Tom Benson
Department of Speech Communication
Penn State University


Taxi Driver

List of Scenes



titles: TAXI DRIVER. shots through a car windshield in nighttime city; closeups of man's face.


DeNiro walks into office, hands paper to man seated at desk. It is a job interview for taxi driver. "I can't sleep nights." "I'll work any time, anywhere." Honorable discharge, marines, May 1973. "Are you moonlighting?" [he should have a better job]. He doesn't know what "moonlighting" means. Travis walks out of the garage into street.


Travis on sidewalk. Day. He drinks from a bottle in a paper bag.


A shabby room, painted white. Camera pans cheap apartment. Voiceover: a diary. Camera pans to Travis writing at a table.


Cab driving through city, scenes out of Travis's cab window as his voiceover continues.


Street; night. Travis picks up couple. Man and prostitute. Cab drives past hydrant fountain; Travis rolls up window.


Travis arrives at garage. Takes pill. Cleans cab. Punches time clock. Voiceover continues.


Travis on street. He enters a porn theater, tries ineptly to chat with woman behind candy counter. She calls, "Roy!" Travis buys candy, popcorn, soda.


In porn theater. Voiceover: "Twelve hours of work and I still can't sleep."


As voiceover continues, we see a high angle shot of Travis on his narrow bed.


Sidewalk, people walking. "I first saw her . . ." Cybill Sheperd in white dress enters storefront campaign headquarters.


Inside campaign headquarters. Man [Tom--Albert Brooks] on telephone; "We are the people" vs. "We are the people" campaign buttons.

Shepherd calls him over and they talk about the campaign. She says that a cab driver is staring at her. Cut to Travis, looking out cab window.


Tom goes out on street to confront Travis, who drives off.


In cruising cab at night.


Travis stops for a woman. Shots of meter, traffic lights. He drops the fare off at a hotel.


Travis enters a restaurant where a conversation is in progress; Peter Boyle is talking. Travis joins the group. Boyle describes a seduction in his limo. Shot of black men (stereotype of pimps) in fancy clothes, apparently matched to Travis's glance. The taxi drivers talk of guns. Travis stares into a glass of Alka Selzer.


Campaign office. Cybill Shepherd jokes with Albert Brooks. She asks him to light a match with fingers missing.


Travis in cab. He crosses street and enters campaign office. Offers to volunteer. To her. Tells her she is "most beautiful woman I have ever seen." She teases him. He asks her to come for pie and coffee. He tells her he thinks she is lonely. She agrees to meet him; "I have a break at 4:00 o'clock." We learn that her name is Betsy.


Travis paces in front of the campaign headquarters. She comes out and they walk down the street. In voiceover, Travis records in his diary what they ordered.


They are seated in restaurant. Travis says he's got to get "organizized." She responds with the "Thimk" sign, which Travis doesn't get; he changes the subject. He invites her to a movie. "Sure." She tells him he is like a Kris Kristofferson song. "I'm no pusher," he objects. No, she says, it's the contradictions.


Travis buys a record, takes it to his cab.


Travis picks up a fare. Voiceover about Betsy.


Palantine, the presidential candidate for whom Betsy is working, turns up in Travis's cab, along with an aide. Travis recognizes him and chats with him. What bugs him the most? "Clean up this city here . . . filth and scum . . . I get headaches . . . Flush it right down the fucking toilet." Palantine's reactions, shared with his aide, indicate he regards Travis as something of a nut, but he continues to be solicitous.


Travis stops the cab to let off a fare. A girl (Jodie Foster) gets in the cab. A man (Harvey Keitel) takes her out, tosses money to Travis and tells him to forget about it. Travis drives off.


Scenes on street with cab. Kids throw eggs at cab.


Travis drives into garage. He looks at the crumpled bill.


Travis walking on street in slow motion. He is wearing jacket and tie.


Betsy walks out of campaign headquarters and joins Travis. He gives her the record. They walk past a street drummer.


He takes her to the entrance of a porn theater. "You've got to be kidding."


Inside theater. Swedish sex movie. She is disturbed, he is gazing at the screen in concentration. She walks out; he follows.


Travis follows Betsy out of theater, tries to stop her. She gets into a cab and drives off.


Travis on phone, calling Betsy. He invites her out. He asks if she got his flowers.


Voiceover. Travis's room. Sent flowers. Headache. "I think I've got stomach cancer. . . . You're only as healthy as you feel."


Travis charges into campaign headquarters and confronts Betsy. Tom interferes, tries to lead him out the door. Travis jumps into a karate stance. "You're just like all the rest of them," he shouts at Betsy.


Exterior. Travis leaves the campaign office. Tom calls to police. Travis walks down the sidewalk, cop following. Voiceover.


Night. Cab pulls up outside McAnn's Bar, picks up passenger. Cab pulls up at curb. Passenger (Martin Scorsese) indicates an apartment window across the street, says his wife is there with a lover, that he is going to kill her with a .44 magnum.


Pelmore Cafeteria. Peter Boyle and other cab drivers. Travis comes in, then leaves with Boyle.


On sidewalk, Travis and Boyle. "I really want to . . . I got some bad ideas in my head." Boyle philosophizes.


Boyle drives off, leaving Travis on sidewalk.


TV interview with Palantine. Travis watching, dosing a bowl of cornflakes with whiskey and sugar.


Day. Travis in cab. Drives past headquarters, looking in for Betsy, who is not visible.


Night. Cab pulls up, then starts off again. He almost hits Jodie Foster and another girl. He follows them. They pick up two men at a street corner. He drives off.


Travis cruising the streets. Voiceover.


Travis writing in diary.


Travis on sidewalk. Drinks. A cab pulls up and Travis gets in with another man.


Travis and the man enter a hotel room. Travis buys pistols.


Travis exercising. Voiceover.


Travis at firing range.


Travis at porn movies. He points finger at screen as if to shoot.


Travis in apartment. Points gun at Palantine poster. Voiceover. Rehearses in front of mirror.


Travis making a slide for pistol.


Tapes knife to boot.


Making dum-dum bullets.


Palantine rally. Betsy and Tom setting things up. Travis approaches Secret Service agent, mimics stance, starts conversation. Says he saw some suspicious people. Would like to join Secret Service. Gives fake name and address.


Travis in apartment. Practices in front of mirror. "You talking to me?"


Night. Street. Hydrant spouts.


Travis stops outside super market, enters, begins to shop. A holdup man tries to rob store. Travis shoots him.


TV. Dancers. Travis watches, pistol in hand.


Palantine rally. Travis watches from cab. Voiceover: "Dear Father and Mother . . ." Cop tells Travis to move on.


Travis in apartment. He sits at table, holding the card for his parents.


Travis watching TV soap opera, gun in hand. He pushes TV over with foot.


On street. Travis watches from cab. Jodie Foster walks by with another girl. He gets out of cab and walks with them. She sends him to talk to Mattchew (Harvey Keitel), who at first suspects him of being a police officer. Travis walks off with Foster; they enter a building.


Interior of hotel. Travis pays a man $10 for room.


Hotel room. Iris (Foster) and Travis. He just wants to talk. She says she calls Matthew Sport. Travis offers to rescue her. They agree to meet for breakfast the next day.


In corridor. Travis gives bill to clerk.


Travis and Iris on street. They enter restaurant.


Travis and Iris in restaurant. He tells her she should be at home. He tells her somebody should do something about Sport. He says he is doing something important for the government.


Day. Travis parked in cab outside building. Camera pans up building.


Interior. Sport and Iris. He tells her he needs her. They dance.


Travis shooting at target in firing range.


Travis polishing his boots. Burns dried flowers in sink. Sharpens knife. Dresses. Puts money in envelope with note.


Palantine rally. Cheering crowd. Tom introduces Senator Palantine. Travis gets out of cab--at first we do not see his face. Camera pans up to reveal that he has a Mohawk haircut, wears dark glasses. Travis stands at edge of crowd.

Palantine begins to leave, surrounded by Secret Service agents. One of them spots Travis, who runs away.


Travis in apartment. He towels torso, drinks, takes a pill.


Doorway. Sport is talking with another man, who leaves.


Travis in cab.


Night. Travis pulls up. Sport in doorway. Travis picks quarrel. Travis shoots Sport in stomach.


Travis enters building. He shoots the clerk, who shoots him in the neck. Sport comes in; Travis shoots him again. Another man shoots Travis. He kills the man. The clerk attacks again; Travis drags him into Iris's room. They fall. Travis stabs and shoots the man. Travis tries to shoot himself, but the gun is empty. He sits on sofa. Iris weeps.

Police enter the room with drawn guns. Travis mimes shooting himself with empty hand.

Overhead shot of room. Camera pans. Dissolves to tracking shots down the bloody stairs. Body of Sport. Crowd at exterior doorway. Police cars. Retreating boom shot; ambulance attendants run toward building.


Clippings on wall. Travis is apparently a hero. Voiceover: a letter of thanks from Iris's father in Pittsburgh.


Exterior. Night. Travis, Wizard (Boyle), and other drivers are talking on street. Door slams. "Hey, Travis, you got a fare." They are by the St. Regis.


Travis drives off in cab. Looks in mirror. Betsy speaks from rear seat. Travis: "I hear Palantine got the nomination." Betsy: "I read about you in the paper. How are you?"

He drops her off, drives away when she asks, "How much was it?"


End titles over night scenes of the city.