Another New York street photo hawk favorite , besides Marlon Brando holding a kitten as the Godfather in the great Frances Ford Capola film, is Robert De Niro, as Travis Bickle in Martin Scorsese's' "Taxi Driver"playing with his guns in front of the mirror: "You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me?". Once you've seen the crazed De Niro' character role playing the confrontation with the pimp portrayed by Harvey Keitel, you'd never forget it and will immediately catch someone trying to imitate De Niro, doing the "You talkin' to me" scene.
Perhaps worldwide "Godfather Part I" and "Scarface" have a better face recognition, no pan intended, then ''"Taxi Driver" does. Yet think of the power of the movie that, in a way, almost cost the most powerful man on earth, the US President Ronald Reagan his life. For the younger generation I'll remind that a penniless and semi-employed security guard, John Hinckley, tried to assassinate Ronald Reagan and seriously wounded the President, all trying to impress Jody Foster, the actress who portrayed a teenage prostitute Travis Bickle was obsessed about. In the movie Travis Bickle also was preparing a political assassination.
Now Reagan, at least in the US, is credited with bringing down the Soviet Union. That means that if Hinckley would have succeeded, then the Soviet Union, the world's second superpower, might have survived longer, perhaps, it would have existed today. I'll leave alone the political issue of whether it would have been a good or a bad thing. Rather I will draw your attention on the art's ability to force life to imitate it, to paraphrase Oscar Wild.
In my view, Taxi Driver, along with "Citizen Kane" and "Casablanca" is amongst the very bets motion pictures Hollywood ever produced. Robert De Niro is an actor of a genius and its been a pleasure for me to participate in the life of his creation by portraying in a painting his character in a simply brilliant movie.
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