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Taxi Driver Details

FULL SYNOPSIS

"All the animals come out at night" -- and one of them is a cabby about to snap. In Martin Scorsese's classic 1970s drama, insomniac ex-Marine Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) works the nightshift, driving his cab throughout decaying mid-'70s New York City, wishing for a "real rain" to wash the "scum" off the neon-lit streets. Chronically alone, Travis cannot connect with anyone, not even with such other cabbies as blowhard Wizard (Peter Boyle). He becomes infatuated with vapid blonde presidential campaign worker Betsy (Cybill Shepherd), who agrees to a date and then spurns Travis when he cluelessly takes her to a porno movie. After an encounter with a malevolent fare (played by Scorsese), the increasingly paranoid Travis begins to condition (and arm) himself for his imagined destiny, a mission that mutates from assassinating Betsy's candidate, Charles Palatine (Leonard Harris), to violently "saving" teen hooker Iris (Jodie Foster) from her pimp, Sport (Harvey Keitel). Travis' bloodbath turns him into a media hero; but has it truly calmed his mind? Written by Paul Schrader, Taxi Driver is an homage to and reworking of cinematic influences, a study of individual psychosis, and an acute diagnosis of the latently violent, media-fixated Vietnam era. Scorsese and Schrader structure Travis' mission to save Iris as a film noir version of John Ford's late Western John Ford (1956), aligning Travis with a mythology of American heroism while exposing that myth's obsessively violent underpinnings. Yet Travis' military record and assassination attempt, as well as Palatine's political platitudes, also ground Taxi Driver in its historical moment of American in the 1970s. Employing such techniques as Godardian jump cuts and ellipses, expressive camera moves and angles, and garish colors, all punctuated by Bernard Herrmann's eerie final score (finished the day he died), Scorsese presents a Manhattan skewed through Travis' point-of-view, where De Niro's now-famous "You talkin' to me" improv becomes one more sign of Travis' madness. Shot during a New York summer heat wave and garbage strike, Taxi Driver got into trouble with the MPAA for its violence. Scorsese desaturated the color in the final shoot-out and got an R, and Taxi Driver surprised its unenthusiastic studio by becoming a box-office hit. Released in the Bicentennial year, after Vietnam, Watergate, and attention-getting attempts on President Ford's life, Taxi Driver's intense portrait of a man and a society unhinged spoke resonantly to the mid-'70s audience -- too resonantly in the case of attempted Reagan assassin and Foster fan John W. Hinckley. Taxi Driver went on to win the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, but it lost the Best Picture Oscar to the more comforting Foster. Anchored by De Niro's disturbing embodiment of "God's lonely man," Taxi Driver remains a striking milestone of both Scorsese's career and 1970s Hollywood. ~ Lucia Bozzola, Rovi

  • Release date:February 8, 1976

Awards

Awarded by
Nominee
Category
Year
Status
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Michael Phillips Best Picture 1976 Nominee
British Academy of Film and Television Arts Jodie Foster Most Promising Newcomer 1976 Winner
British Academy of Film and Television Arts Jodie Foster Best Supporting Actress 1976 Winner
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Jodie Foster New Generation Award 1976 Winner
National Society of Film Critics Jodie Foster Best Supporting Actress 1976 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Jodie Foster Best Supporting Actress 1976 Nominee
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Martin Scorsese New Generation Award 1976 Winner
National Society of Film Critics Martin Scorsese Best Director 1976 Winner
British Academy of Film and Television Arts Martin Scorsese Best Picture 1976 Nominee
Directors Guild of America Martin Scorsese Best Director 1976 Nominee
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Robert De Niro Best Actor 1976 Winner
National Society of Film Critics Robert De Niro Best Actor 1976 Winner
New York Film Critics Circle Robert De Niro Best Actor 1976 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Robert De Niro Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama 1976 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Robert De Niro Best Actor 1976 Nominee
British Academy of Film and Television Arts Bernard Herrmann Anthony Asquith Award 1976 Winner
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Bernard Herrmann Best Music Score 1976 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Bernard Herrmann Best Original Score 1976 Nominee
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Paul Schrader Best Screenplay 1976 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Julia Phillips Best Picture 1976 Nominee

Cast

Robert De Niro
as Travis Bickle
Cybill Shepherd
as Betsy
Peter Boyle
as Wizard
Albert Brooks
as Tom
Harvey Keitel
as Sport
Jodie Foster
as Iris
Murray Moston
as Iris' Time Keeper
Steven Prince
as Gun Salesman
Martin Scorsese
as Weird Passenger
Robert Shields
as Palantine Aide
Vic Magnotta
as Secret Service Photographer
Copper Cunningham
as Hooker in Cab
Brenda Dickson
as Soap Opera Woman
Frank Adu
as Angry Black Man
Harry Cohn
as Cabby in Bellmore
Carey Poe
as Campaign Worker
Bill Minkin
as Tom's Assistant
Joe Spinell
as Personnel Officer
Deborah Morgan
as Girl at Columbus Circle
Bob Maroff
as Mafioso
Harry Northrup
as Doughboy
Peter Savage
as The John
Gino Ardito
as Policeman at Rally
Norman Matlock
as Charlie T
Diahnne Abbott
as Concession Girl
Victor Argo
as Melio, Delicatessen Owner

Crew

Martin Scorsese
Director
Phillip Goldfarb
Producer
Julia Phillips
Producer
Michael Phillips
Producer
Paul Schrader
Screenwriter
Michael Chapman
Cinematographer
Bernard Herrmann
Musical Direction/Supervision
Bernard Herrmann
Composer (Music Score)
Dave Blume
Musical Direction/Supervision
Jackson Browne
Songwriter
Keith Addis
Songwriter
Melvin Shapiro
Editor
Marcia Lucas
Editor
Tom Rolf
Editor
Charles Rosen
Art Director
Herb Mulligan
Set Designer
Ruth Morley
Costume Designer
Verne Poore
Sound/Sound Designer
Les Lazarowitz
Sound/Sound Designer
Fred Schuler
Camera Operator
Juliet Taylor
Casting
Sylvia Fay
Casting
Irving Buchman
Makeup
Paul Kimatian
Still Photographer
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