Between the time Robert De Niro signed a thirty-five thousand dollar contract to appear in this film, and when it began filming, he won an Oscar for his role in The Godfather: Part II (1974), and his profile soared. The producers were terrified that De Niro would ask for a deserved large pay raise, since Columbia Pictures was very discomfited by the project, and were looking for excuses to pull the plug on it, but De Niro said he would honor his original deal so the film would get made.
Director Martin Scorsese claims that the most important shot in the movie is when Bickle is on the phone trying to get another date with Betsy. The camera moves to the side slowly and pans down the long, empty hallway next to Bickle, as if to suggest that the phone conversation is too painful and pathetic to bear.
Robert De Niro worked fifteen hour days for a month driving cabs as preparation for this role. He also studied mental illness, and - during his off-time when filming 1900 (1976) - visited a US Army base in Northern Italy and tape-recorded conversations with Midwestern soldiers so that he could pick up their accent.
When Paul Schrader was first writing the script, he believed that he was just writing about loneliness, but as the process went on, he realized he was writing about the pathology of loneliness. His theory being that, for some reason, some young men (such as Schrader himself) subconsciously push others away to maintain their isolation, even though the main source of their torment is this very isolation.
Paul Schrader wrote the script in ten days via two drafts, one after the other. As he was writing, he kept a loaded gun on his desk for motivation and inspiration.
Jodie Foster claims that Robert De Niro would regularly phone her up and suggest they have coffee together. They would then rehearse the diner scene over and over to the point where Foster got bored, but still De Niro would insist they continue rehearsing.
Jodie Foster was twelve years old when the movie was filmed, so she could not do the more explicit scenes (her character was also twelve years old). Connie Foster, Jodie's older sister, who was nineteen when the film was produced, was cast as her body double for those scenes.
Robert De Niro has said that, despite having won an Oscar for The Godfather: Part II (1974), he was still a relatively unfamiliar face, and was only actually recognized once while driving a New York cab during his research for this film.
The story was partially autobiographical for Paul Schrader, who suffered a nervous breakdown while living in Los Angeles. He was fired from the AFI, basically friendless, in the midst of a divorce, and was rejected by a girlfriend. Squatting in his ex-girlfriend's apartment while she was away for a couple of months, Schrader literally didn't talk to anyone for many weeks, went to porno theaters, and developed an obsession with guns. Schrader was working at the time as a delivery man for a chain of chicken restaurants. Spending long days alone in his car, he felt, I might as well be a taxi driver. He also shared with Bickle the sense of isolation from being a mid-Westerner in an urban center. Schrader decided to switch the action to New York City only because taxi drivers are far more common there. Schrader's script clicked with Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro when they read it.
The scene where Travis Bickle is talking to himself in the mirror was completely ad-libbed by Robert De Niro. The screenplay details just said, "Travis looks in the mirror." Martin Scorsese claims that he got the inspiration for the scene from Marlon Brando mouthing words in front of a mirror in Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967).
The producers were looking for a "Cybill Shepherd" type to play the female lead in the film. When agent Sue Mengers heard this, she reportedly called them and asked why not hire Cybill Shepherd.
Harvey Keitel rehearsed with pimps to prepare for his role. The scene where Sport and Iris (Jodie Foster) dance was improvised, and is one of only two scenes in the film that don't focus on Bickle.
Bernard Herrmann's wife says that when Martin Scorsese, then relatively unknown, called her famous husband to ask Hermann to do the score, he at first refused saying, "I don't write music for car movies." Hermann only accepted after reading the script, and then wrote a highly original score using dissonant brass to punctuate the inner emotions of Travis. After the initial scoring sessions, Scorsese called his composer again, insisting that he needed one more musical cue, a sting, a single frightening chord. Hermann called back a studio orchestra who were paid a day's work for that one effect. Shortly after that ultimate session, Hermann died at the age of sixty-four. He had begun his film career in Hollywood writing the music for Citizen Kane (1941).
John Hinckley's attempt on U.S. President Ronald Reagan's life (Monday, March 30, 1981) was apparently triggered by Robert De Niro's obsessive Travis Bickle, and his plot to assassinate a Presidential candidate. Coincidentally, the assassination attempt caused the 53rd Academy Awards ceremonies to be postponed for one day, until Tuesday, March 31, 1981, when De Niro won his Best Actor Oscar for Raging Bull (1980).
Harvey Keitel was originally offered the part of the campaign worker, eventually played by Albert Brooks. He decided to take the role as the pimp, even though in the script, he was black, and only had about five lines.
Martin Scorsese was reluctant to edit the climactic (and very bloody) shoot-out to avoid an X rating. However, he was amused by the changes ordered by the MPAA, because they made the final scene even more shocking than had originally been intended.
In Paul Schrader's original screenplay, the characters of Sport, the Mafioso, and the hotel clerk were all black. Martin Scorsese felt that, combined with other events in the film, this would have stacked the deck too much towards racism, and suggested that those characters be changed to white men. Schrader relented.
Martin Scorsese has said he offered the role of Travis Bickle to Dustin Hoffman. According to Hoffman, he turned the role down because he "thought he (Scorsese) was crazy!" He has since regretted his decision.
Robert De Niro's on-and-off girlfriend in the 1970s, Diahnne Abbott, appears as the concession girl in the porno theater near the beginning of the film.
In the coffee and pie scene, Travis orders apple pie with melted cheese. When serial killer Ed Gein was arrested, he asked the police for a slice of apple pie with melted cheese in exchange for a full confession.
Robert De Niro claimed that the final shoot-out scene took particularly long, because of both technical problems, and the humor which arose from the tension created by the carnage in the scene.
Producer Julia Phillips told in her autobiography that Cybill Shepherd had a hard time remembering her lines during the coffee-and-pie scene with Robert De Niro. She wrote that De Niro in particular was getting fed up with her, and that Phillips and Editor Marcia Lucas laughed over all the unusable footage they had to work with in the editing room.
Robert De Niro studied Midwestern dialects to come up with Travis Bickle's flat voice.
Steven Prince improvised the list of additional illegal things Easy Andy had for sale after Travis buys the gun.
The girl with whom Martin Scorsese studied in order to prepare for the role of Iris (Jodie Foster) also appeared in the film, as Iris' friend on the street.
Producer Julia Phillips claimed Martin Scorsese cast Cybill Shepherd as Betsy because of the size of her bottom, which added to her sex appeal. Phillips further revealed that Scorsese and Shepard had a difficult relationship on-set, with Scorsese having to feed Shepherd line readings to achieve a credible performance.
Travis Bickle's famous "You talkin' to me?" scene may have been inspired by Robert De Niro's training under Stella Adler, who (as an exercise) had her students practice different interpretations of a similar phrase. The legendary acting teacher was surprised to see one of her former students use "You talkin' to me?" as a psychotic mantra. Martin Scorsese was encouraging De Niro just below the camera while shooting the scene, which led to the rest of the "dialogue" Bickle has with his mirror.
The only camera direction that Paul Schrader wrote in the script was the overhead tracking shot after the bloody shoot-out.
The clash between Martin Scorsese, the MPAA and the executives at Columbia Pictures over the violent content of this film has gone into legend. One of the biggest rumors is that, when facing an X-rating from the MPAA and having to edit the film, Scorsese stayed up all night drinking with a loaded gun in his hand, preparing to shoot the executive at Columbia Pictures the next day. After an entire night of persuasion from his friends, Scorsese decided to mute the colors in the violent climax, and subsequently got his R-rating. There are many variations on this legend, one saying that Scorsese was planning to take his own life; another says that he brought the gun to Columbia Pictures and threatened the executive until the executive relented.
This was the last Columbia Pictures feature to use the classic Torch Lady logo in her classic appearance.
Robert De Niro has claimed that the "You talkin' to me?" scene was inspired by Bruce Springsteen's banter with his audience at a mid 1970s gig.
Brian De Palma was also considered to direct, but the producers were dragged to a private screening of Mean Streets (1973) (Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese's previous collaboration) before they told Scorsese he could direct, but only if he got De Niro to play the lead. De Palma later regretted not directing the film.
Before Jodie Foster was eventually cast as Iris, there were more than two hundred fifty applicants for the role, including newcomers Carrie Fisher, Mariel Hemingway, Bo Derek, Kim Cattrall, Rosanna Arquette, Kristy McNichol, and Michelle Pfeiffer.
Due to injuries sustained in an accident during the production of The Farmer (1977), George Memmoli had to decline the bit part of Travis' disturbed passenger, who was ultimately played by Martin Scorsese.
Paul Schrader was inspired to write the script after reading the published diary of Arthur Bremer, the man who was convicted of shooting Presidential hopeful George Wallace. Eerily, Bremer was twenty-six-years-old in 1976 (the year the film was released), the same age as Travis Bickle in the film, and Schrader was twenty-six when he first wrote the screenplay, in 1972.
Bernard Herrmann wasn't going to write the score for this film, but agreed to do it when he saw the scene where Bickle pours Schnapps on his bread. Herrmann died on Christmas Eve of 1975, just a few hours after completing the recording sessions for this film, and the movie was dedicated to his memory.
Melanie Griffith was originally offered the role of Iris, but her mother Tippi Hedren made her turn down the offer. She was the first choice to play the part.
According to Albert Brooks in a conversation he had with Paul Schrader after the film wrapped, Schrader had praised Brooks' performance as Tom, because that was the one character Schrader didn't understand. Brooks was amused at that fact, given that Schrader didn't understand the campaign manager, but did understand Travis Bickle.
The line "You talking to me?" was voted as the number ten movie quote by the American Film Institute, and as as the number eight of "The 100 Greatest Movie Lines" by Premiere in 2007.
The cab Travis drove was Checker. They stopped production after 1982, and the last one in New York City was retired in 1999. De Niro's temporary hack number was: 265216. The official taxicab driver's license issued by New York City had an expiration date of May 31, 1976.
The restaurant where the cabbies gather to eat, was a real-life hangout for taxi drivers called the Belmore Cafeteria at 28th Street and Park Avenue South. It has since been demolished, but the apartment building that replaced it is named the Belmore.
Bernard Herrmann's score is intentionally devoid of strings, giving the overall thrust of the soundtrack more "muscle".
Oliver Stone believes he was one of the models for Travis Bickle, pointing out that he was being taught by Martin Scorsese at New York University film school at the time, and like Travis, he was a Vietnam veteran turned New York City cabdriver, and wore his olive drab Army coat while on-duty.
Even though then twelve-year-old Jodie Foster played a very adult role in the movie, she would have been ineligible to attend the premiere unaccompanied by a parent or adult guardian, due to the R-rating.
When Travis calls Betsy from a payphone to apologize for having taken her to a porno movie (Ur kärlekens språk (1969)), he makes that call from the lobby of The Ed Sullivan Theater (1697 Broadway).
Before becoming a star, Robert De Niro thought about writing a screenplay himself. One of the ideas he had was, in the words of biographer Shawn Levy, "about a lonely man wandering New York City with guns and dreaming of an assassination." It never went any further than the idea stage, but it was an eerie coincidence when De Niro found Paul Schrader and this film a few years later.
Uncredited Tom Scott delivered the dominant, haunting alto saxophone solos over the Bernard Herrmann score.
Robert De Niro, having just broken out with The Godfather: Part II (1974), was being offered five hundred thousand dollars to star in other films, but did this for thirty-five thousand dollars. Paul Schrader agreed to take about the same amount for his screenplay, despite having just sold another one (The Yakuza (1974)) for ten times that amount. The rest of the main cast and Martin Scorsese also worked for less than normal. Cybill Shepherd took thirty-five thousand dollars; and Scorsese made sixty-five thousand dollars. The total budget was around 1.8 million dollars, of which, less than two hundred thousand dollars went to talent salaries.
The apartment building where Iris lived was 226 East 13th Street, as seen on an exterior shot, as well as in the Then-and-Now Special Feature on the two-disc DVD. As a sad coda to the movie, in 1988, as reported by the New York Times, two young girls were killed when the stoop outside this address collapsed, crushing them both.
Around the time Tony Bill was considering directing the movie, the Paul Schrader script was sent to Al Pacino, but he declined the role. Julia Phillips never knew whether Pacino declined the role because he didn't like the script, or because he didn't want to work with Bill.
DIRECTOR CAMEO (Martin Scorsese): Sitting down, behind Betsy as she walks into the Palantine campaign headquarters in slow-motion. He also appears as the irate husband in Bickle's cab.
Very few changes were made to Paul Schrader's script from the first draft pitched to Martin Scorsese to the final draft. However, Scorsese allowed a great deal of improvisation in the final cut of the film.
In 2011, Empire Magazine described this movie as "a vivid fever dream we still haven't woke up from."
When Martin Scorsese agreed to direct, he brought Robert De Niro on-board with him, much to the delight of Julia Phillips. Much less delightful was that De Niro was committed to making Bernardo Bertolucci's 1900 (1976), and when he left for Italy, Scorsese committed to Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974).
According to Amy Taubin's book, the character of Iris was partially inspired by Paul Schrader's memory of 1950s Coppertone ads. Jodie Foster had her acting debut in a Coppertone ad when she was three-years-old.
Mia Farrow reportedly wanted the role of Betsy, but Martin Scorsese turned her down.
In the lyrics to their song "Red Angel Dragnet", long-running British rock band The Clash mention Travis by name, and then include two Travis quotes: "one of these days I'm gonna get myself organized", and, "all the animals come out at night: queens, fairies, dopers, junkies, sick venal, some day a real rain will come and wash all the scum off the streets."
Robert De Niro thought of Travis Bickle as a crab, indirect and tended to shift from side to side.
Bickle's attempted assassination of Senator Charles Palantine inspired John Hinckley, Jr.'s attempted assassination of U.S. President Ronald Reagan on March 30, 1981. Prior to the crime, Hinckley had been stalking Jodie Foster at Yale Iniversity, due to his obsession with her character Iris in Taxi Driver (1976). In a letter wrote to Foster, he told her that he was going to assassinate the President, so he could impress her. Reagan was shot in the chest and wounded by Hinckley, Jr., who was committed to a psychiatric facility when he was found not guilty by reason of insanity in 1982. He was released on September 10, 2016, after thirty-four years in confinement.
In an interview with Roger Ebert upon the film's release, Martin Scorsese called it "my feminist film ... because it takes macho to its logical conclusion. The better man is the man who can kill you. This (movie) shows that kind of thinking, shows the kinds of problems some men have, bouncing back and forth between (their perception of women as) goddesses and whores."
Amongst the unknowns at the time who tried out for the role of Iris were Ellen Barkin, Kim Basinger, Geena Davis, Michelle Pfeiffer, Brooke Shields, and Debra Winger.
The character of Tom originally had very few lines in the script, but Albert Brooks worked with Martin Scorsese and Paul Schrader in fleshing out the role. Brooks was also allowed to improvise during filming.
After seeing "every blonde in town", Producer Julia Phillips still preferred Farrah Fawcett over Cybill Shepherd for the role of Betsy.
When Brian De Palma was attached to the project, he wanted Melanie Griffith to play Iris, but after two weeks of casting, both Griffth and De Palma were fired. Martin Scorsese replaced Griffith with Linda Blair. However, Blair also withdrew, and Scorsese later replaced Blair with Jodie Foster, but there were more than two hundred applicants for the role. Scorsese said that Jodie had the ability to play a twelve-year-old prostitute.
Other actors considered for the role of Travis Bickle were Jeff Bridges, Jack Nicholson, Dustin Hoffman, Warren Beatty, Burt Reynolds, Ryan O'Neal, Peter Fonda, Al Pacino, Jon Voight, Robert Blake, David Carradine, Richard Dreyfuss, Christopher Walken, Alain Delon, James Caan, Roy Scheider, Paul Newman, Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen, Elliott Gould, Alan Alda, and George Hamilton.
Steven Spielberg visited the music recording sessions of this movie to tell Composer Bernard Herrmann how much he admired his work. The prickly Hermann responded, "Oh Yeah? Then why do you always use John Williams for your films?"
According to Robin Askwith's autobiography the main character was given the forename "Travis" after Martin Scorsese saw Malcolm McDowell play "Mick Travis" in If.... (1968).
A nationwide search for a young actress to play the part of Iris was narrowed down to five finalists. Jodie Foster beat Mariel Hemingway, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Heather Locklear, and Kristy McNichol.
Many of Bernard Herrmann's cues for this film were either unused, or used in the wrong scenes.
Tony Bill, the producing partner of Julia Phillips and her husband Michael Phillips, wanted to make his directorial debut with this movie after Brian De Palma was fired. He was convinced to wait to direct a film more suitable for his sensibilities.
When Travis is talking to a Secret Service Agent, he gives his address as 154 Hopper Avenue, Fair Lawn, New Jersey. There is a Hopper Avenue in Fair Lawn, but there is no 154 Hopper Avenue.
Paul Schrader guessed that the thought of isolated anti-hero being a taxi driver may have been instilled by the Harry Chapin song "Taxi", which was a big hit at the time.
In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked this as the #52 Greatest Movie of All Time.
Rock Hudson was once considered for the role of Charles Palantine, but was not able, due to his commitment to the television series, McMillan & Wife (1971).
The record that Travis buys for Betsy is "The Silver Tongued Devil and I" by Kris Kristofferson. In the restaurant they quote from a song on the album, "Pilgrim Chapter 33" ("he's a prophet...").
Cybill Shepherd turned down the chance to appear in Nickelodeon (1976) in order to accept the role of Betsy.
In 1988, two young girls were killed when out playing on the front stoop of the apartment building at 226 East 13th Street, which features prominently in the ending of the movie following the shoot-out; collapsed. Building inspectors at the scene said they had found corroded angle irons under the stoop of the six-story walk-up, which was built around the turn of the century, and most likely gave-in due to age.
Jean-Paul Sartre's novel "La Nausée" proved to be a major inspiration for Paul Schrader's script.
Various studios considered producing this film; one suggested Neil Diamond for the lead role.
The film was shot on a tight schedule largely on-location in 1974 during a sweltering New York City summer. The conditions of the shoot helped define the film, from the night shooting during a heat wave ("there's an atmosphere at night that's like a seeping kind of virus") to the street shooting during the garbage strike ("everywhere I aimed the camera, there were mounds of garbage").
Paul Schrader decided to make Bickle a Vietnam veteran because the national trauma of the war seemed to blend perfectly with Bickle's paranoid psychosis, making his experiences after the war more intense and threatening. Thus, Bickle chooses to drive his taxi anywhere in the city as a way to feed his hatred.
Kim Basinger was offered the role of Iris, but had to turn down in order to continue to work as a model.
Jane Seymour, Glenn Close, and Susan Sarandon also auditioned for the role of Betsy.
As Robert De Niro and Cybill Shepherd walk past him, the street drummer says "now back to Gene Krupa syncopated style". This line was sampled by British band Apollo Four Forty for their song "Krupa". The track appeared on their 1997 album "Electro Glide in Blue".
After Brian De Palma, who was originally attached to the project, was let go, Producer Michael Phillips gave him a gross point as a parting gift, to assuage Phillips' guilt.
At the porno theater, Travis purchases two Clark bars, two boxes of Goobers, one box of Chuckles, a Royal Crown cola, and a box of popcorn for $1.85.
Although Harvey Keitel's character is referred alternately as Matthew or Sport throughout the film, according to the text in the newspaper clippings seen at the end, his true name is Charles Rain.
In Paul Schrader's original screenplay, Iris was named Garth and had an attention span of about twenty seconds. He re-wrote her character after inadvertently picking up an underage prostitute. He later sent Martin Scorsese a note saying "Iris is in my room. We're having breakfast at nine. Will you please join us?"
The film cast includes three Oscar winners: Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, and Martin Scorsese; and two Oscar nominees: Albert Brooks and Harvey Keitel.
Martin Scorsese's mother Catherine was supposed to have a cameo as a passenger in one of the scenes in Travis' taxi. Her cameo was eventually cut out of the film because the length of the movie was becoming too long.
The film's most famous musical theme, the sensuous, saxophone-driven "So Close to Me Blues", was only partly composed by Bernard Herrmann. Martin Scorsese wanted a smooth jazz cue to underscore a scene with Iris and her pimp "Sport". Jazz was not Herrmann's forte, so he asked his friend Christopher Palmer to arrange something from his existing material. Palmer took the first four bars of the song "As the Wind Bloweth" from Hermann's 1970 musical "The King of Schnorrers", expanded the melodic line with a jazzy twist, and gave the piece a new title. Herrmann was so pleased with the result, he made it a recurring motif throughout the film.
When they have dinner for the first time, Travis cracks a joke about "being organiz-ized" which Betsy doesn't seem to get. Later, when Travis is writing his diary, we can see the poster in his room that reads "One day I will get organiz-ized" with a picture of man sleeping in his chair and the letters "ized" seem to be falling down as if the man in the picture slept while he was completing the sentence.
When talking to the Secret Service Agent, Bickle gives the false name of Henry Krinkle. Steve Burns of Blue's Clues (1996) has a song called "Henry Krinkle's Lament" on his CD "Song for Dustmites".
Tatum O'Neal was offered the part of Iris, but she turned it down, telling the producers, "It's too small! After all, I am an Oscar winner you know!" Instead she took the role of Amanda Wuerlitzer in The Bad News Bears (1976). Ironically, Jodie Foster was originally offered the role of Amanda, but she turned it down to play Iris. Tatum later said she would have preferred to have played Iris.
Columbia Pictures wanted the entirety of the climactic shoot-out cut from the film, due to its graphic violence. When Martin Scorsese became frantic that the studio was attempting to sabotage his film, he showed his friend, Steven Spielberg, the scene out of context without the rest of the film. Afterward, Spielberg agreed the scene was brilliant, and that cutting the scene would be detrimental. It was shortly after this meeting that Scorsese got the idea to de-saturate the color in the scene as seen in the final film.
When Betsy enters the campaign headquarters in slow motion, and Martin Scorsese is sitting by the door, the guy coming out of the headquarters, who is holding the door for her, is wearing a Columbia Pictures t-shirt turned inside out. Columbia Pictures is the studio that released the film.
Ads for films starring Clint Eastwood and Charles Bronson can be seen in the film. Like Robert De Niro in this film, Eastwood and Bronson have also portrayed vigilantes on-screen.
This film draws many parallels with serial killer David Berkowitz, the "Son of Sam". He and Travis were mentally ill ex-soldiers who were disgusted by what they saw as the degradation of mid 1970's New York City, both were insomniacs, both used .44 caliber revolvers, and Berkowitz worked as a taxi driver before famously joining the Post Office. Although Berkowitz had already committed non-fatal stabbings and arson before the release of the film in February 1976, he did not begin his shooting spree until several months afterwards. It is unknown whether Berkowitz ever saw this movie.
The weapons that Travis uses are: a Smith & Wesson Model 29 with an eight-inch barrel, a nickel Smith & Wesson Model 36 with a square butt, mother-of-pearl grips with a flared flat cylinder release hatch, a Smith & Wesson Escort, Astra Constable .32 LR.
Debra Winger, when she was just starting out as an actress, auditioned for the role of Iris.
Isabelle Adjani and Ornella Muti were each offered the role of Iris, but both turned it down.
The second movie in which Robert De Niro's character is a Vietnam Veteran. The first being Hi, Mom! (1970). He later went on to play two other Vietnam War veterans in The Deer Hunter (1978) and Jacknife (1989).
Burt Reynolds, while promoting his memoirs in 2015, said he turned down the part of Travis Bickle. He said it was stupid of him in hindsight, and regretted the decision.
While filming the movie near Times Square, Martin Scorsese shot footage of protesters throwing smoke bombs at a theater that was screening Coonskin (1975), He sent the footage to Ralph Bakshi, who said of it "I didn't know whether to laugh or cry."
Xzibit sampled the "Listen you fuckers, you screwheads, Here's a man who would not take it anymore. A man who stood up against the scum, the cunts the dogs, the filth, the shit. Here is someone who stood up. Here is..." speech for the title track of his 1996 album "At The Speed Of Life".
Liza Minnelli and Barbara Hershey were each offered the role of Betsy, but both turned it down.
Mary Steenburgen auditioned for the role of Betsy, and was Martin Scorsese's preferred choice.
Jennifer Jason Leigh did an audition for the role of Iris, but came close to Jodie Foster on the final day of auditions.
The soundtrack recording sessions for this movie were held in Burbank, California on December 22 and December 23, 1975. Composer Bernard Herrmann was terminally ill with heart disease, and could not conduct the orchestra himself. That task was given to veteran Arranger and Conductor Jack Hayes, while Herrmann directed from the control booth. A few hours after the sessions wrapped, on the morning of December 24, Herrmann died in his sleep at the Sheraton Universal Hotel. His daughter Dorothy recalled, "I knew he was dying. He was just a shadow of his former self, and it was remarkable that he could have written 'Taxi Driver' under the circumstances. How he did it, I'll never know, but I think it must have had something to do with the fact that he wanted to keep working right up until the end of his life."
Director Martin Scorsese plays two different roles in the film: a man standing outside the campaign office (for which he goes uncredited), and the disturbing taxi passenger (for which he is credited).
Paul Schrader originally set the film in Los Angeles, but it was moved to New York City because taxicabs were much more prevalent there than in Los Angeles.
In an early scene, another taxi driver shows Travis Bickle a piece of Errol Flynn's bathtub that he owns. Errol Flynn was a character (played by Jude Law) in Martin Scorsese's The Aviator (2004).
Production for this movie was originally set to begin in June 1974, but due to Scorsese and De Niro's busy schedules, did not actually shoot until one year later, in June 1975.
Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the Top 100 Greatest American Movies.
The only Best Picture Oscar nominee that year not to be nominated in any of the writing categories.
Travis mentions at the start of the film that he served in the U.S. Marine Corps. Harvey Keitel, who plays Sport, served in the U.S. Marine Corps before becoming an actor.
(Cameo) Victor Argo: As shopkeeper Melio who is held at gunpoint by a robber (Nat Grant), who is shot by Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro), thereby saving Melio.
Early in the film when Travis is seeking employment at the taxi company, he responds to the manager, " what is moonlighting?" Moonlighting was a hit TV show from '85-'89 starring co-star Cybill Shepherd.
The only Best Picture Oscar nominee that year to be also nominated for Best Original Score.
The writer David Sherwin briefly lived in Los Angeles during the spring of 1975 working on an unmade Robin Hood picture with Jon Voight. During that time , he was looking to change representatives and met with Harry Ufland, Martin Scorsese's agent. Scorsese wanted Sherwin to work on a new musical he was planning about Byron and Shelley with De Niro starring. Ufland told Sherwin that Scorsese was a huge fan of his work , and that he had named Robert De Niro's character in " Taxi Driver " after Sherwin's protagonist in the Lindsay Anderson classics "If" and " O Lucky Man". Mick Travis played by Malcolm McDowell.
The only film that year nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, and not Best Motion Picture Drama at the Golden Globes.
In 2005, it was announced that film was going to be made into a video game and was set for release in 2006. But, the video game was canceled and never made it to stores and only a trailer of the game was released.
In the diner scene, 12-year-old Iris (played by Jodie Foster) says to Travis Bickle that "Cancers make the best lovers". Not coincidentally, Paul Schrader who penned the screenplay happens to be the Zodiac sign Cancer (June 21-July 22) given his birthday of July 22nd.
Robert Deniro actually got a real cab license and worked as a taxi driver for two months to get the feel of it. However the New York Taxi commission Cannot allow actual names of cab drivers to be displayed in films hence the fake chauffeur hack display with "Travis Bickle"
Before taking on the role of Iris, the teenage prostitute, Jodie Foster was required to attend counseling to make sure someone so young could cope with the demands of the role.
Martin Scorsese said that when he filmed his cameo in the backseat of the taxi cab he had to sit on a blanket to be able to be seen over the front seat.
In the diner scene, 12-year-old Iris adds sugar to her toast which is already covered with jelly. Some viewers interpret this character trait as Iris still being a kid at heart but this was not the intention. The other hooker that Iris follows around in the film was an actual prostitute whom Jodie Foster shadowed to prepare for her role. The prostitute was a heroin user and also snorted cocaine throughout the day in order to stay awake for long periods of time to do her job, eventually becoming an addict. One way in which she would quell her heroin addiction was adding extra sugar to her meals. This would also yield an energy kick similar to cocaine. Jodie, being a very young but very observant and intuitive young actress, incorporated this character trait into the scene.
In 1976, Martin Scorsese held a private screening of his film at New York's Plaza Hotel for a small group of friends that included his parish priest and lifelong mentor Reverend Francis Principe. After the screening, the Catholic priest commented, "I'm glad you ended it on Easter Sunday, and not on Good Friday." For many years afterward, this comment was often misquoted as "too much Good Friday, not enough Easter Sunday", and erroneously attributed to Marty's New York University teacher Haig Manoogian.
This is the first of three films on which Harvey Keitel has worked with Cinematographer Michael Chapman. The other two films are Fingers (1978) and Rising Sun (1993).
Norman Matlock, who plays Charlie T., the black taxi driver, later appeared as a character named "Albert Brooks" in Murder in Coweta County (1983), while in this film, Albert Brooks played a major role.
14 years after the film's cinema release, Robert De Niro starred opposite Robin Williams in Awakenings (1990). Robin Williams later starred in One Hour Photo (2002) which is a similar film to Taxi Driver. In that film, Robin Williams stars as lonely mentally disturbed photo developed Seymour Parrish who stalks the Yorkin family whose photos he develops and keeps copies for himself. But goes vigilante and decides to exact revenge on the family's patriarch Will Michael Vartan when he discovers he is having an affair with another woman.
It's likely although it's never addressed in the movie that Iris may be brainwashed by Sport and could be suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. Iris won't leave Sport and believes her parents hate her and claims that Sport never hurt or treated her badly and ignores Travis's comments about Sport and about her being a prostitute and ignores his advice to leave Sport and thinks Sport and Iris thinks Sport is not a monster and loves her and she does not see that he is a vile snake.