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Critical and box office reception
Filmed on a budget of $1.3 million, Taxi Driver was a financial success earning $28,262,574 in the United States, making it the 17th-highest-grossing film of 1976.
Roger Ebert instantly praised it as one of the greatest films he’d ever seen, claiming:
"Taxi Driver" is a hell, from the opening shot of a cab emerging from stygian clouds of steam to the climactic killing scene in which the camera finally looks straight down. Scorsese wanted to look away from Travis's rejection; we almost want to look away from his life. But he's there, all right, and he's suffering.
It was also nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor (De Niro), and received the Palme d'Or, at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival. It has been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry. The film was chosen by Time as one of the 100 best films of all time.
As of 2012, Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 98% based on reviews from 60 critics.
The July/August 2009 issue of Film Comment polled several critics on the best films to win the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Taxi Driver placed first above films such as Il Gattopardo, Viridiana, Blowup, The Conversation, Apocalypse Now, La Dolce Vita and Pulp Fiction.
In the American Film Institute's top 50 movie villains of all time, Bickle was named the 30th greatest film villain. Empire also ranked him 18th in their "The 100 Greatest Movie Characters" poll.
|Cannes Film Festival||Palme d'Or||Martin Scorsese||Won|
|Hochi Film Award||Best Foreign Film||Won|
|LAFCA Award||Best Actor||Robert De Niro||Won|
|Best Music||Bernard Herrmann||Won|
|New Generation Award||Jodie Foster|
|Academy Award||Best Actor in a Leading Role||Robert De Niro||Nominated|
|Best Actress in a Supporting Role||Jodie Foster||Nominated|
|Best Music, Original Score||Bernard Herrmann||Nominated|
|Best Picture||Michael Phillips|
|BAFTA Award||Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music||Bernard Herrmann||Won|
|Best Supporting Actress (also for Bugsy Malone)||Jodie Foster||Won|
|Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles (also for Bugsy Malone)||Won|
|Best Actor||Robert De Niro||Nominated|
|Best Direction||Martin Scorsese||Nominated|
|Best Film Editing||Marcia Lucas|
|Blue Ribbon Award||Best Foreign Film||Martin Scorsese||Won|
|David di Donatello Award||Special David||Jodie Foster||Won|
|DGA Award||Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures||Martin Scorsese||Nominated|
|Golden Globe Award||Best Motion Picture Actor - Drama||Robert De Niro||Nominated|
|Best Screenplay - Motion Picture||Paul Schrader||Nominated|
|Grammy Award||Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television Special||Bernard Herrmann||Nominated|
|KCFCC Award||Best Supporting Actress||Jodie Foster||Won|
|Kinema Junpo Award||Best Foreign Language Film Director||Martin Scorsese||Won|
|NSFC Award||Best Actor||Robert De Niro||Won|
|Best Director||Martin Scorsese||Won|
|Best Supporting Actress||Jodie Foster||Won|
|Best Supporting Actor||Harvey Keitel||Nominated|
|NYFCC Award||Best Actor||Robert De Niro||Won|
|Best Director||Martin Scorsese||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actor||Harvey Keitel||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actress||Jodie Foster||Nominated|
|WGA Award||Best Drama Written Directly for the Screen||Paul Schrader||Nominated|
|Fotogramas de Plata||Best Foreign Movie Performer||Robert De Niro||Won|
|Saint Jordi Award||Best Performance in a Foreign Film (also for The Last Tycoon, Mean Streets, New York, New York and 1900)||Won|
Taxi Driver, American Gigolo, Light Sleeper, and The Walker make up a series referred to variously as the "Man in a Room" or "Night Worker" movies. Screenwriter Paul Schrader (who directed the other three films) has stated that he considers the central characters of the four films to be one character, who has changed as he has aged. The film also influenced the Charles Winkler film You Talkin' to Me?
You talkin' to me?
The catchphrase "You talkin' to me?" has become a pop culture icon. In 2005, it was chosen as #10 on the American Film Institute's AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movie Quotes.
In the scene, Bickle is looking into a mirror at himself, imagining a confrontation which would give him a chance to draw his gun. He says the following line:
|“||" You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? Then who the hell else are you talkin' to? You talkin' to me? Well I'm the only one here. Who the fuck do you think you're talking to?"||”|
Roger Ebert called it "the truest line in the film... Travis Bickle's desperate need to make some kind of contact somehow—to share or mimic the effortless social interaction he sees all around him, but does not participate in."
Paul Schrader does not take credit for the line, saying that his script only read, "Travis speaks to himself in the mirror", and that De Niro improvised the dialogue. However, Schrader went on to say that De Niro's performance was inspired by a routine by "an underground New York comedian" whom he had once seen, possibly including his signature line.
In his 2009 memoir, saxophonist Clarence Clemons said De Niro explained the line's origins when Clemons coached De Niro to play the saxophone for the movie New York, New York. Clemons says De Niro had seen Bruce Springsteen say it onstage at a concert as fans were screaming his name, and decided to make the line his own.
- Interpretations of the ending
- Home video releases