Taxi Driver (1976)
Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, Jody Foster, Cybill Shepherd
Synopsis: Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro), is a mentally unstable Vietnam war veteran works as a nighttime taxi driver in New York City. Suffering 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. For him, the one bright spot in New York humanity is Betsy (Cybill Shepherd), a worker on the presidential nomination campaign of Senator Charles Palatine. He becomes obsessed with her. After an incident with her, he believes he has to do whatever he needs to to make the world a better place in his opinion. One of his priorities is to be the savior for Iris (Jodie Foster), 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 (Harvey Keitel).
Trivia: Travis Bickle’s famous “You talkin’ to me?” scene may have been inspired by Robert De Niro’s training under Stella Adler, who (as an exercise) had her students practice different interpretations of a similar phrase. The legendary acting teacher was surprised to see one of her former students use “You talkin’ to me?” as a psychotic mantra. Martin Scorsese was encouraging De Niro just below the camera while shooting the scene, which lead to the rest of the “dialogue” Bickle has with his mirror.
Why I think you should see this: Martin Scorsese is one of the greatest directors of all time and this is the film that really put him on the map. Robert De Niro is hauntingly brilliant as the disturbed Travis Bickle and Jodie Foster is amazing as the young prostitute Iris. This is not my favourite of Scorsese’s but those wanting to get to know his work should check this one out because it is the most raw of any of his films. This is a really interesting look into the mind of a Vietnam Veteran and should be watched by any movie enthusiast.