This film is a masterclass of writing, acting, and directing. Paul Schrader admits to being a bit like Travis when he wrote this, and so he empathised with the loneliness and the contradictions of a personality who wants love but when he gets a date, takes her to a porno theatre to show her what a loser he is. And who writes in his diary about the importance of getting healthy and then sits staring at a tv popping pills and eating bread and cereals laced with whiskey. He is a social misfit, a reject determined to remain rejected, because to his subconscious mind this is what he deserves, no matter what he writes and says. I like that the script doesnt explain why he is this way, but just shows the behaviour and allows our imagination to fill in the gaps. De Niro prepared by driving a taxi and he IS the character more than in any other movie he made.
The only scenes that i don't quite believe are those between Travis and Betsy, played by Cybill Shepherd. Here the writing is not so realistic, as i don't believe she would go out with a guy like him, not even for a coffee, and when he tells her he feels there is a strong connection between them, and asks if she feels the same, she replies "I wouldnt be here if i didn't." That is the worst line in the whole movie, but is taken from many ad-libbed versions of scenes between the two actors, who never look comfortable together. That aside, Taxi Driver spoke to the souls of thousands of lonely outsiders, rejects, so called losers in life, but in reality it is the life itself that is fundamentally unnatural for humans to live in, being a slave-like existence with little or no affection or love.Travis reacts in a natural way to this unnatural city existence,and so for me he is normal, while all the people who put forward a fake front of self control and enjoyment in place of the turmoil they should be exhibiting, it is they who are the unnatural ones. Scorcese's best film and De Niro's best acting.