T is for Taxi Driver

For this year’s A-To-Z Challenge, my theme is MOVIES. I will be working my way through the alphabet during the month of April with movie titles and short blurbs about each movie. Today’s movie is “Taxi Driver.”

“Taxi Driver” was a 1976 American film directed by Martin Scorsese and written by Paul Schrader. It starred Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Cybill Shepherd, Harvey Keitel, Peter Boyle, Leonard Harris, and Albert Brooks.

This chilling, disturbing film was a critical and commercial success, despite generating controversy for its graphic violence at the climactic ending, and casting of then 12-year-old Foster in the role of a child prostitute. Considered one of the greatest films ever made, the film received numerous accolades including the 1976 Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or, and four nominations at the 49th Academy Awards, including for Best Picture, Best Actor (for De Niro), and Best Supporting Actress (for Foster).

Di Niro plays Travis Bickle, an ex-Marine, veteran of Vietnam, composer of dutiful anniversary notes to his parents, taxi driver, and killer. Bickle takes to nocturnal cab-driving as a distraction from chronic insomnia. He is a casualty of the sex war as well as Vietnam, who is seeking to “rescue” first a presidential campaign worker, Betsy (Cybill Shepherd), and then a juvenile prostitute, Iris (Jodie Foster), from what he perceives as the cesspit of Manhattan.

In his job as a taxi driver, Bickle is constantly drawn to Times Square and the whores, street freaks, and porno houses. It’s a gritty part of the city known for the kind of sex involving the buying, selling, and using of people. His sexual frustration is channeled into a hatred for the creeps he is obsessed with. The city is populated with women he cannot have and with men who can have these women.

“Taxi Driver” is a brilliant nightmare of a movie with a cast that is close to perfect. Robert De Niro’s is outstanding as he moves Travis Brickle 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 from reality to moral insanity we witness during the course of the film. Cybill Shepherd, as the blonde goddess, is an ice queen who is strangely, if only briefly, attracted to the odd Bickle. And Jodie Foster is chillingly cast as a twelve-year-old prostitute whom Travis wants to “save.” Harvey Keitel is the tough, streetwise pimp who controls her.

Overall, the film is anything but uplifting. But it is chilling, engaging, and impressive. The clip I’m including, the official movie trailer, features just part of the classic scene where Di Niro does his “You talkin’ to me” line.

Previous A2Z 2022 posts: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

18 thoughts on “T is for Taxi Driver

  1. newepicauthor April 23, 2022 / 7:20 am

    What kind of guy would take a girl out to see a porno movie on the first date?


    • Fandango April 23, 2022 / 10:46 pm

      Apparently a guy like Travis Bickle.


  2. ghostmmnc April 23, 2022 / 11:51 am

    I seem to remember seeing this many years ago. Really all I ever remembered from it was that line, “You talkin’ to me’. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Marleen April 23, 2022 / 4:58 pm

    Jodie Foster has one of the most unique personalities in Hollywood.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nope, Not Pam April 23, 2022 / 8:54 pm

    Seems there was a time when movies were art, not political correctness

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Carol anne May 15, 2022 / 8:25 am

    awesome movie this is, I think you picked a great letter t movie!


  6. leigha66 June 13, 2022 / 11:20 pm

    Saw the first part of this in a movie class I took… unfortunately I missed the conclusion and it would be many years until I saw the rest of it. Good film!

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.