"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 this scum off the streets."
Description: Observation of New York City cab driver,Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) in the motion picture Taxi Driver (1976).
Travis Bickle is a troubled, lonely ex-marine and Vietnam veteran who suffers from insomnia. Applying for a job at a cab company, he tells the personnel officer, "Well, I ride around nights mostly... subways, buses... I figure, you know, if I'm gonna do that I might as well get paid for it." Travis gets the job and begins to cruise the seedy streets of New York City at night.
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. It does to some. Some won't even take spooks. Don't make no difference to me."
Disenchanted with the way of things, Travis believes, "Someone should just take this city and just... just flush it down the fuckin' toilet." Each night when he returns the cab to the garage he has to clean the cum off the back seat. Some nights, he cleans off the blood.
During one fare, Travis has US Senator Charles Palantine (Leonard Harris) as a passenger. Travis tells the politician:
"Well, this city here is like an open sewer , you know. It's full of filth and scum, Sometimes, I go out an and get headaches, it's so bad. You know. I mean it's like they never go away, you know.
Later, Travis sees Betsy (Cybil Shepherd), a beautiful blond who works as a volunteer for Senator Palantine's election campaign. Travis thinks she looks like an angel. He asks Betsy out on a date, but his choice of movies - a Swedish sex film - insults the girl's sensibilities. Travis tries to apologize, but Betsy wants nothing further to do with Travis, He tries to visit her at her place of work, but he ends up causing a scene and being thrown out, but not before saying, "You're all alike." (Women, that is)
A short time later, Iris "Easy" Steensma (Jodi Foster), a young prostitute hails his cab. "Get me out of here," she shouts." Suddenly, Matthew "Sport" Higgins (Harvey Keitel), the girl's pimp pulls her out of the cab and hauls her away. Sport tosses a crumbled twenty dollar bill into the cab as payment for the disturbance.
Travis visits Sport (Harvey Keitel), the pimp who runs Iris, and asks to spend some time with the girl. He didn't want to have sex, but rather wants to see what he could do to help her quit the business. Before Travis could see Iris, Sport explains the "can" and "can nots" about his very young and very lovely kid hooker:
"Well, take it or leave it. If you want to save yourself some money, don't fuck her. Cause you'll be back here every night for some more. Man, she's twelve and a half years old. You never had no pussy like that. You can do anything you want with her. You can cum on her, fuck her in the mouth, fuck her in the ass, cum on her face, man. She get your cock so hard she'll make it explode. But no rough stuff, all right?"
Befriending Iris, Travis says, "You're a young girl, you should be at home. You should be dressed up, going out with boys, going to school, you know, that kind of stuff." When Iris says "God, you're square," Travis gets pissed, and says:
“Hey, I’m not square, you’re the one square. You’re full of shit, man. What are you talking about? You walk out with those fuckin’ creeps and low-lifes and degenerates out on the streets and you sell your little pussies for nothing, man? For some low-life pimp who stands in the hall? And I'm square? You’re the one square, man. I don’t go screwing fuck with bunch of killers and junkies like you do. You call that hip? What world are you from?”
It was at this time that the troubled Travis began to formulate a plan to kill Senator Palantine. Travis begins to collect an arsenal of guns and knives to be used on the apocryphal day when he would kill a politician. Travis uses one of his guns to thwart a robbery at a neighborhood store.
Later, in one playful, but psychotic moment, Travis, with gun in hand, looks into his apartment mirror and begins to talk to his reflection:
|Travis:||Faster than you, fucking son of a... Saw you coming you fucking... shitheel.|
|Travis:||I'm standing here; you make the move. You make the move. It's your move...|
|Travis:||Don't try it you fuck.|
|Travis:||You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? Then who the hell else are you talking... you talking to me? Well I'm the only one here. Who the fuck do you think you're talking to? Oh yeah? Huh? Okay.|
Soon, Travis who wants to make some kind of mark so he could be noticed, sets out to assassinate Senator Palantine. Wearing a Mohawk style haircut, Travis shows up at the public rally, but he is spooked when Secret Service agents begin to pay him attention. Travis suddenly abandons his plan to kill the Senator and flees. But his anger and frustration leads him to the house of ill-repute where Iris is held.
Upon seeing Travis, Sport says, "Hey, go back to your fuckin' tribe before you get hurt, huh man. Do me a favor, I don't want no trouble, huh. Okay?" Sport flicks his cigarette at Travis, kicks him, and tells him, "Get the fuck outta here." Travis pulls out a gun and shoots Sport in the stomach and walks away. Travis continues his rain of bullets on the joint until everyone is dead.
With his deed done, Travis, the recipient of multiple gun shots, falls down. Hoping to end his life, he tries to shot himself in the head, only to find he is out of ammunition. The police take Travis to the hospital and the media turn Travis into a hero.
As he recovers in the hospital Travis receives a letter from the parents of Iris who thank him for helping their little girl come home.
After Travis recovers from his wounds. he returns to the streets as a cabbie. Ironically, one of his passengers turns out to be Betsy, the girl who refused his romantic overtures. After a short conversation, Travis drops her off at her destination (no charge) and then pulls his cab back onto the streets in search of another fare.
"Loneliness has followed me my whole life. Everywhere. In bars, in cars, sidewalks, stores, everywhere. There's no escape. I'm God's lonely man."
Note: The motion picture Back to the Future III (1990) mimicked the "You talkin' to me" scene as Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox), a time-traveling teenager practices his fast-draw for an upcoming gunfight in front of a mirror. Pointing his peacemaker at his reflection, Marty says, “You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? Go ahead, make my day.”
In the movie Hacker (1995) a computer hacker punk about to hassle an FBI agent whips out a floppy disk, looks into the mirror and says, “Talkin’ to me?”