USA Release date: 8th February 1976
Watched on Sky+ Sunday 5th February 2012.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
Believe it or not but this is the first time I’ve ever seen this film. It’s one that has always been on my radar but I never got around to it until now. What’s galling about it is that the film is so very good and I feel bad that I hadn’t watched it sooner. But there’s no use worrying about it now, it’s a great film and no mistaking, Scorsese was really on form back in the ‘70’s and it really shows in this one! More of my thoughts after this brief summary.
Travis Bickle is an ex-marine who has trouble sleeping and in order to relieve the tedium he takes a job as a taxi driver. He works all hours and doesn’t mind which parts of New York City he visits. He sees a girl he likes, Betsy, who works in the campaign office of Charles Palantine, who is going for the nomination to be President. They go out a few times but things don’t quite go according to plan. Bickle begins to get worse and focuses his attention on a young prostitute, Iris, who he decides to save from the life she’s found herself in. He gets himself a gun and deals with the situation in the only way he feels he can. I will leave it there or the Spoiler Police will be impounding my cab (again).
A really well made film with all the hard edges you’d expect from a gritty 1970’s drama. I love the look and feel of it and it’s all nicely knitted together with a hauntingly melodic musical score by Bernard Herrmann. On the performance front, well, Robert De Niro as Travis Bickle was breathtaking. I can see why many say this was his finest moment on film! Jodie Foster also did a great job as Iris, as did Cybill Shepherd as Betsy. Honourable mentions must go to; Peter Boyle as Wizard and Harvey Keitel as Sport.
This is a film that many have given high praise to and I can see why. It has everything you would want from a drama; not only is a story that sucks you in, but the performances are so good they make you believe in the characters. It does seem a little flat here and there, but you never really know just what’s going to happen next and I loved every minute of it!... This one comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
My score: 9.2/10.
IMDb Score: 8.5/10 (based on 217,939 votes at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 98/100 (based on 60 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 93/100 (based on 207,339 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
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WARNING: STRONG LANGUAGE:
Personnel Officer: Wanna work uptown at nights? South Bronx? Harlem?
Travis Bickle: I'll work anytime, anywhere.
Personnel Officer: Will you work on Jewish holidays?
Travis Bickle: Anytime, anywhere.
Iris: God, you're square.
Travis Bickle: Hey, I'm not square, you're the one that's square. You're full of shit, man. What are you talking about? You walk out with those fuckin' creeps and low-lifes and degenerates out on the streets and you sell your little pussy for peanuts? For some low-life pimp who stands in the hall? And I'm square? You're the one that's square, man. I don't go screwing fuck with a bunch of killers and junkies like you do. You call that bein' hip? What world are you from?
Sport: See ya later, copper!
Travis Bickle: I'm no cop, man.
Sport: Well, if you are, then it's entrapment already.
Travis Bickle: All the animals come out at night - whores, skunk pussies, buggers, queens, fairies, dopers, junkies, sick, venal. Someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets. I go all over. I take people to the Bronx, Brooklyn, I take 'em to Harlem. I don't care. Don't make no difference to me. It does to some. Some won't even take spooks. Don't make no difference to me.
Travis Bickle: [Travis is trying his guns on the mirror] Huh? Huh?
Travis Bickle: Faster than you, fucking son of a... Saw you coming you fucking... shitheel.
Travis Bickle: I'm standing here; you make the move. You make the move. It's your move...
Travis Bickle: Don't try it you fuck.
Travis Bickle: You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? Then who the hell else are you talking... you talking to me? Well I'm the only one here. Who the fuck do you think you're talking to? Oh yeah? OK.