Monday, May 21, 2012
Taxi Driver (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
#47 (1998) and #52 (2007) on the AFI Top 100 Movies List
Taxi Driver is a 1976 American psychological thriller film directed by Martin Scorsese and written by Paul Schrader. The film is set in New York City, soon after the Vietnam War. The film stars Robert De Niro and features Jodie Foster, Harvey Keitel, and Cybill Shepherd. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and won the Palme d'Or at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival. The American Film Institute ranked Taxi Driver as the 52nd greatest American film on their AFI's 100 Years…100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) list. The film was considered "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant by the US Library of Congress and was selected to be preserved in the National Film Registry in 1994.
* Robert De Niro as Travis Bickle
* Jodie Foster as Iris "Easy" Steensma
* Albert Brooks as Tom
* Harvey Keitel as Matthew "Sport" Higgins
* Leonard Harris as Senator Charles Palantine
* Peter Boyle as "Wizard"
* Cybill Shepherd as Betsy
* Harry Northup as Doughboy
* Martin Scorsese as a passenger in Travis' taxi
* Victor Argo as a grocery store owner
* Steven Prince as "Easy Andy"
* Joe Spinell as Travis' personnel officer at the taxi depot
The climactic shoot-out was considered intensely graphic at the time it was initially released. To attain an "R" rating, Scorsese had the colors desaturated, making the brightly colored blood less prominent. In later interviews, Scorsese commented that he was actually pleased by the color change and he considered it an improvement over the originally filmed scene, which has been lost. In the special edition DVD, Michael Chapman, the film's cinematographer, regrets the decision and the fact that no print with the unmuted colors exists any more, as the originals had long since deteriorated.
Some critics expressed concern over 13-year-old Jodie Foster's presence during the climactic shoot-out. However, Foster stated that she was present during the setup and staging of the special effects used during the scene; the entire process was explained and demonstrated for her, step by step. Rather than being upset or traumatized, Foster said, she was fascinated and entertained by the behind-the-scenes preparation that went into the scene. In addition, before being given the part, Foster was subjected to psychological testing to ensure that she would not be emotionally scarred by her role, in accordance with California Labor Board requirements.
Copies of the movie for showing by TV stations had a curious disclaimer added during the closing credits. The reasoning behind adding it is not entirely clear.
The disclaimer read: "TO OUR TELEVISION AUDIENCE: In the aftermath of violence, the distinction between hero and villain is sometimes a matter of interpretation or misinterpretation of facts. TAXI DRIVER suggests that tragic errors can be made. The Filmmakers".
John Hinckley, Jr.
Taxi Driver formed part of the delusional fantasy of John Hinckley, Jr. which triggered his attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan in 1981, an act for which he was found not guilty by reason of insanity. Hinckley stated that his actions were an attempt to impress actress Jodie Foster, on whom Hinckley was fixated, by mimicking Travis's mohawked appearance at the Palantine rally. His attorney concluded his defense by playing the movie for the jury.