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Taxi Driver
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Taxi Driver More at IMDbPro »

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63 out of 117 people found the following review useful:

Still don't get it?

Author: Ghenghy from Charlotte North By God Carolina
21 August 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Just forced myself to watch this film again for the third time thinking maybe I had some Natural Born Killer prejudice against this movie, which I kicked, but after painfully sitting through this thing again for the last time all I can say is I'm tired, depressed, and befuddled at the high praise for this darkly disturbing film. Or maybe that's the alure for some people. If you look at the votes for this thing people either love it or hate it. I'm mostly indifferent. The problem I have with Taxi Driver is that there are too many unanswered questions about Travis' background, experience in the Marine Corp, etc. We know he was discharged while Vietnam was winding down but we don't have a clue what the source of his "instability" is! Are we to assume that he had suffered some sort of trauma during the war...did he ever see any action...was he really discharged because of his instability? In fact, the guy seems perfectly normal other than a slightly obsessive compulsive complex which 70% of society is sporting, and he can't sleep. Awwww, poor thing. Well neither can I, and a lot of people can't sleep at nights. Does that alone make Travis a candidate for the nuthouse? Nope. The truth is, we don't know what his problems stem from and that is a major problem with this movie. His descent is so spontaneous when Betsy reacts about being dragged to an adult film, and he just snaps, we don't know why?!? (spoiler alert) Next thing you know the guy is buying guns like there's no tomorrow to feed his all-of-a-sudden John Wayne complex that springs from a source we can't as an audience connect with. Good performances overall don't salvage the many holes that litter the canvas of this highly overrated drama. And somebody please explain to me all this talk about Travis searching for "redemption", from WHAT>?>? Jeez! The final shootout is a little too reminiscent of the Wild Bunch where spurting blood and bad editing wooed critics all around. Amazing. 6/10

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

"Here is a man who would not take it anymore".

Author: classicsoncall from United States
16 April 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In a calculated exercise, I watched "Raging Bull" and "Taxi Driver" back to back today. Two classics, and two films generally recognized by critics and fans to be among the best of all time. Personally, I think Bull was the better showcase for both De Niro and director Scorsese as the four years between films allowed both to improve on their respective crafts. In terms of favorites, that might be a moot point, as both are darkly disturbing and violent films, with main characters that aren't particularly honorable, much less likable.

Indeed, both characters, the fictional Travis Bickle and the real life Jake La Motta were haunted by personal demons that manifested as forms of mental illness. La Motta's brand of violence was legal inside the ring, what he carried into his personal life resulted in a lifetime of unintended consequences. The outcomes of fictional characters can be manipulated to suit the priority of the writer or director, so in the case of "Taxi Driver", the protagonist winds up as sort of a hero, at least to the parents of twelve year old hooker Iris. I'm not sure if the point of the film had anything to do with showing how one's life can turn on a second's notice or not. However when Bickle's assassination attempt on Palantine (Leonard Harris) was foiled, the succeeding events could have led to his own demise. Instead he's reborn, sort of. One could sequel the story after Betsy (Cybil Shepherd) gets a cab ride from Travis at the end of the picture, but it's probably better left to the viewer's imagination.

A tiny detail caught my eye in both pictures today which I'm sure I would never have considered had I seen them days or weeks apart. In the carnage of the shootout scene, when the cops make their presence in the doorway of the rented room, Bickle puts a bloody finger to his head simulating a gunshot, and two drops of blood drip from his finger. Scorsese used the same device again in "Raging Bull", when Jake La Motta is badly bloodied in his final fight against Sugar Ray Robinson. As the boxer sags against the ring ropes, the camera focuses on the top rope a few inches away from La Motta's outstretched arm. Two drops of blood fall from the rope to the canvas to further intensify La Motta's defeat. At the time, I couldn't say why I found that to be so fascinating, but now I do.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Urban Anomi.

Author: Robert J. Maxwell ( from Deming, New Mexico, USA
29 March 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A truly disturbing movie. Travis Bickle (Robert DeNiro), great name, falls into a mood of brooding, amorphous rage and is frustrated in his attempts to murder a politician. So he wipes out a couple of low-life pimps instead.

The story tracks him through his descent into insanity. Interesting folks are encountered along the way but have less impact than rubber bumpers have on a pinball. Cybill Shepherd and Peter Boyle, for instance. Boyle is one of a handful of taxi drivers, like DeNiro, who gather at a certain café to shoot the breeze on breaks. He's particularly funny in his working-class disinclination to think things through. "Them queers" have to get married and divorced in California, he says wonderingly. I saw this in the Castro Theater in San Francisco and the audience erupted in laughter. When DeNiro asks for advice and gets nonsense in response, Boyle asks, "What do you want, Bertrand Russell?"

The film is unusual for Martin Scorsese. His most successful work has been with solidary groups, like small time hoods and the Mafia, in which there is an agreed-upon set of rules, and everyone knows everyone else. This one digs into urban anomie. "Anomi" is a concept developed by the French sociologist Emile Durkheim and it means, essentially, "without rules." It's the kind of thing you experience when you drive into a vast strip mall parking lot and all the yellow lines guiding traffic have been erased. What do I do NOW, Ma?

Scorsese is examining a social world that, as an Italian Catholic, he really has had little contact with. The film was written by Paul Schrader who, as an ex-Calvinist, is a little more familiar with this sort of ontological anxiety. It crops up in the production design. When DeNiro makes his unfulfilling meeting with Jody Foster, the twelve-year-old whore, it collapses in misunderstanding but in the background there are a multitude of Catholic candles. The climactic scene has a voice reading a letter to DeNiro from Foster's square Midwestern parents, congratulating him for an act that was ancillary to his own agenda, which was evidently to bring the world down around his ears.

A film of the 1970s, it resonates less with audiences today. The racial troubles that were so headline-grabbing at the time show up less often in the news today. Not that the problem of race is solved, but the categorical thinking that divided us into two warring tribes has less relevance. The resentment simmers but has been cut off at the ankles, partly by our recent election of an African-American to the highest office in the nation. At the same time we have to admit that, as a nation, we are pustular with hatred for each other and for other countries that may not behave the way we want them to. Our leading presidential candidate has made it clear that he will go to war with Iran if Iran doesn't give up its nuclear ambitions. These attitudes come from the same place as Travis Bickle's.

Most powerful shot in the movie: the camera slowly moves in on a bubbling glass of Alka Seltzer on the table in front of Robert DeNiro. All that fizzing is but one step removed from the explosion that is to follow.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

An individual's fight- against loneliness and for justice.

Author: Boba_Fett1138 from Groningen, The Netherlands
18 February 2006

"Taxi Driver" is a beautiful portrayed of an individual who tries to do things his way, in the hectic and dangerous New York of the '70's. He already isn't a stable person to begin with (he's a Vietnam veteran) but through his loneliness and due to his own personal views and idea's of society and the world, he gets more and more consumed by the rotten society until he feels it is enough and decides to take matters into his own hands.

Beauty of the movie is that it gets interpreted by everyone in his or hers own way. Everyone sees some different things in the story and characters. I think this also was what writer Paul Schrader and director Martin Scorsese had in mind, while making this movie.

The story takes us into the world of Travis Bickle. We begin to see society through his eyes and we more and more begin to understand the character as the movie progresses. It makes his character not only a understandable one but also a very realistic one. Nothing in this movie is overdone or made to look better or worser than it is in real life.

The movie is made extra powerful through the performances of the cast. Robert De Niro is a sensational main lead and the supporting cast is also real great. Some well known actors that were still unknown at the time of this movie make an appearance, such as a very young Jodie Foster, Albert Brooks, Victor Argo and an almost unrecognizable young Harvey Keitel.

The entire movie is sensational- and with lots of style directed by Martin Scorsese, who knows how to set the right mood and atmosphere. The simple- but effective and realistic from Michael Chapman and the musical score by Bernard Herrmann (his last) also add to the atmosphere. Also of course the fact that New York City serves as the backdrop for this movie, gives the movie a typical dark and gritty feeling and atmosphere. Everything is slowly but powerfully build up in the movie and every sequences plays a significant role. A result of this is that the movie is filled with some unforgettable sequences, of which the famous 'You talking' to me?' sequence is the best known. But also the violent ending leaves a lasting impression.

It's still a movie that applies today, after 30 years now. Because lets face it, what exactly has been changed in society compared to 30 years ago and now? The subject and meaning of the movie could still apply to present day. It makes "Taxi Driver" a timeless and important movie that is a perfect reflection of society and already is worthy of the 'classic'-status.

Yet another essential '70's viewing.


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13 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Dead end streets...

Author: Merwyn Grote ( from St. Louis, Missouri
28 June 2004

Travis Bickle is the sort of person you wouldn't even see if you encountered him on the street -- and if you did take note of him, you would make a point to ignore him. He is a non-entity. In his role as a cabbie, you would be aware of him only in the same way you would notice the color of the upholstery or be aware of a strange smell inside the cab. On the rare occasion that Travis might make his presence felt, you would tolerate his existence -- maybe even graciously acknowledge him with a smile or a noncommittal comment. You would only remember Travis if he said or did something particularly rude or offensive or bizarre; and then only as long as you might remember what you had for lunch or what your horoscope said.

There is no reason to remember, or to feel bad about not remembering, a Travis Bickle because he has no real effect on your life. He does a job, he fills a space; just like millions of other anonymous everyday workers. But the sad thing about Travis is that he has no real effect on anyone. Most people have a life -- family, friends, interests, a purpose beyond being part of the machinery. Travis only has a job. You would not notice Travis, but Travis might notice you. And judge you: He might decide that you are part of what makes life worth tolerating, but more likely he might see you as part of what makes the world an unbearable hell.

It is the nature of film that when it casts an eye toward the "little guy," the attempt is to show that the ordinary man has something extraordinary about him that society is missing -- even if that is just an everyday niceness. This being a Martin Scorsese film, written by Paul Schrader, filmmakers with a near-suicidal view of mankind, the point of TAXI DRIVER is just the opposite. If Travis Bickle is a remarkable person in any sense, it is in a negative way. Travis is not a good man; he is petty and mean-spirited and bigoted and self-absorbed and judgmental. He views the world with contempt; he has to, he has to have more hate for the world than he has for himself.

TAXI DRIVER is the story of a man living the proverbial life of quite desperation. In self-imposed isolation, Travis is mentally unstable, and probably was long before the film starts. The film supposedly is loosely based on THE SEARCHERS, but it has much more in common with PSYCHO. Travis, like Norman Bates hides his insanity behind a facade of banality and nurses it with his loneliness. Insignificant men with a significant amount of pent up anger. The main difference -- and it is a telling difference -- is that we don't see Norman's rage until the end, it takes us by surprise; while we never doubt that Travis has inner demons. What Travis does is a foregone conclusion.

Paul Schrader's dark, oppressive script pointedly refers to Travis as a walking contradiction, often at the cost of the story's credibility. He's not particularly bright and at times almost shockingly slow, but his journal entries are surprisingly articulate. He declares a woman to be "an angel," but is dismayed that she is offended by being taken to a porno film. He claims to have an honorable discharge from the marines, yet he seems to have been born yesterday, not even knowing the meaning of a common phrase like "moonlighting." Schrader's superficial screenplay is long on obscenities and racial slurs, but short on simple logic.

The shortcomings of the script are offset to a great degree by solid performances and Scorsese's stylish direction. As Travis, Robert DeNiro is in virtually every scene and even though the screenplay falters at various times, DeNiro holds the film together with a consistency of tone and insight. Forgoing his usual bombastic method posturing (during most of the film), DeNiro plays Travis with a compassion that makes this otherwise horrid little man pitiable, if not sympathetic. He makes us care for Travis, even though the story offers us no real reason to. Jodie Foster, playing the child prostitute to whom Travis hopes to play savior, still has the youthful freshness and wise innocence that made her a treasure as a child actress. (Though I have trouble respecting Scorsese for casting a 13-year-old child, even one as mature and worldly as Foster, in a part that is so squalid and degrading.)

Scorsese sees in Travis' New York City a teeming cesspool, but with cinematographer Michael Chapman, he makes it the most photogenic cesspool imaginable. He doesn't romanticize New York, but he does romanticize Travis' seething hatred of the city. However, he does wisely counterpoint Travis grubby view of the world with a sense of a real world, where friends and coworkers joke and talk and, well, exist. Unlike RAGING BULL, GOODFELLAS and CASINO, Scorsese films where psychotic characters exist in closed worlds where their lunatic behavior seems the norm, TAXI DRIVER underscores Travis' outsider status by giving us a realistic world that he is isolated from. As such, TAXI DRIVER has an honesty that his other violent epics lack.

But Scorsese provides us with at least two scenes that ring utterly false. His own gratuitous cameo as a passenger graphically boasting of his plans to murder his wife seems to be Scorsese's way of showing that there are people who are even crazier than Travis. Why? To suggest that Travis is justified in his paranoia? Also the final climatic bloodbath provided only a cheap shock at the time and now seems like a tiresome cliché of special effects gore. Such over the top mayhem doesn't underscore the brutality of the violence, it trivializes the rest of the film. TAXI DRIVER, like DeNiro's performances, is best in its still moments of quiet desperation.

The irony of the violence is that it eventually makes Travis famous, though it could have just as easily have made him infamous. The bullets that kill the pimp could have killed the politician. In Travis' mind they are pretty much the same. Unfortunately, I don't think some people get that. Travis, in the end, is not a hero, he is a murder. He is not purged of his demons; they are just temporarily placated. The famed "you talking' to me?" scene has reached iconic status, symbolic of tough-guy cool -- not unlike Dirty Harry's "Make my day." But both Travis and Harry are dangerous icons; filmgoers delude themselves into accepting their insane displays of violence because the right make-believe characters get killed. They are protected by the fantasy of film; in the real world they would eventually be revealed to be the monsters. To his credit, Scorsese at least suggests that in the end Travis Bickle is still insane, and armed and dangerous. Even so, the ending is uncomfortably ambiguous: I don't think that Scorsese is as afraid of Travis' insanity as he is in awe of it.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Well-Made Film, Though Not Sure It Stands Time For Me

Author: gavin6942 from United States
29 August 2009

A taxi driver (Robert DeNiro) grows sick of the filth he sees in society, or at least New York. Attracted to a political campaign volunteer (Cybil Shepherd), he tries to find some redeeming qualities in life... but his brief hope in politics is dashed and he realizes the only way to clean up New York is with his own hands.

I am unsure how I feel about "Taxi Driver". I liked it. Martin Scorsese and Robert DeNiro are a great team, and the gritty violence of this film really is portrayed in a way that captures the viewer in a death grip. Jodie Foster is amazing, especially considering her age, and the historical place this movie has (given the Reagan shooting and all) makes it timeless regardless of the film's merits.

But it has its flaws. The film quality is grainy (though, as i say, this adds to the gritty feeling). Harvey Keitel, despite being a great actor, is in the wrong role. And compared to some of Scorsese's other work, this doesn't come across to me as some of his better material. His more recent contributions -- "The Departed" and "Gangs of New York", for example -- are vastly superior in pretty much every way. While "Taxi Driver" is not a bad film, it is easily overshadowed by the other Scorsese offerings.

If you haven't seen it, I would recommend you do. If for no other reason than giving Scorsese a fair chance, this is worth checking out. The man has been sidelined for too long and someday critics and other people will look back and see his body of work as powerful and influential art.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Utterly Amazing film and is unquestionably one of the greatest films ever made in my opinion WARNING!!!!!! SPOILERS!!!!!!

Author: callanvass
28 October 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Utterly Amazing film and is unquestionably one of the greatest films ever made in my opinion Robert Deniro is one of the best actors of all time and his performance here is spellbinding (but more on that later). This film has incredible direction by Martin Scorsee and amazing performances all around. beware the finale is not for the faint of heart for casual viewers as it was incredibly graphic for it's time kinda tame now still very graphic indeed we get a very graphic gunshot to the head with blood and brains splattering on the wall a knife in the hand and arm blood everywhere in the finale and a few more graphic bloody gunshot wounds. For some reason i felt a little uneasy while watching this film but in a good way i was deeply disturbed by some of the scenes SPOILERS!! watching DeNiro fiddle around with those guns made me feel uneasy. The Acting is no doubt Oscar Worthy Robert Deniro is quite simply one of the best actors there ever was and ever will be (sorry to get off subject here when i say Arnold Schwarzenegger is my favorite actor i mean he's the most fun to watch not the best as far as acting goes in fact he's not really that great of an actor he is just a fun guy to watch. just wanted to let people know that Now Deniro is no doubt my favorite as far as acting is concerned and his performance here is simply amazing astounding words can't describe it he had me squirming in my seat with a sense uneasiness always he deserved to win That Oscar by far YOU RULE BOBBY!!!!!. Cybill Sheppard is beautiful and does great here wish she had more screen time though. Peter Boyle is also good here in his very limited screen time. Jodie Foster is an amazing actress and she took on a tough role here and did a wonderful job!. Harvey Keitel is the man and he cracked me up and looked funny with long hair (or was that a wig). Overall this is unquestionably one of the greatest movies ever made SEE THIS THIS INSTANT!!! ***** out of 5

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Taxi Driver: Scorsese´s final seduction ...

Author: latsblaster from Örebro, Sweden
18 June 2003

"Taxi Driver" is in a way one of the most timeless movies ever, inspired by "The Searchers" directed by John Ford. The acting, the music, the direction, the script and the editing are all close to perfect. If you want to see a film by Martin Scorsese, see "Taxi Driver" first - it will always will be his most interesting feature.

Even if just a couple of movies have the right to be called Classics, "Taxi Driver" must be one of them.

Robert De Niro is a fine actor and this is his best performance up to date. It is perhaps only "Taxi Driver" that has convinced me that Martin Scorsese is a great director and that Robert De Niro has a huge capacity as an actor. I think that the other things that I have seen by this couple is not even close to "Taxi Driver".

Martin Scorsese´s masterpiece has turned to be one of the most referenced modern movies ever. "Taxi Driver" is not pathetic, but still it gives the viewer such strong emotions from start to end, simply because of the strong job by Scorsese (and his team) that he surely won't surpass.

Rating: 10 of 10.

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

A Masterpiece

Author: Michael_Elliott from Louisville, KY
13 March 2009

Taxi Driver (1976)

**** (out of 4)

Scorsese's masterpiece is a raw, powerful and nerve wrecking look at depression and loneliness. The film centers on taxi driver Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro), a man clearly with his own demons who finds a purpose in life when he meets a 12-year-old hooker (Jodie Foster) who he plans on saving from her pimp (Harvey Keitel). To me this is one of the richest films ever made and it's one that can easily be overlooked in some circles if you don't really connect to what the film is trying to say. I didn't care too much for the movie the first few times I watched it because I was too young to really understand depression and loneliness. After I understood what those things could do to a person is when I fully became aware of the power in this film and today it remains one of the most powerful films ever made. To me the entire film is pretty much about Travis trying to find someone to fit in with but of course it never really happens until he meets the hooker. He tries fitting in with the Cybill Shepherd character but falls flat on his face. He tries fitting in with his co-workers but that doesn't work out too well. No matter what Travis tries he keeps ending up alone and as he put it, he's God's lonely man. This film works on so many levels but I think the psychological one is where it's best at. Getting us into the mind of Travis works for many reasons but the biggest keys are the direction by Scorsese, the brilliant music score by Bernard Herrmann and DeNiro's groundbreaking performance. Putting those three things together is what makes this a classic but we can also throw in the screenplay by Paul Schrader, which rightfully gives the movie the time and patience to let the Travis character grow right in front of our eyes. DeNiro's performance is certainly one for the ages, although I think he would get even better with Scorsese's RAGING BULL, which would follow in four years. His performance here is nothing short of amazing because you can't help but be terrified by this guy because of the look in DeNiro's eyes. You can't help but feel sorry for him at the same time because there are countless moments where he embarrasses himself because he simply doesn't know how to fit in. The word anti-hero gets used a lot and perhaps that's a good term but I think it's something much deeper than that. DeNiro hits all the right marks without a false note anywhere. Foster is also impressive in her few scenes in the film as is Keitel as the pimp. Shepherd is also good as his Albert Brookes and the underrated Peter Boyle who has one of the best scenes in the movie where he's trying to talk some sense into Travis. The visual look of the film is mighty impressive and Scorsese's directing style is nothing short of amazing. The slimy looking streets and the dark atmosphere are one of a kind and something many films tried to copy but could never get it as perfect as it is here. This here remains one of the greatest American films ever made and I'm really not sure any movie could top it in showing the effects that loneliness can have on a person.

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Great Story/ Great Acting

Author: whpratt1 from United States
30 December 2006

Robert DeNiro, (Travis Beckle) plays the role of a Viet-Nam veteran who is trying to find himself in the wild city of New York and drives a Taxi for a living. Travis witnesses all kinds of crimes against society and how a young girl named Jodie Foster, (Iris Steensma), is being used as a hooker and exploited by some very low life creatures. Travis becomes very committed to Iris and tries to straighten her life out. Travis decides he is going to do away with a certain politician and senator who is running for President. Cybill Shepherd, (Betsy) plays a great supporting role along with Peter Boyle, (Wizard). Robert DeNiro is so very young looking, I had to look twice in order to recognize him; there is lots of action, drama and some humor. Enjoy.

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