Steve Schapiro, Taxi Driver – Book Review

In 2005, the American Film Institute (AFI) ranked Travis Bickle’s line “You talkin’ to me” as the tenth most memorable movie quote of all time. With its stunning imagery, dark story, and amazing cast, Taxi Driver (1976) has become an iconic film in American cinema.

Robert De Niro’s portrayal of Travis Bickle – a Vietnam veteran turned lowly taxi driver, is a testament to what a brilliant actor De Niro is. Just watching his character shift from a state of hopelessness and despair to one of seeming madness is a true is worthy of multiple viewings.

Director Martin Scorsese’s gritty, dark, and bleak character study of a man driven to the ends of his own sanity resulted in four Academy Award nominations including Best Picture, and has been ranked 52nd by AFI as one of the Top 100 American Films of all time.

Populated by characters as gritty and dark as the film itself, Taxi Driver takes viewers on a journey they will not soon forget. The ending of the film alone is worthy of discussion, as well as its influence on John Hinkley Jr. who cited his obsession with Jodie Foster in the film as his reason for wanting to assassinate President Ronald Reagan in 1981.

If you’ve never seen the film before, you’re in for a multitude of surprises. The cast alone is a veritable who’s who of actors whom many have seen throughout their lives in other roles both dramatic and comedic, but never like this. Some highlights include Jodie Foster, Harvey Keitel, Peter Boyle, and Martin Scorsese.

Like The Godfather, Taxi Driver is an icon of American cinema. A testament to its power as a medium, and its ability to move, shock, and provoke thought in its audience. Aside from being immortalized forever on film, Taxi Driver was also photographed throughout the production process by set photographer Steve Schapiro. His collection of rare images has been published in the beautiful coffee table book, Taxi Driver from Taschen.

This is an amazing book that speaks volumes through its use of stunning images that take us on a journey back to the film with many images we’ve seen before and many that we haven’t (about 95% of them). Rare, candid, behind-the-scenes moments with De Niro, Scorsese, Foster, and others populate this high-quality volume. It’s a book for the hardcore Taxi Driver fan and for students of American cinema.

Along with the beautiful high-res images that dominate the first half of the book, the second half contains a variety of article, interviews, and reviews related to the film, its cast, and director. From New York Magazine to Playboy, each article delivers its own take and analysis of the film, its characters, and its impact on film and pop culture. Just looking at the book and reading the articles had me wanting to see the movie again.

This awesome book is available in three editions:

The first is autographed by photographer Steve Schapiro, is limited to 1,000 numbered copies, and is $700.

The second is Art Edition (A) that is autographed by Steve Schapiro, is limited to 100 numbered copies, and is $1800.

The third is Art Edition (B) autographed by Steve Schapiro, is limited to 100 numbered copies, and is $1800.

Hopefully, Taschen will release an edition of the book that is not as expensive as these because this is definitely a book worth owning.

For a definitive look at one of the great cinematic masterpieces through iconic photography, I highly recommend the Taschen book, Taxi Driver.

For more information on each edition, to place an order, or to see other Taschen books, check out their website by clicking here!