A character has just gotten a new gun and checks himself out in the mirror. What does he do? Nine times out of ten, he starts talking to his reflection, quoting Robert De Niro's famous monologue from Taxi Driver. He doesn't even need a real gun — if he just wants to feel badass, there's always the trusty Finger Gun.
Of course, when De Niro did it, it was 10 times cooler. He also had a retractable handgun strapped to his forearm, which none of the imitators seem to have. Neither one of these defects seems to stop writers from inserting this scene at every opportunity. It doesn't matter what the character's background or psychological profile is; it seems that all TV characters, once given a gun, will immediately start to fantasize about verbally harassing people.
For some reason, everyone seems to remember the line as "You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? Well, I don't see anyone else here..."
In some cases, the characters may literally be talking to you. In this case, it's Breaking the Fourth Wall.
Here is a compilation with a lot of examples of this trope.
- Sin City: "For a while, we just get the feel of each other back. Good as ever. I tell her about Goldie and what we have to do."
- In Balto III, Balto and his friends encounter a moose who keeps saying "Are you talkin' to me?" before attacking them. When another moose arrives and challenges the first one, the first moose still asks "Are you talkin' to me?" This makes the other moose say "Yeah, I'm talkn' to you!"
- This happened, sans gun, in The Lion King (1994): Pumbaa launches into the first half of the speech after a hyena calls him a pig, then ends it with the line, "They call me ''MISTER Pig!''"
- One of the personas adopted by the Genie in Aladdin: "Are you lookin' at me? Did you rub my lamp? Did you wake me up? Did you bring me here?"
- This happened, sans gun in The Land Before Time VI: The Secret of Saurus Rock when Littlefoot says this line.
- Taxi Driver, Trope Codifier. Duh.
- "You talkin' to me?", though not the rest of the sequence, was most famously originated by Alan Ladd's character in This Gun for Hire (1942). The scene is iconic enough that when L. A. Confidential had the Veronica Lake lookalike character showing one of Lake's old films, they used that scene from that movie.
- The probable origin of Bickle's monologue is the 1953 film Shane:
Shane: You speakin' to me?Chris Calloway: I don't see nobody else standin' there.
- Note: Shane is played by...Alan Ladd.
- In The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle live action movie, Fearless Leader (Robert De Niro) did this as an obvious Shout-Out to his character in Taxi Driver. Although there was no gun and mirror involved; it was just a case of asking if they were talking to him.
- Vincent Cassel does a French version of this in the film La Haine.
- Back to the Future Part III. Marty wakes up and sees that's he's alone with a gun. Cut to Marty wearing his gunbelt over his long underwear, quoting the scene to his reflection.
- The short film Yu Ming Is Ainm Dom features a scene where the eponymous character, while shaving, looks at his reflection in the mirror and quotes the monologue. As Gaeilge.
- In Bon Cop, Bad Cop, one character does this in a bathroom mirror. While wearing a squirrel costume.
- Parodied in the remake of The Parent Trap: When one of the swapped twins is addressed by a character she hasn't seen yet, she responds "You talkin' to me?" - and gets an answer: "What are you, Robert De Niro? Yes, I'm talking to you."
- The Ankh Morpork Watch in Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels has the motto "Fabricati Diem, Pvnc", which is very bad Latin for "Make My Day, Punk". In-story, Fred Colon claims that it translates as "To Protect and Serve". The full motto is in fact "Fabricati Diem, Pvncti Agvnt Celeriter," but has been rendered partially unreadable over time. This supposedly means "Make the Day, the Moments Pass Quickly."
- Later in the same novel, Vimes channels Eastwood while using a swamp dragon as a weapon "This is Lord Mountjoy Quickfang Winterforth IV, the hottest dragon in the city! It can blow your head clean off!"
- The Bill once featured someone doing the ".44 Magnum" speech from "Dirty Harry". Bits of the same speech have no doubt turned up in other shows, the most oft-quoted part being "Do ya feel lucky, Punk?!" (Technically, a Beam Me Up, Scotty!; the actual line is "You'd better ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky'? Well, do you, punk?")
- "Other shows", such as the first Transformers movie when Optimus introduces Ironhide.
- Occurs in Ashes to Ashes (2008), where one of the villains does it while carrying out an armed robbery. Of course the detectives recognize the quote, and even catch the guy when they see him doing it again.
- In Stephen Fry In America, a documentary series where the British actor travels around the US in a black cab, he gets to fire a .44 Magnum revolver. He does the whole speech (as well as the Dirty Harry speech), quoting it correctly. And makes it entirely non-threatening, because he's the only person in the world who could do that. And everyone loves him for it.
- In an old Saturday Night Live sketch, Joe Pesci models pinky rings in the mirror and launches into mouthed verbal abuse at his reflection.
- Parodied in That Mitchell and Webb Look with Polite Taxi Driver.
- SCTV did a series of trailers for Taxi Driver starring Gregory Peck, or stock character Sid Dithers, or Woody Allen ("I know what you're thinking, that violence isn't really my thing; that my idea of violence is a plaid jacket with striped pants, but...are you talking to me?")
- The X-Files episode "Small Potatoes" featured a baddie who disguised himself as Agent Mulder and returned to D.C. in his place. He clowns around in Mulder's room a bit, first practicing brandishing his FBI badge — then he segues into "...you talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? I'm the only one here, you must be talkin' to me..."
- Lampshaded in the Supernatural episode "Folsom Prison Blues". As Dean and Sam are locked up in the county jail, Dean gets approached by one of the inmates with "You talking to me?!". Dean's response:
Dean: Great, another guy who's seen Taxi Driver one time too many.
- Full Frontal did a skit Pride and Extreme Prejudice where Robert de Niro plays Mr Darcy. His response to Elizabeth Bennet's Love Confession is to say "You talking to me?" and shoot her with a flintlock pistol.
- One of the commercials for WrestleMania 21 had several wrestlers trying to do the line. At the very end, Batista pulls it off perfectly. A week afterwards, he said it in response to a rant by Triple H, further proving his gimmick as well as being an obvious reference to said commercial.
- In Kim Newman's spoof Gothic melodrama Mildew Manor, a Regency ingénue, admiring herself in the mirror, murmers "are you addressing yourself to my person? ... you must be, for no one else is present ... fie! and la!"
- Happens, of all places, in Sonic Colors, when Dr. Eggman pulls this on one of his minions.
Cubot: (in gangster voice) You talkin' to me?Eggman: (annoyed) Yes, I'm talking to you. There's nobody here, so I MUST be talking to you!
- In Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 3: Lair of the Leviathan, Guybrush can choose this quote after he and Morgan are asked, "What say you, digested SCUMM™?"
- Tomb Raider has this for one of the human enemies that shot at you with semi automatics while riding on a skateboard, but replaces "talking" with "firing". This wasn't kept in the remake.
"You firin' at me? You firin' at me? Ain't nobody else here, so you must be firin' at me!"
- Test Drive has this for the opponent Kurt Jackson, in a variant.
"Are you passing me? I mean, if you're passing me, there's no one else here!"
- The dwarven warrior Kagain in Baldur's Gate has this as one of his selection quotes.
- In Goodbye Chains, Colin does this with a deringer and a special quick-draw mechanism similar to the one in Film/Taxidriver. Subverted for humor when he accidentally sends the gun flying through the mirror.
- The speech is accurately quoted in this Square Root of Minus Garfield strip.
- In Darths & Droids, Ponda Baba (a.k.a. Walrus Man) does this to Luke in the cantina scene of A New Hope
- The entire point for the existence of Bobby the Pigeon in the Goodfeathers segments of Animaniacs was to spoof this. The Goodfeathers were a complete parody of Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, and Joe Pesci from Goodfellas. Bobby's homage to Robert De Niro would naturally include this.
- Rugrats parodies this. While the babies are loose in a movie theater, they see a screen with a person doing this...except instead of a gun, he's holding a banana.
Chuckie: No, I was talking to Tommy. (whispers to Tommy) Let's try another.
- The Simpsons, of course, has an instance of this. Moe gets a gun, and does in fact have the retractable sleeve holster. When asking his reflection who he's talkin' to, however, the gun pops out and smashes the mirror.
Moe: Well, that was an antique. CRAP!
- Hey Arnold!!, "Mugged", has Arnold doing it after getting some karate lessons. Spoofed somewhat when Arnold's Grandpa, who was in the next room, replied "No, I wasn't saying anything."
- Mr. Garrison does it in the South Park episode "Weight Gain 4000" while buying a gun to kill Kathie Lee Gifford.
- In the Leap Frog educational release, A Tad of Christmas Cheer, Tad tells his fairy godbug Edison that he's cuckoo and Parker asks him "Are you talkin' to me? Well, I don't see nobody else, so you must be talkin' to me." He says that he's talking to Edison and at that point, Edison reveals that nobody else can see him. "That's probably not good," deadpans Tad.
- Big Daddy did it at the beginning of The Fairly OddParents episode "Big Wanda". He kept asking the question during his sleep.
- The old Nick show KaBlam! had a little shout out in the pilot near the end of the episode depicting a sheep in a taxi promptly saying "You talkin' to me?"
- Kim Possible has an episode where Kim and Shego are under the influence of an emotion controlling Moodulator. When under the “Angry” mode, Shego says this while grabbing Dr. Drakken by the collar.
- Before Taxi Driver, people made do with Romeo and Juliet, where Abraham and Sampson go through a similar speech, 'Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?' 'No, but I do bite my thumb, sir.' People were still quoting this in the 19th century. See www.sheilaomalley.com/archives/009499.html for an example at the Monroe White House, where the British minister Sir Charles Vaughan saw the French minister Count de Serurier, directly across from him, bite his thumb every time Vaughan made a remark. "Do you bite your thumb at me, Sir?" Vaughan finally challenged. "I do," was the Frenchman's reply - just like people quoting Taxi Driver nowadays, to be macho.
- Ludacris's "Slap" contains a Mid-Vid Skit which pays tribute to the iconic Taxi Driver scene.
- Used in a UK advert for the search engine Bing by a woman seemingly suffering from information overload.
- New York City's Museum of the Moving Image once had a series of interactive exhibits to demonstrate different technological tricks of the movie trade. One of the exhibits was on dialogue looping, which let visitors record their own voice in on an existing film clip. ...Guess which clip.