Martin Scorsese‘s 1976 movie, Taxi Driver, is one of the most unnerving and raw true-to-life portraits of mental illness and PTSD ever captured on film. The driving force of the film are the monologues penned by writer Paul Schrader and brought to life by legendary actor Robert De Niro.
In the film, De Niro portrays a Vietnam veteran named Travis Bickle. Over time, Bickle’s PTSD, insomnia, and loneliness slowly drive his chilling descent into madness.
We have compiled a list of the best Taxi Driver quotes. They are sure to remind you why Taxi Driver is still a notoriously grim movie even after all these years.
“One of These Days I’m Gonna Get Organized”
The beginning of the movie depicts Travis Bickle as a lonely, aimless man wandering through life. With no close friends or family, Travis has no one to turn to. As time goes on, he starts to become frustrated with his life.
When Travis’ frustration finally starts to bubble over, he realizes he must take action. He calls this “getting organized.”
Since the audience knows that Travis is a man of limited means, intelligence, and social skills, this line makes us wonder what Travis could mean by getting organized. And once we know the ending of the film, the line practically drips with foreshadowing.
- Travis Bickle: I should get one of those signs that says “One of these days I’m gonna get organezized”.
- Betsy: You mean organized?
- Travis Bickle: Organezized. Organezized. It’s a joke. O-R-G-A-N-E-Z-I-Z-E-D…
- Betsy: Oh, you mean organezized. Like those little signs they have in offices that says, “Thimk”?
“I Gotta Get In Shape. Too Much Sitting Has Ruined My Body”
While sitting around the apartment one day, Travis finally thinks of a way to make a change. All he eats is junk food and he gets no exercise. He realizes he feels physically weak and wants to get in shape.
At this point in the story, Travis isn’t terribly unlike the average person, event today. Many people spend too much time sitting in front of screens, eating junk food, and wishing they were in better shape.
Travis takes to this idea with gusto, completely changing his habits overnight. It could be admirable, but there is something about the single-minded nature of his actions that seems a bit disturbing.
While certainly, not everyone follows the path of Travis, this line can make us question our culture’s obsession with fitness.
- Travis Bickle: June 29th. I gotta get in shape now. Too much sittin’ is ruinin’ my body. Too much abuse has gone on for too long. From now on, it will be fifty push-ups each morning, fifty pull-ups. There’ll be no more pills, there’ll be no more bad food, no more destroyers of my body. From now on, it will be total organization. Every muscle must be tight.
“The Days Go On And On. They Don’t End.”
Part of why Travis has such a bad state of mental health is the monotony of his life. He has nothing to look forward to. This goes on for so long, that the first thing that gives him any emotional spark becomes his all-consuming obsession.
That spark ends up coming from Jodie Foster’s character, a 12-year-old girl who gets taken in by an evil pimp.
Travis feels a connection with this girl and soon everything else in his life has no importance to him. He has nothing to lose.
- Travis Bickle: The days go on and on… they don’t end. All my life needed was a sense of someplace to go. I don’t believe that one should devote his life to morbid self-attention, I believe that one should become a person like other people.
“I’m God’s Lonely Man”
Travis becomes so lonely that he starts to get the idea that he was singled out by God fora lifetime of isolation. Travis starts to feel that maybe God is testing him and that his loneliness is all part of the test.
Now that Travis is “getting organized”, he has passed God’s test, and he is ready for his divine purpose. Though Travis’s confidence grows, his anger with the world leads him to believe his purpose must involve violence and vengeance.
- Travis Bickle: Loneliness has followed me my whole life, everywhere. In bars, in cars, sidewalks, stores, everywhere. There’s no escape. I’m God’s lonely man… June 8th. My life has taken another turn again. The days can go on with regularity over and over, one day indistinguishable from the next. A long continuous chain. Then suddenly, there is a change.
“I Got Some Bad Ideas in My Head”
Travis’ idea of getting organized turns out to be holding himself to a strict military-style regimen of diet and exercise of his own device. He also gives up watching television and other forms of popular entertainment. This gives him a lot of time to think.
The more he thinks and searches for his purpose, he begins to become plagued by some ideas that bother him. He seems to know these ideas are wrong, but part of him thinks they may be right.
At this point, the audience knows that Travis is barely hanging on to his sanity. When he begins to question the nature of his own thoughts, we realize we are seeing someone on the verge of giving in to their darkest urges.
- Travis Bickle: I got some bad ideas in my head.
“You Talking To Me?”
This is one of the famous Taxi Driver quotes, and arguably one of the most famous lines in movie history.
This line is so famous because it is the moment we realize that Travis is beginning to lose his fear of murderous desires, and is now, infact,t beginning to relish them.
He has a conversation with an imaginary assailant and watches himself in the mirror as he practices his intimidation tactics. When Travis draws his gun, we know that the worst is about to happen.
Perhaps the reason this scene is so famous is that it captures of frustration that many people feel in their own lives but only express to themselves. This scene shows us what can happen if that anger goes left unchecked.
- Travis Bickle: Huh? Huh? (Draws gun) Faster than you, fucking son of a… Saw you coming you fucking… shitheel. (Reholsters gun) I’m standing here; you make the move. You make the move. It’s your move… (Draws gun) Don’t try it you fuck. (Reholsters) You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? Then who the hell else are you talking… you talking to me? Well I’m the only one here. Who the fuck do you think you’re talking to? Oh yeah? OK. (Draws)
“My whole life is pointed in one direction.”
At this point in the film, Travis feels he has finally discovered his divine purpose. He decides that his homicidal ideations are in face messages from Heaven. He believes his lonely life was not a waste after all, but training.
He decides that his direction in life leads him inescapably towards murder. This line is delivered with a chilling conviction that haunts the viewer long after the movie is over.
- Travis Bickle: Now I see this clearly. My whole life is pointed in one direction. There never has been a choice for me.
“Thank God for the rain which has helped wash away the garbage and trash off the sidewalks.”
- Travis Bickle: May 10th. Thank God for the rain which has helped wash away the garbage and trash off the sidewalks. I’m workin’ long hours now, six in the afternoon to six in the morning. Sometimes even eight in the morning, six days a week. Sometimes seven days a week. It’s a long hustle but it keeps me real busy. I can take in three, three fifty a week. Sometimes even more when I do it off the meter.
“All The Animals Come Out At Night”
- Travis Bickle: All the animals come out at night — whores, skunk pussies, buggers, queens, fairies, dopers, junkies, sick, venal. Someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets. I go all over. I take people to the Bronx, Brooklyn, I take ’em to Harlem. I don’t care. Don’t make no difference to me. It does to some. Some won’t even take spooks. Don’t make no difference to me.
“Suck On This”
Travis finally sets his anger loose on an unsuspecting population. At this point, he believes he acts with divine approval and that anyone he deems unworthy of life is an open target.
When he tells his first victim, who is smoking a cigarette, to “Suck on this”, this being a loaded gun, we know that all of Travis’ philosophical musings and beliefs are just excuses. He takes glee in violence. We see that there is no turning back for Travis as he goes on a shooting rampage as a terrified Iris (Jodie Foster) listens on in another room.
- Travis Bickle: (walks up to Sport) Hey Sport. How ya doin’?
- Sport: Okay, okay my man, how… Where do I know you from, man?
- Travis Bickle: I don’t know. How’s everything in the pimp business, huh?
- Sport: Do I know you?
- Travis Bickle: No. Do I know you?
- Sport: Get outta here. Come on, get lost, huh.
- Travis Bickle: Do I know you? How’s Iris? You know Iris.
- Sport: No, I don’t know nobody name Iris. Iris? Come on, get outta here, man.
- Travis Bickle: You don’t know anybody by the name of Iris?
- Sport: I don’t know nobody name Iris!
- Travis Bickle: No?
- Sport: Hey, go back to your fuckin’ tribe before you get hurt, huh man. Do me a favor, I don’t want no trouble, huh. Okay?
- Travis Bickle: You got a gun?
- Sport: Get the fuck outta here, man. (flicks his cigarette at him)
- Sport: Get outta here. (kicks him)
- Travis Bickle: Suck on this. (Travis shoots him with a revolver in the stomach and walks away)
The Best Taxi Driver Quotes
Taxi Driver is one of the most quotable films of all time. Almost everything Travis says is fascinating for its insidious yet sincere nature.