ZLMC001: Taxi Driver (1976) [Spoiler Alert!]


Directed by Martin Scorsese
Written by Paul Schrader

Robert De Niro
Jodie Foster
Albert Brooks
Harvey Keitel
Peter Boyle
Cybill Shepherd

The time period for watching Taxi Driver is 4/15 (today) until 4/28 (a Saturday). The dicussion period will last from 4/29 to 5/12.

As far as I'm concerned the watching and discussion period don't have to be that separated and you can start discussing Taxi Driver as soon as you're done watching it. If you visit the discussion before watching the film do so at your own risk.

Where to begin. I must say I was one of the guys who voted for this one.. I also wrote a review of it. I cant say enough about this film. Its a good film to start a discussions with because of its sheer power and its study of human psyche's. Travis Bickle is possibly the most complex character I have seen in film. Ironically De Niro's performance as Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull, is the only film I can think of that rivals this performance. I would like to get in a discussion with some of you guys about some of the individual scenes. You know, dissection and so forth. I look forward to hearing from Dan, Les, Jim, Bertie, Buddy, Sebreg, Roy W., and JenHowel (along with who I didnt mention).

You talkin' t' me? [sorry, couldn't resist].

TAXI DRIVER is a serious movie, a realistic movie - perhaps not believable in its entirety, but individual scenes are very believable. Two for-instances: the scene when Bickle tries to assassinate the senator and is chased off, and the scene when he guns down the pimps running the under-age prostitute (played superbly by Jodie Foster). This latter scene, in particular, is one of the most convincing scenes of violence in any American movie.

I find it to be very believable. The circumstances may be a little unorthodox, yet the personality of Bickle is very realistic. I sense that there are people like that everywhere. One thing I really love about this film is how he has such distorted views on things. He cares enough for Iris to want to protect her and help her get from underneath Sport's thumb, yet his solution is a psychotic one. Why? I think maybe because he doesn't know any better. He is like a little kid that wants to do bad grown up things. He is so responsible for how he feels yet he doesn't think so. Paul Schrader possibly wrote the best screenplay ever with this film..

I agree with Bertie in part about some of the unbelievability. What I didn't buy, what stuck out to me, was that a man could be so cut off from society as not to know that you don't take a woman to a porn movie on your first date, to not have even enough normalcy to go check out "Jaws" instead or whatever.
Also, the way society accepts him at the end, after his rather psychotic incident in the hotel. I mean, he was sticking an imaginary gun to his head with a crazy mohawk, yet he's lauded as a hero? It was pretty bizarre to me.
I did find his character to be believable over-all, but these two things stuck out.

The funny thing is, I actually had a normal seeming guy ask me to watch a porn tape on the second date. He asked after being turned down for sex. He was supposed to be a good christian boy. Goes to show you.

I am really glad to have re-watched "Taxi Driver". The first time I viewed this film, several years ago, I was not overly impressed by it. This time, however, I was much more able to appreciate it, partially because of paralells to Dostoevsky which I noticed. (Not to be all pretentious and crap.)
The theme of the isolated loner, however, was treated very well, and much as in Crime and Punishment and Notes from the Underground and "Taxi Driver" has the advantage of giving us the view of the world from Travis Bickle's eyes. A sordid, scum-filled place in almost eternal night. Not a happy movie, but definitely interesting and compelling.
I've been inspired to write my own review after reading yours, jblack. Please check mine out if you have time.

Now, I do disagree with a couple of things here Jenny. First, Tavis taking Betsy to the porn theatre is a great way of showing Travis' inability to grasp reality. I think that scene really depicts how disfunctional travis is. He doesn't know any better. second, the ending where he puts his finger to his head is signifigant in the fact that...A: Nobody else is in there but Iris when he does that, and I don't think she really notices because she's too freaked out that there's dead people and blood all around her. I think scorsese is trying to show us really what Travis is thinking. He tried to kill himself but he was out of bullets. So, hemimic's suicide expressing to us he really wish he could go through with it. What do you think?

Hmmm... Well, it seemed to me that the cop holding the gun on him saw him as he was mimicking suicide, so it occurred to me that the cop might find him crazy. Plus, there's that whole weird mohawk thing. I got the whole he wanted to kill himself part, I just didn't buy that he'd be lauded a hero for his shooting spree necessarily.
As to the porn theatre, I totally understood it as a device to let us see how out of touch he is, but it's rather hard for me to believe that a guy could be quite THAT out of touch. But it did it's job nonetheless I suppose.
Oh yeah, don't call me Jenny. I only like Jen or Jennifer; don't ask why, it's just one of those things.
Oklahoma, huh? That means we're in the same time zone since I'm in Wisconsin. And it also means we're both equally crazy. Great, huh?

I didnt realize you would be touchy with name thing. Sorry. I'll refrain from trying to be cute. I didnt realize the cop was standing in the room either when he was mimicing suicide. I dont think he was. I'll have to watch it again I guess.

I hope you don't think I was offended. I'm not touchy, it's just "Jenny" it doesn't really suit me. I laugh at your worry. You are not pushy on the other list either. Man, I've got to go to bed, though. Good night/morning to you!
Just imagine - The modern Travis Bickle could just log onto the internet and make lots of virtual friends who he'd never offend by taking to porn movies.

You're the coolest Jen. I'm too paranoid sometimes. The sun is coming up, I'm hitting the hay. I talk at you tommorrow.

I preface this by saying that I have not read anyone else's impression/critique/etc. These are my views umencumbered.

I was prepared to hate this movie because I've so often been disappointed by films that are mass critical favorites. I've been pleasantly surprised.

I think with the impending execution of Timothy McVie, the Columbine Shooting and the rash of other delusioned white male shootings, I was prepared to dismiss Bickle as much of the same. I was not prepared for the uniting force of truth that is presented in this movie.

Travis Bickle, like lots of people stood too deeply in judgement of others. The voice-over technique gives, IMO, the false impression that he is somehow introspective. In truth he is extremely externally focused and that's why he goes crazy. There was no way for him to place such a leaden eye on everything without losing perspective.

That said, I begin to identify with the dread and loneliness of his situation after the scene where Sport and Iris dance. I felt the repulsion that drove Bickle. Watching Sport prey on Iris I understood feeling the world is a scummy place, feeling there are lots of people that don't deserve to live.

That said, he also has that irrational self-esteem issue, racism. This leads me to believe that ultimately he considers himself worthless. (This view is backed up by the Making of Documentary on the DVD. Paul Schrader says as much about Travis's racism and about his taking Betsy to the porn flick. He says ultimately Travis wants to sully Betsy.)

DeNiro performance is flawless. And on a shallow, girly note, he was so cute in the beginning. Later he looks crazy, but that's a testament to DeNiro's acting skills. I was only 3 when this movie was released, I don't remember his green days.

Martin Scorsese's direction was perfect. The script was engrossing. The sense of dread enhanced by the music. I think this movie could be called a horror flick more accurately than some movie's labeled as such.

More Shallow Thoughts
Cybil Shepard wasn't tootin her own horn, she really was sexy.

Did Little Kim take her look from the prostitute in the back of cab? She's a dead ringer.

I assume this movie was the inspiration for Taxicab Confessions?

OK. Random comments before I read everyone else's.

This movie made me feel like a luddite. The first blockbuster I went to only carried it on DVD. (Not related to the movie itself I realize but I wanted to mention it).

I'd never even heard of the movie so I didn't have any preconceived notions going in. I did think that the scene with them panning across all of the dead bodies was COMPLETELY unnecessary. (I'm squeamish and don't deal well with violent movies in general).

Did anyone catch the denomination of the crumpled bill? (my TV is small enough I couldn't)

Oh, and it disturbed me some to realize how much Travis reminded me of someone I knew in college.

I think Travis is supposed to remind us all of someone we know. I know a Travis as well. this film is far too great for me to illustrate any further. #7 all time.

It was a 20.

When and where do we start nominations for the second fillm?

It's already started! Come one, come all. We need more nominations!