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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 10.45%
Average: 3.18%
Pretty Bad: 1.82%
Total Crap: 2.73%

8 reviews, 172 user ratings

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Taxi Driver
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by PaulBryant

"I’m God’s Lonely Man"
5 stars

“Loneliness has followed me everywhere; in bars, in cars, on street corners. There’s no escape.” So says Travis Bickle - taxi driver, Vietnam vet, insomniac, pill-popper, alcoholic - ticking time-bomb.

One of the premiere movies of the 1970’s, Taxi Driver still resonates today, having not lost a fragment of its power. Movies like this don’t come along everyday; movies that are so unique yet so universal, so subjective yet so encompassing, so stylish yet so simple, so complex yet so human.

Catapulting the careers of Robert de Niro (as Travis Bickle), Paul Schrader (the screenwriter), and Martin Scorsese (as director, and also in an intriguing speaking role in the picture), Taxi Driver will be remembered also as an immortal farewell to arguably the greatest of all film composers, Bernard Herrmann. The score, cinematography, subtle acting choices from De Niro, and bombastic directing efforts from Scorsese all coalesce with Schrader’s transcendental screenplay to frighteningly evoke the life of 1970’s New York.

“Are you talking to me? Well, I’m the only one here.”

Probably this is the most famous dialogue in pictures, and it occurs between a mirror and Robert De Niro. Staring intensely into the camera, the audience is shocked at the brooding frustration that so suddenly becomes De Niro’s unpremeditated outburst of anger. Just as powerful is an earlier sequence with Travis alone, watching an inane dance-show on TV, his foot precariously rocking the set back and forth, until finally it topples - along with his mental stability - to a violent crash on the hardwood floor. Bickle has felt his final straw, and his narration sums up how out of touch he is when he asserts to us that his “life finally has purpose” – a purpose which ironically comes from insignificance.

Travis starts off just wanting to “work long hours”, to make as much money as he can driving his taxicab “anytime, anywhere.” Gradually these long hours cause him to acquire bouts of insomnia, adding fuel to a warped vision of the human world that goes on around him. He pours booze over his cereal, holds clenched fists over open flames, and develops unhealthy (to say the least) obsessions with guns, a blonde (Cybill Shephard), a young prostitute (Jodie Foster), and a political candidate.

Travis’ life becomes a mountain of disappointment, discomfort, and radical obsessions, which build lethargically until he reaches what he sees as the end of his rope - the time where his life finally becomes ‘purposeful’. This is not family viewing, it is damning, introspective pondering on the purpose of man’s interaction with man.

Travis Bickle’s character may be the best work De Niro has ever done. Just as Anthony Perkins did with Norman Bates, De Niro creates an enormous amount of sympathy (though in a very different way) from an otherwise unsympathetic character. He feels so trapped, and his contradictions confound us so intensely, that we feel a horrible urge to reach out to him, talk to him - at least for the satisfaction we might feel if we could actually get through all the junk in his head. “I just want to become a person like other people,” is one of his particularly affecting lines, considering the corrupted views he has of other people.

The Martin Scorsese canon is probably the most impressive of modern (and still living) American directors. Taxi Driver (which was his first teaming with Paul Schrader, and defining alliance with De Niro) is quite possibly his most all-encompassing film. It focuses on a large number of the central themes of his work: the self-imposed isolation of a male lead, the obsession the man feels towards a beautiful blonde, the feelings of unadulterated frustration, and, most notably, New York City itself; wet, noisy, and inhuman.

The kinetic city exists in virtually every scene in Taxi Driver. If Travis isn’t outside in it driving his taxicab - driving through the “filth” - he’s in a crummy coffee shop, sitting by a window through which we see the flustered city raging behind him. As he says in his narration, “there’s no escape.” Travis cannot escape the madness and disconnectedness imposed on him by the city. People move always around him, avoiding him, almost magnetically repelled by him (as in one scene at a political rally, where crowd members unconsciously drift away from an approaching Travis) and are turned off when they do talk with him (fellow cabbie Peter Boyle has a great scene trying to converse with Travis) by his lack of articulacy, and bizarre manners.

It is impossible to watch Taxi Driver and not whistle Bernard Herrmann’s saxophone-driven melody for days afterwards. The score haunts me. No matter how long it has been since I’ve seen the movie, that lonely, echoing tune will eventually creep inexplicably back into my head. Every intonation and stylistic mannerism of the musician is married with the image that accompanies it; it’s imprinted somewhere, on some synapse in my brain. It conjures up wet city streets at night; long-focus, slow-motion images of a young Robert De Niro; an all-in-white Cybill Shephard with flowing blond hair. It is, just as the taxicab itself, the perfect incarnation of Travis Bickle. Herrmann knew exactly the same thing that Coppola knew when he made The Conversation: the saxophone can play the saddest music in the world.

In its depiction of man’s isolation within a supposedly connected setting, Taxi Driver is an awesome psychological study of the reactions a man can have to his environment. This is one man’s story. It relates, at some level, to all men; to all those who view themselves as islands in a great sea.

Travis is depicted as a rock that has gradually been worn down by the relentless crash of the ocean against it, which is what makes his story so timeless. Taxi Driver will live on as a horrifyingly detailed examination of the spiraling dissolution of the human mind into madness.

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originally posted: 02/03/05 11:51:38
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User Comments

11/27/17 Anne 1/2 hour viewed the 1st time gave it score 1. 2nd viewing, was more patient. Good film. 4 stars
9/09/17 morris campbell not bad but who cares its awful corny 2 stars
4/24/16 Ken Whoever thinks this movie is bad, has no good taste in movies. 5 stars
3/02/16 Corbin Boyle Gotta love the mohawk 4 stars
4/25/15 stanley welles a brilliant and compelling study of alienation, obsession and paranoia 5 stars
7/03/14 I am You 2 stars
3/24/14 Justin R. Exquisite. Go see it! 5 stars
2/27/13 David Hollingsworth Urban masterpiece of social malaise that is one of the greatest. 5 stars
8/21/12 edutra so overrated, so boring, and nothing takes place 1 stars
5/24/11 action movie fan thouroughly engrossing with realistic characthers and diolough very memorable 5 stars
6/08/10 Flathead King This film deserves its impressive reputation. 5 stars
6/01/10 User Name Robert DeNiro and Martin Scorsecce in a tour-de-force look at the grittier side of NY. 5 stars
10/25/09 Omar De Niro's best performance, along with "Raging Bull". 5 stars
9/29/09 harry lime this guy is crazier that ethan edwards 5 stars
6/01/09 Jeff Wilder One of Scorsese's numerous masterpieces. 5 stars
3/28/08 Renzo Classic 5 stars
8/12/07 Quigley Exceeded my expectations. Scorsese and De Niro are superb. An excellent film on every level 5 stars
4/11/07 josh Fantastic movie, i feel that travis died at the end, who else feels this? 5 stars
4/08/07 Chris Redmond Phenomenal. I feel sorry for the contemporary film-goer who needs instant, cheap thrills. 5 stars
4/04/07 David Pollastrini deNiro is very creepy in this 3 stars
12/22/06 Eric Phelps "You talkin' to me?" A kick ass movie. 5 stars
11/20/06 R.W.Welch Among the best directed movies. Oozes atmosphere. 5 stars
9/29/06 Josh Racine One of my top 5 of all-time. 5 stars
7/31/06 Lawry.Sabadi Lawry Kix Ass 1 stars
7/26/06 Sepi53 Great acting by Mr. De Niro 5 stars
4/30/06 Joshua Whoever hates this is a faggot. This movie kicks ass. 5 stars
4/11/06 Bean Maybe groundbreaking back when. Boring today. 1 stars
3/31/06 kerry Another highly overrated film.Pretentious and self-indulgent.Taxi Driver sucks 1 stars
12/20/05 Jeff Anderson Cold & bleak. See Francis Von Zerneck's chilling & brilliant GOD'S LONELY MAN instead!!!!! 2 stars
12/03/05 Gene Carmean One of the best 5 stars
11/18/05 John Dog "Are you talkin' to me?" 5 stars
11/05/05 Tim I honestly thought this was one of the worst films i've even seen. Nothing happens! 1 stars
10/16/05 Moctezuma This features DeNiro's greatest performance 5 stars
10/07/05 Johnny Powerfully intense. 5 stars
9/29/05 Michael Blower This film got me into movies 10/10 5 stars
9/22/05 Fritz Scorsese's best film. Dark, brooding, powerful, and brilliant. 5 stars
6/13/05 Agent Sands Brilliantly dissects with empathy, and gets the audience to side with, a psychotic killer. 5 stars
5/29/05 Jake A dark and powerful film 5 stars
5/08/05 susan varney intense drama loved de niro 5 stars
5/06/05 Regis A must-see. 5 stars
4/21/05 brody snozzer 1 stars
4/11/05 Ann Lemire A classic 4 stars
3/24/05 matjaž Scorsese stands for provocative only in 3 films -Taxi is one of them. 5 stars
3/14/05 Russ Gladchenko My favorite movie! 5 stars
3/12/05 craig varney riveting de niro 5 stars
3/05/05 kimerie jones I really enjoyed this movie it was funny and different 5 stars
2/26/05 Stephanie classic! must see it 4 stars
2/10/05 Colleen Goldrick The Best!! 5 stars
2/09/05 Kelly Greenwood DeNiro shines in this movie, loved it! 5 stars
2/09/05 Al Guy Damn! Still gripping, even in the 21st Century. 5 stars
2/05/05 bongeezer Back when Love stories had real heart...Sniff,Sniff 4 stars
1/28/05 Monday Morning The feelgood movie of the '70s. The best! 5 stars
12/19/04 Placekicker damn fine creepiness, de niro is never better 5 stars
12/18/04 chris. something missing...can't put my finger on it. but otherwise excellent 4 stars
12/09/04 juupx Greatt 5 stars
11/01/04 Willz Damn it's great! 5 stars
10/29/04 dave are you talking to me, are you talking to me 5 stars
10/23/04 UMER definitely the BEST EVER anti-hero movie 5 stars
10/03/04 Naka A tad bit overrated, but still highly engrossing. 4 stars
9/01/04 A upton Sweet 5 stars
8/31/04 Abbath Very good movie, but I can't help but feel as if it's somewhat incomplete. 4 stars
8/25/04 Sean Scanlan Wonderful line 5 stars
8/03/04 Evan Are you realy talking to me ? 5 stars
6/25/04 Karen Stockdale Looks dated now, but the acting, especially de Niro's, is perfection 5 stars
6/14/04 dfc A Scorsese masterpiece. NYC was really like that in the 1970s. 5 stars
5/26/04 Sergeant Hartman great acting, somewhat boring. 4 stars
4/26/04 The man with the plan The greatest film on earth 5 stars
4/24/04 The Last Temptation Of Travis Bickle Paradoxical final scene will leave you mistified and disturbed, if you notice it! 5 stars
4/18/04 Father Merrin Wow! Blew me away! Superb film. 1 of the best ever! De Niro is mesmerising! 5 stars
4/17/04 Morally Sound Changed the face of cinema forever! 5 stars
4/03/04 gray powerfull 5 stars
4/02/04 Jack Sommersby The screenplay lacks ratiocination, but it's effectively pungent and wonderfully acted. 4 stars
4/01/04 y2mckay De Niro and Scorcese at their most intense. This movie owns. Cybill looks good, too. 5 stars
4/01/04 sansho No denying its cinematic flair and influence, but i dislike the "cathartic" violent ending 3 stars
3/18/04 Umbrella Corporation. Now this should be remade into a BETTER FILM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
3/16/04 killak shows the good that can come from evil 5 stars
2/20/04 AJ The film that made a difference... 5 stars
1/31/04 Jay best of the best. Marty! 5 stars
1/23/04 Betty White Violent, but well-acted drama; solid Scorsese piece. 4 stars
1/20/04 Film Critic amazing 5 stars
12/07/03 john a bravoura performance - a disturbing yet brutally honest film - a masterpiece! 5 stars
10/20/03 Samuel Justus A great Film! my favorite DeNiro film..ever! 5 stars
8/31/03 DHite I thought the end was pretty unbelievable, but overall pretty good 4 stars
7/21/03 AD suck on this 5 stars
5/22/03 janjic sinisa great movie 5 stars
5/15/03 joshx42 Another Scorsese classic. 5 stars
2/26/03 GMan Coooooool (derek sucks ass) talkin' to me? 5 stars
2/12/03 Kyle This is not a classic... 4 stars
2/12/03 Aussie Film Maker Brutal and at times trippy. But intresting to the end. 5 stars
2/01/03 croweater This movie gets you in from word go.. Excellent. 5 stars
1/28/03 The Aussie Film Reviewer Brutal stuff, perfectly realized on film. 5 stars
1/24/03 Jeremy It's worth a look, but not 4 out of 5 stars for me. Decent movie. 3 stars
1/06/03 WestcoastPunk DeNiros greatest movie 5 stars
11/25/02 Margaret If you understand the subtext then the film will make more sense and come off as well done. 4 stars
11/22/02 Drop Great message about Vietnam 5 stars
11/21/02 Mason Scorcese=genius 5 stars
11/15/02 COCK one of de niro's best flims 5 stars
10/19/02 cara salmeri the one instance in a movie where society viewed the two wrongs to make a right. 4 stars
10/10/02 LIAM JACKSON Violent. Disturbing.Thought-Provoking.This movie is fucking brilliant.De Niro Rules!!!!!!!! 5 stars
6/16/02 The Conscience Objector A Great Classic American Film, That Will Never Be Forgotten 5 stars
5/25/02 Charles Tatum Too trite, until finale 3 stars
5/19/02 Edwin Menguin Cum on the backseat, only in America! 5 stars
5/15/02 Danielle Ophelia Deeply textured...dark, yet luminous. 5 stars
4/19/02 Mr. T Classic, Full of Richness and Warmth 5 stars
2/22/02 Sarah Perbes I luf lesbo films, it makes me so very horny 5 stars
2/07/02 christine conzo the best movie of the 70's 5 stars
2/01/02 Alex Moir Hey Erik, maybe we should hook up sometime! You can do me like your dog anytime! 5 stars
2/01/02 Erik Martinez Deniro is 1 fine piece of ass here, I wana bend him over and do him like i do my dog 5 stars
1/23/02 Justin C Favorite movie of all time, got me into 70's cinema, bobby deniro, an other chain reactions 5 stars
12/03/01 Portrayal of NY / city life & mentality such an environment can produce brilliantly. 5 stars
12/02/01 travis r. sorensen the best film of the 70's and no i'm not forgetting the godfather 5 stars
11/24/01 Andrew Carden Wondefully Done, Great Plot, and Excellent Performances. 5 stars
11/14/01 Zizzerzazzerzuzz This movie will mess with your mind, assuming you have one. 5 stars
10/21/01 Jodie is one hot lesbo! Did Jodie Foster crave pussy when she made this? Or did this pre-date that? 5 stars
9/23/01 Larry Smith "You talking to me? You talking to me?" 5 stars
7/03/01 King of Bros It's alright, but not worth the kleenex that film students use. 3 stars
7/03/01 Boomshanka to the guy below this, you were watching a 70's indie flick, you tool. 5 stars
7/03/01 Obi Wan Huh??? I felt like I was watching a indie 70s flick. Sorry but not my cup-a-tea. 3 stars
6/23/01 erik the movieman A great movie - but not my favorite Scorsese 4 stars
6/15/01 zombie awesome! i hate the score though 5 stars
6/10/01 Rick One of the best movies ever 5 stars
5/28/01 Edward Shandis Broke ground, but it's not a masterpiece 4 stars
5/21/01 Monster W. Kung Scorsese's best, it's a disturbing masterpiece about society, loneliness, and alienation. 5 stars
4/01/01 Jesse L Overrated ... not exactly a classic... broke some ground though 4 stars
3/21/01 bterry Bizarre, but good. 4 stars
3/02/01 Klute Masterpiece. All sorts of excellent. 5 stars
2/18/01 Jake Way overrated just like Scorcese. Watchable but not great. 3 stars
2/06/01 Classicdog A True American Masterpiece!!! Scorsese is god. 5 stars
2/01/01 jordan genius 5 stars
1/12/01 Skip Scorsese, De Niro, Schrader, Keitel, & Foster all deserved Oscars for this one. Masterpiece 5 stars
12/17/00 Doug Dogg Scorsese is a fuckin' genius, he pulls of some sickeningly wicked shots off, hooray! 5 stars
12/03/00 vitamin_D visual jazz - the score and rhythms of dialogue are enough to make me swoon 5 stars
11/10/00 bruno deniro is great (you looking at me) 5 stars
11/03/00 Cristopher Revilla shocking ending, masterful!!!! 5 stars
9/20/00 Jeff Scorsese's best film, De Niro's best performance. 5 stars
7/31/00 bob knob slob some fuckin good shit 5 stars
7/20/00 Joel Craig Never before has a movie been so edgy and disturbing. 5 stars
5/30/00 Zatoichi Jones Scorcese is a god. DeNiro is a god. This is filmmaking at it's best. 5 stars
4/15/00 Gremlin Oh yeah!...kick ass movie. 5 stars
3/22/00 Booyah! Just incredible. A landmark. 5 stars
3/01/00 Mic A look at the underworld of America. Excellent bar the ending. 4 stars
2/12/00 Skye Chapman the stuff of legends 5 stars
11/26/99 Matt Henderson Superb exploration of post-Vietnam American ideology, media, violence. Scorsese rules! 5 stars
11/17/99 perpetual loser harvey keitel as a pimp. gotta love this flick. 5 stars
10/22/99 Surinder Travis Bickle Singh Bob at his best, a masterpiece and the best film of the 70's! 5 stars
9/08/99 Elijah Very well worth the look. 4 stars
8/10/99 Ted Wetzel A fascinating look into the mind of a lonely and slightly disturbed (but sympathetic) man. 5 stars
7/28/99 Matthew Bartley Sometimes they are as good as they say 5 stars
7/20/99 Wade Walsh It draws you in because you are not Travis Bickle, but can relate to his madness. 5 stars
7/17/99 soccer_mum Are you looking at me?!?!? Classic DeNiro....See it...more than once! 5 stars
7/14/99 Marshy Taxi! Arrrrggghhh! (dies). Seriously, this is classic and shouldn't be missed. 5 stars
7/06/99 The Bomb 69 the first half was slow but with an ending like that it was worth it 5 stars
7/04/99 J-Dogg Great portrait of an insane lunatic. I especially like Scorsese's cameo. 4 stars
6/17/99 Vick Di Brecci Hey look! Another Fucking Awesome! 5 stars
4/19/99 jimmy jam A young Jodi - pretty skanky. Good film though 5 stars
3/06/99 Meepos A repeat viewer for time eternal. Will always be on another level. 5 stars
2/09/99 Bob, Lord of Evil This is DeNiro's movie. Well, this and Raging Bull... Oh and Awakenings!!! 5 stars
11/28/98 Mr.Pink One of Scorsesse's best films!! 5 stars
11/25/98 Fred Everything about this movie rocks!! I can watch it anytime, anywhere!! 5 stars
11/21/98 little jerry Greatest example of interior acting I've ever seen.De Niro's best. 5 stars
10/28/98 Silent Rob A brutally insightful film, expertly crafted and unflinchingly excellent! 5 stars
10/19/98 Kwyjibo Scorcese and Schrader were a great team. A seriously brutal awesome movie. 5 stars
9/15/98 Ben A classic movie which these days are few and far between 5 stars
9/04/98 pooky the bald The ending made me nauseous. But the film was great. DeNiro rocks. 4 stars
9/04/98 Badass Awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
8/30/98 Mister Whoopee Not a hole to poke in this classic. It's up and down fucking awesome. 5 stars
8/29/98 Johny DeNiro's preformance is not to be forgotten 5 stars
8/24/98 The Capital City Goofball Just classic. The quintessential film for angry young men. 5 stars
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  08-Feb-1976 (R)
  DVD: 15-Jun-1999

  N/A (18)

  10-Jun-1976 (R)

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