When Martin Scorsese The taxi driver was released 45 years ago, Which gave cinephiles around the world a masterpiece that is still considered one of the best Hollywood films. As Travis Bickle, Robert De Niro painted a picture of a man in the middle of an existential crisis and struggling to keep his feet in one place. His anger turns him into a misleading hero in the eyes of the public as he tries to find an antidote for loneliness in violence.
The taxi driver did not win any Oscars that year, which meant to Hollywood all the time “Are you talking to me?” Travis stares at himself in the mirror as he sighs, pulling a handgun out of his pocket and practicing. He looked into her eyes in reflection, “Are you talking to me? Then who are you talking to? Are you talking to me? Okay I’m the only one here. Who do you think you’re talking to?” And looked at himself curiously.
Robert De Niro deserves full credit for this performance and not just because of his acting, “Are you talking to me?” He came up with the iconic line. On the spot.
At the film’s 40th anniversary in 2016, Scorsese and De Niro spoke today and recalled that this line was not even in the script. Scorsese suggests De Niro do something as he looks in the mirror. For the taxi driver it was their last week of shooting and logically things were a lot “harder”. To keep the staff away from their place, they locked the room to improve de Niro.
Scorsese recalls, “Is he talking to me?” He keeps repeating it, and keeps repeating it … and (the assistant director) knocks on the door, saying, ‘Come on, we need to get out of here.’ , It’s good. Give me another minute. ‘It’s like a jazz riff. Like a solo. “
Speaking about the impact of this dialogue since the film was first released, De Niro said he did not know if it would be a big highlight for the film even after decades. “You never know with those things. You just did.”
The taxi driver is the second collaboration between Scorsese and De Niro since 1973’s Mean Streets. After Taxi Driver, they continued to work on eight films: New York, New York, Raging Bull, The King of Comedy, Goodfellows, Cape Fear, Casino, Audition and more recently Netflix’s The Irishman. The two collaborate on Scorsese’s next Killers of Flower Moon.