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Drama - US

Taxi Driver (1976)

Duration1h 54m
RatingsUK: X, USA: R, Many places: 18.
Source of storyAn original screenplay
DirectorMartin Scorsese
Writers/ScriptPaul Schrader
StarringPeter Boyle, Albert Brooks, Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Harvey Keitel, Cybill Shepherd,  
RatingsIMDb: 8.3 by 716,228 people. Rotten Tomatoes: 96% by 92 critics.

Elevator Pitch: Travis Bickle is a lonely night shift taxi driver in New York, whose life is bounded by the walls of his grubby accommodation and the human detritus in the city. But on the edge of his world is a young woman who is organising support of a presidential candidate, and the candidate himself. He persuades Betsy, the young woman to go out with him but he takes her to a porn movie, and disgusted she walks out and refuses to have further to do with him. He also decides he will rescue a teenage prostitute he has come across in the night.  Things come to a head when Travis purchases a number of hand guns.

Content: There is no actual sex but a lot of dirty talk in relation to the very young prostitute. Travis drives his taxi about in the dark streets of the city, and on occasion meets with his fellow drivers where they seem to give him doubtful advice. Much made of the meeting between him and the gun dealer. Some scenes in the office doing the promotion for the presidential candidate, and the visit by Travis and Betsy to the porn cinema. Once Travis begins to meet, accidentally and then intentionally, with Iris the teenage hooker it is downhill from there on.

A View: It is impossible to get out from under the weight of awards for this film. It is No 108 on the IMDb list of films, one above Lawrence of Arabia, was nominated for four Oscars and won the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1976.  It was awarded 96% on Rotten Tomatoes. The score by Bernard Herrmann is discordant, and to me a bit weird and there are discordant aspects of the whole movie, but once more essential viewing for movie buffs, but maybe a bit disappointing to those who expect an action sequence every seven minutes.

Additional Info: The film occupies a lot of space in “You’ll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again” the autobiography of producer Julia Phillips. If you wonder what producers do, read it. 

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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