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Robert De Niro as Travis Bickle: 6 Quotes About the Iconic Role

By    |   Friday, 15 May 2015 04:37 PM

Among many memorable roles played by Robert De Niro, and one that has become a pop culture staple, is that of the mentally unstable cab driver, Travis Bickle.

The image of Bickle standing alone in his apartment and drawing a gun resonates with movie buffs, and the words he spoke still are among the most remembered in film history.

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“You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? Then who the hell else are you talkin’ … You talkin’ to me? Well, I’m the only one here.”

It is possibly the most identifiable image from the 1976 movie “Taxi Driver,” and De Niro earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role.

Here are six quotes about Bickle as portrayed by De Niro:

“The dialogue in ‘Taxi Driver’ is somewhat improvised. The most memorable piece of dialogue in the film is an improvisation: the ‘Are you talking to me?’ part. In the script is just says Travis speaks to himself in the mirror. Bobby (De Niro) asked me what he would say, and I said, ‘Well, he’s just a little kid playing with guns and acting tough.’ So De Niro used this rap that an underground comedian had been using at the same time as the basis for his lines.” – Screenwriter Paul Schrader, to the Sabotage Times

“This utter aloneness is at the center of ‘Taxi Driver,’ one of the best and most powerful of all films, and perhaps it is why so many people connect with it even though Travis Bickle would seem to be the most alienating of movie heroes. We have all felt as alone as Travis. Most of us are better at dealing with it.” – Roger Ebert  

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“Travis Bickle … remains fascinating throughout, probably because he is more than a character who is certifiably insane. He is a projection of all our nightmares of urban alienation, refined in a performance that is effective as much for what Mr. De Niro does as for how he does it. Acting of this sort is rare in films. It is a display of talent, which one gets in the theater, as well as a demonstration of behavior, which is what movies usually offer.” – Vincent Canby, The New York Times  

“I thought it would be interesting to find a way to bring (Bickle) back all these years later. Probably ironic where he would end up – as he did even in the first (movie) – all these years later." – De Niro to MTV in April 2010, on the possibility of reviving his role as Bickle in a sequel to “Taxi Driver”  

“As I get older, I’m less sure what to make of Travis Bickle. In 2015 would he still work himself into a later over a girl and try to assassinate a political candidate? Or would he just be screaming about ethics in journalism on Twitter? Cybill Shepherd’s character, Betsy, describes, Travis (whom she barely knows) by quoting Kris Kristofferson’s The Pilgrim, Chapter 33: ‘He’s a walking contradiction.’ Maybe it’s true and maybe we should pity Travis. The only way he can conceive of making the world a better place is through violence. Or maybe he’s just an asshole.” – Jordan Hoffman in The Guardian

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“… I’d like to see where Travis is today. There was something about the guy – all that rage and alienation, that’s what the city can do to you. I mean Marty (Scorsese, the director) and I are from New York, and even we can feel alienated.” – De Niro to The Guardian on what became of his character

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Among many memorable roles played by Robert De Niro, and one that has become a pop culture staple, is that of the mentally unstable cab driver, Travis Bickle.
robert de niro, travis bickle, actor, roles, movies
Friday, 15 May 2015 04:37 PM
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