Taxi Driver is a 1976 American drama film directed by Martin Scorsese and written by Paul Schrader. The film is set in New York City, soon after the Vietnam War. The film stars Robert De Niro and features Jodie Foster, Harvey Keitel, Cybill Shepherd, and Albert Brooks in his film debut.
It is regularly cited by critics and audiences alike as one of the greatest films of all time including Roger Ebert and Richard Corliss. Nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, it won the Palme d'Or at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival. The American Film Institute ranked Taxi Driver as the 52nd greatest American film on their AFI's 100 Years…100 Movies list. In 2012, Sight and Sound named it the 31st best film ever created on its decadal poll, ranked with The Godfather Part II. The film was considered "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant by the US Library of Congress and was selected to be preserved in the National Film Registry in 1994.
Plot[edit | edit source]
Suffering from insomnia, disturbed loner Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) takes a job as a New York City cabbie, haunting the streets nightly, growing increasingly detached from reality as he dreams of cleaning up the filthy city. When Travis meets pretty campaign worker Betsy (Cybill Shepherd), he becomes obsessed with the idea of saving the world, first plotting to assassinate a presidential candidate, then directing his attentions toward rescuing 12-year-old prostitute Iris (Jodie Foster).
Cast[edit | edit source]
- Robert De Niro as Travis Bickle
- Jodie Foster as Iris "Easy" Steensma
- Cybill Shepherd as Betsy
- Harvey Keitel as Charles "Sport" Rain/"Matthew"
- Albert Brooks as Tom
- Leonard Harris as Charles Palantine
- Peter Boyle as "Wizard"
- Harry Northup as "Doughboy"
- Norman Matlock as Charlie T.
- Steven Prince as "Easy" Andy
- Martin Scorsese as Homicidal Passenger Watching Window
- Murray Mosten as Iris' Bouncer
- Diahnne Abbott as Porn Theatre Concession Girl
- Vic Argo as Melio, Store Owner
- Richard Higgs as Tall Secret Service Agent
- Garth Avery as Iris' Friend
- Bill Minkin as Tom's Assistant
- Joe Spinell as Taxi Station Personal Officer
- Nat Grant as Store Robber
- Robert Maroff as Anthony Sciloso, Mafioso with Iris
- Brenda Dickson as Actress in Soap Opera
- Beau Kayser as Actor in Soap Opera
- Debbi Morgan as Girl at Columbus Circle (uncredited)
Reception[edit | edit source]
Critical response[edit | edit source]
Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 98% based on reviews from 80 critics with an average rating of 9/10; the site's consensus states: "A must-see film for movie lovers, this Martin Scorsese masterpiece is as hard-hitting as it is compelling, with Robert De Niro at his best." Metacritic gives the film a score of 94 out of 100, based on reviews from 23 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".
Time Out magazine conducted a poll of the 100 greatest movies set in New York City. Taxi Driver topped the list placing at No. 1.
Schrader's screenplay for the film was ranked the 43rd greatest ever written by the Writers Guild of America.
By contrast, Leonard Maltin gave a rating of only 2 stars and called the film a "gory, cold-blooded story of sick man's lurid descent into violence" which was "ugly and unredeeming".