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Taxi Driver (1976)

 -  Crime | Drama  -  8 February 1976 (USA)
8.4
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 370,275 users   Metascore: 93/100
Reviews: 786 user | 201 critic | 8 from Metacritic.com

A mentally unstable Vietnam war veteran works as a night-time taxi driver in New York City where the perceived decadence and sleaze feeds his urge for violent action, attempting to save a preadolescent prostitute in the process.

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Top 250 #71 | Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 26 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Concession Girl (as Diahnne Abbot)
Frank Adu ...
Angry Black Man
...
Melio (as Vic Argo)
Gino Ardito ...
Policeman at Rally
Garth Avery ...
Iris' Friend
...
...
Tom
Harry Cohn ...
Cabbie in Bellmore
Copper Cunningham ...
Hooker in Cab
...
Travis Bickle (as Robert DeNiro)
...
Soap Opera Woman
Harry Fischler ...
Dispatcher
...
Nat Grant ...
Stick-Up Man
Leonard Harris ...
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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 Palantine. He becomes obsessed with her. After an incident with her, he believes he has to do whatever he needs 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. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

He's a lonely forgotten man desperate to prove that he's alive. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

8 February 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Taksist  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,300,000 (estimated)

Gross:

SEK 6,283,970 (Sweden)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

(re-release)|

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Paul Schrader was inspired to write the script after reading the published diary of Arthur Bremer, the man who was convicted of shooting presidential hopeful George Wallace. Eerily, Bremer was 26 years old in 1976 (the year the film was released), the same age as Travis Bickle in the film. And Schrader himself was 26 when he first wrote the screenplay, in 1972. See more »

Goofs

The glass into which Travis drops the Alka-Seltzer tablet suddenly appears in front of him. Only a coffee cup was there before. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[a telephone rings loudly]
Personnel Officer: [to the dispatcher] Harry, answer that.
[to Travis]
Personnel Officer: So whaddya want to hack for, Bickle?
Travis Bickle: I can't sleep nights.
Personnel Officer: There's porno theaters for that.
Travis Bickle: Yeah, I know. I tried that.
Personnel Officer: So what do you do now?
Travis Bickle: Well, I ride around nights mostly... subways, buses... I figure, you know, if I'm gonna do that I might as well get paid for it.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The X-Files: Small Potatoes (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Hold Me Close
Lyrics by Keith Addis
Music by Bernard Herrmann
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A wonderfully engaging and convincing slide into a modern madness from a director and actor showing some of their best form
13 February 2006 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Travis Bickle is a Vietnam veteran who cannot sleep at night and just ends up travelling around. To try and use the time effectively he becomes a taxi driver. Things start to look up for him as he works nights and slowly starts to live a little bit. He meets a girl, Betsy, and arranges to see her a few times despite the fact that he is a little bit out of the ordinary – a quality that seems to interest her. His connection to the night allows him to see young prostitute Iris being bullied by her pimp Matthew and he begins to see his role to perhaps save her – him playing his part in cleaning up the sewer that he feels New York has become. However when his view of normal life puts Betsy off him he starts to retreat more and more into the night, looking for meaning in his life and growing more and more outraged by the world he is part of.

Hardly the most uplifting of films it is engaging and impressive and truly deserves the reputation it has. Martin Scorsese and Paul Schrader have produced a film that convincingly portrays a man cut out of society who has the slightest connection to normality before finding it eroded away. The script is brilliant because the detail is engaging but it is this descent into a very modern type of madness that drives the film forward. Travis has just enough about him that is recognisable that it makes it so easy to go along with the rest of his madness. A major part of this is getting the feeling right about living in a cesspit; a city that seems to have forgotten its way morally – New York is the strongest example but elements of it could be parts of any city I suspect. In painting this world in such a real way, Scorsese has made Travis all the more convincing and, to a point, all the easier to follow in his fall. Like I said it is not a film to morally uplift you but one that is depressingly fair. There is no redemption in this modern world and although it appears that the violence at the end somehow redeems Travis in reality by showing "society" accepting his action it drags the rest of us down nearer the world that he hates and has become part of. I love King of Comedy for the same reason albeit in a different world.

Scorsese injects a real understanding of the place and a real sense of foreboding into even the earliest scenes. He inserts clever and meaningful shots into scenes that other directors might just have filmed straight and his choice of scene and shot compliments the script is depicting Travis descending into madness. What makes the film even better is De Niro showing the type of form that makes his recent form such a major disappointment. He is outstanding as he moves Travis from being relatively normal to being eaten up from the inside out. His eventual implosion is impressive but it is only as impressive as the gradual slide he depicts over the course of the film. Although he dominates it, others impress as well. Foster stands out in a small role, while Keitel makes a good impression as the pimp. Shepherd is not quite as good but her character was not as well written as the others so it isn't all down to her. Regardless, the film belongs to De Niro and although the quotable scenes are the ones that are remembered it is in the quieter moments where he excels and shows genuine talent and understanding.

Overall an impressive and morally depressing film that deserves its place in cinematic history. The portrayal of a city and a man slipping into moral insanity is convincing and engaging and it shows how well to "do" modern madness and the effects of the moral void of parts of society. Scorsese directs as a master despite this being at an early stage in his career and De Niro is chillingly effective as he simply dominates the film in quiet moments and quotable moments alike. I rarely use phrases like "modern classic" because I think they are lazy but this is one film that certainly deserves such a label.


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