Taxi Driver: a Modern Version of the Western Film

Topics: Taxi Driver, Martin Scorsese, Film Pages: 3 (928 words) Published: November 28, 2005
There have been many genres of film that are included in American film history; one of which is the Western. In the mid 1900's Western films were at their peak and Saturday afternoons would be spent watching cowboys and Indians battle until the end while watching comfortably from a movie theatre. Knowing this, it's not hard to understand why film makers later on would base plots and characters off of these mystifying films. The Searchers, made in 1956 by John Ford, was a movie that followed the journey of Ethan Edwards, a cowboy on a mission to locate his niece, Debbie, who was kidnapped by Indians. Although this movie lacked a sense of reality, among other things, its cinematography and intriguing characters insured there would be more than a few true fans. One of which was Martin Scorsese who, when making the film Taxi Driver in 1976, based the character of Travis off of Ford's character, Ethan. Ford's influence can be seen not only in two main personality traits of Scorsese's character, but also in the last scene of the movie where Scorsese pays homage to Ford in the form of symbolism.

The most obvious parallel of Taxi Driver to The Searchers is that of the main characters. In both films, the men are recent war veterans. Ethan, who has just returned from the Civil War and Travis, a recent veteran of the Vietnam War. Both men are still extremely bitter to the other side. Ethan, who fought in the South for the war, shows his disrespect to ethnicities by constantly assaulting Indians with racial slurs and violence. Travis, just like Ethan, believes that everyone around him is worthless. Blacks, Hispanics, even white prostitutes and pimps are completely disgusting to Travis and he will do anything to rid his life of them. Both men have no problem brutally killing those who are beneath them for whatever reason and commit acts of murder to these groups of people several times throughout each movie.

Another similarity between the two films is that there are...
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