Nearly 50 years since it was released in theaters, many Taxi Driver quotes still remain deeply embedded in the minds of those who’ve seen the classic movie. Today, Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver remains one of the most acclaimed masterpieces in the history of cinema. Travis Bickle’s tragic downfall as the quintessential antihero continues to influence dark psychological thrillers and their deeply flawed protagonists to this day. Many screenwriters have tried to emulate the incisive, cynical work of Paul Schrader, but few have managed to capture the anger of city-dwelling loners quite like how Schrader’s Taxi Driver script did it.
Among the earliest Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro movies, Taxi Driver was what gave Scorsese his first Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, and it’s easy to see why. New York itself is a character in Taxi Driver, it explores a seedy underworld, framed by Bernard Herrmann’s beautiful jazz score, neo-noir cinematography, and graphic, unapologetic violence. It’s anchored in history with a cynical view of the Vietnam War, stars Robert De Niro as a deeply flawed and violent lead, and is held together by a truly engaging script. Schrader’s script isn’t perfect, but its cultural impact remains undeniable. Here are the most memorable Taxi Driver quotes and why they remain stuck in viewers’ heads.
20 “Days Go On And On. They Don’t End.”
Paul Schrader wrote the script for Taxi Driver while he was suffering from loneliness, bitterness, and insomnia himself. In fact, Schrader reportedly worked on developing Travis’ character in his ex-girlfriend’s apartment, while he was house sitting for her. This was after he was living inside his car. This kind of depressing, uncertain lifestyle is conveyed in Travis saying, “Twelve hours of work and I still can’t sleep. Damn. Days go on and on. They don’t end.” Out of all the best Taxi Driver quotes, this one may be the most universally relatable, and it certainly helped make audiences sympathize more with one of modern cinema’s first real antiheroes.
19 “Listen, I Gotta Get A Permit For This Thing. I Dunno What I’m Gonna Do.”
While shopping at a store he frequents, Travis makes his first kill in the movie by shooting a robber. After Travis and the store clerk make sure that the robber is dead, Travis says, “Listen, I gotta get a permit for this thing. I dunno what I’m gonna do.” The clerk then takes Travis’ gun and tells him not to worry about it, before making the scene look like Travis wasn’t involved. This is one of the most memorable Taxi Driver quotes for how it shows not just Travis, but also the clerk’s casual reaction to death. It paints a cold picture of the average New Yorker in the ’70s.
18 “There Never Has Been Any Choice For Me.”
Along Travis Bickle’s dark, disturbing journey, he becomes convinced that the reason he was put on Earth was to combat the crime on the streets of New York. After deciding that he needs to do something to free the 12-year-old Iris (Jodie Foster) who was being forced into sex work, Travis narrates, “Now, I see it clearly. My whole life is pointed in one direction. I see that now. There never has been any choice for me.” What makes this one of the most memorable Taxi Driver quotes is how it marks the biggest turning point in Travis’ character arc. In a nutshell, this quote represents the Taxi Driver ending explained from Travis’ point of view.
17 “Suck On This!”
When Travis Bickle takes the law into his own hands, Scorsese doesn’t indulge in a glorious, theatrical display of bloodshed. Instead, he shot Travis’ vigilante acts as bluntly, brutally, and realistically as possible. Travis’ first victim in the final shootout is Sport, the pimp played by Harvey Keitel. After Sport flicks out a cigarette on Travis, Travis pulls out a gun and says, “Suck on this!,” before shooting Sport in the chest and taking a seat on the front steps of his brothel. It’s among the most memorable Taxi Driver quotes for being the last thing Travis says before going on a killing spree.
16 “One Of These Days, I’m Gonna Get Organezized.”
When Travis takes Betsy (Cybill Shepherd) out for some pie, he tells her, “I should get one of those signs that says, ‘One of these days, I’m gonna get organezized.” At first, Betsy doesn’t get it, so Travis explains that it’s a joke and she says, “Oh, you mean ‘organezized.’ Like those little signs they have in offices that say, ‘Thimk.” Travis and Betsy’s first date doesn’t go too badly. Of course, the relationship goes drastically downhill when Travis takes Betsy to a porno theater on their second. Nonetheless, this remains one of the best Taxi Driver quotes for how it pins an actually funny and lighthearted moment in Scorsese’s dark neo-noir masterpiece.
15 “I Saw In Your Eyes And I Say In How You Carried Yourself That You’re Not A Happy Person.”
When Betsy asks why she should date Travis, he wins her over with sheer boldness: “I think you’re a lonely person. I drive by a lot and I see you here. I see a lot of people around you, and I see all these phones and all this stuff on your desk, and it means nothing. And when I came inside and met you, I saw in your eyes and I saw in how you carried yourself that you’re not a happy person.” Travis’ spot-on analysis of Betsy is one of the most memorable Taxi Driver quotes, as it shows that he’s actually observant and intelligent despite his faults.
14 “Only A Jackass Would Carry That Cannon In The Streets Like That.”
When quintessential antihero Travis pays a visit to the illicit gun dealer Andy (Steven Prince) to arm himself ahead of his one-man crusade against New York City’s criminal underbelly, Andy warns him about the practicality of the guns he wants. Travis insists on getting the “cannon” he wants, and lo and behold, it proves to be just as impractical as Andy warned it would be when it comes to the movie’s climactic shootout. This is one of the best Taxi Driver quotes for subtly hinting that Travis really has no idea what he’s doing, even though he’s supposed to be a Vietnam vet who knows his way around firearms.
13 “Anytime, Anywhere.”
The personnel officer who hires Travis to be a cabbie in the first place in the movie’s opening scene asks him, “Wanna work uptown at nights? South Bronx? Harlem?” and Travis simply tells him, “I’ll work anytime, anywhere.” Then the personnel officer asks him, “Will you work on Jewish holidays?” and Travis repeats himself: “Anytime, anywhere.” This is a guy who doesn’t expect very much from society. He doesn’t think any area of New York is beneath him. He’ll drive anywhere and he’ll do it day or night. Undoubtedly one of the most memorable Taxi Driver quotes, this also establishes that Travis has terrible insomnia.
12 “Man, She’s Twelve And A Half Years Old. You Never Had No P**** Like That.”
What finally breaks Travis and pushes him to clean up the streets himself is meeting Iris, a 12-year-old girl being prostituted by Sport. Harvey Keitel perfectly plays the scumbag pimp character, Sport, who tells Travis: “Well, take it or leave it. If you want to save yourself some money, don’t f**k her. ‘Cause you’ll be back here every night for some more. Man, she’s twelve and a half years old. You never had no p***y like that. You can do anything you want with her.” It gets worse, but that’s more than enough of a reminder why Sport has some of the most memorable Taxi Driver quotes.
11 “You’re In A Hell, And You’re Gonna Die In A Hell, Just Like The Rest Of ‘Em!”
When Travis takes Betsy to see a porno movie, he gets angry at her when she gets creeped out. Travis tells Betsy, “Let me tell you something. You’re in a hell, and you’re gonna die in a hell, just like the rest of ‘em!” In his voiceover narration, Travis rationalizes his terrible actions: “I realize now how much she’s just like the others, cold and distant, and many people are like that, women for sure, they’re like a union.” It’s one of the best Taxi Driver quotes for exposing Travis as an incel early on, and ultimately for sweetening the pot for audiences when Travis later outgrows his childish thoughts.
10 “I Have A .44 Magnum Pistol. I’m Gonna Kill Her With That Gun.”
Martin Scorsese occasionally puts himself in his movies. In Taxi Driver, Scorsese played the deranged man who sits in Travis’ cab and tells him about catching his wife cheating. After pointing out his wife’s silhouette at a nearby window, the man explains to Travis what he’s planning: “I have a .44 Magnum pistol. I’m gonna kill her with that gun. Did you ever see what a .44 Magnum pistol can do to a woman’s face? I mean, it’ll f**king destroy it. Just blow her right apart.” This is one of the most memorable Taxi Driver quotes for how viscerally it foreshadows the coming violence, and for underscoring how Taxi Driver dismantles traditional masculinity.
9 “I Have To Clean The C** Off The Back Seat. Some Nights, I Clean Off The Blood.”
This quote is pretty gross, but that’s exactly what it’s supposed to be. Not only does it point out how terrible Travis’ life is, since it’s his job to clean disgusting fluids out of his car at an absurd time like four o’clock in the morning; it also implies some pretty gnarly things he sees during his day-to-day. His voiceover reveals, “Each night, when I return the cab to the garage, I have to clean the c** off the back seat. Some nights, I clean off the blood.” For the way it sordidly justifies Travis’ mindset by pulling audiences into his personal hell, this is one of the most memorable Taxi Driver quotes.
8 “Here Is A Man Who Would Not Take It Anymore.”
Travis Bickle may be one of the most mentally disturbed individuals ever portrayed on film, but he sees himself as a hero of his era. Indeed, Travis is just like everybody else, except he decides to take direct action, preceded by some of the best Taxi Driver quotes. When Travis presents himself and his manifesto to viewers, he refers to himself in the third person in an inspirational speech: “Listen, you f**kers, you screwheads. Here is a man who would not take it anymore. A man who stood up against the scum, the c**ts, the dogs, the filth, the s**t. Here is a man who stood up.”
7 “I’m God’s Lonely Man.”
Travis Bickle’s defining trait is his loneliness, and that’s what makes this one of the most memorable Taxi Driver quotes. Since he left Vietnam and returned to New York, Travis has felt like an outcast and struggled to fit in. As Travis explains, “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.” Travis represents the veterans who have returned from war with PTSD and have been rejected by society. Out of the many scenes where Travis narrates his life alongside an immersive jazz score, this is the one that shines a spotlight on his truest and most deep-seated feelings.
6 “See Ya Later, Copper!”
This quote from Harvey Keitel’s pimp character, Sport, doesn’t seem like much, but it’s decidedly one of the best Taxi Driver quotes for how it speaks volumes about the problems Travis sees in America. This is a guy who sells preteen girls’ bodies on the streets. When Sport says, “See ya later, copper!” and Travis replies, “I’m no cop, man,” and Sport tells him, “Well, if you are, then it’s entrapment already,” it points out a flaw in the system. Sport has read his rights, found all the loopholes, and knows how to avoid going to jail. This is key to why Travis decides to kill Sport later.
5 “I Don’t Believe That One Should Devote His Life To Morbid Self-Attention”
Found in one of Travis’ narrated monologues near the beginning of the movie, this Taxi Driver quote seems ironic in hindsight, but it actually dives deep into his personal motivations early in the story. “All my life needed was a sense of some place to go. I don’t believe that one should devote his life to morbid self-attention. I believe that someone should become a person like other people.” This is one of the best Taxi Driver quotes for underpinning how Travis is ultimately motivated by a desire to contribute to the community, which he sensibly figures would be the best way to fit in with others.
4 “From Now On, It’ll Be Total Organization. Every Muscle Must Be Tight.”
Some of the most memorable Taxi Driver quotes and scenes are from when Travis prepares to take action, recalibrating his entire life for his new goal. As Travis narates, “I gotta get in shape now. Too much sitting has ruined my body. Too much abuse has gone on for too long. From now on I’m gonna do 50 pushups each morning, 50 pull-ups. There’ll be no more pills, no more bad food, no more destroyers of my body. From now on, it’ll be total organization. Every muscle must be tight.” From Travis doing clapping pushups to practicing at the shooting range, Taxi Driver has a truly unique and disturbing training montage.
3 “I Have Learned More About America From Riding In Taxi Cabs Than In All The Limos In The Country.”
When Senator Charles Palantine (Leonard Harris) and his aides ride in the back of Travis’ cab, Travis butters up Palantine with made-up stories of being a stalwart supporter. Cleverly, the politician tells Travis, “Let me tell you something. I have learned more about America from riding in taxi cabs than in all the limos in the country.” Under the guise of being a supporter, Travis outlines his political views to Palantine, who is completely unaware that Travis is already thinking about assassinating him. It’s the perfect line because there’s real wisdom behind Palantine’s words, but it also ultimately validates Travis’ resolve about personally enacting the “radical” changes this country needs.
2 “You Talkin’ To Me?”
Even those who’ve never seen Taxi Driver know that Robert De Niro utters this line in one of his movies. Apart from being the single most memorable Taxi Driver quote, it also occurs during one of the most iconic moments in Taxi Driver. At this point in Taxi Driver, Travis is so isolated that he’s began to talk to himself in the mirror, making up scenarios and practicing how he’s going to threaten people on the street. “You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? Well, then who the hell else are you talking – You talking to me? Well, I’m the only one here. Who the f**k do you think you’re talking to?”
1 “Someday, A Real Rain Will Come And Wash All This Scum Off The Streets.”
This whole monologue is perfect for the way it sums up Travis’ cynical view of the world and the mental downfall that he suffers later in the film. Jazz creeps in the background as Travis drives his taxi alone. It’s business as usual on the streets of New York, and the city lights above are reflected in the puddles of rain on the street. “Thank God for the rain, which has helped wash away the garbage and trash off the sidewalks. I’m working 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.”
Travis continues, “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 – whores, skunk p*****s, buggers, queens, fairies, dopers, junkies, sick, venal. Someday, a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets.” Apart from giving viewers a long, hard look into Travis’ sick mind, these are some of the most memorable Taxi Driverquotes for making Travis’ vitriolic thoughts sound almost like poetry.