Martin Scorsese’s 1976 triumph “Taxi Driver” paved the way for not only Scorsese’s illustrious career, but also helped to reimagine film itself and inspire hundreds of later movies. At its center is the deeply troubled Vietnam vet, Travis Bickle. He exists in a New York City of the 70’s: gritty, hard, violent, but changing. At the time, psychological effects of war– like PTSD– were hardly accepted or even known like they are today. Paul Schrader’s incredible screenplay explored mental illness in a way that hadn’t really been done before. This is what makes “Taxi Driver” so good, yet so dark.
“Taxi Driver”‘s New York is full of underage prostitutes, dirty theaters, corrupt politics, and violent pimps. Although its style doesn’t immediately come to mind when one considers this film, it’s there in all it’s gaudy, 70’s glory. A very young Jodie Foster as prostitute Iris rocks huge hats and cool glasses. Betsey, played by Cybill Shepherd, is more understated. And of course, there’s De Niro, whose style is unmatched and while it may be hard to pull off in day-to-day wear, just grab a green jacket and a mohawk wig, and you’ve got a great Halloween costume– regardless of gender.