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.
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
In the diner scene, 12-year-old Iris adds sugar to her toast which is already covered in jelly. Some viewers interpret this character trait as Iris still being a kid at heart however this was not the intention. The other hooker who walks the streets with Iris in the film was an actual prostitute whom Jodie Foster shadowed to prepare for her role. The prostitute (played by Garth Avery) was also a heroin addict and one way in which she would quell her addiction was to add extra sugar to her meals. Jodie, being a very young but very observant and intuitive young actress, incorporated this character trait into the scene. See more »
In an earlier version, Iris's timekeeper discovers a weapon on Travis, disarms him, then returns it to him as he's leaving. The scene was edited out, but the gun is still in the timekeeper's hand when he looks at his watch. See more »
The original television version of the film featured the following disclaimer before the closing credits: "To our Television Audience: In the aftermath of violence, the distinction between hero and villain is sometimes a matter of interpretation or misinterpretation of facts. 'Taxi Driver' suggests that tragic errors can be made.- The Filmmakers." See more »
The first Norwegian theatrical release of this movie was cut a few seconds in the final shootout in the brothel but some years later the movie passed uncut. See more »
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.
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