On every street in every city, there's a nobody who dreams of being a somebody.
Running Time: 113 minutes
US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 18
Country: United States
Just like your average taxi driver, Travis Bickle (De Niro) loves setting the world to rights and being slightly racist, but unlike the fat, lazy, un-PC cabbie, Travis is hell bent on doing something about what he perceives as the ills of the world. The crazy in question is an insomniac who drives a cab at night and visits porno theatres during the day. He falls in love with Betsy (Shepherd) who works for Presidential hopeful Charles Palantine (Harris), believing her to be the only pure thing in town, before scaring her off, and then taking an interest in saving teen prostitute Iris (Foster) from her pimp (Keitel). As Travis increasingly loses his grip on his sanity, he believes he has to do something big to stop New York City from sliding further into a cesspool of drugs, gangs and crime.
The unstable Vietnam veteran Travis Bickle is easily De Niro’s best role and performance to date and a far cry from the lightweight comedies and disappointing cop movies that have recently filled his days. De Niro manages to evoke the audience’s incredulity, pity and fear of a man who’s clearly one card short of a full deck but makes him seem outwardly normal in comparison to some of the filth he encounters. The finale is done so well that we actually begin to wonder if this psychopath is actually the good guy or the bad. It’s a refreshing and brutal look at the decaying fabric of inner city life in 1970s America which is a nice change from Hollywood’s usual gloss. Incidentally, I would pay to see the Sex and The City episode where Carrie Bradshaw gets happy-slapped by an urban yoof.
It's Got: Best taxi driver on the big screen since Total Recall's Johnny Cabs, superb performances from De Niro and Foster, 'Are you talking to me?', Scorcese in an acting role
It Needs: I can't think of a single thing
DVD Extras Two disc collectors version - a new audio commentary, nine unrelated trailers and more featurettes than I can be bothered to mention but they are certainly worth the upgrade
It’s got gritty realism, iconic lines and Robert De Niro at his very best. If you haven’t seen this yet, I’m very disappointed in you. Tssk.