Movies Like Taxi Driver – With sharp direction from Martin Scorsese, a gripping script from Paul Schrader, and a chilling performance from Robert De Niro, Taxi Driver (1976) appears to the greatest psychological drama ever put to film.It would be too cliche to praise it any further, but what about other films that have similar themes?
For those looking for another cinematic experience like Taxi Driver, here are 10 films that might make interesting companions to Scorcese’s film.
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Movies Like Taxi Driver
1. Falling Down (1993)
Jammed in LA traffic, visibly worn out by the daily annoyances, a middle-aged defense contractor, called D-FENS, feels bored. He left his car and walked away, when a driver next to him asked him where he was going, he said he was going home.
Making an arduous journey through Los Angeles on foot, D-FENS must face the grim realities that surround him, from poverty, urban decay, gang violence, and so on. If that’s not enough, he also faced with the reality of his failed marriage, which has resulted in a restraining order against him.
While not a perfect film, Falling Down is nevertheless a moving gem and perhaps the Taxi Driver of the 1990s. If Travis were a middleweight jockey, he would probably be something like D-FENS. Both men isolated and then angered by the decaying world around them and their inability to control it, their ultimate fate determined by an outburst of violence. Their anger exacerbated by their failed relationships with women, as well as the mutual ignorance between them: Travis, who socially removed, while Betsy taken to a pornographic film.
Although the reasons for D-FENS’ divorce were left unclear, he still returned home to his wife and daughter, and not even a restraining order could open his eyes to her unwanted presence.
2. Movies Like Taxi Driver: First Blood (1982)
This is where it all began, the beginning of one of the most famous franchises in action cinema. John Rambo is a Vietnam veteran who moves from city to city. When the film begins, he has discovered that the last of his comrades gone. With no connections, Rambo continues his journey, which takes him to a small Oregon town. He has a bad relationship with the local sheriff.
Abused by the police, Rambo pushed to his absolute limits and declares war on the city, wreaking destructive havoc. When confronted with his actions, Rambo simply replies “they draw first blood.”
Maybe the parallels between Taxi Driver and First Blood are not obvious, and the two are not friends who see eye to eye. Clearly, both protagonists not only served in Vietnam, but also scarred by the experience. Indeed, Rambo’s experiences more explicitly detailed than Travis’s.
While Rambo doesn’t have a fixation on anyone else that drives Travis, the two still experience rejection that drives them both to think that violent outbursts are the only way. First Blood would mark the start of a franchise that capitalized on insane action, sadly overshadowing the first film, which was a stunning portrait of PTSD and isolation.
3. I Stand Alone (1998)
He’s known simply as the Butcher, and he’s probably the textbook definition of a “time bomb.” The camera rarely looks away from him, and his face shows a man about to explode. The Butcher’s narration only makes his real anger feel more palpable, as he unleashes a torrent of hatred and contempt towards everyone around him.
The only person he loves is his prepubescent daughter, and even that won’t make up for it, considering his incestuous feelings for her. This is I Stand Alone, Gaspar Noe’s debut film, and perhaps his most transgressive and extreme work, as the audience forced to endure this character and his hatred for 93 minutes. Not a single punch pulled.
Some argue that I Stand Alone is a more honest version of Taxi Driver. The latter may explore a protagonist’s ticking time bomb, but I Stand Alone takes the plunge and wallows in a character’s mind.
Both are men who are truly alone in their respective worlds, and can blame no one but themselves for their loneliness, although the tone is a little lighter with Taxi Driver; Travis is just a guy who doesn’t understand the society that surrounds him. Butcher, on the other hand, is a man who not only burned every bridge in his life, but continues to do so.
Although I Stand Alone reaches points where the Butcher becomes unlikable to the point of viewer disinterest, I Stand Alone still proves to be an all-too-engaging dive into an alienated man’s hatred for the world around him, and its power is only pushed further by Philippe’s portrayal Nahon’s terrible take on Butcher, one of the most underrated in film history.
4. Movies Like Taxi Driver: Memento (2000)
A man with a Polaroid shows a grisly gun murder. When the image is held, the Polaroid returns to its original white state. The scene, it turns out, is played in reverse, showing the murder right before it was photographed.
The man with the gun and camera is Leonard, who believes he has killed the man who raped and murdered his wife, known as John G. Like the opening scene, the narrative is reversed.
Leonard is a man who suffers from short-term memory loss, and must use tattoos all over his body and labeled Polaroid photos, his camera always by his side, to remind him of what he is now living through, and his revenge. Before his mainstream success with his Batman trilogy, Christopher Nolan made waves in the film world with his sophomore effort, Memento.
To compare it to Taxi Driver is, in all fairness, a bit difficult. There’s a clear theme of shared obsession going on, although it’s handled very differently, but an interesting parallel is the tragedy of their actions, something that isn’t talked about as much with Memento.
The tragedy in Taxi Driver is pretty obvious with Travis’ epic descent, but in Memento, it’s a little more subtle. Without spoiling too much, whether he ever catches John G or not, his condition will force him to continue the same quest over and over again until who knows what will happen to him.
5. Monsters (2003)
Aileen Wuornos (Charlize Theron), a prostitute cast down by her fate, is on the verge of suicide when she decides to spend her remaining money at a bar. It is there that he meets the young and naive Selby (Christina Ricci). With Aileen ready to leave prostitution behind and strive for better things, the two set out together, wanting to make the most of their life together.
However, money proved short, and Aileen returned to prostitution to make ends meet. After raped by one of her customers, it was here that Aileen began her series of murders that would lead to her highly publicized execution in 2002.
Despite the creative liberties, Patty Jenkins still delivers one of the most piercing serial killer biopics in cinema, and its power is all due to Charlize Theron’s portrayal of Wuizeos. Inferior performance will result in despicable character. In Monster, while there is no apology for Wuornos’ actions, there is notable sympathy.
Like Travis Bickle, Aileen Wuornos is someone who simply wants something better in their life, but a damaged psyche and skewed worldview leaves her unable to understand how to achieve the kind of happiness she so desperately desires. So, he fell into a rabbit hole that he dug deeper and deeper, as if he was asking himself, “What’s the point?” Like Travis’ massive massacre.
6. Movies Like Taxi Driver: Shame (2011)
At first glance, Brandon (Michael Fassbender) seems like a man who has his life set in stone; handsome, good looks, good job, works. However, in further observation we will reveal the skeletons in his cupboard.
Brandon is a sex addict, from treasure troves of porn and nights out with hookers to bathroom breaks to masturbate, Brandon can’t live without regular orgasms. Things suddenly became his little brother came to visit. The secret that has driven him into exile now at risk of exposed.
Named by Roger Ebert as the second best film of 2011, Shame is truly an extraordinary examination of loneliness, and the piercing pain it causes. Set in New York City, in no small part, some could argue that Brandon would be Travis if he were less repressive about his sexuality. Brandon suffers greatly from social isolation like Travis, there is a very painful moment when Brandon begins a relationship with his coworker.
During a potentially intimate sexual moment, Brandon turns his back on her in favor of something more impersonal and transient, showing how much his way of life affects his people skills.