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Transcript of Taxi Driver
Genre and Rating
To attain an "R" rating instead of an “X”, Scorsese (the director) had the colors desaturated, making the brightly colored blood less prominent.
Lighting & Sound
Setbacks & Challenges
Box Office Results
Brought to you by:
February 8, 1976
Phillip M. Goldfarb
Columbia Pictures Corporation
According to IMDb is credited for 106 different films
From Schindler’s List to To Rome with Love
Robert De Niro
Professional rating: 4 ½ stars
$21,100,000 in the United States
17th Highest Grossing film in 1976
To achieve the atmospheric scenes in Bickle's cab, the sound men would get in the trunk and Scorsese and his cinematographer, Michael Chapman, would ensconce themselves on the back seat floor and use available light to shoot.
Known for The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) and Vertigo (1958)
Died just hours after he scored Taxi Driver
Composed 10 tracks
Deep, sleazy noises representing the “scum”
Places the drama on the city
Insomniac Vietnam vet
Almost no talking
Constant stream of borderline psychopathic rage with tics and twitches
De Niro studied how mentally ill people behave to portray Travis Bickle as precisely as possible.
Very serious and deliberate tone and actions
driving an actual cab 12 hours a day for a month
“It is to the actor's credit that he can involve us so deeply with this person's disequilibrium and rage. De Niro doesn't allow us to distance or disassociate ourselves from this character.” -Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
(Robert De Niro)
Acts older and tougher than she really is.
While she was the one who ran away, she makes you feel sorry for her situation because she is so young and confused and manipulated by Sport (the pimp)
To prepare for the role of Iris the prostitute, Scorsese studied a real prostitute.
Untouched beauty of Bickle’s desires
Plays an innocent character who just wants to give him a chance but makes him work for it.
Beautiful and young and uses people for own gain because of it
Worked at the campaign headquarters of Presidential candidate Charles Palatine (Leonard Harris).
Scorsese plays himself as an unsettled passenger, with a thing for the Magnum .44
Wants to kill his wife for cheating on him.
Man who peaks Travis’ interest in guns.
Rehearsed with actual pimps to prepare for the role
Much of the dialogue (including the legendary “…You talkin’ to me?”) was improvised.
“You talkin’ to me” scene idea came to De Niro after one of his acting coaches used it in lessons.
Minimal dialogue and considered silences worked to enhance certain points of the film.
The scene where Sport and Iris are dancing is also completely improvised.
Great film critic, Roger Ebert has noted that the line "Well, I'm the only one here" echoes the central theme of the film, loneliness. Travis is so lonely that he is the only one there, forced to speak to his reflection.
Travis Bickle: “The days go on and on... they don't end. All my life needed was a sense of someplace to go.”
Travis Bickle: “Loneliness has followed me my whole life. Everywhere. In bars, in cars, sidewalks, stores, everywhere. There's no escape. I'm God's lonely man…”
Quotes about “Loneliness”
Travis Bickle: “Someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets.”
Travis Bickle: “She was wearing a white dress. She appeared like an angel. Out of this filthy mess, she is alone.”
Quotes about “Cleanliness”
Mystery Man: “You ever see what a .44 Magnum pistol could do to a woman’s p****. That you should see.”
Travis Bickle: “You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? Then who the h*** else are you talking... you talking to me? Well I'm the only one here. Who the f*** do you think you're talking to? Oh yeah? OK.”
Quotes about “Violence”
$116,458 (USA) (19 February 1996) (8 Screens)
$28,262,574 (USA) (31 December 1996)
$27,300,000 (USA) (31 December 1977)
$21,100,000 (USA) (31 December 1976)
AUD 130,040 (Australia) ( March 1996)
HKD 515,736 (Hong Kong) ( 1977)
ITL 456,400,000 (Italy) ( 1981)
SEK 6,283,970 (Sweden)
Other Films realeased that Year
Nominated for four Oscars
Best actor in a leading role
Best actress in a supporting role
Best music-original score
Nominated for two Golden Globes
Best motion-picture actor for a drama
Best screenplay for a motion-picture
Nominated for one Grammy
Best album of original score written for a motion-picture or television special
Won 26 awards
Best director (Cannes Film Festival)
Best actor, best music, new generation award (Jodie Foster and Martin Scorsese) at Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards
American Film Institute
Ranked movie as #52 Greatest Movie of All Time
The New York Times- Vincent Canby
Gave film 8 out of 10
Chicago Sun- Roger Ebert
Gave film 10 out of 10
San Francisco Chronicle- Mark LaSalle
Gave film 10 out of 10
20 years after film’s release
Setbacks and Challenges
Jodie Foster’s Age
Because she was 12, a body double was required for the more explicit scenes
Cybill Shepherd/Robert De Niro Coffee House Scene
Shepherd had a really hard time remembering her lines and the editors ended up with a lot of unusable footage
Took particularly long
MPAA threatened an X rating because of the bloody shooting scene
The changes Scorsese made to the shootout to avoid the X rating made the scene more shocking than it was intended to be
John Hinkley’s assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan
Inspired by Travis’s idea to assassinate the presidential candidate
Prostitute who Jodie Foster’s character is based on appears in the movie
Scorsese X Rating Rumors
Rumored that he had a loaded gun and was prepared to shoot the executive of Colombia
Also rumored that he wanted to take his own life, not the executive’s
Rumored that he DID take the gun to Colombia and threatened the executive until the executive caved
All the President’s Men
The Outlaw Josey Wales
Bad News Bears”
Box Office Results
Lighting and Sound
Was originally written with Jeff Bridges in mind
Neil Diamond was also considered
Scorsese offered role to Dustin Hoffman, who turned it down
Robert De Niro
What didn't Work
Take you out of the film
Unnecessarily vulgar comments
Other cab drivers
What did Work
Set the tone
Camera Angles and Techniques
Worked directly with one another
Scorsese was very particular in how he wanted the scenes to look
panning and zooming
cutaways of the streets
bird's eye view
point of view shots
many noticeable continuity errors
Sleeves towards the end of the film
First shooting scene
You Talkin' to Me
often used throughout the film
exposition - eyes
emphasizes emotion of the character
City scenes to seem more realistic
Drove around the city to with a camera
Off - Center Shots
Uncommon at the time
Calling Betsy scene
Thank you for your time!