One movie that’s been voted as one of the best of all time is Taxi Driver, starring Robert De Niro. This 1976 psychological thriller was directed by Martin Scorsese and was set in New York in the time period just after the Vietnam War. Other big names in the film were Jodie Foster and Harvey Keitel. It is often lauded as one of the greatest movies of all time and was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture. It also won the Palme d’Or at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival. The American Film Institute ranked Taxi Driver as the 52nd greatest movie out of 100. The biggest honour by far must be that the US Library of Congress selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry in 1994 for being ‘culturally, historically or aesthetically’ significant.
It is a dark film but there is some feeling of peace and redemption at the end. Robert De Niro improvised one of the most famous lines in cinema history – the paranoid monologue which included the line ‘You talkin to me? The film’s screenwriter later admitted that it’s the best line in the film and he never even wrote it. De Niro got the line from Bruce Springsteen, whom he’d seen perform in Greenwich Village just days earlier. For your very own taxi driver, visit Taxi Chester at https://www.taxis-in-chester.co.uk/.
Before becoming a star, De Niro had toyed with the idea of writing a screenplay himself. One of the ideas he had was about a lonely man wandering New York City with guns and dreaming of committing an assassination. The idea never went any further but it was a strange coincidence that De Niro found Taxi Driver a few years later. At least he was able to make this idea a reality at last.
New York was a dirty place in the 1970s and that was one of the central themes of Taxi Driver. But luckily in a way for the film, it was especially dirty in the summer of 1975 when the filming was taking place due to a sanitation workers’ strike that left piles and piles of garbage left rotting on the sidewalks and streets.
Jodie Foster was incredibly only 12 years old when the movie was filmed, but she was very mature and was in fact one of the most experienced actors in the cast, having appeared in dozens of TV shows and a a few movies. However, her youth outweighed her experience so the producers had her meet with California’s child welfare department to make sure she was mature enough to handle the adult content of the film. Her scenes were supervised by a welfare worker and Foster’s older sister, Connie, was hired as her body double for some of the sexier more violent shots. The welfare worker also made sure that she never on set when De Niro had to say a naughty word.