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A mentally unstable veteran works as a nighttime taxi driver in New York City, where the perceived decadence and sleaze fuels his urge for violent action by attempting to liberate a presidential campaign worker and an underage prostitute.
In the words of a guy I once knew, "Taxi Driver was the best movie ever." Now while that man may or may not have existed, it still gave me an opening sentence and something to build upon. Martin Scorsese's 1976 classic 'Taxi Driver' remains one of the all-time classic films and contains perhaps Robert De Niro's best performance to date.
Review by Ramone
Added: March 2, 2008
The movie centers around a taxi driver named Travis Bickle (De Niro), as he struggles with his insomnia and severe psychological issues. He drives a taxi cab as he claims he can't sleep and the porn theatres don't work for him. He becomes infatuated with a local girl named Betsy (Cybill Shepherd) who works as an aide for the New York Senator running for President. After courting her, Travis takes her on a date but takes her to a porn theatre of which she is not a fan. He tries to reconcile with her, but she wants nothing to do with him which only adds to his already full plate of psychological problems. He begins to drift further and further from society and into his own little world. Despised by what goes on around him, the violence, the sex and drug use, he decides to do something about it. He then purchases many guns and begins working out to prepare himself for his mission. While doing these things he continues to drive a cab where he meets a 12-yr old prostitute named Iris (Jodie Foster) and her pimp Matthew (Harvey Keitel) or "Sport" as Iris calls him. Travis feels a need to save her from this life and goes to extreme lengths to do so.
The character of Travis Bickle is one that has fascinated me for years. While it is clear that he has severe psychological problems, it is never fully explained as to where it comes from. Bickle, a Vietnam vet and a Marine, was given an honorable discharge for his service. It is possible that he is shell-shocked from the war, as many people were. Travis' severe problems with isolation, racism and violence, seems to stem from a hatred of society and the garbage that he sees on the streets of New York every night. He often talks about how he would like to clean up the streets and just wipe everyone off it. I believe that if this indeed did happen Travis would have trouble adjusting to it and find his life incomplete. It is the depravity that he sees on the streets that fuels him through his days. The hatred for it and the desire for it to change is what gives his life meaning. But when you take away that fuel, what else is he going to run on? He has no other basis on which to live his life.
This marks the 2nd movie that Scorsese did with Robert De Niro. The first being 1972's "Mean Streets", which also had Harvey Keitel in it. Scorsese and De Niro would go on to do countless other movies together including Raging Bull, GoodFellas and Casino. Taxi Driver was nominated for 4 Oscars including Best Picture and Best Actor. It also has some fantastic performances from its supporting cast like Peter Boyle and Albert Brooks.
Taxi Driver remains a classic to this day and it will always be a movie that all generations can relate to. A brilliant screenplay by Paul Schrader and a killer soundtrack by Bernard Herrmann gives this movie the backdrop it needs to tell this deep, emotional story.
- added March 2, 2008 at 10:06pm
I bought this movie so long ago, and it's still in
its wrapper. I really need to see it. God knows
why I haven't yet.
- added March 3, 2008 at 12:17am
This is another film -- "Does it need a critique
or review?" Everyone knows it's a masterpiece.
No need to re-hash. Once again, some films are
too good for ratings.
- added March 3, 2008 at 12:26pm
Aside from Raging Bull, this is DeNiro's finest
performance. Hands down.
- added May 25, 2008 at 2:40pm
Great movie and probably my favourite of all
DeNiro's performances. While I must say, nothing
really happens until the last 10 minutes of the
film, it is still enjoyable none the less. My only
problem though, are those last 10 minutes. I found
it kinda unbelievable, and unintentionally funny.
How he gets away free in the end is beyond me. He
was even considered a hero. I know he killed scum,
but things just don't work like that. I dunno,
maybe things were different back then, but you
would think he would have been questioned a lot
by the authorities or given a trial for murder or
self defense or something. 8/10 for me, still a
- added May 25, 2010 at 1:59am
Loved this movie, but I never found it to be
perfect. Still a great watch though. 9/10
- added May 26, 2010 at 8:52pm
When this was in the theatre, I went and watched
it at least twice everyday. Love this flick.
Haven't seen it in years. Have to make a point to
see it again.