“All the animals come out at night – whores, skunk pussies, buggers, queens, fairies, dopers, junkies, sick, venal. Someday a real rain will come and wash all the scum off the streets. I go all over. I take people to the Bronx, Brooklyn. I take ’em to Harlem. I don’t care. Don’t make no difference to me.”
Taxi Driver was met with shock at the time of its release over the violent content of the film’s climax and the plot line involving Jodie Foster as a child prostitute, but it is now considered to be one of the greatest films ever made in New York, if not the world…and possibly more relevant than ever on its rerelease in 2017.
The film would put one of New York’s most iconic sights in the cinematic spotlight. Not the Empire State Building. Or the Statue Of Liberty. The Yellow Taxi Cab.
Walking around New York City, hundreds (if not thousands) of taxi cabs pass by you every single day. Scorsese took this everyday item, something many New Yorkers take for granted, and turned it into one of the main characters.
Over the course of the film, dependent on where it is and who is inside, the familiar yellow cab takes on a variety of forms.
It can be a reassuring dependable friend. There at a moment’s notice to take you to safety. Or it can be an eerie, foreign place full of danger and mystery.
With Travis at the wheel, it is a vessel in which to navigate your way through the scum on the streets.
Travis discusses this with Senator Palantine in the back of his taxi, telling him that they need to “clean up this city”, something that would eventually be achieved in the Nineties.
But is Travis all that different from the other animals that he claims to hate so much?
After all, he wins the award for Most Awkward First Date in Movie History by taking Betsy (Cybill Shepherd) to a dirty movie.
The Poster – 8th Avenue and 47th St
The image for the original poster for Taxi Driver was taken at the corner of 8th Avenue and West 47th Street.
The Lyric Theater – 213 W 42nd St, NY 10036. Metro Station: Times Square-42 St
Now a Broadway Theater (currently home to Cirque de Soleil), this used to be a cinema. Specifically a Porno Cinema where Travis takes Betsy on their date to see Sometime Sweet Susan. During the Seventies, Times Square was full of sex and sleaze before it was turned into the tourist centre of Manhattan in the 1990s.
USS Maine National Monument – Columbus Circle, NY 10023. Metro Station: Columbus Circle-59 St
Travis, now sporting his infamous Mohawk, plans to assassinate Senator Palantine during his campaign speech at the statue but runs off after being spotted by security personnel.
Sport’s Brothel – 204 & 226 E 13th St, NY 10003. Metro Station: 3 Av
When Travis finally decides to clean up the streets himself, he heads to East 13th Street in the East Village. Number 204 is the doorway where Sport (played by Harvey Keitel) is shot by Travis and 226 is the outside of the building where Iris (Jodie Foster) works as a prostitute.