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Key Facts

Key Facts

full title · Taxi Driver

director · Martin Scorsese

screenplay author · Paul Schrader

leading actor · Robert De Niro

supporting actors/actresses · Cybill Shepherd, Jodie Foster, Harvey Keitel, Peter Boyle, Leonard Harris, Albert Brooks, Martin Scorsese

type of work · Feature film

genre · Drama

language · English

time and place produced · New York (with some work in Los Angeles), 1975

awards · Winner of Palm D'Or at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival. Nominated for four Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Actor (Robert De Niro), Best Supporting Actress (Jodie Foster), and Best Original Score (Bernard Herrmann)

date of release · 1976

producers · Michael Phillips, Julia Phillips

setting (time) · The summer of 1975 or 1976

setting (place)  · New York City, mainly Manhattan – Times Square, Harlem, around Union Square.

protagonist · Travis Bickle

major conflict · Travis struggles to find his place in the world, first as a member of society and later as an outsider.

rising action · Travis's sociopathic feelings increase after Betsy rejects him, fueling his desire to lash out and kill Palantine as well as his desire to save Iris.

climax · After failing to kill Palantine, Travis perpetrates a gory shootout in which he kills Sport, another pimp, and a john who is trying to see Iris.

falling action · Travis is proclaimed a hero by society and thanked by Iris's father. He has a reconciliation with Betsy that is probably imagined, suggesting that Travis is still mentally unstable.

themes · Predetermined versus self-directed fate; loneliness in crowds; the glorification of violence

motifs · The taxi; racism; television

symbols · Guns; the $20 bill; water

foreshadowing · The music gives the film a sense of foreboding, even before any hint that Travis will be violent appears. Travis's shooting of the young black man foreshadows his extreme and emotionless violence at the end of the film.

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