Often referenced but never replicated, Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver is still as powerful and chilling as it upon its release in 1976. Robert De Niro plays Travis Bickle, a disturbed New York City cabbie whose hatred of society and infatuation with a teenage prostitute (a 13-year-old Jodie Foster) results in an explosion of violence that almost prevented the film from being released.
Shot during a heat wave and a garbage strike, the film is a testament to the power of “guerrilla” filmmaking, since Scorsese’s sound crew had to work in the cab’s trunk and his cameraman was scrunched onto the floor for the gritty driving sequences. (For a look at some of the locations Scorsese and co. shot in, check out Complex's Cinematic Atlas: A Guide to Martin Scorsese's New York.) One wonders what Bickle would think of New York City in 2011—watching the film today, the city looks like another world, no Starbucks, Duane Reade or $12 packs of cigarettes. He probably would hate it even more.—Finn Cohen