TAXI DRIVER



by



Paul Schrader











































PROPERTY OF:













"The whole conviction of my life now rests upon the belief

that loneliness, far from being a rare and curious

phenomenon, is the central and inevitable fact of human

existence."



--Thomas Wolfe,

"God's Lonely Man"



TRAVIS BICKLE, age 26, lean, hard, the consummate loner. On

the surface he appears good-looking, even handsome; he has a

quiet steady look and a disarming smile which flashes from

nowhere, lighting up his whole face. But behind that smile,

around his dark eyes, in his gaunt cheeks, one can see the

ominous stains caused by a life of private fear, emptiness

and loneliness. He seems to have wandered in from a land

where it is always cold, a country where the inhabitants

seldom speak. The head moves, the expression changes, but

the eyes remain ever-fixed, unblinking, piercing empty space.



Travis is now drifting in and out of the New York City night

life, a dark shadow among darker shadows. Not noticed, no

reason to be noticed, Travis is one with his surroundings.

He wears rider jeans, cowboy boots, a plaid western shirt

and a worn beige Army jacket with a patch reading, "King

Kong Company 1968-70".



He has the smell of sex about him: Sick sex, repressed sex,

lonely sex, but sex nonetheless. He is a raw male force,

driving forward; toward what, one cannot tell. Then one

looks closer and sees the evitable. The clock sprig cannot

be wound continually tighter. As the earth moves toward the

sun, Travis Bickle moves toward violence.



FILM OPENS on EXT. of MANHATTAN CAB GARAGE. Weather-beaten

sign above driveway reads, "Taxi Enter Here". Yellow cabs

scuttle in and out. It is WINTER, snow is piled on the

curbs, the wind is howling.



INSIDE GARAGE are parked row upon row of multi-colored taxis.

Echoing SOUNDS of cabs idling, cabbies talking. Steamy

breath and exhaust fill the air.



INT. CORRIDOR of cab company offices. Lettering on ajar door

reads:



PERSONAL OFFICE



Marvis Cab Company

Blue and White Cab Co.

Acme Taxi

Dependable Taxi Services

JRB Cab Company

Speedo Taxi Service



2.





SOUND of office busywork: shuffling, typing, arguing.



PERSONAL OFFICE is a cluttered disarray. Sheets with heading

"Marvis, B&W, Acme" and so forth are tacked to crumbling

plaster wall: It is March. Desk is cluttered with forms,

reports and an old upright Royal typewriter.



Dishelved middle-aged New Yorker looks up from the desk. We

CUT IN to ongoing conversation between the middle-aged

PERSONNEL OFFICER and a YOUNG MAN standing in front on his

desk.



The young man is TRAVIS BICKLE. He wears his jeans, boots

and Army jacket. He takes a drag off his unfiltered cigarette.



The PERSONNEL OFFICER is beat and exhausted: he arrives at

work exhausted. TRAVIS is something else again. His intense

steely gaze is enough to jar even the PERSONNEL OFFICER out

of his workaday boredom.



PERSONNEL OFFICER (O.S.)

No trouble with the Hack Bureau?



TRAVIS (O.S.)

No Sir.



PERSONNEL OFFICER (O.S.)

Got your license?



TRAVIS (O.S.)

Yes.



PERSONNEL OFFICER

So why do you want to be a taxi

driver?



TRAVIS

I can't sleep nights.



PERSONNEL OFFICER

There's porno theatres for that.



TRAVIS

I know. I tried that.



The PERSONNEL OFFICER, though officious, is mildly probing

and curious. TRAVIS is a cipher, cold and distant. He

speaks as if his mind doesn't know what his mouth is saying.



PERSONNEL OFFICER

So whatja do now?



3.





TRAVIS

I ride around nights mostly.

Subways, buses. See things. Figur'd

I might as well get paid for it.



PERSONNEL OFFICER

We don't need any misfits around

here, son.



A thin smile cracks almost indiscernibly across TRAVIS' lips.



TRAVIS

You kiddin? Who else would hack

through South Bronx or Harlem at

night?



PERSONNEL OFFICER

You want to work uptown nights?



TRAVIS

I'll work anywhere, anytime. I know

I can't be choosy.



PERSONNEL OFFICER

(thinks a moment)

How's your driving record?



TRAVIS

Clean. Real clean.

(pause, thin smile)

As clean as my conscience.



PERSONNEL OFFICER

Listen, son, you gonna get smart,

you can leave right now.



TRAVIS

(apologetic)

Sorry, sir. I didn't mean that.



PERSONNEL OFFICER

Physical? Criminal?



TRAVIS

Also clean.



PERSONNEL OFFICER

Age?



PERSONNEL OFFICER

Twenty-six.



PERSONNEL OFFICER

Education?



4.





TRAVIS

Some. Here and there.



PERSONNEL OFFICER

Military record?



TRAVIS

Honorable discharge. May 1971.



PERSONNEL OFFICER

You moonlightin?



TRAVIS

No, I want long shifts.



PERSONNEL OFFICER

(casually, almost to himself)

We hire a lot of moonlighters here.



TRAVIS

So I hear.



PERSONNEL OFFICER

(looks up at Travis)

Hell, we ain't that much fussy

anyway. There's always opening on

one fleet or another.

(rummages through his

drawer, collecting

various pink, yellow

and white forms)

Fill out these forms and give them

to the girl at the desk, and leave

your phone number. You gotta phone?



TRAVIS

No.



PERSONNEL OFFICER

Well then check back tomorrow.



TRAVIS

Yes, Sir.



CUT TO:



CREDITS



CREDITS appear over scenes from MANHATTAN NIGHTLIFE. The

snow has melted, it is spring.



A rainy, slick, wet miserable night in Manhattan's theatre

district.



5.





Cabs and umbrellas are congested everywhere; well-dressed

pedestrians are pushing, running, waving down taxis. The

high-class theatre patrons crowding out of the midtown shows

are shocked to find that the same rain that falls on the

poor and common is also falling on them.



The unremitting SOUNDS of HONKING and SHOUTING play against

the dull pitter-patter of rain. The glare of yellow, red and

green lights reflects off the pavements and autos.



"When it rains, the boss of the city is the taxi driver" -

so goes the cabbie's maxim, proven true by this particular

night's activity. Only the taxis seem to rise above the

situation: They glide effortlessly through the rain and

traffic, picking up whom they choose, going where they please.



Further uptown, the crowds are neither so frantic nor so

glittering. The rain also falls on the street bums and aged

poor. Junkies still stand around on rainy street corners,

hookers still prowl rainy sidewalks. And the taxis service

them too.



All through the CREDITS the exterior sounds are muted, as if

coming from a distant room or storefront around the corner.

The listener is at a safe but privileged distance.



After examining various strata of Manhattan nightlife,

CAMERA begins to CLOSE IN on one particular taxi, and it is

assumed that this taxi is being driven by TRAVIS BICKLE.



END CREDITS



CUT TO:



Travis's yellow taxi pulls in foreground. On left rear door

are lettered the words "Dependable Taxi Service".



We are somewhere on the upper fifties on Fifth Ave. The rain

has not let up.



An ELDERLY WOMAN climbs in the right rear door, crushing her

umbrella. Travis waits a moment, then pulls away from the

curb with a start.



Later, we see Travis' taxi speeding down the rain-slicked

avenue. The action is periodically accompanied by Travis'

narration. He is reading from a haphazard personal diary.



TRAVIS (V.O.)

(monotone)

April 10, 1972. Thank God for the

rain which has helped wash the

garbage and trash off the sidewalks.



6.





TRAVIS' POV of sleazy midtown side street: Bums, hookers,

junkies.



TRAVIS (V.O.)

I'm working a single now, which

means stretch-shifts, six to six,

sometimes six to eight in the a.m.,

six days a week.



A MAN IN BUSINESS SUIT hails Travis to the curb.



TRAVIS (V.O.)

It's a hustle, but it keeps me busy.

I can take in three to three-fifty

a week, more with skims.



MAN IN BUSINESS SUIT, now seated in back seat, speaks up:



MAN IN BUSINESS SUIT

(urgent)

Is Kennedy operating, cabbie? Is it

grounded?



On seat next to TRAVIS is half-eaten cheeseburger and order

of french fries. He puts his cigarette down and gulps as he

answers:



TRAVIS

Why should it be grounded?



MAN IN BUSINESS SUIT

Listen - I mean I just saw the

needle of the Empire State Building.

You can't see it for the fog!



TRAVIS

Then it's a good guess it's grounded.



MAN IN BUSINESS SUIT

The Empire State in fog means

something, don't it? Do you know,

or don't you? What is your number,

cabbie?



TRAVIS

Have you tried the telephone?



MAN IN BUSINESS SUIT

(hostile, impatient)

There isn't time for that. In other

words, you don't know.



TRAVIS

No.



7.





MAN IN BUSINESS SUIT

Well, you should know, damn it, or

who else would know? Pull over

right here.

(points out window)

Why don't you stick your goddamn

head out of the goddamn window once

in a while and find out about the

goddamn fog!



TRAVIS pulls to the curb. The BUSINESS MAN stuffs a dollar

bill into the pay drawer and jumps out of the cab. He turns

to hail another taxi.



MAN IN BUSINESS SUIT

Taxi! Taxi!



Travis writes up his trip card and drives away.



It is LATER THAT NIGHT. The rain has turned to drizzle.

Travis drives trough another section of Manhattan.



TRAVIS (V.O.)

I work the whole city, up, down,

don't make no difference to me -

does to some.



STREETSIDE: TRAVIS' P.O.V. Black PROSTITUTE wearing white

vinyl boots, leopard-skin mini-skirt and blond wig hails

taxi. On her arm hangs half-drunk seedy EXECUTIVE TYPE.



TRAVIS pulls over.



PROSTITUTE and JOHN climb into back seat. TRAVIS checks out

the action in rear view mirror.



TRAVIS (V.O.)(CONTD)

Some won't take spooks - Hell,

don't make no difference tom me.



TRAVIS' taxi drives through Central Park.



GRUNTS, GROANS coming from back seat. HOOKER and JOHN going

at it in back seat. He's having a hard time and she's

probably trying to get him to come off manually.



JOHN (O.S.)

Oh baby, baby.



PROSTITUTE (O.S.)

(forceful)

Come on.



8.





TRAVIS stares blankly ahead.



CUT TO:



TRAVIS' APARTMENT. CAMERA PANS SILENTLY across INT. room,

indicating this is not a new scene.



TRAVIS is sitting at plain table writing. He wears shirt,

jeans, boots. An unfiltered cigarette rests in a bent

coffee can ash tray.



CLOSE UP of notebook. It is a plain lined dimestore notebook

and the words TRAVIS is writing with a stubby pencil are

those he is saying. The columns are straight, disciplined.

Some of the writing is in pencil, some in ink. The

handwriting is jagged.



CAMERA continues to PAN, examining TRAVIS' apartment. It is

unusual, to say the least:



A ratty old mattress is thrown against one wall. The floor

is littered with old newspapers, worn and unfolded streets

maps and pornography. The pornography is of the sort that

looks cheap but costs $10 a threw - black and white photos

of naked women tied and gagged with black leather straps and

clothesline. There is no furniture other than the rickety

chair and table. A beat-up portable TV rests on an upright

melon crate. The red silk mass in another corner looks like

a Vietnamese flag. Indecipherable words, figures, numbers

are scribbled on the plain plaster walls. Ragged black wires

dangle from the wall where the telephone once hung.



TRAVIS (V.O.)

They're all animals anyway. All the

animals come out at night: Whores,

skunk pussies, buggers, queens,

fairies, dopers, junkies, sick,

venal.

(a beat)

Someday a real rain will come and

wash all this scum off the streets.



It's EARLY MORNING: 6 a.m. The air is clean and fresh and

the streets nearly deserted.



EXT. of TAXI GARAGE. TRAVIS' taxi pulls into the driveway.



TRAVIS (V.O.)(CONTD)

Each night when I return the cab to

the garage I have to clean the come

off the back seat. Some nights I

clean off the blood.



9.





INT. of TAXI GARAGE. TRAVIS pulls his taxi into garage

stall. TRAVIS reaches across the cab and extracts a small

vial of bennies from the glove compartment.



TRAVIS stands next to the cab, straightens his back, and

tucks the bottle of pills into his jacket pocket. He lowers

his head, looks into back seat, opens rear door and bends

inside.



He shakes a cigarette out of his pack of camels and lights it.



SLIGHT TIMECUT: TRAVIS books it at garage office. Old,

rotting slabs of wood are screwed to a grey crumbling

concrete wall. Each available space is covered with hand-

lettered signs, time schedules, check-out sheets, memos. The

signs read:



BE ALERT!!

THE SAFE DRIVER

IS ALWAYS READY

FOR THE UNEXPECTED



SLOW DOWN

AND GAUGE SPEED TO

ROAD CONDITIONS

YOU CAN'T STOP

ON A DIME!



ALL NIGHT DRIVERS

HAVING PERSONAL INJURY

ACCIDENTS

MUST PHONE IN AT ONCE TO

JUDSON 2-3410

AND MUST FILE A REPORT Promptly

AT 9 AM THE FOLLOWING MORNING AT

43 W. 61st.



A half dozen haggard cabbies hang around the office. Their

shirts are wrinkle, their heads dropping, the mouths

incessantly chattering. We pick up snatches of cabbie small

talk:



1ST CABBIE

... hadda piss like a bull steer,

so I pull over on 10th Ave, yank up

the hood and do the engine job.

(gestures as if

taking a piss into

the hood)

There I am with my dong in my hand

when a guy come up and asks if I

need any help. Just checking the

battery, I says, and, meanwhile...

(MORE)



10.





1ST CABBIE (CONT'D)

(takes imaginary piss)





2ND CABBIE

If he thinks I'm going up into The

Jungle this time of night, he can

shove it.



3RD CABBIE

(talking into pay phone)

Fuck that Violets First. Fucking

saddle horse. No, no, the OTB. Fuck

them. No, it was TKR. TCR and I'da

made seven fucking grand. Fuck them

too. Alright, what about the second

race?



4TH CABBIE

Over at Love, this hooker took on

the whole garage. Blew the whole

fucki

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