joke by Travis in the film, the drama is one of the most organized and a soulful drama made in the history of Hollywood.
2013-06-30
Taxi Driver (1976)-A Film With A Fatally Flawed Storyline
I watched Taxi Driver (1976) a couple of years ago & thought that it was a film with a fatally flawed storyline that didn't really deserve the big box office response & all the critical accolades it got.

However, now that I've just viewed Taxi Driver a second time, I must report that I STILL feel that it's a film with a storyline SO flawed that there is JUST NO WAY that I can consider it much more than a mediocre film, at best.

True enough, Taxi Driver is a film with some great qualities. The cinematography is exciting & innovative. The acting of the WHOLE cast is really superior.

However, all the great qualities of this film are for nothing, as far as I'm concerned, because, at least for me, if a film has a story line that is fundamentally flawed, then that just makes the rest of the film pointless. True enough, there plenty of fine films out there with improbable characters &/or improbable storyline elements where through good acting, & good direction they were able to pull off at least a semi-plausible, or semi-believable film. However, there are fatal flaws in the storyline of Taxi Driver that no amount of good acting or good direction would ever be able to overcome.

1) That cabbie Travis would take beautiful, educated, impeccably dressed, upscale campaign executive Betsy to a hard core porn movie on their first date is just STUPID. Look, Travis spent time in the Marines & he has a reputation of being the only cabbie who will take fares even to the roughest parts of NYC without getting into trouble, so he has lots of life experience & lots of "street smarts". Moreover, his social boldness in walking in off the street to talk to upscale Betsy, & his smooth, seductive language when he is wooing her in the campaign office & then again in the coffee shop belies a level of social sophistication that is beyond the narrative of this film. So why is a guy like Travis, who apparently has so much "on the ball" STUPIDLY taking an educated, upscale gal like Betsy to a hard core porn movie on their first date?

2) That Travis begins to get deranged & delusional after Betsy blows him off, & that he buys a number of guns, & starts to systematically stalk candidate Palatine & then, after his assassination attempt fails that he goes to rescue adolescent prostitute Iris, killing several guys in the process is pure BS. Having a BA & a MA in Psychology, I can tell you that mental illness just doesn't work that way. If Travis spent such a long time plotting the assassination of Palatine, then no simple foiled assassination attempt would allow him to focus his obsessiveness elsewhere. In reality, a paranoid borderline psychotic like Travis would just regroup for another attempt to kill the object that he has been stalking for so long, not just "turn on a dime" & choose a new object to kill.

3) That Travis is a deranged guy who has been plotting the murder of a Presidential candidate for a long time, & then starts a caring, empathetic relationship with the kid prostitute Iris is just from outer space. A guy who is as twisted as Travis, who spends 24/7 obsessed with killing a prominent person just doesn't take a "mental health vacation" & goes to express concern to a teenage hooker & has a rational conversation with her. SORRY, but the severe mental illness that Travis was exhibiting after Betsy blew him off just can't be switched on & off that way.

4) That Travis is hailed in the newspapers as a "hero" after he murders 4 bad guys while "rescuing" Iris is just STUPID. a) Replete with his Mohawk haircut, & unconscious to boot when the cops arrived after the big shootout, Travis would've been pegged as a bad guy who was in a shootout with other bad guys, & as a lowly NYC cabbie Good Luck talking your way out that corner. b) Even if the cops & the DA did recognize that Travis was not a bad guy but a misguided vigilante ala Bernard Goetz, chances are good that he'd still end up in prison for murder because not even bona fide cops have the legal authority to have the type of self initiated, unprovoked shoot out with the bad guys that Travis had.

5) That elegant, beautiful, educated, upscale, uptown Betsy actually seeks out the lowly cabbie Travis & makes overtures to him at the end of the film is UNREAL enough in itself but that Travis blew her off & just drove away leaving her standing in the street is just FANTASTIC, UNBELIEVABLE, & the stuff of children's FAIRY TALES not of an adult feature film.

For these reasons, & others, I must conclude that Taxi Driver is an otherwise OK film but with an ill conceived, bush league storyline that is not even worthy of a B-movie, much less international film awards. Obviously, writer Paul Schrader did no research on the complex personality that was the centerpiece of his screenplay.
2015-05-21
A story about a lonely man
Taxi Driver is one of the best films ever made. This is one of those films that you do not get tired of seeing and every time you watch it you realize a little detail that you have not seen before. Excellent actors, a good director, an impressive soundtrack and a real story are the main appeals of this film.

This film is about loneliness, about the isolation of a man in a society full of scum. His objective is to finish with the scum of the streets. The story uses a taxi driver as a metaphor of loneliness and it has some kind of irony because we can see that a city which is full of people can be the most lonely place for a man. The long nights in the city, the night environment full of whores, junkies, pimps and thieves are the main elements of the world in which Travis Bickle lives. Travis is an misunderstood guy who is seeking desperately for some kind of company because as he says 'loneliness has followed me all my life, everywhere' but at the same time he seems not to do anything to avoid his situation and it is seen when he goes with Betsy (Cybill Shepherd) to a porn cinema. At the end of the film the character makes real his most violent fantasies, with a look of certain soldiers from Vietnam, and he behaves like this because of his loneliness, his alienation and because he does not find any sense to his life. The violent behaviour becomes Travis into a hero, although he had killed many people and he could do it again. Although he acts with an extreme violence the spectator understand him and the reasons why he acts that way. The soundtrack of the film, which is composed by Bernard Herrmann, inspires some kind of loneliness and sometimes it is absolutely terrifying like in a horror film. This music and the slow camera showing the streets help to introduce the spectator into the world of Travis, to know what he is thinking about.

In general I cannot say any negative aspect of this film because I have not found anything bad. Although it is a film of the 70s it is not an old-fashioned movie because the essence of the story, the reality that is shown on it, can be perfectly referred to the current society. This film has the privilege of having made famous the sentence ‘You talking' to me? You talking' to me?' which will remain in the history of cinema. This is an authentic masterpiece.
2004-05-16
De Niro was outstanding!
I actually saw this for the first time this morning. I couldn't sleep and it was on at 4am. It was every bit as good as I was led to believe.

Comparing the two, I cannot see how this lost to Rocky at the Academy Awards. Scorsese fans will also agree that he deserved a directing award for this film. While De Niro and Foster were fantastic, I feel that Cybill Shepherd was equally good, and should have been recognized for her performance. This film won 18 awards out of 27 nominations. Basically only the Academy didn't get on the bandwagon. But, in all those nominations, none for Sheperd. I really think that was wrong.

Great film, and I will watch it again and again.
2007-04-27
Bleak and Depressive
The former marine Travis Bickle (Robert DeNiro) is insomniac and decides to work as taxi driver in the night shift. Travis is a lonely uneducated man that spends his leisure time watching porn films in the theaters. When Travis sees the gorgeous Betsy (Cybill Shepherd) working as a volunteer in the campaign for president of Senator Charles Palantine (Leonard Harris), he has a crush on her. He invites Betsy to drink coffee with him and later he dates her. However he takes her to see a porn Swedish movie and she feels offended and leaves him. Travis unsuccessfully sends flowers for her but she rejects him. Travis meets the young prostitute Iris (Jodie Foster) that is trying to flee from her pimp Sport (Harvey Keitel) in his taxi but Sport takes her from the car. Travis also buys several weapons from a dealer and practices shooting. When he meets Iris again, he is resolute to help her. Will Travis succeed in his intent?

"Taxi Driver" is a bleak and depressive film directed by Martin Scorsese about lowlifes and losers in New York. The lead character is an unstable taxi driver poorly educated and capable to bring his date to watch porn film since he does not know any other genre. Robert DeNiro has magnificent performance and Jodie Foster is amazing in the role of a twelve year-old prostitute. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Taxi Driver"
2015-08-24
See Also
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