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Taxi Driver

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Title: Taxi Driver  
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Subject: Martin Scorsese, 1976 National Society of Film Critics Awards, Jodie Foster, 1976 Cannes Film Festival, Cybill Shepherd
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Taxi Driver

Taxi Driver
A man walking alone along a city street
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Produced by
Written by Paul Schrader
Music by Bernard Herrmann
Cinematography Michael Chapman
Edited by
  • Tom Rolf
  • Melvin Shapiro
  • Bill/Phillips
  • Italo/Judeo Productions
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
  • February 8, 1976 (1976-02-08)
Running time 113 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $1.3 million
Box office $28,262,574[1]

Taxi Driver is a 1976 American crime/vigilante film directed by Martin Scorsese and written by Paul Schrader. Set in New York City soon after the end of the Vietnam War, the film stars Robert De Niro and features Jodie Foster, Harvey Keitel, Cybill Shepherd, Peter Boyle, and Albert Brooks.

The film is regularly cited by critics, film directors, and audiences alike as one of the greatest films of all time. 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 its AFI's 100 Years…100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) list. In 2012, Sight & Sound named it the 31st-best film ever created on its decadal critics' poll, ranked with The Godfather Part II, and the 5th-greatest film ever on its directors' poll. The film was considered "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant by the US Library of Congress and was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry in 1994.


  • Plot 1
  • Cast 2
  • Production 3
  • Music 4
  • Controversies 5
    • John Hinckley, Jr. 5.1
  • Interpretations 6
  • Reaction 7
    • Critical and box office reception 7.1
    • Accolades 7.2
  • Legacy 8
    • "You talkin' to me?" 8.1
  • Home media 9
  • Sequel/remake 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12


Travis Bickle, an honorably discharged U.S. Marine, is a lonely and depressed man in New York City. He becomes a taxi driver to cope with chronic insomnia, driving passengers every night around the boroughs of New York City. He also spends time in seedy porn theaters and keeps a diary. Travis becomes infatuated with Betsy, a campaign volunteer for Senator Charles Palantine, who is running for President. After watching her interact with fellow worker Tom through her window, Travis enters to volunteer as a pretext to talk to her, and takes her out for coffee. On a later date, he takes her to see a Swedish sex education film, which offends her, and she goes home alone. His attempts at reconciliation by sending flowers are rebuffed, so he berates her at the campaign office, before being kicked out by Tom.

Travis confides in fellow taxi driver Wizard about his thoughts, which are beginning to turn violent, but Wizard assures him that he will be fine. Disgusted by the street crime and prostitution that he witnesses throughout the city, Travis finds an outlet for his frustration and begins a program of intense physical training. He buys guns from dealer Easy Andy and constructs a sleeve gun to attach on his arm, with which he practices drawing his weapons. One night, Travis enters a convenience store moments before a man attempts to rob it, and he shoots the robber. The shop owner takes responsibility and Travis leaves. On another night, teenage prostitute Iris[2] enters Travis's cab, attempting to escape her pimp Matthew "Sport" Higgins. Sport drags Iris from the cab and throws Travis a crumpled twenty-dollar bill, which continually reminds him of her. Some time later, Travis hires her (Iris), but instead of having sex with her, attempts to dissuade her from continuing in prostitution. He fails to completely turn her from her course, but she does agree to meet with him for breakfast the next day, and Travis becomes obsessed with helping her return to her parents' home, sending her money to do so and a letter in which he states he will soon be dead.

After shaving his head into a mohawk, Travis attends a public rally, where he attempts to assassinate Senator Palantine, but Secret Service agents notice him and he flees without taking a shot. He returns to his apartment and then drives to the East Village, where he confronts Sport. Travis shoots Sport, then walks into Iris's brothel and shoots off the bouncer's fingers. After a wounded Sport shoots Travis, grazing his neck, Travis shoots and kills him. Iris's john, a mobster, appears and shoots Travis in the arm, but Travis reveals his sleeve gun and kills the gangster. The bouncer continues to harass Travis, causing Travis to shoot him in the head and kill him. As a horrified Iris cries, Travis attempts suicide but, out of ammunition, resigns himself to a sofa until police arrive. When they do, he places his index finger against his temple gesturing the act of shooting himself. While recuperating, Travis receives a letter from Iris's parents, who thank him for saving her, and the media hail him as a hero. Travis then returns to his job and encounters Betsy as a fare. She discusses his newfound fame, but he denies being a hero and drops her off free of charge. He glances at her in his rear view mirror as he drives away.



According to Scorsese, it was Brian De Palma who introduced him to Schrader. In Scorsese on Scorsese, edited by David M. Thompson and Ian Christie, the director talks about how much of the film arose from his feeling that movies are like dreams or drug-induced reveries. He admits attempting to incubate within the viewer the feeling of being in a limbo state somewhere between sleeping and waking. He calls Travis an "avenging angel" floating through the streets of a New York City intended to represent all cities everywhere. Scorsese calls attention to improvisation in the film, such as in the scene between De Niro and Cybill Shepherd in the coffee shop. The director also cites Alfred Hitchcock's The Wrong Man and Jack Hazan's A Bigger Splash as inspirations for his camerawork in the movie.[3]

In Scorsese on Scorsese, the director mentions the religious symbolism in the story, comparing Bickle to a saint who wants to cleanse or purge both his mind and his body of weakness. Bickle attempts to kill himself near the end of the movie as a tribute to the samurai’s "death with honour" principle.[3]

When Travis meets Betsy to join him for coffee and pie, he reminds her of a line in Kris Kristofferson's song "The Pilgrim, Chapter 33": "He's a prophet and a pusher, partly truth, partly fiction—a walking contradiction." On their date, Bickle takes her to see Language of Love, a Swedish sex education film.[4]

Shot during a New York summer heat wave and garbage strike, Taxi Driver came into conflict with the MPAA for its violence (Scorsese de-saturated the color in the final shoot-out, and the film got an R rating). To achieve the atmospheric scenes in Bickle's cab, the sound men would get in the trunk and Scorsese and his cinematographer, Michael Chapman, would ensconce themselves on the back seat floor and use available light to shoot.

In writing the script, Schrader was inspired by the diaries of

External links

  1. ^ "Taxi Driver (1976)".  
  2. ^ same name as the protagonist of the homonymous opera of Mascagni, where the girl had been kidnapped by deception and induced to prostitution
  3. ^ a b "Scorsese on Scorsese" edited by David Thompson and Ian Christie. 057114103X: series London; Boston: Faber and Faber, 1989. Call#: Van Pelt Library PN1998.3.S39 A3 1989
  4. ^ Daniel Ekeroth: SWEDISH SENSATIONSFILMS: A Clandestine History of Sex, Thrillers, and Kicker Cinema, (Bazillion Points, 2011) ISBN 978-0-9796163-6-5.
  5. ^ "Portrait of an Assassin: Arthur Bremer".  
  6. ^ "Travis gave punks a hair of aggression." The Toronto Star 12 Feb. 2005: H02
  7. ^ Taxi Driver: Music composed by Bernard Hermann Retrieved 15 March 2009.
  8. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "Bernard Hermann".  
  9. ^
  10. ^ "a stupid orgy of violence".David Robinson. "Down these mean streets" (The Arts). The Times (London). Friday, August 20, 1976. (59787), col C, p. 7.
  11. ^ Taxi Driver at AllMovie Retrieved 2007-09-16.
  12. ^ Foster interview by Boze Hadleigh (March/June 1992)
  13. ^ "FuzzyMemories.TV - - Taxi Driver - TV Disclaimer Ending" (1982)". FuzzyMemories.TV. Retrieved 2011-11-21. 
  14. ^,6713377"Taxi Driver Lashes Out at Society". Schenectady Gazette. January 27, 1979. 
  15. ^ "Taxi Driver: Its Influence on John Hinckley, Jr". Retrieved 2012-04-04. 
  16. ^ Taxi Driver by Denise Noe
  17. ^ The John Hinckley Trial & Its Effect on the Insanity Defense by Kimberly Collins, Gabe Hinkebein, and Staci Schorgl
  18. ^ Verdict and Uproar by Denise Noe
  19. ^ Ebert's Review of Taxi Driver 1 January 2004. Retrieved 10 March 2007.
  20. ^ "ReelViews Movie Review". Retrieved 2012-04-04. 
  21. ^ Taxi Driver Laserdisc Commentary
  22. ^ Taxi Driver Audio Commentary with Paul Schrader
  23. ^ Schrader, Paul. "I am Paul Schrader, writer of Taxi Driver, writer/director of American Gigolo and director of The Canyons. AMA!". Reddit. Retrieved 2013-08-18. 
  24. ^ Taxi Driver, Box Office Mojo IMDB Retrieved 31 March 2007
  25. ^ "Taxi Driver". Chicago Sun-Times. 
  26. ^ Cannes Film Festival Retrieved 10 March 2007.
  27. ^ Films Selected to The National Film Registry, Library of Congress, 1989–2005 Retrieved 10 March 2007.
  28. ^ Schickel, Richard (2012-01-23). "The Complete List - ALL-TIME 100 Movies". TIME. Retrieved 2012-04-04. 
  29. ^ Taxi Driver, Rotten Tomatoes Flixster. Retrieved 4 October 2008
  30. ^ "List of best films to win Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival". Film Society for Lincoln Center. Retrieved 2010-02-24. 
  31. ^ "The 100 Greatest Movie Characters".  
  32. ^ Interview with Paul Schrader, BBC Radio 4's Film Programme, 10 August 2007
  33. ^ "Filmmaker Magazine, Fall 1992". Retrieved 2012-04-04. 
  34. ^ James, Caryn (2010-11-01). "New York Times film overview". Retrieved 2012-04-04. 
  35. ^  
  36. ^ "Frankly, My Dear, I Don't Give A Damn", AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movie Quotes, American Film Institute.
  37. ^ Ebert, Roger. "Taxi Driver". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 25 March 2013. 
  38. ^ "'There was a sense of exhilaration about what we had done'", excerpt from Schrader on Schrader, in The Guardian, 1 September 2004.
  39. ^ Rush and Molloy (May 31, 2009). Side Dish: Pasties special order for Britney. New York Daily News
  40. ^ Clemons, Clarence (2009). Big Man: Real Life & Tall Tales. Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 978-0-446-54626-3.
  41. ^ "Home Cinema @ The Digital Fix - Taxi Driver 35th AE (US BD) in April". Retrieved 2011-07-23. 
  42. ^ "From Berlin: 4K 'Taxi Driver' World Premiere". MSN. 
  43. ^ Brooks, Xan (2005-02-05). "Scorsese and De Niro plan Taxi Driver sequel". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-02-24. 
  44. ^ Saravia, Jerry. "Taxi Driver 2: Bringing Out Travis". faustus. Archived from the original on 2009-10-27. Retrieved 2010-02-24. 
  45. ^ "Lars Von Trier, Robert DeNiro, and Martin Scorsese Collaborating on New Taxi Driver". Retrieved 2010-02-24. 
  46. ^ "". 2012-01-27. Retrieved 2012-04-04. 
  47. ^ "2011 in Review: Sting, Martin Scorsese, Bill Maher and Dozens More Look Back". Retrieved 26 June 2013. 


In December 2011, Scorsese was interviewed about combining his passion for 3D as a new medium with the legacy of older films, and said, "If I could go back in time, I'd shoot Taxi Driver in 3D. Bob De Niro in the mirror as Travis Bickle. Imagine how intimidating. 'You talking to me? You talking to me?' Amazing possibilities."[46][47]

At the Berlinale 2010, De Niro, Scorsese, and Lars von Trier announced plans to work on a remake of Taxi Driver. The film will be produced in a similar manner to von Trier's The Five Obstructions.[45]

In late January 2005, a sequel was announced by De Niro and Scorsese.[43] At a 25th-anniversary screening of Raging Bull, De Niro talked about the story of an older Travis Bickle being in development. Also in 2000, De Niro mentioned interest in bringing back the character in conversation with Actors Studio host James Lipton.[44]


As part of the Blu-ray production, Sony gave the film a full 4K digital restoration, which included scanning and cleaning the original negative (removing emulsion dirt and scratches). Colors were matched to director-approved prints under guidance from Scorsese and director of photography Michael Chapman. An all-new lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack was also made from the original stereo recordings by Scorsese's personal sound team.[41][42] The restored print premiered in February 2011 at the Berlin Film Festival, and to promote the Blu-ray, Sony also had the print screened at AMC Theatres across the United States on March 19 and 22.

A Blu-ray was released on April 5, 2011 to commemorate the film's 35th anniversary. It includes the special features from the previous 2-disc collector's edition, plus an audio commentary by Scorsese released in 1991 for The Criterion Collection, previously released on Laserdisc.

In 2006, a 30th-anniversary 2-disc collector's edition was released. The first disc contains the film itself, two audio commentaries (one by writer Schrader and the other by Professor Robert Kolker), and trailers. This edition also retains some of the special features from the earlier release on the second disc, as well as some newly produced documentary material.

The first collector's edition (DVD), released in 1999, was packaged as a single-disc edition release. It contained special features, such as behind-the-scenes and several trailers, including one for Taxi Driver.

Home media

In his 2009 memoir, saxophonist Clarence Clemons said De Niro explained the line's origins when Clemons coached De Niro to play the saxophone for the 1977 film New York, New York.[39] Clemons said De Niro had seen Bruce Springsteen say the line onstage at a concert as fans were screaming his name, and decided to make the line his own.[40]

Schrader does not take credit for the line, saying that his script only read, "Travis speaks to himself in the mirror", and that De Niro improvised the dialogue. However, Schrader went on to say that De Niro's performance was inspired by a routine by "an underground New York comedian" whom he had once seen, possibly including his signature line.[38]

Roger Ebert called it "the truest line in the film.... Travis Bickle's desperate need to make some kind of contact somehow—to share or mimic the effortless social interaction he sees all around him, but does not participate in."[37]

In the corresponding scene, Bickle is looking into a mirror at himself, imagining a confrontation that would give him a chance to draw his gun. He says:

The catchphrase "You talkin' to me?" has become a pop culture mainstay. In 2005, it was ranked number 10 on the American Film Institute's AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movie Quotes.[36]

"You talkin' to me?"

In the Canadian television series Trailer Park Boys, a man dressed as Travis makes an appearance in the episode "Jim Lahey is a Drunk Bastard", during the trailer park supervisor election.

Travis also appears as a minor supporting character in the 2012 graphic novel Before Watchmen: Rorshach.

In the 2012 film Seven Psychopaths, psychotic Los Angeles actor Billy Bickle (Sam Rockwell) believes himself to be the illegitimate son of Travis Bickle.[35]

Taxi Driver, American Gigolo, Light Sleeper, and The Walker make up a series referred to variously as the "Man in a Room" or "Night Worker" films. Screenwriter Paul Schrader (who directed the latter three films) has said that he considers the central characters of the four films to be one character, who has changed as he has aged.[32][33] The film also influenced the Charles Winkler film You Talkin' to Me?[34]


Award Category Nominee Result
Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or Martin Scorsese Won
Hochi Film Award Best Foreign Film Won
LAFCA Award Best Actor Robert De Niro Won
Best Music Bernard Herrmann Won
New Generation Award Jodie Foster
Martin Scorsese
Academy Award Best Actor in a Leading Role Robert De Niro Nominated
Best Actress in a Supporting Role Jodie Foster Nominated
Best Music, Original Score Bernard Herrmann Nominated
Best Picture Michael Phillips
Julia Phillips
BAFTA Award Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music Bernard Herrmann Won
Best Supporting Actress Jodie Foster Won
Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles Won
Best Actor Robert De Niro Nominated
Best Direction Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Film Nominated
Best Film Editing Marcia Lucas
Tom Rolf
Melvin Shapiro
Blue Ribbon Award Best Foreign Film Martin Scorsese Won
David di Donatello Award Special David Jodie Foster Won
Martin Scorsese Won
DGA Award Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures Martin Scorsese Nominated
Golden Globe Award Best Motion Picture Actor - Drama Robert De Niro Nominated
Best Screenplay - Motion Picture Paul Schrader Nominated
Grammy Award Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television Special Bernard Herrmann Nominated
KCFCC Award Best Supporting Actress Jodie Foster Won
Kinema Junpo Award Best Foreign Language Film Director Martin Scorsese Won
NSFC Award Best Actor Robert De Niro Won
Best Director Martin Scorsese Won
Best Supporting Actress Jodie Foster Won
Best Film Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Harvey Keitel Nominated
NYFCC Award Best Actor Robert De Niro Won
Best Director Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Harvey Keitel Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Jodie Foster Nominated
WGA Award Best Drama Written Directly for the Screen Paul Schrader Nominated
Fotogramas de Plata Best Foreign Movie Performer Robert De Niro Won
Saint Jordi Award Best Performance in a Foreign Film Won


In the American Film Institute's top 50 movie villains of all time, Bickle was named the 30th greatest film villain. Empire also ranked him 18th in its "The 100 Greatest Movie Characters" poll.[31]

The July/August 2009 issue of Film Comment polled several critics on the best films to win the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Taxi Driver placed first, above films such as Il Gattopardo, Viridiana, Blowup, The Conversation, Apocalypse Now, La Dolce Vita, and Pulp Fiction.[30]

As of 2014, Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 98% based on reviews from 63 critics; 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."[29]

It was also nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor (De Niro), and received the Palme d'Or at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival.[26] It has been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.[27] The film was chosen by Time as one of the 100 best films of all time.[28]

"Taxi Driver" is a hell, from the opening shot of a cab emerging from stygian clouds of steam to the climactic killing scene in which the camera finally looks straight down. Scorsese wanted to look away from Travis's rejection; we almost want to look away from his life. But he's there, all right, and he's suffering.[25]
instantly praised it as one of the greatest films he had ever seen, claiming: Roger Ebert

Filmed on a budget of $1.3 million, Taxi Driver was a financial success, grossing $28,262,574 in the United States,[24] making it the 17th-highest-grossing film of 1976.

Critical and box office reception


On the Laserdisc audio commentary, Scorsese acknowledged several critics' interpretation of the film's ending as being Bickle's dying dream. He admits that the last scene of Bickle glancing at an unseen object implies that Bickle might fall into rage and recklessness in the future, and he is like "a ticking time bomb."[21] Writer Paul Schrader confirms this in his commentary on the 30th-anniversary DVD, stating that Travis "is not cured by the movie's end," and that "he's not going to be a hero next time."[22] When asked on the website Reddit about the film's ending, Schrader said that it was not to be taken as a dream sequence, but that he envisioned it as returning to the beginning of the film—as if the last frame "could be spliced to the first frame, and the movie started all over again."[23]

"Scorsese and writer Paul Schrader append the perfect conclusion to Taxi Driver. Steeped in irony, the five-minute epilogue underscores the vagaries of fate. The media builds Bickle into a hero, when, had he been a little quicker drawing his gun against Senator Palantine, he would have been reviled as an assassin. As the film closes, the misanthrope has been embraced as the model citizen—someone who takes on pimps, drug dealers, and mobsters to save one little girl."[20]
, in his review of the film, argues against the dream or fantasy interpretation, stating: James Berardinelli
"There has been much discussion about the ending, in which we see newspaper clippings about Travis's 'heroism' of saving Iris, and then Betsy gets into his cab and seems to give him admiration instead of her earlier disgust. Is this a fantasy scene? Did Travis survive the shoot-out? Are we experiencing his dying thoughts? Can the sequence be accepted as literally true? ... I am not sure there can be an answer to these questions. The end sequence plays like music, not drama: It completes the story on an emotional, not a literal, level. We end not on carnage but on redemption, which is the goal of so many of Scorsese's characters."[19]
has written of the film's ending: Roger Ebert

Sabine Haenni, a professor at Cornell University, commented on the film in her article "Geographies of Desire: Postsocial Urban Space and Historical Revision in the Films of Martin Scorsese" pg. 67: "While Taxi Driver chronicles Travis's excessive response to the perceived decline of the city, perhaps more fundamentally, the decline of the city seems to engender the decline of the male hero—Travis's inability to function in individual, collective, and heteronormative terms."


Taxi Driver formed part of the delusional fantasy of John Hinckley, Jr.[15][16] that triggered his attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan in 1981, an act for which he was found not guilty by reason of insanity.[17][18] Hinckley stated that his actions were an attempt to impress actress Jodie Foster, on whom Hinckley was fixated, by mimicking Travis's mohawked appearance at the Palantine rally. His attorney concluded his defense by playing the movie for the jury.

John Hinckley, Jr.

To our Television Audience: In the aftermath of violence, the distinction between hero and villain is sometimes a matter of interpretation or misinterpretation of facts. "Taxi Driver" suggests that tragic errors can be made. The Filmmakers.

Copies of the movie distributed for TV broadcast had an unexplained disclaimer added during the closing credits:[13][14]

Some critics expressed concern over 13-year-old Foster's presence during the climactic shoot-out. Foster said that she was present during the setup and staging of the special effects used during the scene; the entire process was explained and demonstrated for her, step by step. Rather than being upset or traumatised, Foster said, she was fascinated and entertained by the behind-the-scenes preparation that went into the scene. In addition, before being given the part, Foster was subjected to psychological testing to ensure that she would not be emotionally scarred by her role, in accordance with California Labor Board requirements.[12]

The climactic shoot-out was considered intensely graphic at the time the film was initially released.[10] To attain an "R" rating, Scorsese had the colors de-saturated, making the brightly colored blood less prominent.[11] In later interviews, Scorsese commented that he was actually pleased by the color change and considered it an improvement over the originally filmed scene, which has been lost. In the special-edition DVD, Michael Chapman, the film's cinematographer, regrets the decision and the fact that no print with the unmuted colors exists anymore, as the originals had long since deteriorated.


Taxi Driver: Original Soundtrack Recording
No. Title Length
1. "Main Title"   2:15
2. "Thank God for the Rain"   1:58
3. "Cleaning the Cab"   1:05
4. "I Still Can't Sleep/They Cannot Touch Her (Betsy's Theme)"   4:51
5. "Phone Call/I Realise how much She is Like the Others/A Strange Customer/Watching Palantine on TV/You're Gonna Die in Hell/Betsy's Theme/Hitting the Girl"   6:10
6. "The .44 Magnum is a Monster"   5:20
7. "Getting into Shape/Listen you Screwheads/Gun Play/Dear Father & Mother/The Card/Soap Opera"   5:25
8. "Sport and Iris"   2:18
9. "The $20 Bill/Target Practice"   2:33
10. "Assassination Attempt/After the Carnage"   5:04
11. "A Reluctant Hero/Betsy/End Credits"   4:40
12. "Diary of a Taxi Driver (Album Version)"   4:28
13. "God's Lonely Man (Album Version - With Alternative Ending)"   2:00
14. "Theme from Taxi Driver"   4:02
15. "I Work the Whole City"   2:24
16. "Betsy in a White Dress"   2:13
17. "The Days do not End"   4:05
18. "Theme from Taxi Driver (Reprise)"   2:25
Total length:

Some of the tracks feature relatively long titles, representative of the fact that similar reprises are heard in many scenes.

The soundtrack for the film, re-released in 1998 on CD, includes an expanded version of the score as well as the tracks from the original 1976 LP. It also features album notes by director Martin Scorsese, as well as full documentation for the tracks, linking them in great detail to individual takes. Track 12, "Diary of a Taxi Driver", features Herrmann's music with De Niro's voice-over taken directly from the soundtrack.

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars [9]
Taxi Driver: Original Soundtrack Recording
Soundtrack album by Bernard Herrmann
Released May 19, 1998
Recorded December 22 and 23, 1975[8]
Genre Soundtracks
Length 61:33
Label Arista
Producer Michael Phillips, Neely Plumb

Also featured in the film is Jackson Browne's "Late for the Sky", appearing in a scene where couples are dancing on the program American Bandstand to the song as Travis watches on his small TV.

The music by Bernard Herrmann was his final score before his death on December 24, 1975, and the film is dedicated to his memory. Robert Barnett of MusicWeb International has said that it contrasts deep, sleazy noises, representing the "scum" that Travis sees all over the city, with the saxophone, a musical counterpart to Travis, creating a mellifluously disenchanted troubadour. Barnett also observes that the opposing noises in the soundtrack—gritty little harp figures, hard as shards of steel, as well as a jazz drum kit placing the drama in the city—are indicative of loneliness in the midst of mobs of people. Deep brass and woodwinds are also evident. Barnett heard in the drumbeat a wild-eyed martial air charting the pressure on Bickle, who is increasingly oppressed by the corruption around him, and that the harp, drum, and saxophone play significant roles in the music.[7]


Schrader originally set the film in Los Angeles, but it was moved to New York City because taxicabs were much more prevalent there than in L.A.

In the original draft, Schrader had written the role of Sport as a black man. There were also additions of other negative black roles. Scorsese believed that this would give the film an overly racist subtext, so they were changed to white roles. Nevertheless, many people still assume that Travis himself is a racist; cab drivers in the film refer to Harlem as Mau Mau land, and Travis exchanges hostile eye contact with several black characters. Travis, though, dislikes all the "filth and scum of the city", with no prejudice to any race in particular. In fact, he even tries to ask out the black woman at the cash register of the "Show & Tell" at the start of the movie. One of the other cab drivers he hangs out with at the diner is also black.

Jodie Foster was not the first choice to play Iris. Scorsese considered Melanie Griffith, Linda Blair, Bo Derek, and Carrie Fisher for the role. A newcomer, Mariel Hemingway, auditioned for the role but turned it down due to pressure from her family. After the other actresses turned down the role as well, Foster, an experienced child actor, was chosen.

When Bickle decides to assassinate Senator Palantine, he cuts his hair into a Mohawk. This detail was suggested by actor Victor Magnotta, a friend of Scorsese's who had a small role as a Secret Service agent and who had served in Vietnam. Scorsese later noted, "Magnotta had talked about certain types of soldiers going into the jungle. They cut their hair in a certain way; looked like a Mohawk ... and you knew that was a special situation, a commando kind of situation, and people gave them wide berths ... we thought it was a good idea."

While preparing for his role as Bickle, De Niro was filming Bernardo Bertolucci's 1900 in Italy. According to Boyle, he would "finish shooting on a Friday in Rome ... get on a plane ... [and] fly to New York." De Niro obtained a cab driver's license, and when on break would pick up a cab and drive around New York for a couple of weeks, before returning to Rome to resume filming 1900. De Niro apparently lost 35 pounds and listened repeatedly to a taped reading of the diaries of Arthur Bremer. When he had time off from shooting 1900, De Niro visited an army base in Northern Italy and tape-recorded soldiers from the Midwestern United States, whose accents he thought might be appropriate for Travis's character.

Schrader decided to make Bickle a Vietnam vet because the national trauma of the war seemed to blend perfectly with Bickle's paranoid psychosis, making his experiences after the war more intense and threatening. Thus, Bickle chooses to drive his taxi anywhere in the city as a way to feed his hate.[6]

. The writer also used himself as inspiration; prior to writing the screenplay, Schrader was in a lonely and alienated position, much like Bickle is. Following a divorce and a breakup with a live-in girlfriend, he spent a few weeks living in his car. He wrote the script in under a month while staying in his former girlfriend's apartment while she was away. Notes from Underground’s Fyodor Dostoyevsky and [5]

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