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Taxi Driver
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Reviews & Ratings for
Taxi Driver More at IMDbPro »

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Admirable, if uncomfortable

Author: Framescourer from London, UK
9 November 2004

It's a thoroughly realized idea, Paul Schrader's script probably the best thing in it. Bernard Hermann's score is technically exemplary and also a full symbiotic partner of this very modern film. It's uncomfortably violent from start to finish but with only one gory set-piece, right at the denouement: a testament to actors and director alike who follow the narrative tension through onto the screen.

Despite these impressions however, it is nonetheless an awkward watch. Scorsese wants an urban panorama: he gets it with an contemporaneously experimental style - voice-over, a camera unfettered from the leading man, slow motion and other editing which suggests a visual thread represented from memory rather than continuous real-time. As a result the story is not told BY Travis Bickle (despite his own voice-over) but OF him, as divorced from him.

So, the film becomes about the relationships between the characters - not about the characters in isolation, about whom, disturbingly, we aren't allowed to care. Added to this a strong, contained central performance from de Niro (I'm not a huge fan, but good work is good work) and good support in the two relationships that drive the film (Shepherd and Foster, particularly the latter) and its impact is undeniable. 7.5/10

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

"Are you talking to me?"

Author: Grann-Bach ( from Denmark
8 November 2003

This movie is Scorsese's masterpiece; it is a realistic portrayal of one mans reaction to seeing the very extreme nightlife of New York: pushers, psychos, whores, the list goes on. After seeing the movie 4-5 times, I still have to admit, there are some scenes which I don't fully understand, but I can still somewhat appreciate them. Robert DeNiro's acting is superb, as is Cybill Shepherds, and Jodie Fosters. All of them play their respective character convincingly. All of the minor characters are also interesting; most of them are either a psycho, racist or just plain despicable, in some way or another. The transformation that DeNiro's character undertakes, from being a nice, gentle guy, to being a gun-toting self-help psycho, is amazing. It's got some slow scenes, but overall, I recommend this to anyone who likes a psychological drama, or any hardcore DeNiro fan. 8/10.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Perfect movie making

Author: Jason-Phillips
15 April 2003

Perfect movie making, that includes a great lead actor, director and scored with perfect music. Some can relate to either the narrative or/and the character development. My father believes the film meant a lot to him in the seventies coming back from a war he didn't want to fight in, so its interesting to see how reverent it is today. The ending confused me.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

De Niro was outstanding!

Author: lastliberal from United States
27 April 2007

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.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Martin Scorsese's masterpiece.

Author: paolo_pap2000 from Italy
1 January 2005

It's a beautiful and violent story that talk about a lonely man, Travis Bickle,and the city where he lives in.Driving by night, the protagonist meets the strangest people in the world. He hates New York because he think it's a dirty city with bad people. But at the end of the film he saves a 12 years old prostitute and kill her pimps, so he becomes a hero. The story, that is written by Paul Schrader, is full of violence, and bad words but at the same time it is also sad and a bit romantic. Robert De Niro is fantastic and Bernard Herrmann's music is good too. Taxi driver is one of the most beautiful films in the history of the cinema.

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Is this worth seeing?

Author: bandw from Boulder, CO
11 September 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This story of a Vietnam vet, Travis Bickle, who becomes increasingly isolated and alienated until he explodes in violence is a fine piece of film-making. When it was over I asked myself if it was worth watching and did not arrive at a definitive "Yes."

Travis works some of the sleaziest streets of New Your City. He drives his taxi against a backdrop of prostitutes, drug dealers, pimps, porno houses, and various lowlifes. He seems repulsed by what he sees, but in other ways obsessed by it.

He tries to make contact with Betsy (Cybill Shepherd) who is working on a presidential campaign. She initially shows some interest, but on one of their first times together Travis takes her to a porn movie and she is so disgusted she walks out on the movie as well as on Travis. This scene says a lot about Travis' social ineptitude, but it puzzles the viewer as well--if Travis is so turned off by the sordidness he sees, why participate in it? Before going into the movie he tells Betsy that she will like it and that indicates he is not a stranger to such movies; has he been going to them alone? This plays into the repulsion/obsession theme.

If the sordidness is what is driving Travis over the edge, why is his first target of violence the presidential candidate? Is it a way at striking back at Betsy's rejection, or just the manifestation of a confused mind? When Travis kills all of the lowlifes at the end, he is basically exonerated and applauded. If he had been successful in executing his first target, the movie would have had an entirely different outcome and audience reaction. In judging Travis it should be kept in mind that he could just as well have been an assassin as an avenger.

The acting is terrific. There are some iconic scenes like the taxi emerging from a cloud of steam and DeNiro's "You lookin' at me," scene. Jodie Foster turns in a good performance as a twelve-year-old prostitute and Harvey Keitel is perfect as a hopped up pimp. Interestingly, one of the scariest scenes has Scorsese himself playing a contentious fare in Travis' cab, with murder on his mind.

The original score by Bernard Herrmann alternates between being evocative of the sad and depressing street scenes and being overly intrusive.

I appreciated this as an accomplished work of art, but having been dragged through the hell presented, I was looking for some additional reward or meaning. The storyline of an alienated loner erupting in violence is not exactly breaking news. The one scene that was perhaps the most meaningful to me was between Bickle and his fellow driver "Wizard" (Peter Boyle). In his inarticulate way Bickle tries to tell Wizard that he is having some real problems and feels like he is going to explode. Wizard basically responds with the "Hey, everything is going to be OK," line. Maybe the message is that we should pay closer attention to what people are saying. But it is hard to see what is going to stop Bickle's slide toward the abyss.

I would like to have come away with a better understanding of Travis Bickle and his motivations. We know almost nothing of his life before we meet him, except for his tour in Vietnam. Did that contribute to his actions? But maybe the point is that there is no way to truly understand such a man.

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11 out of 20 people found the following review useful:


Author: tedg ( from Virginia Beach
22 December 2001

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Spoilers herein.

Readers of my other comments know that I believe that there are different types of films, depending on whether the skeleton is the writer's, the actor's, or the camera's. The more I use it, the more confidence I have that in general, one drives out the other. Just before reseeing this, I worked on `One-Eyed Jacks,' which is probably the touchstone of the actor driving out the eye.

But here, we have a happy accident of three talents that don't step on each other: DeNiro, Schrader and Scorsese. Of these, Schrader is the strongest and every deviation from his vision weakens the fabric. The one main example is Keitel's dance with Jodie.

The key device here is that the narrator is Bickle. Everything is/must be something he personally witnesses (until his death) and reports to us. The idea is far from novel. Why it works here is Scorsese's intuition to play the camera OFF of Bickle, while De Niro works to keep the attention on him. That tension (which Schrader intended) is what makes this work.

But this is not perfect. Keitel, like De Niro doesn't get this dynamic; we don't want De Niro to, that would ruin the main device because we want him to pull to himself against the camera. But when Keitel does his stuff, it has a negative effect because there is no narrative countermeasure..

Foster's presence was good enough when this film was new because the very idea of a 12 year old whore was enough. But seeing it a quarter century later, you can see her thinness compared to the rest of the cast. They really understand their characters and crawl into them. She has no idea, none at all.

Another problem is the cab metaphor. Paul didn't quite center that one. He did get it right later with the ambulance in `Bringing Out the Dead,' which used the same energy of selfish actor pulling one way and camera pulling another way. But that time, they fought over the vehicle at the same time they fought in your mind. And of course that had De Palma's eye.

Finally, the camera we see here has energy, but far less than what Scorsese's buddy De Palma was doing at this time. Imagine what De Palma (or Hitchcock) would have done with that angel shot after the massacre.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Another Pseudointellectual Movie

Author: dlpburke from United Kingdom
3 October 2015

This movie joins the likes of Dr. Strangelove, Citizen Kane, and 2001: A Space Odyssey . It's not clever at all and it's about nothing. Some mentally ill taxi driver boogies around at night - That's all. Most of the film is taken up by slow scenes, totally unrealistic dialogue and situations, and a totally unrealistic portrayal of New York, yet Taxi Driver is currently rated 8.4 on IMDb.

There are two reasons for this: One is that wannabe gangsters will vote any film like this high, and the other is that people like Roger Ebert are the perfect example of a modern day Emperor's New Clothes. If the plot and script are nonsensical, they'll hail it a masterpiece and tell you that you are just too stupid to see the genius involved (for the record, 2001: A Space Odyssey doesn't have ANY story at all, but is still called "deep"). Those of us with an ounce of sanity are not happy sitting through a film that's about nothing (with the exception of a few scenes with Jodie Foster, who plays an underage prostitute) and has a pace slower than a tortoise on whiskey.

The acting isn't bad, but the talent is wasted on a script as crap as this.

I'd only recommend watching this to tick the 'seen it' box.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A man's descent from loneliness into madness.

Author: The-Eternity-of-Time
15 September 2014

Taxi Driver depicts a characters isolation, alienation and loneliness from society. Taxi Driver is one of if not the greatest movie ever made and Robert De Niro's performance as Travis Bickle, a lonely and depressed young man is truly Iconic. Taxi Driver is about a man's isolation, alienation and loneliness in a society that is full of degenerates. Travis Bickle is a taxi driver that is suffering from insomnia and depression it is also evident in time that Travis is suffering from some sort of personality disorder, it is also obvious that Travis lacks the basic social skills that is required to function in society, One quote in the movie that haunts me is what did Travis mean when he said "I realize now how much she's just like the others, cold and distant, and many people are like that, women for sure, they're like a union", was he referring to his relationships with people from being socially inept when he said that women are "cold and distant" or was he simply paranoid? What did he mean? I suppose we will never no. These factors make a dangerous cocktail in a society that is lacking law enforcement. I believe that Taxi Driver is a good precursor or indicator of what can happen when mentally impaired or imbalanced people are neglected in society.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Taxi Driver

Author: curryandrice from Japan
15 September 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I never watch young Robert De Niro until then. He is so cool. He acts a man, Travis, has a sense of justice, but he eats junk food and watches a pornographic film. He is inconsistent. Travis is taxi driver. He hates the world that he lives, but drives taxi. If I don't like the world, I works in my house, or office. Why does he work outside? Travis is a good man. He wants to change the world. In Taxi driver, Travis often sees a back seat in a mirror of taxi. Hitchcock likes to incorporate his sexual expression in his films. Peep is incorporate in Taxi Driver. Peep is doing gaze from a hall. I also like the music of the opening and ending. The same music is used.

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