Taxi Driver (1976) is director Martin Scorsese's and screenwriter Paul Schrader's gritty, disturbing, nightmarish modern film classic, that examines alienation in urban society. Scorsese's fourth film, combining elements of film noir, the western, horror and urban melodrama film genres. Historically, the film appeared after a decade of war in Vietnam, and after the disgraceful Watergate crisis and President Nixon's resignation.
It explores the psychological madness within an obsessed, twisted, inarticulate, lonely, anti-hero cab driver and war vet (De Niro), who misdirectedly lashes out with frustrated anger and power like an exploding time bomb at the world that has alienated him. His assaultive unhinging is first paired with a longing to connect with a blonde goddess office worker (Shepherd), and then with an attempt to rescue/liberate a young 12-year old prostitute named Iris (Foster) from her predatory pimp "Sport" (Keitel) and her tawdry, streetwalking life. [The young Foster, who had previously acted for Scorsese in Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974), was required to undergo psychological tests to see if she would bear up during filming.]