If you go into the lists of De Nero's best films, then `Taxi Driver' frequently appears at the top. It won numerous awards, though surprisingly no `AA's?
The film was an enormous success, costing just over a million dollars to make - and grossing 28 million!
I can't think of anything that would have done more for the image of New York's yellow taxi cabs than this film?
The film centres on the taxi driver Travis. He lives in fantasy world, drives through the night, to areas no one else will go to , takes his pills, he keeps a diary. He also sends cards to his Mum &, Dad, telling them all sorts of tosh about himself. You never find out if his parents even exist?
He is uneducated and lacks the basic social skills. He thinks it's OK to take his new girlfriend to a porn movie? He's surprised when she walks out!
The film frequently enters the 'low life' areas of town and Travis seems to look down up on the dross of New York society. He is a racist.
As the film moves on, he becomes more and more irrational and unstable. He's an odd ball for sure and you're never quite sure just how far he's willing go? The film is very dark, but nevertheless just brilliant theatre, it takes you there, to the dingy, rainy streets of vice and the underclasses and unmentionables.
This searing movie from Martin Scorcese is one of the great films of the 1970's. It features Robert DeNiro in the role of a lifetime, as ex-Vietnam vet Travis Bickle, who can't sleep and drives a Cab at night as a form of therapy. Travis also has trouble relating to people and it is this that gives him difficulties when he meets Betsy (played wonderfully by Cybill Shepherd) and things go from bad to worse when he then meets Iris (Jodie Foster) a teenage prostitute.... The supporting cast includes Peter Boyle and Harvey Keitel.
Scorcese works his magic in this film. A number of scenes from this film are unforgettable and some have become iconic. Obviously the "Are you talking to me..." mirror scene is the most well known but there are a number of others. Travis winds up a Secret Service agent, suggesting he would like to join - this is marvellously played. You will notice in a later scene that Travis has made some slight adjustments to his hair! In another classic scene, which certainly influenced Quentin Tarantino for a scene in 'Reservoir Dogs', Travis goes to buy some guns. The dialog is marvellous. Full credit to Paul Schrader for the brilliant script, without his contribution the film would not have as good.
This edition has the following extras:
Introduction to DVD - Martin Scorsese - this was recorded in 2006 and lasts about 15 minutes during which Scorsese talks about the influences that created Taxi Driver (Jean Luc Goddard etc).
Introduction to DVD - Paul Schrader
Commentary - Paul Schrader
Commentary Robert Kolker (Author)
Loneliness and Inspiration - Documentary
Cabbie Confessional - Documentary
Producing a Cult Classic
Appreciation and Influence - this is an interesting series of intereviews about Martin Scorsese with many famous directors and actors.
Taxi Driver Locations - Then and Now
Animated Photo Gallery
Storyboard to Film Comparisons
Behind the Scenes Documentary
The film also contains the last ever film score from Bernard Hermann who had previously done Citizen Kane and Psycho to name but two. This score is really excellent. A Jazzy saxophone with a haunting melody, but that changes menacingly without warning. Quite brilliant.
This is, particularly at the end, a very violent film and one with an ending that may leave you perplexed. Despite this it has a haunting quality because of its running themes of alienation and loneliness. It isn't easy watching but does reward you with repeated viewings. An essential DVD for any film collection.
on 25 June 2011
Well you must be looking at my Bluray review... Ok, ok, on with the review.
As with my Apocalypse Now review I think it would be a bit of a waste to review the Taxi Driver movie itself. It's an iconic classic and if your reading this you'll no doubt just want to know if this bluray is worth the upgrade from the DVD, well it is, and here is why.
First impressions weren't good, they left in the old Columbia Pictures logo at the start of the film which looked horrendous, the credits weren't the best - although that's down to the trappings of time rather than anything else, and the first scene of Travis is murky, soft and hazy, but then the camera angle changes and *bang* a fine looking transfer from then on, and the best Taxi Driver has ever looked.
I will sum up the overall picture quality with one scene. Remember when Travis (Deniro) is in the Cafe and he drops a tablet into a glass of water that starts to fizz and he zones out just staring at it? Well, for years my VHS and DVD purchases just showed a fizzing glass of water, but in the Bluray release I can now see that the glass has a bug in it. Now, whether Travis can identify with this bug who is helplessly thrown around with the current, or they just didn't bother to clean the glass before shooting I don't know, but this level of detail is what the format is about. You can certainly see the benefit from the 4k digital restoration and remaster under Cinematographer Michael Chapman and Martin Scorsese. Taxi Driver looks great and is up there with the best classic movie Bluray releases. It still looks like a film from 1976, but it looks like it was released yesterday. That's not to say it looks super shiny or anything, there is a layer of filmic grain throughout the movie, but this is fine as it's where your detail comes from and also adds to the edgy feel of the movie. Blacks weren't always as solid as i'd have liked but minor trifles are outweighed by the detail and overall clarity on offer. If you have the set-up the 5.1 losseless soundtrack is very good. Not a new audio track but it still sounds great, from the Jazzy soundtrack, to Travis' monologues to the ambient noise of New York.
As for extras, this 35th Anniversary release seems to have everything. Most of these we have seen before on the various DVD releases, but it's nice to have them all in one place, and to be honest it's tough to think of anything else they could have added. There are three commentary tracks including the 1986 original recorded by Criterion. Scorses thoughts on Taxi Driver, Producing and making of Taxi Driver, storyboards, comparisons from the New York of 1975 to today, the influence and appreciation of Taxi Driver, God's lonely man: and in depth look at Travis Bickle, Taxi Driver stories (not tales from the film unfortunately but rather real life New York cabbies from the 70's) and the Bluray exlusive is an interactive script to screen.
In short then, if you like Taxi Driver this is the version to get.
Travis Bickle (De Niro) is an ex-Marine with a problem, he cannot sleep. So, he gets a job driving a taxi in the New York night. He is a man without fear so he will go anywhere anytime and of course, this means that he always sees the worst of the city.
Travis is almost totally lacking in social skills and this leads to a disastrous date with Betsy (Shepherd) and an ever increasing sense of alienation from and disgust with the world around him.
A chance encounter with Iris (Foster) a child prostitute, increases Travis' sense that he must do something about the city. He wavers between taking action against the man in control of Betsy, politician Charles Palantine for whom Betsy is a campaign worker and the man in control of Iris, Sport (Keitel) her pimp.
A close brush with secret service men who spot him in a crowd makes his decision and Travis decides to free Iris in a bloody shootout.
It's not a bad plot but the movie is really about the alienation of one man from the city around him. In this, De Niro is totally convincing he is in the city but not of the city. He has a hard job too. A social misfit cannot be given a sharp snappy script. Instead, such a person will at times be an embarrassment to those around him and De Niro portrays this perfectly.
This definitely a "must see" film. It is well paced and keeps the audience's attention throughout. The settings and the atmosphere of the dark side of the city are convincing. My only reservation is the ending. I cannot see how Travis' action would have been viewed in the way that the film showed.
on 5 June 2012
Taxi Driver is one my favorite films of all time. I love 70's films like Apocalypse Now, Clockwork Orange, Get Carter, Godfather and others that broke new grounds in filmmaking in general. It's my favorite era of film-making next to Classic Hollywood and the 80's.
Taxi Driver is very effective portrayal of New York, loneliness, violence and does it so well that no film afterwards has managed to capture it. Every single aspect of the film works. The performance by Robert De Niro has become an iconic. The direction by Martin Scorsese is very stylish and gives Taxi Driver a unforgettable look. The music by Alfred Hitchcock's composer Bernard Herrmann (Psycho, Vertigo) gives the film another level of atmosphere and mood. There are great supporting cast that includes Jodie Foster, Albert Brooks, Harvey Keitel, Cybill Shepherd and Peter Boyle. While Taxi Driver is mostly De Niro's show, these actors give very good supporting performances.
There is no real point talking about the plot of this film because most of you have heard about it in one way or another. It's an iconic film with iconic performance and iconic scenes that influenced modern pop-culture. It's a true masterpiece.
This DVD is a 2 Disc set with great amount of extra features. Picture quality is superb as is the sound quality. There are also stills from the movie which are quite nice.
*Commentary track by writer Paul Schrader
*Commentary track by Professor Robert Kolker
*Interview with Martin Scorsese
*Making Taxi Driver - 70 min long making of documentary
*Travis New York - Interview with 1970's New York mayor
*Travis New York Locations - Films location comparison now and then
*Introduction to Storyboards by Martin Scorsese
*Storyboard to Film Comparison
*Animated Photo Galleries
*Scorsese at Work - Photo Montage
*God's Lonely Man - interview with screenwriter
*Influence and Appreciation: Martin Scorsese Tribute - Oliver Stone, Robert De Niro and others talk about Scorsese
*Taxi Driver Stories - Real life taxi drivers tell real life stories
*Producing Taxi Driver - Interview with producer.
This DVD is a must have for any collection. It's very well put together. There are a lot of extra content that cover every angle of the process of making Taxi Driver. If you are a fan of cinema you should get this one without a second doubt.
on 16 November 2014
I'm not going to give you a review of the movie. Instead I will make a brief comment on this release. The picture quality, and enhanced colour is really very good when used with a 4k TV and a player with built in 4K upscaling. It is noticeably better than a standard blu-ray, but I must stress that I was using high end hardware to view it. For those who are unaware, these "mastered in 4k" discs are not providing a 4K source. 4K blu-ray is predicted for late 2015. These are just slightly better looking with the right hardware.
on 4 June 2001
Taxi Driver is easily one of the best films I have ever seen. The charcter Travis Bickle is a very admirable character who lets the intensity of New York get to him. I say he is admirable as he was an ex-Vietnam soldier who was trying to make an honest living and was prepared to work night and day to make a decent living for himself. The reason I like the film so much is the excellent acting by De Niro as you can see him get pushed gradually, day by day over the edge and his viewpoints and attitude towards life change. He gets more depressed and disillusioned until he decides enough is enough. "Then there is a change". I really admire the way in which he sets about his business in his vigilante mission with his no-nonsense attitude and the violence and Harvey Keitel I find really amusing. Also the two sub-plots that run along side the main part of the film that involves Cybil Sheperd and Jodie Foster only intensify the whole episode. The ending too is justice done also in that the reality of the result of violence is quite sickening and brings home the effect of getting too deeply involved in the seedier side of life. But fortunately all is not depressing and there is a happy note for the film to finish on. This film is an absolute classic and SHOULD NOT be missed!
on 27 April 2013
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.
on 16 March 2002
Taxi Driver is undoubtebly, one of the greatest films of all time. The direction of Scorsesse is fautless, the acting superb, the visuals dazzling, and the score by Benard Herrman is just beautiful. De Niro plays Travis Bickle, an ex Marine, who is gradually pushed over the edge by New York life. The most impressive aspect of the film in my opinion is De Niro's performance, probably the greatest of his career alongside the self destructive Jake la Motta. If i may, i'd like to state the opposite of the point made by bjorn in a previous review, i think that over time, this film has actually become more important, in the theme of Travis gaining fame and fortune for what he did, something increasingly obvious in our modern world. The DVD is excellent, the trailer's here, the script is here and there is also a huge documentary of the film, which is very insightful into the film and the experience.
on 6 April 2006
I have no idea how anyone can say this film disapointed them, it was the first of its kind when released; and is still up to the standards of modern psychological dramas and beyond most of them. Aparently, when it was first released it scared alot of pimps and peadophiles; its got such a realistic impact and takes you so deep inside the character of Travis Bickle. He is basically a man who is tormented by his existance, he cant sleep and his mind is always active; he tries to take his attention of himself, but nothing works; so he becomes a taxi driver. And from here on the film bascially depicts the increaseing pressure he feels under.
The film is full of great little moments that you probably wont understand the first time round, the screen play is exellent; thier little moments but their shot in such a way as to give you some idea of the impact that they have on Travis; the paracetamol in the glass or the gangsters in the cafe are an example of this; Travis is like a puppet on the stings of his surroundings, hes got no control over his emotions and things get evermore intense.
The ending is incredible for its psychological impact, not necassarily for the blood and gore you see; for that its nothing special and their are plenty of other better films for that to see; if you havent been following the film the whole time you wont appriciate it. But this is certainly one of my favorite films; the cast is exellent and so is the directing and screen play