Taxi Driver is a 1976 American vigilante film with neo-noir and psychological thriller elements, directed by Martin Scorsese and written by Paul Schrader. Set in New York City following the Vietnam War, the film stars Robert De Niro, and features Jodie Foster, Harvey Keitel, Cybill Shepherd, Peter Boyle, and Albert Brooks.
Travis Bickle, an honorably discharged U.S. Marine, is a lonely, depressed young man living on his own in New York City. He becomes a taxi driver to cope with his chronic insomnia, driving passengers every night around the boroughs of New York City. He also spends time in seedy porn theaters and keeps a diary. Travis becomes infatuated with Betsy, a campaign volunteer for Senator and presidential candidate Charles Palantine.
Travis confides in fellow taxi driver Wizard about his thoughts, which are beginning to turn violent, but Wizard assures him that he will be fine, leaving Travis to his own destructive path. Travis is disgusted by the sleaze, dysfunction, and prostitution that he witnesses throughout the city, and attempts to find an outlet for his frustrations by beginning a program of intense physical training. A fellow taxi driver refers Travis to illegal gun dealer Easy Andy, from whom he buys a number of handguns. At home, Travis practices drawing his weapons and constructs a sleeve gun to hide and then quickly deploy a gun from his sleeve. One night, Travis enters a convenience store moments before an attempted armed robbery and he shoots and kills the robber. The shop owner takes responsibility for the shooting, taking Travis’ handgun. On another night, teenage prostitute Iris enters Travis’s cab, attempting to escape her pimp Matthew “Sport” Higgins. Sport drags Iris from the cab and throws Travis a crumpled twenty-dollar bill, which continually reminds him of her and the corruption that surrounds him.
After shaving his head into a mowhawk, Travis attends a public rally, where he plans to assassinate Senator Palantine, but Secret Service agents notice him with his hand in his coat and chase him. He flees and later goes to the East Village to invade Sport’s brothel. A violent gunfight ensues and Travis kills Sport, a bouncer, and a mafioso. Travis is severely injured with multiple gunshot wounds. Iris witnesses the fight and is hysterical with fear, pleading with Travis to stop the killing. After the gunfight, Travis attempts suicide, but has run out of ammunition and resigns himself to lying on a sofa until police arrive. When they do, he places his index finger against his temple gesturing the act of shooting himself.