Taxi Driver on its 40th Anniversary

When we talk about films that have reached “classic” status, it’s easy to forget that they weren’t always a sure thing. Taxi Driver was a product of a particular time in U.S. history, and it was Paul Schrader’s script with Martin Scorsese at the helm that tapped into the cultural climate and brought it to the screen. Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) is an outsider, a loner, disgusted with the world he sees around him. He is also a veteran of the Vietnam War, and has returned from his experiences of combat with a disturbed mind and an incomplete journey. There was a kind of national trauma felt after the unpopular war crawled to its close, an unsettled atmosphere that fitted well with Bickle’s paranoid psychosis.

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