Yeah, I do agree that you’re supposed to connect the robber Travis shoots with the dancers on TV, I guess I just don’t get the same sense of what’s going on in Travis’s head from the scene as you do. I don’t get the sense that Travis is really imaginative enough have that kind of delusion. When the movie first cuts to that scene, Travis is actually pointing the gun at the TV, then it sort of vaccillates between being pointing up and pointing toward Travis’s own head.
If, I remember correctly, Sport and his associates were all black in Schrader’s screenplay,
I don’t think it’s worth going on about the song too much more . . . I just don’t think it’s nearly as effective a use of pop music as there are in many of Scorsese’s films.
I didn’t mean to imply that you are unsophisticated in terms of how artists use source material — I apologize for that. You just happened to seize on one of my all-time favorite moments from the film, so I wanted to defend it.
No apology necessary, but thanks anyway.Yours is definately an interesting reading on that scene (despite what I think of the use of the song in it). Travis’s relationship with his TV (or rather the “reality” framed in it is a crucial window into his psyche (this sounds stupid the way I’ve worded it, but it’s true) . . . just like what’s framed in the windows and mirrors of his cab.
In the context of the current discussion, this deserves a bump.
He’s an anti-hero, but not a villain.
The pimp is a clear villain because he’s deluding a young girl into making money for him. The standard for a villain is causing harm to other people. While Travis has some questionable tendencies, he harms himself more than anyone else (until the end of course).
More mentally ill than anything else. Any heroics or villainy are coincidental and irrelevant, highly unpredictable, highly inconsistent, and very loosely motivated by the reality of a situation (which is always grossly distorted in Bickle’s mind). Don’t give him credit, just stay out of his way.
I would say he is a hero. He saw something worth to be saved and give her life for it.
Also for the ones that didnt notice it, he is dead by the end of the movie, this final part where he is portrayed like a hero by the newspapers is just some dream, just his psychotic post mortem dream where he see himself as a hero.
^^That’s only one possible reading of the epilogue, as with the end of TAXI DRIVER’s screwball twin KING OF COMEDY when Pupkin very likely hallucinates his stardom.
I agree on your use of the term “psychotic”, I just think Bickle’s psychosis, evident throughout the entire film, negates or gravely draws into question the coincidental heroism of his acts.
Travis is an anti-hero, which was a popular idea in the 70s. The ironic ending really twisted the knife in, instead of Arthur Bremer we get a New York Post cover boy “hero”.
Alonso said at the beginning of this thread:
“Some time ago I noticed the AFI put Travis as one of the greatest villains ever, I couldn’t believe it…”
Yeah, this list upset me, too. Travis is too complex to slot as a villain. As for wanting to knock off a politician, that’d make him a damn hero for most people.
Sorry, I couldn’t resist.
All kidding aside, doesn’t anyone feel bad for Travis? He’s a product of his environment, and it’s a lousy one. I compare him to Charles Bronson’s Paul Kersey character in Michael Winner’s “Death Wish”. Paul wants to clean up the streets of New York, but at the same time, Kersey is somewhat suicidal (sometimes people commit dangerous, heroic acts, like confronting muggers, because they want to die, hence the title “Death Wish”; Travis Bickle undoubtedly fits into this category, and when he doesn’t get himself killed in the heroic act, he tries to empty the contents of his pistol into his skull).
I like both these movies because they show the impact of violence upon the innocent person (and pre-Vietnam, Bickle was presumably as innocent as they came). It’s violence that begets violence. Kersey and Bickle becomes vigilantes and their motivations (at least in the beginning for Kersey) are linked to having a “death wish”.
By the way, that AFI list also noted the shark from “Jaws” as a villain. How a carnivorous animal who feels threatened when having its territory invaded by wayward humans qualifies as a “villain” is beyond me. The shark acts on killer instinct. Ridiculous choice. Frighteningly enough, this is how Travis acts in the thick of it when he confronts Sport and company, but he’s human so naturally we expect better of him.
However, I still wouldn’t put T.B. on the list.
“and pre-Vietnam, Bickle was presumably as innocent as they came”
I have noticed this sentiment echoed in others’ posts as well, but I think it’s worth mentioning that I NEVER have thought that during any viewing of TAXI DRIVER since my first in 1994. It was always immediately clear to me that this was someone who was drafted psychotic. Someone born with abnormal wiring prior to any additional trauma from the war.
Of course, I also think it’s interesting that just because it was always clear to me, it’s not necessarily true. It literally never occurred to me that Bickle’s derangement was a result of Vietnam, yet that totally plausible reading completely changes the movie, I believe. I don’t think there’s hard proof either way that he was “innocent” prior to the war. Nor, now that I reflect upon it from these posts do I believe there’s proof he was mentally ill from the get-go…it was just my gut, my instinct.
Curiouser and curiouser….
I propose a vote: How many folks think Bickle was deranged by the war and how many think he was crazy to begin with?
I vote crazy to begin with. His experience in Viet Nam probably accounts for his knowledge of firearms though.
He’s more of a twisted hero, if anything; the tortured soul, a victim of fate. It’s true, the first casualty of war is innocence, and this concept applies faultlessly to Bickle.
First off, anyone interested in this topic should read the first couple of pages, as they’re fantastic and may spur some new ideas (it’s generally a good idea to check out threads begun “about a year ago”, anyway).
I would say, insofar as we all agree there isn’t contextual evidence either way, that Travis’s psychosis was not a product of his experience in the war but symptomatic of the society in which he lives.
Iris: I don’t know who’s weirder – you or me.
“…but symptomatic of the society in which he lives.”
As well as symptomatic of an arbitrary distribution of chemicals in his brain, I would say.
Josh: I haven’t delved too deep into Taxi Driver, but from where I’m standing, it seems as though Bickle may have developed an obsessive distaste for his society because of his experiences in Vietnam. It’s been mentioned above that the pre-Vietnam Travis Bickle was presumably innocent as can be, and though I’m unsure how much truth there is to that, it can be argued that Vietnam warped his outlook on society as a whole.
A hero to some, a villain to others. overall id say hes an oxymoron.
Hes an oxymoron. villian to some, hero to others.
The hero/villian concepts don’t apply.
Only for those who did not understand the film. Not a hero either, though.