YMMV / Taxi Driver

  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • Is Travis a "rebel with a cause" who targets Palantine mistakenly...or is he dissolving into insanity, and his rescue of Iris is just him looking for a justification for his desire to give in to violence? Or perhaps both...?
    • For that matter, we never actually learn what is wrong with Travis. He shows signs of Asperger's Syndrome, schizotypal personality disorder, and post-traumatic stress syndrome (possibly from his time in Vietnam), but it's not clear which if any disorder he actually has or how it/them influences his deteriorating mental state.
    • Also, some viewers have noted that we never see Travis having his guns on him during the Palantine rally—and that the next scene has him putting his guns on. Was he just "faking" his assassination attempt so as to "wake people up" to the violence of the city?
  • Award Snub: Lost Best Actor (Peter Finch) and Best Supporting Actress (Beatrice Straight) to Network, Best Original Score to The Omen (1976), and Best Picture to Rocky. Martin Scorsese wasn't even nominated as Best Director. Neither was Paul Schrader for his brilliant screenplay. Considering that year was amongst the most competitive in the history of the Oscars, the Oscar losses might be justified or debated against.
  • Awesome Music / Ear Worm:
    • The title theme.
    • In fact, the score overall. Bernard Herrmann's last and best work.
  • Fridge Brilliance: Easy Andy tells Travis a great deal about the guns he's buying, but it's all very inaccurate and leaves one wondering why an arms dealer wouldn't know his own merchandise. Then one realizes Travis probably doesn't know anything about the history of the merchandise he's buying and Andy is just telling him this stuff to convince him to buy it.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Knowing about the real-life Bernie Goetz case (which happened eight years after the movie came out) can make watching Travis' shooting rampage much more uncomfortable.
    • Travis considers assassinating Presidential candidate Palantine, which would infamously be mirrored by John Hinckley Jr trying to kill President Reagan to impress Jodie Foster.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Wizard's line about California being more progressive than New York when it comes to gay marriage is rather funny since, of the two states, New York legalized gay marriage first.
    • Travis mentions "moonlighting". Years later, Cybill Shepard would star in Moonlighting.
  • Misaimed Fandom:
    • The film has badly suffered from being idolized by gun-toting sociopaths who believed they'd found their representative in Travis (most infamously John Hinckley Jr). The other side of the fandom is nutjobs who take Travis' racism and vigilante ways as something to be admired. Like A Clockwork Orange five years earlier, a brilliant work of art that suffered because it was viewed by dangerous idiots.
    • There are also those who use his famous "You talkin' to me?" scene as a sort of Badass Boast, when in context Bickle's just talking to himself and fantasizing.
  • Never Live It Down: John Hinckley trying to emulate Travis by shooting Ronald Reagan to impress Jodie Foster. Not that any sane person would ever see that link otherwise, though.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The final shootout is very bloody and definitely not something to cheer on. Special mention goes to the man who gets almost his entire hand blown apart by the 44 magnum.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Martin Scorsese's cameo as a psychopathic passenger that Travis picks up. Apparently Scorsese never planned to be in the scene, the actor they hired got sick on the day of the shoot and so Scorsese had to step in.
    • Easy Andy the gun salesman.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games:
    • A never released video game was in the works. According to to one of the staff, it was going to be a Grand Theft Auto Clone, written by Hollywood Writers who had never played a video game or seen the movie (beyond the mirror scene) before. Featured stupid dialog with awful voice acting and made Travis a mass-murdering psychopath instead of a deranged loner posing in the mirror. It even went through a period where the license was removed from the game before getting it applied again.
    • Paul Schrader has noted that he and Scorsese have regularly halted, blocked and stalled attempts to license Taxi Driver spin-offs.
      "We really have fought over the years to keep people's hands off Taxi Driver, to keep it from being a video game and to keep it from having a sequel. It's a one-off kind of film."
  • Spiritual Adaptation: Of Notes from Underground and parts of Crime and Punishment. Both Paul Schrader and Martin Scorsese were great admirers of Fyodor Dostoevsky and Schrader described Travis Bickle as an American version of the "underground man" featured in Dostoevsky. Scorsese had wanted to adapt Notes from Underground himself before coming across Schrader's script and feeling that no direct adaptation could beat it.
  • The Woobie: Travis fuses this with Jerkass Woobie. Sure, he may be a violent, misguided Vigilante Man, but after being spurned by his crush, mocked by the one he's trying to help, and generally disturbed by his own surroundings, it's impossible not to feel for him to some degree.
  • Writer-Induced Fanon: Travis Bickle is never explicitly identified as The Vietnam Vet, the hints are there in his overall behaviour, the social context of 70s New York and the mention of him being in the Marines, but it is never directly specified. Nonetheless Martin Scorsese considers him to be a Shell-Shocked Veteran returning from Vietnam. Paul Schrader for his part while never opposing this interpretation kept it intentionally vague because he modelled the character on his own personal breakdown and embellished it with more general feelings, so as to lend the film to considerable Applicability.