Taxi Driver (1976) – Encore Review

“Now I see this clearly. My whole life is pointed in one direction. There never has been a choice for me.” – Travis Bickle

Number of Times Seen – At least 3 times (Cable in the 90’s, 21 Sep 2015 and 10 Nov 2020)

Link to original reviewHere

Brief Synopsis – A Vietnam Veteran with insomnia takes a job as a night time cab driver in the tough neighborhoods of New York City.

My Take on it – This is a film that I seen a number of times and I have enjoyed it more on each subsequent watch.

The film is presented in a very gritty way which works so well in helping describe the kind of world that this character lives in.

Travis Bickle is a character who feels so lost upon his return to the States after fighting in Vietnam and we get to see how his experiences have affected his life and the way that he perceives everything around him.

He is constantly on the lookout to be someone’s savior yet he chooses for himself what kind of saving everyone else needs, even if they don’t ask for it.

The kinds of people that he has contact with on a daily basis are mostly people who are far away from being the ideal he is seeking.

They do a wonderful job developing this character despite his social ambivalence yet we can still accept him for who he is and how he is seeking possible redemption by saving others.

Robert De Niro is superb in this role and I’m a bit shocked that he wasn’t able to win Best Actor that year at the Oscars which instead went to Peter Finch for his work in Network (1976) which was also quite good.

The supporting cast is also great with Jodie Foster, Cybil Shepherd and Harvey Keitel in key roles who show what kind of people he constantly as contact with.

Bottom Line – Great film that is quite gritty in the way that it presents both the story and the main character. Bickle is a great character because we get to see how lost he feels after returning from Vietnam and how his life has been affected by his time in the army. He wishes to find someone to be a savior to, but the kind of people he largely has contact with in his job fall far from being ideal for this.  The character is developed really well and De Niro plays him so well that we can accept him as he is especially given the fact that he obviously has some kind of social issue problem.  The supporting cast is also great with Foster, Keitel and Shepard helping to show us the various kinds of people he interacts with. Highly Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia –  Between the time Robert De Niro signed a $35,000 contract to appear in this film, and when it began filming, he won the Oscar for his role in The Godfather: Part II (1974), and his profile soared. The producers were worried that De Niro would ask for a deserved larger pay raise, since Columbia Pictures was very concerned about the project, and were looking for excuses to pull the plug on it, but De Niro said he would honor his original deal so the film would get made. (From IMDB)

Rating – Oscar Worthy (9/10) (upgrade from original review)


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