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
Marvis Cab Company
Blue and White Cab Co.
Dependable Taxi Services
JRB Cab Company
Speedo Taxi Service
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
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
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?
PERSONNEL OFFICER (O.S.)
Got your license?
So why do you want to be a taxi
I can't sleep nights.
There's porno theatres for that.
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.
So whatja do now?
I ride around nights mostly.
Subways, buses. See things. Figur'd
I might as well get paid for it.
We don't need any misfits around
A thin smile cracks almost indiscernibly across TRAVIS' lips.
You kiddin? Who else would hack
through South Bronx or Harlem at
You want to work uptown nights?
I'll work anywhere, anytime. I know
I can't be choosy.
(thinks a moment)
How's your driving record?