"The whole conviction of my life now rests upon the belief
that loneliness, far from being a rare and curious phenomenon,
is the central and inevitable fact of human existence."
-- Thomas Wolfe,
"God's Lonely Man"
TRAVIS BICKLE, age 26, lean, hard, the consummate loner. On
the surface he appears good-looking, even handsome; he has a
quiet steady look and a disarming smile which flashes from
nowhere, lighting up his whole face. But behind that smile,
around his dark eyes, in his gaunt cheeks, one can see the
ominous stains caused by a life of private fear, emptiness
and loneliness. He seems to have wandered in from a land
where it is always cold, a country where the inhabitants
seldom speak. The head moves, the expression changes, but
the eyes remain ever-fixed, unblinking, piercing empty space.
Travis is now drifting in and out of the New York City night
life, a dark shadow among darker shadows. Not noticed, no
reason to be noticed, Travis is one with his surroundings.
He wears rider jeans, cowboy boots, a plaid western shirt
and a worn beige Army jacket with a patch reading, "King
Kong Company 1968-70".
He has the smell of sex about him: Sick sex, repressed sex,
lonely sex, but sex nonetheless. He is a raw male force,
driving forward; toward what, one cannot tell. Then one looks
closer and sees the inevitable. The clock spring cannot be
wound continually tighter. As the earth moves toward the
sun, Travis Bickle moves toward violence.
FILM OPENS on EXT. of MANHATTAN CAB GARAGE. Weather-beaten
sign above driveway reads, "Taxi Enter Here". Yellow cabs
scuttle in and out. It is WINTER, snow is piled on the curbs,
the wind is howling.
INSIDE GARAGE are parked row upon row of multi-colored taxis.
Echoing SOUNDS of cabs idling, cabbies talking. Steamy breath
and exhaust fill the air.
INT. CORRIDOR OF CAB COMPANY OFFICES
Lettering on ajar door reads:
Marvis Cab Company
Blue and White Cab Co.
Dependable Taxi Services
JRB Cab Company
Speedo Taxi Service
SOUND of office busywork: shuffling, typing, arguing.
PERSONAL OFFICE is a cluttered disarray. Sheets with heading
"Marvis, B&W, Acme" and so forth are tacked to crumbling
plaster wall: It is March. Desk is cluttered with forms,
reports and an old upright Royal typewriter.
Dishelved middle-aged New Yorker looks up from the desk. We
CUT IN to ongoing conversation between the middle-aged
PERSONNEL OFFICER and a YOUNG MAN standing in front on his
The young man is TRAVIS BICKLE. He wears his jeans, boots
and Army jacket. He takes a drag off his unfiltered cigarette.
The PERSONNEL OFFICER is beat and exhausted: he arrives at
work exhausted. TRAVIS is something else again. His intense
steely gaze is enough to jar even the PERSONNEL OFFICER out
of his workaday boredom.
PERSONNEL OFFICER (O.S.)
No trouble with the Hack Bureau?
PERSONNEL OFFICER (O.S.)
Got your license?
So why do you want to be a taxi
I can't sleep nights.
There's porno theatres for that.
I know. I tried that.
The PERSONNEL OFFICER, though officious, is mildly probing
and curious. TRAVIS is a cipher, cold and distant. He speaks
as if his mind doesn't know what his mouth is saying.
So whatja do now?
I ride around nights mostly. Subways,
buses. See things. Figur'd I might
as well get paid for it.
We don't need any misfits around
A thin smile cracks almost indiscernibly across TRAVIS' lips.
You kiddin? Who else would hack
through South Bronx or Harlem at
You want to work uptown nights?
I'll work anywhere, anytime. I know
I can't be choosy.
(thinks a moment)
How's your driving record?
Clean. Real clean.
(pause, thin smile)
As clean as my conscience.
Listen, son, you gonna get smart,
you can leave right now.
Sorry, sir. I didn't mean that.
Some. Here and there.
Honorable discharge. May 1971.
No, I want long shifts.
(casually, almost to
We hire a lot of moonlighters here.
So I hear.
(looks up at Travis)
Hell, we ain't that much fussy anyway.
There's always opening on one fleet
(rummages through his
various pink, yellow
and white forms)
Fill out these forms and give them
to the girl at the desk, and leave
your phone number. You gotta phone?
Well then check back tomorrow.
CREDITS appear over scenes from MANHATTAN NIGHTLIFE. The
snow has melted, it is spring.
A rainy, slick, wet miserable night in Manhattan's theatre
Cabs and umbrellas are congested everywhere; well-dressed
pedestrians are pushing, running, waving down taxis. The
high-class theatre patrons crowding out of the midtown shows
are shocked to find that the same rain that falls on the
poor and common is also falling on them.
The unremitting SOUNDS of HONKING and SHOUTING play against
the dull pitter-patter of rain. The glare of yellow, red and
green lights reflects off the pavements and autos.
"When it rains, the boss of the city is the taxi driver" --
so goes the cabbie's maxim, proven true by this particular
night's activity. Only the taxis seem to rise above the
situation: They glide effortlessly through the rain and
traffic, picking up whom they choose, going where they please.
Further uptown, the crowds are neither so frantic nor so
glittering. The rain also falls on the street bums and aged
poor. Junkies still stand around on rainy street corners,
hookers still prowl rainy sidewalks. And the taxis service
All through the CREDITS the exterior sounds are muted, as if
coming from a distant room or storefront around the corner.
The listener is at a safe but privileged distance.
After examining various strata of Manhattan nightlife, CAMERA
begins to CLOSE IN on one particular taxi, and it is assumed
that this taxi is being driven by TRAVIS BICKLE.
Travis's yellow taxi pulls in foreground. On left rear door
are lettered the words "Dependable Taxi Service".
We are somewhere on the upper fifties on Fifth Ave. The rain
has not let up.
An ELDERLY WOMAN climbs in the right rear door, crushing her
umbrella. Travis waits a moment, then pulls away from the
curb with a start.
Later, we see Travis' taxi speeding down the rain-slicked
avenue. The action is periodically accompanied by Travis'
narration. He is reading from a haphazard personal diary.
April 10, 1972. Thank God for the
rain which has helped wash the garbage
and trash off the sidewalks.
TRAVIS' POV of sleazy midtown side street: Bums, hookers,
I'm working a single now, which means
stretch-shifts, six to six, sometimes
six to eight in the a.m., six days a
A MAN IN BUSINESS SUIT hails Travis to the curb.
It's a hustle, but it keeps me busy.
I can take in three to three-fifty a
week, more with skims.
MAN IN BUSINESS SUIT, now seated in back seat, speaks up:
MAN IN BUSINESS SUIT
Is Kennedy operating, cabbie? Is it
On seat next to TRAVIS is half-eaten cheeseburger and order
of french fries. He puts his cigarette down and gulps as he
Why should it be grounded?
MAN IN BUSINESS SUIT
Listen -- I mean I just saw the needle
of the Empire State Building. You
can't see it for the fog!
Then it's a good guess it's grounded.
MAN IN BUSINESS SUIT
The Empire State in fog means
something, don't it? Do you know, or
don't you? What is your number,
Have you tried the telephone?
MAN IN BUSINESS SUIT
There isn't time for that. In other
words, you don't know.
MAN IN BUSINESS SUIT
Well, you should know, damn it, or
who else would know? Pull over right
(points out window)
Why don't you stick your goddamn
head out of the goddamn window once
in a while and find out about the
TRAVIS pulls to the curb. The BUSINESS MAN stuffs a dollar
bill into the pay drawer and jumps out of the cab. He turns
to hail another taxi.
MAN IN BUSINESS SUIT
Travis writes up his trip card and drives away.
It is LATER THAT NIGHT. The rain has turned to drizzle. Travis
drives trough another section of Manhattan.
I work the whole city, up, down,
don't make no difference to me --
does to some.
STREETSIDE: TRAVIS' P.O.V. Black PROSTITUTE wearing white
vinyl boots, leopard-skin mini-skirt and blond wig hails
taxi. On her arm hangs half-drunk seedy EXECUTIVE TYPE.
TRAVIS pulls over.
PROSTITUTE and JOHN climb into back seat. TRAVIS checks out
the action in rear view mirror.
Some won't take spooks -- Hell, don't
make no difference to me.
TRAVIS' taxi drives through Central Park.
GRUNTS, GROANS coming from back seat. HOOKER and JOHN going
at it in back seat. He's having a hard time and she's probably
trying to get him to come off manually.
Oh baby, baby.
TRAVIS stares blankly ahead.
TRAVIS' APARTMENT. CAMERA PANS SILENTLY across INT. room,
indicating this is not a new scene.
TRAVIS is sitting at plain table writing. He wears shirt,
jeans, boots. An unfiltered cigarette rests in a bent coffee
can ash tray.
CLOSE UP of notebook. It is a plain lined dimestore notebook
and the words TRAVIS is writing with a stubby pencil are
those he is saying. The columns are straight, disciplined.
Some of the writing is in pencil, some in ink. The handwriting
CAMERA continues to PAN, examining TRAVIS' apartment. It is
unusual, to say the least:
A ratty old mattress is thrown against one wall. The floor
is littered with old newspapers, worn and unfolded streets
maps and pornography. The pornography is of the sort that
looks cheap but costs $10 a throw -- black and white photos
of naked women tied and gagged with black leather straps and
clothesline. There is no furniture other than the rickety
chair and table. A beat-up portable TV rests on an upright
melon crate. The red silk mass in another corner looks like
a Vietnamese flag. Indecipherable words, figures, numbers
are scribbled on the plain plaster walls. Ragged black wires
dangle from the wall where the telephone once hung.
They're all animals anyway. 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.
It's EARLY MORNING: 6 a.m. The air is clean and fresh and
the streets nearly deserted.
EXT. OF TAXI GARAGE
TRAVIS' taxi pulls into the driveway.
Each night when I return the cab to
the garage I have to clean the come
off the back seat. Some nights I
clean off the blood.
INT. OF TAXI GARAGE
TRAVIS pulls his taxi into garage stall. TRAVIS reaches across
the cab and extracts a small vial of bennies from the glove
TRAVIS stands next to the cab, straightens his back, and
tucks the bottle of pills into his jacket pocket. He lowers
his head, looks into back seat, opens rear door and bends
He shakes a cigarette out of his pack of camels and lights
SLIGHT TIMECUT: TRAVIS books it at garage office. Old, rotting
slabs of wood are screwed to a grey crumbling concrete wall.
Each available space is covered with hand-lettered signs,
time schedules, check-out sheets, memos. The signs read:
THE SAFE DRIVER
IS ALWAYS READY
FOR THE UNEXPECTED
AND GAUGE SPEED
TO ROAD CONDITIONS
YOU CAN'T STOP
ON A DIME!
ALL NIGHT DRIVERS
HAVING PERSONAL INJURY
MUST PHONE IN AT ONCE TO
AND MUST FILE A REPORT
PROMPTLY AT 9 AM THE FOLLOWING MORNING
AT 43 W. 61ST.
A half dozen haggard cabbies hang around the office. Their
shirts are wrinkle, their heads dropping, the mouths
incessantly chattering. We pick up snatches of cabbie small
...hadda piss like a bull steer, so
I pull over on 10th Ave, yank up the
hood and do the engine job.
(gestures as if taking
a piss into the hood)
There I am with my dong in my hand
when a guy come up and asks if I
need any help. Just checking the
battery, I says, and, meanwhile...
(takes imaginary piss)
If he thinks I'm going up into The
Jungle this time of night, he can
(talking into pay
Fuck that Violets First. Fucking
saddle horse. No, no, the OTB. Fuck
them. No, it was TKR. TCR and I'da
made seven fucking grand. Fuck them
too. Alright, what about the second
Over at Love, this hooker took on
the whole garage. Blew the whole
fucking joint and they wouldn't even
let her use the drinking fountain.
Travis hands his trip sheet to a CAB OFFICIAL, nods slightly,
turns and walks toward the door.
OUTSIDE, TRAVIS walks pleasantly down Broadway, his hands in
his jacket pockets. The sidewalks are deserted, except for
diligent fruit and vegetable VENDORS setting up their stalls.
He takes a deep breath of fresh air, pulls a white pill from
his pocket, pops it into his mouth.
Travis turns a corner, keeps walking. Ahead of him is a 24-
hour PORNO THEATRE. The theatre, a blaze of cheap day-glow
reds and yellows, is an offense to the clear, crisp morning
air. The permanent lettering reads, "Adam Theatre, 16mm Sound
Features". Underneath, today's feature are hand-lettered:
"Six-Day Cruise" and "Beaver Dam".
Travis stops at the box office, purchases a ticket, and walks
INT. PORNO THEATRE
Travis stands in the aisle for a moment. He turns around,
walking back toward the concession stand.
A plain dumpy-looking GIRL sits listlessly on a stool behind
the shabby concession stand. A plaster-of-Paris Venus de
Milo sits atop a piece of purple velvet cloth on the counter.
The SOUND of the feature drones in the background.
Kin I help ya?
Travis rests his elbow on the counter, looking at the Girl.
He is obviously trying to be friendly -- no easy task for
him. God knows he needs a friend.
What is your name? My name is Travis.
Awh, come off it, Pal.
No, I'm serious, really...
Ya want me to call da boss? Huh?
That what you want?
No, no, it's alright. I'll have a
big Coca-Cola -- without ice -- and
a large buttered popcorn, and...
...some of them chocolate covered
malted milk balls... and ju-jukes, a
box. They last.
We don't have ju-jukes. We don't
have Coca-Cola. We only got Royal
That's a dollar forty-seven.
Travis lays two dollar bills on the counter.
INT. THEATRE AUDITORIUM
Slight TIMECUT to Travis sitting in theatre, drinking his
Royal Crown Cola, eating his popcorn and milk balls. His
eyes are fixed on the screen. A MALE VOICE emanates from the
MALE MOVIE VOICE (O.S.)
Come here, bitch. I'm gonna split
you in half.
Male Voice yields to Travis' monotone narration.
Twelve hours of work and I still
cannot sleep. The days dwindle on
forever and do not end.
EXT. CHARLES PALANTINE CAMPAIGN HEADQUARTERS
The Headquarters of the "New Yorkers for Charles Palantine
for President Committee", located at the corner of 50th Street
and Broadway, are festooned in traditional red, white and
blue banners, ribbons and signs.
One large sign proclaims "Palantine". Another sign reads
"Register for New York Primary, July 20.". The smiling middle-
aged face of Charles Palantine keeps watch over the bustling
It is LATE AFTERNOON.
A variety of YOUNG WORKERS joke and chatter as they labor
through stacks of papers. The room is pierced with the sound
of ringing phones.
Seen from a distance -- the only way Travis can see them --
those are America's chosen youth: Healthy, energetic, well-
groomed, attractive, all recruited from the bucolic fields
of Massachusetts and Connecticut.
CAMERA FAVORS BETSY, about 25, an extremely attractive woman
sitting at the reception desk between two phones and several
stacks of papers. Her attractions, however, are more than
skin deep. Beneath that Cover Girl facial there is a keen,
though highly specialized sensibility: Her eyes scan every
man who passes her desk as her mind computes his desirability:
Political, intellectual, sexual, emotional, material. Simple
pose and status do not impress her; she seeks out the
extraordinary qualities in men. She is, in other words, star-
fucker of the highest order.
Betsy, putting down the phone, calls TOM, a lanky, amiable
and modishly long-haired campaign workder over to her desk:
Tom is pleasant and good-looking, but lacks those special
qualities which interest Betsy. He gets nowhere with Betsy --
yet he keeps trying.
Just another of those routine office flirtations which pass
the hours and free the fantasies.
Tom, come here a moment.
(he walks over)
I think this canvas report is about
ready to go out. Check it out with
Andy, and if he okays if, have a
copy made for the campaign
headquarters in every county.
And don't forget to add the new photo
The senator's white paper is almost
ready, Bets. Should we wait for that?
Andy usually just sends those to the
national media. The local press
doesn't know what to do with a
position paper until UPI and AP tell
I think we should try to get maximum
coverage for this new mandatory
welfare program. Push the issues.
(as if instructing a
First push the man, then the issue.
Senator Palantine is first of all a
dynamic man, an intelligent,
interesting, fascinating man.
You forgot "sexy".
No, I didn't forget "sexy".
Just didn't get around to it, huh?
Oh, Tom, please.
Well, for Christsakes, you sound
like you're selling... I don't know
what... cars... not issues.
Have you ever wondered why CBS News
has the highest ratings?
More people watch it.
Alright, forget it if you're not
going to be serious,
No, c'mon, I'm listening. I was
Kidding around... you know, fun.
Betsy looks toward the street, then back at Tom.
Maybe if you'd try thinking once in
a while, you'd get somewhere.
Alright, now. You want to know why
CBS has the highest ratings? You
think their news is any different
from NBC, ABC? It's all the same
news. Same stories. Same order
usually. What, you thought they had
good news for people, right? You
thought that's why people watched
CBS? I'll tell you why people watch
CBS. Cronkite. The man. You got it?
Not the news, not the issues, the
man. If Walter Cronkite told people
to eat soap, they'd do it. We are
selling cars, goddamn it.
Betsy's attention is being distracted by something she sees
across the street. She puts on her glasses and looks out
across the street again.
Well, if Cronkite's so great, why
don't we run him instead?
That's the last. The finish. Period.
Some people can learn. Some people
can't. And you wonder why we never
get serious --
Sure we could run him. You realize
he's already head of his block
(looks across street
Have you been noticing anything
Why's that taxi driver across the
street been staring at us?
What taxi driver?
That taxi driver. The one that's
been sitting here.
How long has he been there?
I don't know -- but it feels like a
Travis' cold piercingly eyes stare out from his cab parked
across the street from Palantine Headquarters. He is like a
lone wolf watching the warm campfires of civilization from a
distance. A thin red dot glows from his cigarette.
Tom exchanges Travis' gaze.
Well, I'll go out and ask him.
As Tom walks toward front door Betsy's eyes alternate between
him and the position where Travis sits.
EXT. PALANTINE HEADQUARTERS
Tom strides out the front door and walks briskly across the
street toward Travis' taxi.
Travis spots Tom walking toward him and quickly starts up
his cab, then squeals off in a burst of billowing exhaust.
Tom watches the speeding taxi quizzically.
Travis' taxi continues down Broadway.
INT. TRAVIS' APARTMENT
He lies on his mattress and stares at the ceiling. He is
fully clothed and appears deep in thought.
Near his mattress rest several medications: A large bottle
of vitamin pills, two smaller bottles of pills, a bottle of
All my life needed was a sense of
direction, a sense of someplace to
go. I do not believe one should devote
his life to morbid self-attention,
but should become a person like other
ANOTHER DAY - LATE AFTERNOON
Travis' taxi is driving down Broadway with the "Off Duty"
POV TRACKING SHOT down Broadway. CAMERA stops at Palantine
Campaign Headquarters. A few WORKERS remain in the office.
Betsy's desk is vacant.
FIFTH AVENUE - THE SAME AFTERNOON
CAMERA TRACKS with crowded mass of MANHATTANITES as they
ooze through the sidewalks toward their various destination.
Individuals are indiscernible: It is simply a congested mass.
I first saw her at Palantine Campaign
Headquarters at 58th and Broadway.
She was wearing a yellow dress,
answering the phone at her desk.
Suddenly: Cut of the congested human mass, IN SLOWING MOTION,
appears the slender figure of BETSY in a stylish yellow dress.
The crowd parts like the Red Sea, and there she is: Walking
all alone, untouched by the crowd, suspended in space and
She appeared like an angel out of
this open sewer. Out of this filthy
mass. She is alone: They cannot touch
INT. TRAVIS' APARTMENT
He is at the table, writing in his diary.
CLOSEUP - His stubby pencil rests on the word "her".
It is 3:30 IN THE MORNING in a bacon-shaped all night WEST
SIDE RESTAURANT. The thick smell hangs in the air -- fried
grease, smoke, sweat, regurgitated wine.
Whatever doesn't flush away in New York at night turns up in
places like this. A burly grease-stained COOK stands over
the grill. A JUNKIE shuffles from one side of the door to
another. Slouched over the small four-person formica tables
are several WELL-DRESSED BLACKS (too well-dressed for this
time and place), a cluster of STREET PEOPLE and a lost OLD
COOT who hangs onto his cup of coffee as if it were his last
The restaurant, brightly lit, perfectly conveys the image
urban plasticity -- without the slightest hint of an
Toward the rear of the restaurant sit three cabbies: WIZARD,
a worn man about fifty, DOUGH-BOY, younger family man, CHARLIE
T., fourtyish black.
Wizard is telling Dough-Boy a story. Charlie T., his elbows
popped against table top, is not listening. He stares silently
down at a plate of cold scrambled eggs and a Racing Forum.
His eyes may not be open.
First she did her make-up. You know,
I hate it when they do that. I mean
she does the whole works, the mascara,
the eye-shadow, the lipstick, the
Not rouge. Blush-On, they call it.
The kind with a brush.
Travis appears at the door. He has to push aside the JUNKIES
to enter without making physical contact -- something Travis
would not relish. He may be repulsed with these people and
this place, but he is too much a part of this to let his
feelings rise to the surface.
Wizard gives Travis a perfunctory wave.
Travis straddles a seat at the table. Dough-Boy gives Travis
something between a wink and an eye-twitch saying:
Yeah, that's Blush-On. My wife uses
Ask Travis. He's the ladies man.
Travis shrugs and motions for a cup of coffee.
Well, whatever the fuck it is, she
used it. And then the spray perfume.
You know, the real sweat kind --
and, on top of that, get this, right
when we're crossing the Tri-boro
bridge -- she changes her pantyhose!
Travis turns his head. He appears not to be interested, but
Could you see anything?
Well, she was trying to keep her
skirt down, sort of, you know. But
it was pretty obvious what she was
doing. I mean, Christ, it was rush
hour and the traffic's practically
What did you do?
Threw on the emergency, jumped the
seat and fucked her brains out --
What do you think!
What do I have to do? Draw you a
What was I supposed to do? I was
watching in the rear view. You know,
just checkin' traffic.
Some fleet driver for Bell just got
cut up. Just heard it on the radio.
A WAITRESS brings Travis' coffee and a glass of water. He
asks for a cheeseburger.
Sure. What do you think? She wanted
to get out of the cab. I said "Look,
you're in the middle of the fucking
You said that?
Well, I said, "Lady, please, we're
on a bridge..."
And what happened?
Travis awaits Wizard's answer.
She stayed in the cab, what's she
gonna do? But she stiffed me. A real
A real skunk.
Wizard realizes Travis and Dough-Boy may not have met.
Travis, you know Dough-Boy, Charlie
Charlie T. nods sleepily. Travis indicates he knows Dough-
Yeah. We went to Harvard together.
We call him Dough-Boy cause he likes
the dollars. He'll chase a buck
straight into Jersey.
Look who's talking?
(gestures around table)
Who else would stay up all night to
catch the morning rush hour?
Travis sips his coffee. Charlie T.'s eyelids slip shut.
Some fleet driver for Bell just got
cut up. Just heard it on the radio.
No, just some crazy fucker. Cut half
his ear off.
In the jungle. 122nd.
Travis' eyes turn toward the restaurant's other patrons.
POV: THREE STREET PEOPLE sitting at a table. One GUY, stoned,
stares straight ahead. A raggedly attractive GIRL rest her
head on the shoulder of the other, a heavily bearded YOUNG
MAN with a headband. They kiss and tease each other,
momentarily lost in their separate world.
Travis watches the hippie couple closely, his feeling sharply
divided between cultural contempt and morose jealousy. Why
should these people enjoy the love and intimacy that has
always eluded him? He must enjoy these schizoid emotions,
because his eyes dwell on the couple.
(changing the subject)
You run all over town, don't you,
(referring to 122nd
Fuckin' Mau Mau land, that's what it
Travis turns back to his companions.
I mean, you handle some pretty rough
You carry a piece? You need one?
I suppose not.
Waitress slaps down smudge-marked glass of water, and a
cheeseburger plate that looks more like a shrunken head on a
Well, you ever need one, I know a
feller that kin getcha a real nice
deal. Lotsa shit around.
The cops and company raise hell they
Travis drops two Alka-Seltzer into his glass of water.
Truck drivers bring up Harlem Specials
that blow up in your hand. But this
guy don't deal no shit. Just quality.
If you ever need anything, I can put
you in touch.
For a fee.
For a fee.
I never use mine. But it's a good
thing to have. Just as a threat.
Well, if there's this many hackies
inside, there must be lots of fares
outside. And I'm gonna hustle 'em.
What ya gonna do with all that money,
Support my kids. Can you dig it?
Nice to meet ya, Travis. So long,
Wizard. Say hello to Malcolm X for
(nods to Charlie T.)
Charlie T. remains unmoved: He is sleeping.
Dough-Boy exits. Travis smiles perfunctorily, then looks
back at Wizard. They really don't have much to talk about,
and the Wizard doesn't care to manufacture any more
Travis scans the greasy spoon: The scene is unchanged.
EXT. PALANTINE HEADQUARTERS - ANOTHER DAY
INT. PALANTINE HEADQUARTERS
Tom and Betsy are talking. She takes out a cigarette. He
takes out matches to light it.
Try holding the match like this.
This is gotta be a game, right?
(putting on glasses)
This I gotta see.
Oh, are you all right?
I'm great. Always set my fingers on
fire. If you want to see another
trick. I do this thing with my nose.
No. I just wanted to see if you could
light it that way. The guy at the
Ah, yes, the guy at the newsstand,
He happens to be missing fingers. I
first noticed when --
Is he Italian?
You sure he's not Italian?
He's Black, OK?
Well, If he had been Italian, they
could have been shot off. Sometimes
the mob does that to teach guys a
lesson, If they blow a job or
As I said, he isn't Italian. Besides,
I thought they just killed them.
Don't be naive. They can't kill
everybody. They have different
punishments for different things.
Like, if they kill a stool pigeon,
they leave a canary on the body.
Why don't they leave a pigeon instead
of a canary?
I don't know. Maybe they don't leave
a canary. Don't be technical. What
I'm saying is if this newsstand guy's
Italian and his fingers are gone,
maybe he's a thief.
First, he's not Italian. Second he's
not a thief. I noticed the fingers
when he was getting my change -- the
right change. Two of his fingers are
missing. Just stubs. Like they were
blown away. I was putting my change
in my purse when I saw him get out a
cigarette. I couldn't help watching.
I was dying to see how he'd light
With the other hand, right?
No, stupid. With the stubs. That's
the whole point.
I know that guy. His hand looks like
a paw. An old Black guy, the newsstand
No, this is young -- well, I'm never
sure how old Black people are --
but, anyway, he isn't old. That's
Show me how he did that again.
EXT. ACROSS THE STREET FROM HEADQUARTERS
Travis is striding briskly across Broadway toward the
He's dressed the best we have seen him; his pants (not jeans)
are pressed, his boots shined, his hair combed. Under his
Army jacket he wears a freshly laundered shirt and ivy league
tie. He drops his cigarette, steps on it and walks in.
Watching Travis enter Palantine's Headquarters, we are
surprised to realize that Travis is really quite attractive.
His deformities are psychological, not physical. He believes
he is cursed, and therefore he is.
Travis walks briskly into the office, and heads toward Betsy's
desk. Tom walks over to greet him, but Travis ignores him.
(at Betsy's desk)
I want to volunteer.
As the CAMERA examines Travis' face more closely, one can
see the hollowness wrought by lack of sleep and sufficient
(at Betsy's desk)
If you'll come this way.
Travis elbows Tom off.
No. I want to volunteer to you.
(under his voice)
BETSY waves TOM off with a short gesture, indicating
everything is OK. He walks away.
And why is that?
TRAVIS is on his best behavior. He smiles slightly:
Because you are the most beautiful
woman I have ever seen.
BETSY is momentarily taken back, but pleased. TRAVIS' presence
has a definite sexual charge. He has those star qualities
BETSY looks for: She senses there is something special about
the young man who stands before her. And then, too, there is
that disarming smile. He is, as Betsy would say,
Is that so?
But what do you think of Charles
(his mind elsewhere)
Charles Palantine. The man you want
to volunteer to help elect president.
Oh, I think he's a wonderful man.
Make a great, great President.
You want to canvass?
Betsy is interviewing Travis, but she is also teasing him a
little, leading him on in a gentle feminine way:
How do you feel about Senator
Palantine's stand on welfare?
This takes TRAVIS back a bit. He obviously doesn't have the
slightest idea what Palantine's stand on welfare is, in fact,
he doesn't have any idea about politics whatsoever. TRAVIS
thinks a moment, then improvises an answer:
Welfare, mam? I think the Senator's
right. People should work for a
living. I do. I like to work. Every
day. Get those old coots off welfare
and make 'em work for a change.
Betsy does a subtle double-take: This isn't exactly
Palantine's position on welfare. She remain intrigued by
Well, that's not exactly what the
Senator has proposed. You might not
want to canvass, but there is plenty
more other work we need done: Office
work, filing, poster hanging.
I'm a good worker, Betsy mam, a real
If you talk to Tom, he'll assign you
If you don't mind, mam, I'd rather
work for you.
Well, we're all working tonight.
Well, Betsy mam, I drive a taxi at
Well, then, what is it you exactly
want to do?
If you don't mind, mam, I'd be mighty
pleased if you'd go out and have
some coffee and pie with me.
Betsy doesn't quite know what to make of Travis. She is
curious, intrigued, tantalized. Like a moth, she draws closer
to the flame.
Well, Betsy mam, I drive by this
place here in my taxi many times a
day. And I watch you sitting here at
this big long desk with these
telephones, and I say to myself,
that's a lonely girl. She needs a
friend. And I'm gonna be her friend.
Travis rarely smiles, but when he does his whole face glows.
It is as if he is able to tap an inner reserve of charm
unknown even to himself. Betsy is completely disarmed.
I don't know...
It's just to the corner, mam. In
broad daytime. Nothing can happen.
I'll be there to protect you.
All right. I'm taking a break at
four o'clock. If you're here then
we'll go to the corner and have some
coffee and pie.
Oh, I appreciate that, Betsy mam.
I'll be here at four o'clock exactly.
And... ah... Betsy...
My name is Travis.
Thank you, Travis.
Travis nods, turns and exits.
Tom, who has been watching this interchange with a pseudo-
standoffish (actually jealous) air, steps over to Betsy. His
manner demands some sort of explanation of what Betsy was
Betsy simply shrugs (it's really none of his business) and
I'm just going to find out what the
cabbies are thinking.
Travis is pacing back and forth on Broadway just beyond the
Palantine Headquarters. He checks his watch.
April 26, 1972. Four o'clock p.m. I
took Betsy to the Mayfair Coffee
Shop on Broadway...
INT. COFFEE SHOP
Travis and Betsy are sitting in a booth of a small New York
Coffee Shop. They both have been served coffee; Travis is
nervously turning his cup around in his hands.
As Travis speaks V.O., WAITRESS brings their orders: Apple
pie for TRAVIS, fruit compote for BETSY.
I had black coffee and apple pie
with a slice of melted yellow cheese.
I think that was a good selection.
Betsy had coffee and a fruit salad
dish. She could have had anything
Betsy's conversation interrupts Travis' V.O.:
We've signed up 15,000 Palantine
volunteers in New York so far. The
organizational problems are becoming
I know what you mean. I've got the
same problems. I just can't get things
organized. Little things, I mean.
Like my room, my possessions. I should
get one of those signs that says,
"One of these days I'm gonna get
Travis contorts his mouth to match his mispronunciation,
than breaks into a big, friendly, infectious grin. The very
sight of it makes one's heart proud.
Betsy cannot help but be caught up in Travis' grin. Travis'
contagious, quicksilver moods cause:
Travis, I never ever met anybody
like you before.
I can believe that.
Where do you live?
Oh, uptown. You know. Some joint.
It ain't much.
So why did you decide to drive a
taxi at night?
I had a regular job for a while,
days. You know, doin' this, doin'
that. But I didn't have anything to
do at night. I got kinda lonely, you
know, just wandering around. So I
decided to works nights. It ain't
good to be alone, you know.
After this job, I'm looking forward
to being alone for a while.
In a cab you get to meet people. You
meet lotsa people. It's good for
What kind of people?
Just people people, you know. Just
Had a dead man once.
He'd been shot. I didn't know that.
He just crawled into the back seat,
said "West 45th Street" and conked
What did you do?
I shut the meter off, for one thing.
I knew I wasn't going to get paid.
Then I dropped him off at the cop
shop. They took him.
That's really something.
Oh, you see lots of freaky stuff in
a cab. Especially when the moon's
The full moon. One night I had three
or four weirdos in a row and I looked
up and, sure enough, there it was --
the full moon.
Betsy laughs. Travis continues:
Oh, yeah. People will do anything in
front of a taxi driver. I mean
anything. People too cheap to rent a
hotel room, people scoring dope,
people shooting up, people who want
to embarrass you.
(a bitterness emerges)
It's like you're not even there, not
even a person. Nobody knows you.
Betsy cuts Travis' bitterness short:
Com'on, Travis. It's not that bad.
I take lots of taxis.
I know. I could have picked you up.
Late one night. About three. At the
Three in the morning? I don't think
so. I have to go to bed early. I
work days. It must have been somebody
No. It was you. You had some manila
folders and a pink bag from Saks.
Betsy, realizing Travis remembers her precisely, scrambles
for a polite rationale for her behavior:
You're right! Now I remember! It was
after the Western regional planners
were in town and the meeting went
late. The next day I was completely
bushed. It was unbelievable.
If it wasn't for a drunk I would
have picked you up. He wanted to go
to the DMZ.
South Bronx. The worst. I tried to
ditch him, but he was already in the
cab, so I had to take him. That's
the law. Otherwise I would have picked
That would have been quite a
You'd be surprised how often you see
the same people, get the same fare.
People have patterns. They do more
or less the same things every day. I
Well, I don't go to the Plaza every
I didn't mean you. But just ordinary
people. A guy I know -- Dough-Boy --
met his wife that way. They got to
talking. She said she usually caught
the bus so he started picking her up
at the bus stop, taking her home
with the flag up.
That's very romantic. Some of your
fares must be interesting. See any
stars, politicians, deliver any babies
Well, no... not really... had some
famous people in the cab.
I got this guy who makes lasers.
Not regular lasers, not the big kind.
Little lasers, pocket sized, small
enough to clip your belt like a
transistor radio, like a gun, you
know. Like a ray gun. Zap.
What hours do you work?
I work a single, which means there's
no replacement -- no second man on
the cab. Six to six, sometimes eight.
Seventy-two hours a week.
You mean you work seventy-two hours
Sometimes 76 or 80. Sometimes I
squeeze a few more hours in the
morning. Eighty miles a day, a hundred
miles a night.
You must be rich.
It keeps ya busy.
You know what you remind me of?
That song by Kris Kristofferson,
where it's said "Like a pusher, party
truth, partly fiction, a walking
I'm no pusher, Betsy. Honest. I never
I didn't mean that, Travis. Just the
part about the contradiction.
(more at ease)
Oh. Who was that again?
Yeah. Yes. I don't follow music too
Travis looks at Betsy intently and they exchange smiles.
Travis is walking confusedly around SAM GOODY'S at MIDDAY,
obviously unable to locate what he desires.
Travis is lost among the hip, young intellectual type that
populate the store. He watches the stylish, attractive female
help, unable to come right out and requests what he desires.
A young SALESGIRL sees his plight, walks over and asks if he
needs any help. Travis INAUDIBLY says a name to her, although
the name is obviously Kris Kristofferson.
The Salesgirl digs out Kristofferson's "Silver-Tongued Devil"
album for him.
Travis says something additional to the Salesgirl and she
goes off to gift-wrap the album.
Travis emerges from the RECORD STORE, the brightly gift-
wrapped album proudly tucked under his arm.
Lengthy POV SHOT from Travis' vantage point behind the wheel.
We see the city as Travis sees it. The front windshield is a
little dirty, the lighted meter just up at the low right
screen. The intercom crackles with STATIC and MESSAGES.
The light turns green; we take off with a start. A short
first gear -- quick shift -- a long second gear. The cab
eases to the right of the street, checking out prospective
Our eyes scan the long lines of PEDESTRIANS. The regular --
bums, junkies, tourists, hookers, homosexuals, hippies --
they mean nothing now. They only blend into the sidewalks
and lighted storefronts.
Our eyes now concentrate on those that step away from the
curb -- is that man hailing a cab or scratching his head?
In the next block there are perhaps three, four fares --
quick gas-up through this yellow light -- brake sharply --
check the action. The first: Tourist, nickel tipper -- let
the next guy pick them up. Let the second go also, the third --
there's a live fare. Middle-aged LOCAL WOMAN: Short fare to
the East Side, good tip.
We pull to the curb, waiting for her to get in. It is a long
wait -- a Black STREET WALKER crosses in front of the cab.
We focus on (as Travis would) a YOUNG COUPLE embracing in
As we travel, we hear Travis' random thoughts about selecting
fares and tips:
You work at night, you get an
instinct. You can smell them. The
big tippers, the stiffs, the trouble
makers. Quarter is good tip for
Manhattan. Queens is better, Brooklyn
is best. Go for the guys with
suitcases. The rich are the worst
tippers, hooks are lousy. Spooks are
okay, but they don't live at Park
Ave after all.
The meter is activated: $.60 registers. Tick, tick, tick. A
quick glance shows the woman is now seated. She says softly,
"192 East 89". We take off with another jolt. Cross back up
9th Ave, then cut through the park.
We're zooming up 9th Ave -- how many green lights can we
string together? Somebody steps out to hail the cab, but
quickly steps back again. The meter is up $.90. It'll be a
Now through the park and we're almost there. Check the numbers --
134 -- 140. End of the block. Fare = $1.40.
Check back mirror -- she's getting out two bills. Two quarters
and a dime change. Tip'll be either .25 or .35.
The tip comes back: 35 cents -- good tip. Good lady. We take
off again with a jolt.
This is Travis' world: Dark side streets, garish glaring
main streets, quick glances, quicker evaluations -- a dozen
instantaneous decisions a minute. Are these people, are these
EXT. TRAVIS' TAXI speed down darkened street.
Travis lets off a fare and pulls into line at the Plaza.
I called Betsy again at her office,
and she said maybe we could go to a
movie together after she gets off
work tomorrow. That's my day off. At
first she hesitated, but I called
her again and she agreed.
Betsy. Betsy what? I forgot to ask
her last name again. Damn. I've got
to remember stuff like that.
Travis' thoughts are with Betsy, as THREE MEN enter Travis'
cab. He activates the meter and pulls off.
St. Regis Hotel.
Travis checks the mirror. Scanning across the back seat, he
recognizes the middle passenger. It is CHARLES PALANTINE,
candidate for President. He must have left the Hotel shortly
Tom, seated on the jump seat, checks his watch and speaks
deferentially to Palantine:
It's 12:30 now. You'll have fifteen
minutes before the actual luncheon
Palantine nods as his assistant picks up the thread of an
I don't think we have to worry about
anybody here committing themselves
until things start coming in from
Travis recognizes his passenger. He puts out his cigarette.
Say, aren't you Charles Palantine,
(only mildly irritated)
Yes I am.
Well, I'm one of your biggest
supporters. I tell everybody that
comes in this cab that they should
vote for you.
(pleased; glances to
check Travis' license)
Why, thank you Travis.
I'm sure you'll win, sir. Everybody
I know is going to vote for you.
I was going to put one of your
stickers on my taxi but the company
said it was against their policy.
I'll tell you, Travis, I've learned
more about this country sitting in
taxi cabs than in the board room of
And in some other places too...
Palantine, his Assistant and Tom all laugh. Palantine, quickly
reassuming canditorial mien, speaks to Travis:
Travis, what single thing would you
want the next President of this
country to do most?
I don't know, sir. I don't follow
political issues much.
There must be something...
Well, he should clean up this city
here. It's full of filth and scum.
Scum and filth. It's like an open
sewer. I can hardly take it. Some
days I go out and smell it then I
get headaches that just stay and
never go away. We need a President
that would clean up this whole mess.
Flush it out.
Palantine is not a Hubert Humphrey-type professional
bullshitter, and Travis' intense reply stops him dead in his
tracks. He is forced to fall back on a stock answer but tries
to give it some meaning.
(after a pause)
I know what you mean, Travis, and
it's not going to be easy. We're
going to have to make some radical
(turning the wheel)
EXT. BARCLAY HOTEL
TRAVIS' taxi pulls up in front of the Barclay Hotel.
PALANTINE and AIDE get out of the cab. SECOND AIDE stays in
back seat a moment to pay TRAVIS.
PALANTINE looks in front window of cab momentarily and nods
goodbye to TRAVIS.
Nice talking to you, Travis.
Thank you, sir. You're a good man,
Travis' taxi departs.
PALANTINE and AIDES walk up carpet to the St. Regis.
CAMERA CLOSES IN on PALANTINE as he stops, turns back and
watches Travis' departing taxi.
PALANTINE turns back and ascends the hotel steps with his
EXT. MANHATTAN STREET - EARLY MORNING
TRAVIS, dressed to the teeth, walks brightly down the
sidewalk. His face is freshly shaved, his hair combed, his
He pauses in a store window to check his appearance.
Under his arm he carries the gift-wrapped Kristofferson record
OUTSIDE PALANTINE HEADQUARTERS
BETSY, smartly dressed, waves goodbye to another CAMPAIGN
WORKER and walks out the door to greet him.
A SHORT WHILE LATER, TRAVIS and BETSY are walking down
Broadway toward Times Square. BETSY does not let their bodies
touch as they walk although TRAVIS contemplates edging closer
Betsy has opened the package and is admiring the record --
or, rather, Travis' sentiment behind giving it.
Travis looks around himself with pride: This is a moment in
his life -- one of the few.
You didn't have to spend your money --
He'll, what else can I do with it
Betsy notices that the seal on the record has not been broken.
Travis, you haven't even played the
Yeah, well my stereo player is broke.
But I'm sure the record is OK.
Your stereo broke? God, I could hardly
stand that. I live on music.
I don't follow music much. I'd like
(pointing to album)
So you haven't heard this record
I thought maybe you could play it
for me on your player.
Betsy's face backtracks a bit. Maybe she was wrong to go out
with this fellow she doesn't know.
She makes a polite laugh.
LATER. Travis and Betsy are in TIMES SQUARE, turning the
corner from Broadway to 42nd Street. Travis carries the album
under his arm.
They approach the garish marquee of a large midtown porno
theatre advertising "The Swedish Marriage Manual". The box
office is flanked on both sides by glass cages filled with
explicit publicity stills. Offending portions have been
blocked out with black tape.
Travis steps over to the window and buys two $5 tickets.
Betsy, befuddled, watches him. She doesn't know what to say.
Travis returns with the tickets.
Betsy still has not fully comprehended what is happening:
What are you doing?
I bought a couple of tickets.
But this is a porno movie.
No, these are the kind that couples
go to. They're not like the other
movies. All kinds of couples go.
Honest. I've seen them.
Travis seems confused. He is so much part of his own world,
he fails to comprehend another's world. Compared to the movies
he sees, this is respectable. But then there's also something
that Travis could not even acknowledge, much less admit:
That he really wants to get this pure white girl into that
dark porno theatre.
Travis makes an awkward gesture to escort Betsy into the
theatre. Betsy looks at the tickets, at the theatre, at
Travis. She mentally shakes her head and walks toward the
turnstile. She thinks to herself: "What the Hell. What can
happen?" She's always been curious about these pictures
anyway, and -- like all women, no matter how intelligent --
she's been raised not to offend her date. A perverse logic
which applies even more in offsetting circumstances like
INSIDE THE THEATER
Travis escorts Betsy to an empty center row. Travis was right.
Couples do go to films like this. There are at least six or
seven other MEN with their bewigged "DATES".
Travis settles into his familiar porno theatre slouch. Betsy
looks curiously from side to side.
ON SCREEN, a conservatively-dressed middle-aged woman is
speaking in Swedish about importance of healthy sex life in
a happy marriage. Subtitles translate her words. Then, without
warning, there is a direct CUT to a couple copulating on a
sterile table-like bed.
Travis watches intently. The color, however, is slowly
draining from Betsy's cheeks. One thought fills her mind:
"What am I doing here?"
I forgot to get the Coca-Cola.
That does it. Betsy just looks at him for a moment, then
gets up and starts to leave. Travis, confused, hustles after
He follows her out of the theatre.
ON THE SIDEWALK
Travis catches up with her.
Where are you going?
What do you mean?
Betsy looks at Travis, trying to understand him:
These are not the kind of movies I
Well, I don't follow movies too
You mean these are the only kind of
movies you go to?
The TICKET GIRL watches expressionlessly from the booth.
This is sort of high class...
I mean porno movies.
We can go to another movie if you
like, I don't care. I got money.
Travis gestures toward the long row of 42nd Street marquees,
but is interrupted by Betsy:
If you just wanted to fuck, why didn't
you just come right out and say it?
Travis is flabbergasted by Betsy's blunt language. His arm
still gestures toward the marquees, his lips continue to
move, but words do not come out.
Unable to respond to Betsy's question, Travis picks up where
he left off:
...there's plenty of movies around
here. I haven't seen any of them,
but I'm sure they're good.
No, Travis. You're a sweet guy and
all that, but I think this is it.
I'm going home.
You mean you don't want to go to a
There's plenty of movies around here.
No, I don't feel so good. We're just
two very different kinds of people,
It's very simple. You go your way,
I'll go mine. Thanks anyway, Travis.
I'm getting a taxi.
She walks to the curb.
What about the record?
Can I call you?
Betsy looks for a cab.
Please, Betsy, I bought it for you.
Betsy looks at his sad, sweet face and relents a bit.
All right, I'll accept the record.
Betsy accepts the record, but quickly turns and hails a taxi.
A taxi quickly pulls up.
Travis feebly protests to no one in particular:
But I got a taxi.
Betsy gives instructions to CAB DRIVER, looks briefly back
at Travis, then straight ahead. Taxi speeds off.
Travis looks around helplessly: A cluster of PEDESTRIANS on
the crowded street has stopped to watch the argument. Travis
looks back at the woman in the porno theatre box office who
has also been following the argument.
INSIDE TRAVIS' APARTMENT
Travis is sitting at the table. There are some new items on
the table: His giant econo-sized bottle of vitamins, a giant
econo-sized bottle of aspirins, a pint of apricot brandy, a
partial loaf of cheap white bread.
On the wall behind the table hang two more items: A gag sign
reading "One of These Days I'm Gonna Get Organezizied" and
an orange-and-black bumper sticker for Charles Palantine.
May 8, 1972. My life has taken another
turn again. The days move along with
C.U. OF NOTEBOOK: Travis is no longer sitting at the desk.
The pencil rests on the open notebook.
LATER THAT DAY: TRAVIS has pulled his straight-backed chair
around and is watching his small portable TV, which rests on
the upright melon crate.
A cereal bowl partially filled with milk rests in his lap.
Travis pours a couple shots of the apricot brandy into the
bowl, dips folded chunks of white bread into the mixture,
and eats them.
Travis is watching early evening NEWS PROGRAM. TV background
SOUND. Charles Palantine is being interviewed somewhere on
the campaign trail.
...one day indistinguishable from
the next, a long continuous chain,
then suddenly -- there is a change.
Betsy is walking down a midtown street when Travis suddenly
appears before her. He has been waiting.
Travis tries to make conversation but she doesn't listen.
She motions for him to go away and keeps on walking.
Travis, protesting, follows.
INT. BUILDING - DAY
Travis speaks intensely into a wall pay phone.
I tried to call her several times.
We hear Travis' voice on the phone.
(smoking a cigarette)
You feeling better? You said you
didn't feel so good...
But after the first call, she would
no longer come to the phone.
Travis holds the receiver in his hand. The other party has
TRACKING SHOT across interior lower wall of TRAVIS' APARTMENT.
Against the stark wall there is a row of wilted and dying
floral arrangements. Each one of the four or five bouquets
is progressively more wilted than the one closer to the door.
They have been returned.
I also sent flowers with no luck. I
should not dwell on such things, but
set them behind me. The smell of the
flowers only made me sicker. The
headaches got worse I think I've got
stomach cancer. I should not complain
so. "You're only as healthy as you
A drama is acted out at PALANTINE HEADQUARTERS: Travis, groggy
and red-eyed from lack of sleep, walks into the campaign
headquarters about NOONTIME.
Betsy is standing near the rear of the office; she ducks
from sight when she sees Travis enter. Travis' path is cut
short by Tom's large-framed body. There is no live sound.
I realize now how much she is like
the others, so cold and distant.
Many people are like that. They're
like a union.
Travis tries to push his way past Tom but Tom grabs him.
Travis says something sharply to Tom and the two scuffle.
Tom, by far the taller and stronger, quickly overcomes Travis,
wrenching his arm behind his back.
Travis kicks and protests as Tom leads him to the front door.
ON THE SIDEWALK
Travis' efforts quickly subside when Tom motions to a nearby
POLICEMAN. Travis quiets down and walks off.
Travis is again making his way through the garish urban night.
He stops for a PASSENGER on PARK AVE. A middle-aging
C.U. TRAVIS: His face is expressionless. The MAN makes himself
comfortable in the back seat.
Travis has no intention of driving out to Jackson Heights
and coming back with a fare.
I'm off duty.
You mean you don't want to go out to
No, I'm off duty.
Then how come your "Off Duty" light
TRAVIS switches on the "Off Duty" light.
It was on.
(gesturing toward top
It just takes a while to warm up.
Like a TV.
TRAVIS doesn't budge. PROFESSIONAL PASSENGER curses to himself
and exits cab. Travis takes off.
POV as Travis' eyes dwell on the young HIP COUPLES coming
out of a East Side movie house.
LATER THAT NIGHT, TRAVIS pulls over for a young (mid-twenties)
MAN wearing a leather sports jacket.
TRAVIS eyes his passenger in rear-view mirror.
471 Central Park West.
TRAVIS' taxi speeds off.
LATER, TRAVIS' taxi slows down as it approaches 400 block of
Central Park West.
Travis checks apartment numbers.
Just pull over to the curb a moment.
TRAVIS turns the wheel.
Yeah, that's fine. Just sit here.
TRAVIS waits impassively. The motor ticks away.
After a long pause, the PASSENGER speaks:
Cabbie, ya see that light up there
on the seventh floor, three windows
from this side of the building?
CAMERA CLOSES IN on 417 Central Park West: TRACKING UP to
the seventh floor, it moves three windows to the right.
A young WOMAN wearing a slip crosses in front of the light.
YOUNG PASSENGER (O.S.)
Ya see that woman there?
YOUNG PASSENGER (O.S.)
That's my wife.
But it ain't my apartment.
A nigger lives there.
She left me two weeks ago. It took
me this long to find out where she
I'm gonna kill her.
C.U. TRAVIS' face: it is devoid of expression.
What do you think of that, cabbie?
C.U. YOUNG PASSENGER's face: it is gaunt, drained of blood,
full of fear and anger.
Travis does not respond.
What do you think of that, huh?
Travis shrugs, gesturing toward meter.
I'm gonna kill her with a .44 Magnum
CAMERA returns to SEVENTH FLOOR WINDOW. Woman is standing in
YOUNG PASSENGER (O.S.)
Did you ever see what a .44 can do
to a woman's face, cabbie?
Did you ever see what it can do to a
woman's pussy, cabbie?
Travis says nothing.
YOUNG PASSENGER (O.S.)
I'm going to put it right up to her,
cabbie. Right in her, cabbie. You
must think I'm real sick, huh? A
real pervert. Sitting here and talking
about a woman's pussy and a .44,
CAMERA CLOSES IN on Travis' face: He is watching the woman
in the seventh floor window with complete and total
absorption. It's the same glazed-over stare we saw in his
eyes as he watched the porno movie.
BROOKLYN STREET CORNER - DAY
Travis stands near the corner wearing his boots, jeans,
western shirt and army jacket.
He pulls his aspiring bottle out of his pocket, shakes three
or four into his palm, pops them into his mouth and chews.
An "Off Duty" taxi pulls up to the curb. Travis gets in.
Dough-Boy leans back from the wheel and greets Travis as he
Hey Travis. This here's Easy Andy.
He's a travelling salesman.
In the back seat, beside Travis, sits ANDY, an attractive
young man about 29. He wears a pin-striped suit, white shirt
and floral tie. His hair is modishly long.
Travis nods as the taxi speeds off.
Dough-Boy slows down near an economy hotel. Not a flop house,
but not too fancy they care what the guests do in the privacy
of their rooms.
This is fine, Dough-Boy
Pay Dough-Boy here.
Travis pulls a twenty out of his pocket and gives it to Dough-
Yeah. Hey thanks. That's real nice,
Travis and Andy get out of the cab and walk toward the hotel.
Dough-Boy pulls away.
As they enter the hotel, they pass a JUNKIE, stoned out and
spread-eagled across the hood of a derelict old blue dodge.
Travis follows Andy up the worn carpeted stairs and down the
hallway. Andy unlocks the door to one of the rooms.
The HOTEL ROOM is barren and clean; there's no sign anyone
is staying in it. The fire escape is appropriately near.
Andy locks the door behind them, steps over to the closet,
unlocks it and pulls out two grey Samsonite suitcases -- the
kind you can drive a truck over.
Dough-Boy probably told you I don't
carry any Saturday Night Specials or
crap like that. It's all out of State,
clean, brand new, top-of-the-line
Andy places the suitcases on the white bedspread. The
suitcases are equipped with special locks, which he quickly
Andy opens the suitcases: Stacked in grey packing foam are
rows and rows of brand new hand guns.
You got a .44 Magnum?
That's an expensive gun.
I got money.
Andy unzips a cowhide leather pouch to reveal a .44 Magnum
pistol. He holds it gingerly, as if it were a precious
treasure. Andy opens the chambers and cradles the long eight-
inch barrel in his palm. The .44 is a huge, oversize inhuman
It's a monster. Can stop a car --
put a bullet right into the block. A
premium high resale gun. $350 --
that's only a hundred over list.
Easy Andy is a later version of the fast-talking, good-
looking kid in college who was always making money on one
scheme or another. In high school he sold lottery tickets,
in college he scored dope, and now he's hustling hand guns.
Andy holds the Magnum out for Travis' inspection. There's a
worshipful CLOSEUP of the .44 Magnum. It is a monster.
Travis hefts the huge gun. It seems out of place in his hand.
It is built on Michelangelo's scale. The Magnum belongs in
the hand of a marble god, not a slight taxi driver. Travis
hands the gun back to Andy.
I could sell this gun in Harlem for
$500 today -- but I just deal high
quality goods to high quality people.
Now this may be a little big for
practical use, in which case I'd
recommend the .38 Smith and Wesson
Special. Fine solid gun -- nickel
plated. Snub-nosed, otherwise the
same as the service revolver. Now
that'll stop anything that moves and
it's handy, flexible. The Magnum,
you know, that's only if you want to
splatter it against the wall. The
movies have driven up the price of
the Magnum anyway. Everybody wants
them now. But the Wesson .38 -- only
$250 -- and worth every dime of it.
(he hefts the .38)
Throw in a holster for $10.
Travis hefts the nickel-plated .38, points it out the window.
Some of these guns are like toys,
but a Smith and Wesson, man, you can
hit somebody over the head with it
and it will still come back dead on.
Nothing beats quality.
You interested in an automatic?
I want a .32. Revolver. And a palm
gun. That .22 there.
That's the Colt .25 -- a fine little
gun. Don't do a lot of damage, but
it's as fast as the Devil. Handy
little gun, you can carry it almost
anywhere. I'll throw it in for another
Travis holds the .32 Revolver, hefts it, slips it under his
belt and pulls his shirt over it. He turns from side to side,
to see how it rides in his waist.
How much for everything.
The .32's $150 -- and you're really
getting a good deal now -- and all
together it comes to, ah, seven eighty-
five for four pieces and a holster.
Hell, I'll give you the holster,
we'll make it seventy-five and you've
got a deal -- a good one.
How much to get a permit to carry?
Well, you're talking big money now.
I'd say at least five grand, maybe
more, and it would take a while to
check it out. The way things are
going now $5.000 is probably low.
You see, I try not to fool with the
small-time crap. Too risky, too little
bread. Say 6 G's, but if I get the
permit it'll be as solid as the Empire
Nah, this'll be fine.
You can't carry in a cab even with a
permit -- so why bother?
Is there a firing range around?
Sure, here, take this card, go to
this place and give 'em the card.
They'll charge you, but there won't
be any hassle.
Travis pulls out a roll of crisp one hundred dollar bills
and counts off eight.
You in Nam? Can't help but notice
Vietnam? I saw it on your jacket.
Where were you? Bet you got to handle
a lot of weapons out there.
Travis hands Andy the bills. Andy counts them and gives Travis
a twenty and five.
Yeah. I was all around. One hospital,
then the next.
It's hell out there all right. A
real shit-eatin' war. I'll say this,
though: It's bringing a lot of
fantastic guns. The market's flooded.
Colt automatics are all over.
(pockets the money)
They'd never get me to go back.
They'd have to shoot me first.
You got anything to carry these in?
(gestures to pistols)
Travis is like a light switch: For long periods he goes along
dark and silent, saying nothing; then suddenly, the current
is turned on and the air is filled with the electricity of
his personality. Travis' inner intensity sets Andy back a
bit, but he quickly recovers.
Andy pulls a gym bag from under his bed. He wraps the gun in
the sheet in the bag and zips it up. An identical gym bag
can be partially seen under the bed. He hands Travis the
You like ball games?
I can get you front and center.
What do you like? I can get you Mets,
Knicks, Rangers? Hell, I can get you
the Mayor's box.
Nah. I ain't interested.
Andy closes and locks the suitcases.
Travis turns to leave.
Wait a second, Travis. I'll walk you
SEVERAL WEEKS LATER. The face of TRAVIS' apartment has
changed. The long, blank wall behind the table is now covered
with tacked-up charts, pictures, newspaper-clippings, maps.
CAMERA does not come close enough to discern the exact
contents of these clippings.
Travis is in C.U. in the middle of the floor doing push-ups.
He is bareback, wearing only his jeans. There is a long scar
across his left side.
May 29, 1972. I must get in shape.
Too much sitting has ruined my body.
Twenty-five push-ups each morning,
one hundred sit-ups, one hundred
knee-bends. I have quit smoking.
Travis, still bareback, passes his stiff arm through the
flame of a gas burner without flinching a muscle.
Total organization is necessary.
Every muscle must be tight.
INT. FIRING RANGE
The CRACKING SOUND of rapid-fire pistol shots fills the musty
air of the firing range. The walls are heavily soundproofed,
and sawdust is spread over the floor.
Travis stands rock solid, firing the .44 Magnum at an arm's
length. With each blasting discharge from the Magnum, Travis'
body shudders and shakes, his arm as if each recoil from the
giant gun was a direct attack on his masculinity.
Travis fires the Magnum as quickly as he can re-set, re-aim
and re-fire. The Magnum is empty, he sets it down, picks up
the .38 Special and begins firing as soon as he can aim.
After the .38, comes the .25: It is as if he were in a contest
to see how quickly he can fire the pistols. After all the
guns are discharged, he begins reloading them without a
Downrange, the red and white targets have the black outline
of a human figure drawn over them. The contour-man convulses
under the steady barrage of Travis' rapid-fire shots.
TRAVIS, now wearing an unfastened green plaid western shirt,
sits at the table writing in his diary. The vial of bennies
is on the table.
My body fights me always. It won't
work, it won't sleep, it won't shit,
it won't eat.
LATER. TRAVIS, his shirt still revealing his bare chest,
sits on his straight-backed chair watching the TV. The .44
Magnum rests on his lap.
The TV is Broadcasting ROCK TIME, a late afternoon local
teenage dance and rock show. On screen YOUNG TEENYBOPPERS
are dancing, and the TV CAMERAMAN, as any devotee of the
genre knows, is relentlessly ZOOMING-IN on their firm young
breasts, fannies and crotches -- a sensibility which reflects
TRAVIS' own. These supper-hour rock dance shows are the most
unabashedly voyeuristic form of broadcasting the medium has
The HARD ROCK NUMBER ends, and the TV CAMERA CUTS TO the
local DISC JOCKEY, a hirsute plastic-looking man about 35.
FIVE scrumptious TEENYBOPPERS are literally hanging on his
shoulders and arms, their faces turned up to him in droolish
awe. Out of his mouth comes an incessant stream of disc jockey
blather. He is the complete asshole; I don't know who is
currently performing this function in New York, but in Los
Angeles his name is Real Don Steele.
TV DISC JOCKEY
Freshingly, fantastic, freaked-out
dance time. Can you dig it? Dig on
it. You got it, flaunt it.
TRAVIS watches the show, his face hard and unmoving. He is,
as the Scriptures would say, pondering all these things in
his heart. Why is it the assholes get all the beautiful young
chicks? He takes a swig of peach brandy.
EARLY EVENING, about 6:30 p.m. TRAVIS' taxi, with 'Off Duty'
light on, sits near the curb somewhere in midtown Manhattan.
TRAVIS runs his hand down the left side of his jacket,
attempting to smooth out the bulge underneath.
TRAVIS opens his jacket partially, checking underneath.
There rests the nickel-plated .38 Special in its holster.
P.O.V. DOWN THE STREET where TRAVIS' taxi is parked: Several
blocks ahead the red, white and blue campaign headquarters
of CHARLES PALANTINE are visible.
TRAVIS' eyes resume their watch.
TRAVIS starts the car and drives toward the PALANTINE
TRACKING P.O.V. shot of row of storefronts leading up to
Palantine Headquarters. P.O.V. passes headquarters: It is
half-empty. A few stalwart SUPPORTERS continue to work toward
the rear of the office. BETSY'S desk --
Sign in window reads: "Only 4 More Days Until Arrival of
TRAVIS' "Off Duty" light goes off as he speeds up and heads
toward a prospective fare.
LATER THAT NIGHT, about 9:30. UPTOWN -- 128th and Amsterdam.
The Jungle. TRAVIS' taxi pulls up to an address, lets off
YOUNG BLACK MAN.
TRAVIS receives fare and tip, takes off.
P.O.V. as TRAVIS works his way through Harlem back down
Seventh Ave. Cluster of YOUNG BLACK STREET PUNKS pretend to
hail cab -- we ignore them. One throws wine bottle which
crashes in our path -- taxi swerves to avoid it.
CAMERA TRACKS through sidewalk CROWDS with the roving,
suspicious, antagonistic eye of a taxi-driver.
LATER THAT NIGHT, about 12:30. TRAVIS is on the LOWER EAST
SIDE, somewhere on B Street, east of Tompkins Square.
The sidewalks are populated with the remains of what once
was the hippie movement: TEENAGE STREET-WALKERS, JUNKIES,
THUGS, emaciated LONERS on the prowl.
TRAVIS' taxi pulls over, letting out a fare.
TRAVIS pockets his fare, but the rear right door doesn't
slam -- instead there is the SOUND of another person jumping
into the cab.
TRAVIS checks the back seat in the rear-view mirror: there
sits a pale HIPPIE PROSTITUTE.
The GIRL is, at best, 14 or 15, although she has been made
up to look older. She wears floppy, Janis Joplin clothes.
Her face is pallid. She wears large blue-tinted sunglasses
and multi-colored leg stockings.
Her name, as we shall learn later, is IRIS.
TRAVIS hesitates, looking at her in the mirror.
Come on, mister, let's get outta
here -- quick.
TRAVIS moves to activate the meter, when the rear door opens.
IRIS is helped out of the cab by a MAN TRAVIS cannot see.
Come on, baby, let's go. This is all
a real drag.
IRIS lets herself be taken out of the cab. The rear door
Sport leans partially in the front window, throwing something
on the front seat. TRAVIS looks: it is a crumpled $20 bill.
Just forget all about this, cabbie.
TRAVIS cannot see the Sport's face lime green completely,
but notices he is wearing a jacket. The voice is that of a
man in his early twenties.
TRAVIS turns to catch a glimpse of Sport as he walks off
TRAVIS shrugs and turns around.
TRAVIS' taxi pulls away.
EARLY MORNING, 6:00 a.m. Quitting time -- TRAVIS pulls into
TRAVIS pulls into his stall.
TRAVIS sits in driver's seat, thinking a moment. He looks to
his right: the crumpled $20 bill still lies there, untouched
since it was thrown there six hours previously.
TRAVIS reluctantly picks up the $20 bill and stuffs it into
his jacket pocket as he gets out of the cab. He gathers up
his time report and heads toward book-in table.
A SHORT WHILE LATER, TRAVIS is walking down the sidewalk
near the taxi garage. His hands are in his jacket pockets,
obscuring the slight bulge on his left side.
TRAVIS turns into the box office of PORNO THEATER. He reaches
into jacket pocket for money to purchase ticket and pulls
out crumpled $20 bill. Seeing the $20 bill, he decides not
to use it, and pays for ticket out of his wallet instead.
TRAVIS walks past concession stand en route to the darkened
theater auditorium. A YOUNG MAN is now sitting listlessly
behind the concessions counter.
INT. PORNO THEATER AUDITORIUM
TRAVIS slouches down into his seat, his face glowing in the
reflected light from the screen.
FEMALE MOVIE VOICE (O.S.)
Oh, come on, now, down, lick it,
Mmm, that's good. Ahh, ahh, more...
TRAVIS averts his eyes as the action on screen becomes too
graphic. Placing his stiffened right hand beside his eyes,
TRAVIS can, by turning it inward, shut off or open up his
field of vision by small degrees.
MOVIE VOICE DIMINISHES, replaced by SOUND of TRAVIS' voice
The idea had been growing in my
TRACKING SHOT to wall of TRAVIS' APARTMENT. CAMERA MOVES
slowly across wall covered with clippings, notes, maps,
pictures. We now see their contents clearly:
The wall is covered with CHARLES PALANTINE political
paraphernalia; there are pictures of him, newspaper articles,
leaflets, bumper stickers. As the CAMERA MOVES along it
discovers a sketch of Plaza Hotel, Kennedy Airport and cut-
up sections of city maps with notations written in. There is
lengthy N.Y. Times clipping detailing the increased Secret
Security Protection during the primaries. A section pertaining
to PALANTINE is underlined. Further along there is a sheet
reading "traveling schedule" and a calendar for June with
finely written notations written over the dates.
...for some time. True Force. All
the king's men cannot put it back
As the CAMERA reaches the end of its track, it finds TRAVIS,
standing, his shirt open, by the mattress. He is wearing the
empty holster, and the .44 is in his hand.
In the SHOTS that follow TRAVIS gives the audience a lesson
TRAVIS practices fast-drawing the .38 Special from his holster
and firing it.
He hooks the .44 into his pants behind his back and practices
withdrawing it. He holds the .44 firmly at an arm's length,
tightening his forearm muscles.
He has worked out a system of metal gliders taped to his
inner forearm, whereby the Colt .25 can rest hidden behind
the upper forearm until a spring near the elbow is activated,
sending the .25 flying down the gliders into his palm. He
has cut open his shirt to accommodate the gun mechanism and
now checks in the mirror to see how well the gun is hidden.
He straps an Army combat knife to his calf and cuts a slit
in his jeans where the knife can be pulled out quickly.
He now tries on various combinations of shirts, sweater and
jacket in front of the mirror to see how well he can hide
all the handguns he wishes to carry. Finally, wearing two
western shirts, a sweater and jacket, he manages to obscure
the location of all three guns, although he resembles a hunter
bundled up against the Arctic winter.
He sits at the table dum-dumming the .44 bullets -- cutting
"x's" across the bullet heads.
P.O.V.: he scans the objects of his room through the scope
of the .38.
TRAVIS stands in the middle of his apartment, staring at his
PALANTINE wall. His eyes are glazed with introspection; he
sees nothing but himself.
Listen you screwheads: Here is a
TRAVIS lies on his mattress, all bundled up in his shirts,
sweater, jacket and guns. His face is turned toward the
ceiling, but his eyes are closed. Although the room is flooded
with light, he is finally catching some sleep.
The big furry animal drifts into his own world.
...who wouldn't take it any more, a
man who stood up against the scum,
the cunts, the dogs, the filth.
(voice trails off)
C.U. of diary: entry ends with words "Here is" followed by
erratic series of dots.
NIGHT: the taxis are roaming the slick streets.
Sometimes after 2:00 a.m., TRAVIS pulls his cab to the curb
near an all-night delicatessen in Spanish Harlem. The streets
are relatively deserted.
TRAVIS waves to STOREKEEPER as he walks past counter:
Spanish rhythm and blues blares from a cheap radio.
TRAVIS walks over to dairy counter in rear of store, picks
out a pint of chocolate milk, goes over to the open cooler
and picks through various chilled prepackaged sandwiches. He
overhears a VOICE as he looks at the sandwiches.
When TRAVIS returns to the counter with the chocolate milk
and a sandwich in one hand, he sees a YOUNG BLACK MAN holding
a gun on 'Melio. The STICK-UP MAN is nervous, hopped-up, or
both; he bounces on the balls of his cheap worn black tennis
shoes -- a strung-out junkie on a desperation ride. The STICK-
UP MAN, a thorough unprofessional, doesn't notice TRAVIS.
'MELIO watches the STICK-UP MAN closely, deciding what to do
Come on, man. Quick, quick, quick.
Hand over that bread.
It doesn't take TRAVIS long to decide what to do: without
hesitation he pulls his .32 from his jacket pocket.
The STICK-UP MAN, surprised, turns toward TRAVIS, finding
only an exploding .32. The MAN's lower jaw bursts open with
blood as he reels and crashes to the floor. There is no
emotion on TRAVIS' face.
As the STICK-UP MAN falls, 'MELIO leans over the counter,
wielding his battered .38. He is about to fire when he
realizes the MAN is already dead.
'MELIO, charged up, turns his gun toward TRAVIS, then,
realizing the danger is over, lowers it again.
Thanks, man. Figured I'd get him on
the way out.
TRAVIS sets his .32 on the counter.
You're gonna have to cover me on
this one, 'Melio. I can't stay for
the cop show.
You can't do that, Travis. You're my
The hell I can't. It's no sweat for
you. What is this for you, number
'MELIO smiles and holds up four fingers:
No, only four.
Alright, Travis, I'll do what I can.
Thanks a lot.
TRAVIS exits. 'MELIO picks up the phone and starts dialing.
The bloody BODY lies on the floor unmoving.
TRAVIS, still carrying his pint of chocolate milk and
sandwich, walks down the empty sidewalk and enters his cab.
The street is deserted.
DIRECT CUT TO PORNOGRAPHIC MOVIE: this is the first time we
have actually seen the porno movie itself.
SEVERAL ACTORS and ACTRESSES are dallying on screen in
whatever manner the ratings board deems permissible.
Whatever the action, the movie's decor is strictly Zody's --
ersatz landscape paintings, tufted bedspreads. As in most
porno films, the ACTORS look up occasionally toward the CAMERA
to receive instructions. Studio grunts, groans and moans of
pleasure have been dubbed in.
Action on screen begins to go into SLOW MOTION, the ACTORS
and ACTRESSES gradually transforming obscenity into poetry.
TRAVIS, sitting in his chair in his APARTMENT, watching
afternoon soap opera. He is cleaning his .38 and eating from
a jar of applesauce. Soap opera audio continues.
He watches the soap opera without expression.
SOUND TRACK of film also SLOWS DOWN, gradually mixing with
and then becoming the sound track of a midafternoon TV soap
A YOUNG GIRL and BOY are talking in those familiar soap opera
voices and a third party, the GIRL's mother, who had tried
to terminate their "relationship."
TELEVISION: The BOY is visiting the GIRL in her hospital
room. Both look as if they've stepped out of the Blue Chip
SOAP OPERA BOY
Is it that she just doesn't -- like
SOAP OPERA GIRL
Well, Jim, it's just that -- I don't
know how to say this -- it's that
she thinks your parents aren't...
good enough, I guess.
TRAVIS, through cleaning his gun, begins to play a game with
the television set.
He places the heel of his boot at the top of the melon crate
which supports the TV. Then, slowly rocking his heel back
and forth, he sees how far he can tip the melon crate without
knocking it over.
The TV, still broadcasting the hospital room melodrama, rocks
back and forth.
TRAVIS pushes the TV farther and farther until finally the
inevitable happens -- the crate tips backward, sending the
portable TV crashing to the floor.
There is a short flash and the TV screen turns white.
TRAVIS, realizing what he has done, bends over, turns the TV
upright on the floor, fiddles with the knobs, slaps it, and
tries to reactivate the vanished image. TRAVIS' efforts are
futile; a tube has broken, and the TV will not come back to
TRAVIS bends over in the chair and places his head in his
hands, despairing of himself.
About 1 a.m. TRAVIS pulls his cab behind a line of empty
taxis parked outside the Bellmore Cafeteria, a cabbie hangout
on Park Avenue South.
He locks his cab and walks past the line of taxis. He
sidesteps TWO DRUNKEN FIGHTING BUMS and enters the Bellmore.
A LOUD BUZZER RINGS as TRAVIS steps INTO THE BELLMORE. He
pulls a ticket from the dispenser (silencing the buzzer) and
walks toward the wall-length counter.
An assortment of CABBIES are seated around a formica-topped
table near the rear of the cafeteria. Some are barely awake,
some are eating, the rest are swapping stories and small
Wizard, Dough-Boy, Charlie T and a FOURTH CABBIE are seated
at a long table.
You know Eddie, he's the new hippie
kid in our group, long hair...
Wizard demonstrates length of hair and others nod.
...he called up the Dispatcher last
night. Charlie McCall, our
That's the guy. Eddie calls him up
and says, "Hey, what do you want me
to do. I'm over here at Poly Prep.
I got a girl in the back and she
doesn't have the fare. She wants me
to come in back and collect. What
should I do?
The cabbies laugh. Across the cafeteria Travis selects a cup
of coffee and some pastries.
This is on the two-way with about a
hundred and fifty cars listenin' in.
McCall says. "How much on the meter?"
Eddie comes back and says "Two-fifty."
McCall says, "Is she worth it".
And the kid says, "Yeah. She's about
19, good-lookin." McCall says, "What
can I tell you?"
She should have told him to get an
OK from the front office.
McCall says, "Well, if you want some
help I'll see if I can send some
Yeah. About a hundred and fifty.
I hope he had a checker.
She was just a kid. Stoned, you know.
Travis, carrying his coffee and pastries, walks over to their
table. Charlie T spots him.
Charlie forms his hand into a pistol, cocks and fires, making
the SOUND, "Pgghew." TRAVIS nods.
You're getting a rep, Travis.
TRAVIS sits down and the other CABBIES resume their
Got the five you owe me, Killer?
TRAVIS reaches into his pocket and pulls out a roll of small
denomination bills. The crumpled $20 bill falls onto the
table. TRAVIS stares at it a moment. He unfolds a five, gives
it to CHARLIE T, then picks up the crumpled $20 and puts it
back into his jacket pocket.
What's the action around?
Shit yes. Night woulda been dead if
I hadn't grabbed an outatowner at
Kennedy. Took him round the horn and
got a five dollar tip to boot.
One of these days we're gonna turn
you in, Charlie T. Fleecin the hicks
Remember the time this cat picks up
four dudes from the other side,
Pakastanis I think they were, holds
up their passports, to the toll booth
collector on the bridge and charges
'em ten bucks each for crossing the
They all laugh.
Hell, I know'd you to do worse.
Least I'm no airport rat. I work the
It's a living.
WIZARD gets up to leave.
Well, I'm shovin' on.
WIZARD gets up, nods and walks toward the CASHIER. After a
second's thought, TRAVIS calls to him:
Hey Wiz, just a second. I wanna talk
WIZARD waits for TRAVIS as he takes a final gulp of coffee
and catches up with him. CHARLIE T calls to TRAVIS as they
See ya, Killer. Don't forget your
CHARLIE T cocks his imaginary gun again, fires and chuckles.
WIZARD and TRAVIS nod goodbye, pay the CASHIER and exit.
TRAVIS follows WIZARD out onto the sidewalk. TRAVIS follows
WIZARD as he walks toward his cab. He has something on his
mind, something he wants to talk to WIZARD about.
WIZARD leans back against the cab. TRAVIS is about to speak
when he spots a GROUP of BLACK and PUERTO RICAN STREET PUNKS,
ages 12-15, jiving down the sidewalk toward him. ONE tosses
a spray paint can around his back, basketball style. ANOTHER
mocks as if he's going to scratch a key along one of the
WIZARD has no visible reaction. A flash of controlled anger
crosses TRAVIS' face. He stares at the BOY with the poised
key. It is the same look that crossed his face in the Harlem
Deli. We are reminded with a jolt that the killer lies just
beneath TRAVIS' surface.
The BLACK PUNK must instinctively realize this too, because
he makes a cocky show of putting the key back into his pocket
and be-bopping around TRAVIS and WIZARD.
The YOUNG MEAN-STREETERS continue down the street and TRAVIS
turns back to WIZARD.
Across the street, in the background, a JUNKIE nestles in a
Look, ah, we never talked much, you
I wanted to ask you something, on
account you've been around so long.
Shoot. They don't call me the Wizard
Well, I just, you know...
Things got ya down?
Sometimes it gets so I just don't
know what I'm gonna do. I get some
real crazy ideas, you know? Just go
out and do somethin.
The taxi life, you mean.
Like do anything, you know.
Travis, look, I dig it. Let me
explain. You choose a certain way of
life. You live it. It becomes what
you are. I've been a hack 27 years,
the last ten at night. Still don't
own my own cab. I guess that's the
way I want it. You see, that must
be what I am.
A police car stops across the street. TWO PATROLMEN get out
and roust the JUNKIE from his doorway.
Look, a person does a certain thing
and that's all there is to it. It
becomes what he is. Why fight it?
What do you know? How long you been
a hack, a couple months? You're like
a peg and you get dropped into a
slot and you got to squirm and wiggle
around a while until you fit in.
That's just about the dumbest thing
I ever heard, Wizard.
What do you expect, Bertrand Russell?
I've been a cabbie all my life, what
do I know?
I don't even know what you're talking
Neither do I, I guess.
You fit in. It's lonely, it's rough
at first. But you fit in. You got no
Yeah. Sorry, Wizard.
Don't worry, Killer. You'll be all
I seen enough to know.
WIZARD gives TRAVIS a short wave implying, "Chin up, old
boy," and walks around to the driver's side of his cab.
WIZARD drives off, leaving the street to its natural
EXT. CHARLES PALANTINE RALLY - DAY
A rally platform in a supermarket parking lot somewhere in
QUEENS is draped in red, white and blue bunting.
A CROWD of about 500 persons mills about, waiting for the
rally to begin. Piped pop-country MUSIC plays over the
The CADRE OF SECRET SERVICE MEN, with their distinctive
metallic grey suits, sun glasses and football physiques,
stands out in the CROWD.
On the PLATFORM are seated an assortment of LOCAL POLITICOS
as well as some PALANTINE WORKERS and ADVISERS.
TOM is silently reading something on the podium, and BETSY
stands on the platform steps talking with ANOTHER WORKER.
TOM looks up and to his left for a moment, then returns to
what he was reading. Then he returns his gaze to the upper
left, watching something very closely.
After a moment he walks over to the steps where BETSY is
Betsy, come over here a moment.
What is it? I'm busy.
Just follow me.
BETSY excuses herself and walks across the platform with
TOM. As they stand to the rear of the platform, TOM
secretively makes a gesture with his eyes and says out of
the side of his mouth:
(her eyes follow his)
No, over further -- get your glasses --
yes, over there. Isn't that little
guy the same guy that was bugging
you around the office about a month
BETSY, putting on her glasses, looks closely. She tries not
to make her stare too obvious.
No, I don't think so.
That's someone else.
Now look more closely. Look around
the eyes and chin. See? See there?
CAMERA CLOSES IN on TRAVIS BICKLE standing in the CROWD: he
has shaved his head to a short stubble. There he is: brush-
cut, wearing a giant grin, and a large "Palantine '72" button.
Although it is a pleasant sunny day, TRAVIS wears a bulky
bulged-out Army jacket.
TRAVIS looks warily from side to side and vanishes in the
A SHORT WHILE LATER, TRAVIS walks up to a SECRET SERVICE MAN
standing near the fringes of the CROWD. The SECRET SERVICE
MAN -- in sun glasses, grey suit, ever-roving eyes -- is
Whenever TRAVIS confronts a symbol of authority, he becomes
like a young boy. This time is no exception, although one
suspects there is a plan hatching beneath that boyish
exterior. The SECRET SERVICE MAN, for his part, is about as
talkative as the Sphinx.
Are you a Secret Service Man?
SECRET SERVICE MAN
Why do you ask?
I've seen a lot of suspicious-looking
people around here today.
SECRET SERVICE MAN glances at TRAVIS momentarily.
SECRET SERVICE MAN
Oh, lots. I don't know where they
all are now. There used to be one
standing over there.
SECRET SERVICE MAN's gaze follows TRAVIS' finger for a second,
then return to TRAVIS.
Is it hard to get to be a Secret
SECRET SERVICE MAN
I kinda thought I might make a good
one. I'm very observant.
SECRET SERVICE MAN
I was in the Army too.
And I'm good with crowds.
The SECRET SERVICE MAN is starting to get interested in
TRAVIS: he definitely ranks as a suspicious character.
SECRET SERVICE MAN
Is that so?
What kind of guns do you guys use?
The SECRET SERVICE MAN decides it's time to get some more
information on TRAVIS:
SECRET SERVICE MAN
Look, um, if you give me your name
and address, we'll send you the
information on how to apply.
You would, huh?
SECRET SERVICE MAN
(taking out notepad)
My name is Henry Krinkle -- that's
with a "K." K-R-I-N-K-L-E. I live at
13 1/2 Hopper Avenue, Fair Lawn, New
Jersey. Zip code 07410.
SECRET SERVICE MAN
Sure, Henry. I got it all. We'll
send you all the stuff all right.
Great, hey. Thanks a lot.
The SECRET SERVICE MAN motions to a SECRET SERVICE
PHOTOGRAPHER to catch a picture of TRAVIS. TRAVIS notices
this, and quickly slips away into the CROWD.
TRAVIS sits at his desk in his APARTMENT, writing. He wears
jeans, western shirt and empty holster.
June 11. Eight rallies in six more
days. The time is coming.
NIGHT. TRAVIS' taxi picks up a FARE in the midtown area and
LOWER EAST SIDE. TRAVIS lets off FARE on B Street and cuts
across toward Tompkins Square.
TRAVIS turns the corner when SKREETCH! he suddenly hits the
brakes, causing the cab to rock back and forth.
He has almost hit a YOUNG GIRL recklessly crossing the street.
She thumps her hand on the taxi hood to regain her balance
and stares in shock through the front window. C.U. GIRL's
TRAVIS recognizes her face: it's IRIS, the GIRL in his taxi
a week or so before. IRIS looks at TRAVIS sharply then turns
and continues walking.
TRAVIS' eyes follow her and she rejoins a GIRLFRIEND. They
are both dressed as hippie hookers: sloppy clothes, boots,
jeans, floppy hats. And the old come-hither walk is
TRAVIS follows IRIS and her GIRLFRIEND slowly as they walk
down the sidewalk.
TRAVIS' P.O.V. He examines them from bottom to top -- boots,
legs, thighs, breasts, faces, hats.
As TRAVIS rolls astride the GIRLS, he notices the familiar
FRINGE OF A SUEDE JACKET standing in the shadows. The GIRLS
look toward the SHADOWED FIGURE, smile, acknowledge some
unheard comment, and continue on.
IRIS looks back uneasily at TRAVIS' taxi and continues on.
On the corner stand TWO well-to-do COLLEGE STUDENTS, somewhat
out of place in this environment, but making every attempt
to groove on it. They are high on something or another.
The GIRLS spot the COLLEGE STUDENTS and walk over to them.
They exchange some small talk and walk off together. There
is little subtlety involved: it is obviously a pick-up.
TRAVIS must negotiate a turn around the corner if he is to
continue following the GIRLS and their COLLEGIATE JOHNS.
This is not so easy, since the traffic is heavy.
As TRAVIS slows down to make the turn, he notices ANOTHER
HIPPIE HOOKER who had been watching him watching IRIS and
her GIRLFRIEND. She walks over to the taxi, leans in the
open left front window and gives TRAVIS the come-on disguised
as an innocent question:
C.U. HIPPIE HOOKER.
Hey cabbie! You comin' or goin'?
TRAVIS quickly turns his face away from her in a combination
of shock, embarrassment and revulsion. He is the child caught
with his hand in the cookie jar. The very presence of this
crassly, openly sexual human being frightens and sickens
TRAVIS takes off with a skreetch. His taxi shoots down the
A HOT JUNE DAY. TRAVIS' taxi, the "Off Duty" sign on, is
parked against the curb somewhere in HARLEM. WHITE COPS,
SECRET SERVICE MEN and REPORTERS, punctuate the otherwise
BLACK CROWDS which walk to and fro in the b.g.
CHARLES PALANTINE's voice can be heard coming from a distant
loudspeaker system. It is a political rally.
TRAVIS sits behind the wheel, coldly staring at something in
the distance. His hair, of course, is still clipped short
and he wears mirror-reflecting sunglasses. Even though a
drop of sweat is working its way down his cheek, TRAVIS wears
his Army jacket with the bulge on the left side -- the .38
Smith and Wesson bulge.
A BLOCK AWAY, PALANTINE stands on a platform outside his
uptown campaign headquarters. On the platform sit an array
of BLACK DIGNITARIES. Nearby we recognize the SECRET SERVICE
MAN TRAVIS spoke to at the earlier rally: he scans the CROWD
PALANTINE is speaking animatedly. He is an excellent speaker
and captures our attention. He drives hard toward his
arguments, crashes down on his points. His strained voice
rings with sincerity and anger.
C.U. of PALANTINE as he speaks. He is dressed in rolled-up
shirtsleeves and sweat pours down his face.
The time has come to put an end to
the things that divide us: racism,
poverty, way -- and to those persons
who seek to divide us. Never have I
seen such a group of high officials
from the President to Senate leaders
to Cabinet members...
CUT TO TRAVIS: no expression. PALANTINE's words are barely
distinguishable from a block away:
...pit black against white, young
against old, sow anger, disunity and
suspicion -- and all in the name of
the "good of the country." Well,
their game is over.
All their games are over. Now is the
time to stand up against such
foolishness, propaganda and
demagoguery. Now is the time for one
man to stand up and accept his
neighbor, for one man to give in
order that all might receive. Is
unity and love of common good such a
ALL LIVE SOUND CEASES as TRAVIS' narration begins. He is
reading from a letter or card he has just written.
As he speaks we see SHOTS of PALANTINE speaking, a seated
row of YOUNG BLACK PALANTINE red, white and blue bedecked
CHEERLEADERS, SECRET SERVICE AGENTS examining the CROWD and
so forth. These SHOTS have no direct relationship to the
Dear Father and Mother, June is the
month, I remember, which brings not
only your wedding anniversary, but
also Father's Day and Mother's
birthday. I'm sorry I can't remember
the exact dates, but I hope this
card will take care of all of them.
I'm sorry I again can not send you
my address like I promised to last
year, but the sensitive nature of my
work for the Army demands utmost
secrecy. I know you will understand.
I am healthy and well and making
lots of money. I have been going
with a girl for several months and I
know you would be proud if you could
see her. Her name is Betsy, but I
can tell you no more than that.
As TRAVIS reads third paragraph, a POLICEMAN is seen walking
from behind TRAVIS' taxi to his window.
The POLICEMAN's voice come during a pause in the narration.
LIVE SOUND RESUMES.
(standing near window)
Hey, cabbie, you can't park here.
You waiting for a fare?
POLICEMAN leans his head in window, inspecting the cab. As
he does, TRAVIS slides his right hand into the left side of
his jacket, ready to draw his revolver.
All right, move it.
TRAVIS starts up his taxi and drives off.
LIVE SOUND again CEASES as TRAVIS resumes reading letter as
taxi drives away.
As TRAVIS reads final paragraph, scene CUTS TO INT. APARTMENT
where TRAVIS sits at his table.
I hope this card finds you all well,
as it does me. I hope no one has
died. Don't worry about me. One day
there will be a knock on the door
and it will be me. Love, Travis.
TRAVIS, at his desk, examines the card upon which he has
just written this letter.
C.U. cover of card. It is a 25¢ Wedding Anniversary card
with a four-color embossed cover. The design could only be
described as ur-kitsch. A cartoon Mr. and Mrs. All-America
stand before an outdoor barbecuing grill, clicking salt and
pepper shakers in a toast. Sentiment reads:
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY To a Couple Who Have Found the Perfect
Combination For Marriage...
The card opens to read:
Underneath the word "Love!" begins TRAVIS' short message to
his parents, a message which extends to the back cover of
NIGHT on the LOWER EAST SIDE. TRAVIS sits parked in the dark
shadows of a side street. The lone wolf waits.
TRAVIS watches the SLUM GODDESSES as they work the section
of the street reserved for hippie hookers.
TRAVIS' P.O.V.: some of the YOUNG STREET GIRLS are arrogant,
almost aggressive, others are more insecure and inexperienced.
A BLACK MAN charges down the sidewalk across the street from
TRAVIS. He walks at a fast, maniacal clip, looking only at
the sidewalk in front of him. Out of his mouth comes a
continuous stream of invective: "That-cock-sucking-crazy-no-
tits-I'm-gonna-ring-em-and-shit-up-her-ass..." and so on.
He is out of Control. Nobody seems to notice or care.
TRAVIS takes a swig of peach brandy and continues his stake-
Finally, TRAVIS spies the object of his search: IRIS walks
down the sidewalk with her GIRLFRIEND. Iris wears her large
TRAVIS checks to see if his .38 is in place (it is), opens
the door and exits from the cab.
Flipping up the collar of his Army jacket, TRAVIS slouches
over and walks toward IRIS. He sort of sidles up next to her
and walks beside her: TRAVIS always looks most suspicious
when he's trying to appear innocent.
You looking for some action?
Well... I guess so.
You see that guy over there?
His name is Sport. Go talk to him.
I'll wait here.
Travis' eyes follow Iris' nod until they reach Sport, standing
in a doorway in his lime green jacket. Travis walks toward
Sport, a thirtiesh white greaser, has the affections of a
black pimp. His hips are jiving, his fingers softly snapping.
He sings to him self, "Going to the chapel, gonna get
married..." His complexion is sallow; his eyes cold and venal.
He could only seem romantic to a confused underaged runaway.
You name Sport?
Sport immediately takes Travis for an undercover cop. He
extends his crosses wrists as if to be handcuffed.
Here, officer, take me in. I'm clean.
I didn't do it. Got a ticket once in
Jersey. That's all. Honest, officer.
Your name Sport?
Anything you say, officer.
I'm no cop.
(looks back at Iris)
I want some action.
I saw. $20 fifteen minutes. $30 half
Take it or leave it.
TRAVIS digs in his pocket for money.
No, not me. There'll be an elderly
gent to take the bread.
TRAVIS turns to walk away.
Catch you later, Copper.
TRAVIS freezes, not saying anything. He turns back toward
I'm no cop.
Well, if you are, it's entrapment
Funny, you don't look hip.
TRAVIS walks back to IRIS.
IRIS motions for TRAVIS to follow her and he does.
IRIS and TRAVIS turn the corner and walk about a block, saying
nothing. IRIS turns into a darkened doorway and TRAVIS follows
At the top of the dark stairs IRIS and TRAVIS enter a dimly
lit hallway. On either side are doors with apartment numbers.
IRIS turns toward the first door, No. 2.
This is my room.
At the far end of the darkened corridor sits a huge OLD MAN.
His face is obscured by shadow. TRAVIS is about to enter the
room when the OLD MAN speaks up:
TRAVIS turns his head toward the OLD MAN who has stood up
and is advancing toward him.
(motioning to TRAVIS'
Gimme the rod, cowboy.
TRAVIS hesitates a moment, uncertain what to do. The OLD MAN
reaches in TRAVIS' jacket and pulls out the .38 Special.
This ain't Dodge City, cowboy. You
don't need no piece.
(glances at watch)
I'm keepin' time.
TRAVIS enters No. 2 with IRIS.
TRAVIS looks around IRIS' room: although dimly lit, the room
is brightly decorated. There is an orange shag carpet, deep
brown walls and an old red velvet sofa. On the walls are
posters of Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan and Peter Fonda. A Neil
Young album is playing on a small phonograph.
This is where IRIS lives: it bears the individual touch of a
IRIS lights a cigarette, takes a single puff and places it
in an ashtray on the bedstand.
Why you hang around with them
A girl needs protection.
Yeah. From the likes of them.
It's your time mister. Fifteen minutes
(gestures to cigarette)
That cigarette burns out, your time
IRIS sits on the edge of the bed and removes her hat and
coat. She takes off her blue-tinted sunglasses -- her last
defense. Without the paraphernalia of adulthood, Iris looks
like a little girl she is. About 14, 15.
What's your name?
That ain't much of a name.
It's easy to remember. Easy Lay.
What's your real name?
I don't like my real name.
What's your real name?
That's a nice name.
That's what you think.
IRIS unbuttons her shirt, revealing her small pathetic breasts --
two young doves hiding from a winter wind. TRAVIS is unnerved
by her partial nudity.
Don't you remember me? Button your
IRIS buttons only the bottom button of her shirt.
Why? Who are you?
I drive a taxi. You tried to get
away one night. Remember?
You tried to run away in my taxi but
your friend -- Sport -- wouldn't let
I don't remember.
It don't matter. I'm gonna get you
(looks toward door)
We better make it, or Sport'll get
mad. How do you want to make it?
I don't want to make it. I came here
to get you out.
You want to make it like this?
(goes for his fly)
TRAVIS pushes her hand away. He sits beside her on the edge
of the bed.
(taking her by the
Can't you listen to me? Don't you
want to get out of here?
Why should I want to get out of here?
This is where I live.
But you're the one that wanted to
get away. You're the one that came
into my cab.
I musta been stoned.
Do they drug you?
Oh, come off it, man.
IRIS tries to unzip TRAVIS' fly. This only unnerves TRAVIS
more: sexual contact is something he's never really
Don't you want to make it?
Can't you make it?
IRIS works on TRAVIS' crotch OFF CAMERA. He bats her hand
I want to help you.
TRAVIS is getting increasingly panicked, but IRIS only thinks
this is part of his particular thing and tries to overcome
You can't make it, can you?
I can help you.
IRIS lowers her head to go down on TRAVIS. TRAVIS, seeing
this, jumps up in panic.
TRAVIS stands several feet from IRIS. His fly is still open,
and the white of his underwear shows through his jeans. He
is starting to come apart.
Fuck it! Fuck it! Fuck it! Fuck it!
Fuck it! Fuck it! Fuck it!
You can do it in my mouth.
Don't you understand anything?
IRIS says nothing. After a moment, TRAVIS again sits on the
bed beside IRIS. She no longer tries to make him.
There is a moment of silence. IRIS puts her arm around his
You don't have to make it, mister.
TRAVIS rests a moment, collecting himself. Finally, he says:
Do you understand why I came here?
I think so. I tried to get into your
cab one night, and now you want to
come and take me away.
Don't you want to go?
I can leave anytime I want.
But that one night?
I was stoned. That's why they stopped
me. When I'm not stoned, I got no
place else to go. They just protect
me from myself.
There is a pause. TRAVIS smiles and shrugs apologetically.
TRAVIS looks at Iris' cigarette. It's burning down to the
Well, I tried.
I understand, mister. It means
Can I see you again?
That's not hard to do.
No, I mean really. This is nothing
for a person to do.
Sure. All right. We'll have breakfast.
I get up about one o'clock. Tomorrow.
Well tomorrow noon there's a... I
IRIS is interfering with TRAVIS' assassination schedule.
Well, you want to or not?
O.K. It's a date. I'll see you here,
TRAVIS turns; IRIS smiles.
My name's Travis.
Thank you, Travis.
So long, Iris.
TRAVIS closes the door to No. 2 and stands in the corridor
for a moment.
The OLD MAN slowly walks from the dark end of the hallway
with TRAVIS' .38 in his hand. OLD MAN stands near TRAVIS,
and checks his watch.
I think this is yours, cowboy.
TRAVIS reaches in his jacket pocket and pulls out the familiar
crumpled $20 bill. He makes a big show of stuffing the
wrinkled bill into the OLD MAN's hand. The OLD MAN doesn't
understand the significance of it.
Here's the twenty bucks, old man.
You better damn well spend it right.
TRAVIS turns and walks away.
OLD MAN says as TRAVIS walks down stairs:
Come back anytime you want, cowboy.
But without the rod -- please.
TRAVIS does not respond.
INT. ST. REGIS SUITE NOON
Palantine, Tom and Palantine's Assistant are seated in
garishly decorated suite.
Well, at least it wasn't chicken.
It wasn't? I thought it was. It tasted
C'mon, Senator. That was a class
dinner. The St. Regis is a class
joint. That was veal.
Was it? It sure tasted like chicken
Lately, everything tastes like chicken
Everything? Got to watch your gut.
What about it? I took 20 off before
we started this thing.
And you've put ten of it back on.
Ten? I don't think so. You really
think so? Ten?
Those TV cameras do. I caught the
rally on CBS. You looked a little
I don't think I gained ten pounds.
Palantine gets up and walks over to the window. Its bars
form a cross-sight on his head. He thinks to himself:
He looks at the crowded traffic on Fifth Avenue eighteen
floors below. It is a mass of yellow.
EXT. FIFTH AVE NOON
Travis' cab pulls away from the yellow mass and heads
EXT. DOWNTOWN COFFEE SHOP NOON
Travis' cab is parked near a neighborhood Bickford's.
TRAVIS and IRIS are having late breakfast at a middle-class
EAST SIDE COFFEE SHOP. It is about 1:30 P.M.
IRIS is dressed more sensibly, wearing jeans and a maroon
sweater. Her face is freshly washed and her hair combed out.
Seen this way, IRIS looks no different than any young girl
in the big city. OTHER PATRONS of the coffee shop most likely
assume she is having lunch with her big brother.
They are both having an All-American breakfast: ham and eggs,
large glasses of orange juice, coffee.
Outside here environment, Iris seems the more pathetic. She
seems unsure, schizy, unable to hold a subject for more than
thirty seconds. Her gestures are too broad, her voice too
mannered. We sympathize with Travis' paternal respect. This
girl is in trouble.
...and after that Sport and I just
started hanging out...
Where is home?
Iris removes her large blue-tinted sunglasses and fishes
through her bag for another pair.
I got so many sunglasses. I couldn't
live without my shades, man. I must
have twelve pair of shades.
She finds a pink-tinted pair and puts them on.
I ain't ever been there, but it don't
seem like such a bad place.
Why do you want me to go back to my
parents? They hate me. Why do you
think I split? There ain't nothin
But you can't live like this. It's
hell. Girls should live at home.
Didn't you ever hear of women's lib?
There is a short, quick silence; TRAVIS' eyes retract. He
(ignoring her question)
Young girls are supposed to dress
up, go to school, play with boys,
you know, that kinda stuff.
Iris places a large gob of jam on her unbuttered toast and
folds the bread over like a hotdog.
God, you are square.
At least I don't walk the streets
like a skunk pussy. I don't screw
and fuck with killers and junkies.
IRIS motions him to lower his voice.
Who's a killer?
That fella "Sport" looks like a killer
He never killed nobody. He's a Libra.
I'm a Libra too. That's why we get
along so well.
He looks like a killer.
I think Cancer's make the best lovers.
My whole family are air signs.
He shoots dope too.
What makes you so high and mighty?
Did you ever look at your own eyeballs
in a mirror. You don't get eyes like
He's worse than an animal. Jail's
too good for scum like that.
There is a brief silence. Iris mind continued to whirl at 78
rpms. She seems to have three subjects on her mind at a time.
She welcomes this opportunity to unburden herself.
Rock music died in 1970, that's what
I think. Before that it was fantastic.
I can tell you that. Everybody was
crashing, hanging out at the Fillmore.
Me and my girlfriend Ann used to go
up the fire escape, you know? It was
unbelievable. Rock Stars everywhere.
That Airplane -- that's my group,
man. All Libras. But now everybody's
split or got sick or busted. I think
I'll move to one of those communes
in Vermont, you know? That's where
all the smart ones went. I stayed
I never been to a commune. I don't
know. I saw pictures in a magazine,
and it didn't look very clean to me.
Why don't you come to a commune with
Me? I could never go to a place like
I... I don't get along with people
You a scorpion? That's it. You're a
scorpion. I can tell.
Besides, I've got to stay here.
I've got something important to do.
I can't leave.
What's so important?
I can't say -- it's top secret. I'm
doing something for the Army. The
cab thing is just part time.
You a narc?
Do I look like a narc?
TRAVIS breaks out in his big infectious grin, and IRIS joins
God, I don't know who's weirder, you
What are you going to do about Sport
and that old bastard?
Just leave'em. There's plenty of
You just gonna leave 'em?
What should I do? Call the cops?
Cops don't do nothin.
Sport never treated me bad, honest.
Never beat me up once.
You can't leave 'em to do the same
to other girls. You should get rid
I don't know. Just should, though.
Somebody should kill 'em. Nobody'd
God. I know where they should have a
commune for you. They should have a
commune for you at Bellevue.
I'm sorry, Iris. I didn't mean that.
You're not much with girls, are you?
Well, Iris, I look at it this way. A
lot of girls come into my cab, some
of them very beautiful. And I figure
all day long men have been after
them: trying to touch them, talk to
them, ask them out. And they hate
it. So I figure the best I can do
for them is not bother them at all.
So I don't say a thing. I pretend
I'm not even there. I figure they'll
understand that and appreciate me
It takes IRIS a moment to digest this pure example of negative
thinking: I am loved to the extent I do not exist.
Do you really think I should go to
I think you should go home, but
otherwise I think you should go. It
would be great for you. You have to
get away from here. The city's a
sewer, you gotta get out of it.
Mumbling something about her "shades" again, Iris fishes
through her bag until she comes up with another 99¢ pair of
sunglasses and puts them on. She likes these better, she
Sure you don't want to come with me?
I can't. Otherwise, I would.
I sure hate to go alone...
I'll give you the money to go. I
don't want you to take any from those
You don't have to.
I want to -- what else can I do with
You may not see me again -- for a
What do you mean?
CLOSE ON C.U. OF TRAVIS:
My work may take me out of New York.
IRIS' ROOM - DAY
Sport stands beside the bed.
What's the matter, baby, don't you
Iris is wearing her blue-tinted shades.
It's my stomach. I got the flu.
Sport puts his hand on her hips. He is slowly, carefully,
smoothly manipulating her. It's the stone black hustle.
Oh, baby, there ain't no flu. You
know that, baby.
Sport puts some slow soul music on the stereo.
You're just tired, baby. You just
need your man. I am your man, you
know. You are my woman. I wouldn't
be nothing without you.
Sport slowly grinds his hips to hers. Iris starts to move
with him. This is what she really wanted. Her man's attention.
I know this may not mean anything to
you, baby, but sometimes I get so
emotional, sometimes I think, I wish
every man could have what I have
now, that every woman could be loved
the way I love you. I go home and I
think what it would be without you,
and then I thank God for you. I think
to myself, man, you are so lucky.
You got a woman who loves you, who
needs you, a woman who keeps you
strong. It's just you and me. I'm
nothing without you. I can go like
this for ever and ever. We can do
it, baby. You and me. Just you and
Sport slowly rubs his crotch into her. Iris smiles. She is
happy. The music rises.
FIRING RANGE - DAY
TRAVIS stands at the firing range blasting the .44 Magnum
with a rapid-fire vengeance.
He sets down one gun, picks up the next, then the next.
Quickly reloading, he fires again.
The targets spin and dance under his barrage. The piercing
sound of GUNSHOTS ring through the air.
TRAVIS is again writing at the table. His western shirt is
open, exposing his bare chest.
A note of despair and doom has entered into TRAVIS' normally
monotone narration voice: this will be the last entry in his
My whole life has pointed in one
direction. I see that now. There
never has been any choice for me.
LENGTHY P.O.V. SHOT from TRAVIS' taxi: we see New York's
nightlife as TRAVIS sees it. CAMERA TRACKS down midtown
sidewalks in SLIGHTLY SLOW MOTION. There we see:
COUPLES, walking in SLOWING MOTION, young couples, middle-
aged couples, old couples, hookers and johns, girlfriends,
boyfriends, business friends -- the whole world matched up
in pairs, and TRAVIS left wandering alone in the night.
Others would notice the breasts, the asses, the faces, but
not TRAVIS: he notices the girl's hand that rubs the hair on
her boyfriend's neck, the hand that hangs lightly on his
shoulder, the nuzzling kiss in the ear.
Loneliness has followed me all my
life. The life of loneliness pursues
me wherever I go: in bars, cars,
coffee shops, theaters, stores,
sidewalks. There is no escape. I am
God's lonely man.
MATCHCUT TO P.O.V.: another neighborhood, LATER IN THE NIGHT.
Still in SLIGHTLY SLOW MOTION.
The CROWDS are more sparse here, the streets darker. A JUNKIE
shudders in a doorway, a WINO pukes into a trash can, a STREET-
WALKER meets a prospective CLIENT.
I am not a fool. I will no longer
fool myself. I will no longer let
myself fall apart, become a joke and
object of ridicule. I know there is
no longer any hope. I cannot continue
this hollow, empty fight. I must
sleep. What hope is there for me?
TRAVIS, his shirt fastened, stands beside table.
C.U.: He lays a brief hand-written letter on the table. We
Dear Iris, This money should be enough for your trip. By the
time you read this I will be dead.
TRAVIS stacks five crisp hundred dollar bills beside the
letter, folds them up with the letter, and puts them into an
TIMECUT: A SHORT WHILE LATER. TRAVIS has cleaned up his
apartment. Everything is neat and orderly.
CAMERA PANS across room. The mattress is bare and flattened
out, the floor is spotless, the cans and bottles of food and
pills put out of sight. The wall is still covered with
Palantine political paraphernalia, but when we reach the
desk we see only four items there: an open diary and three
loaded revolvers: .44, .38, .25.
TRAVIS, freshly shaved and neatly dressed, stands in the
middle of his clean room. The empty holster hangs on his
shoulder. Metal .25 gliders can be seen under the slit in
his right sleeve. He turns toward table.
TRAVIS, envelope in hand, closes the door behind him and
walks down the corridor.
He passes a ajar door and we are surprised to see the room
is empty -- and trashed. Travis lives in a decaying, if not
TRAVIS places the envelope to IRIS in his mail box.
BACK IN APARTMENT. CAMERA CLOSE ON revolvers lying on the
table in neat array.
SOUND of a political rally: cheering, laughing, a band
AFTERNOON. A CROWD of about 500 PERSONS is assembled before
a platform outside a Brooklyn union hall. A DIXIELAND BAND
is playing on the platform.
C.U. CHARLES PALANTINE's feet climb out of a limousine.
There is a ROAR from the nearby CROWD.
PALANTINE, a bulky SECRET SERVICE MAN to the right and left
of him, pushes his way through the CROWD toward the platform.
Still cameras click, and TV cameras purr.
SLIGHT TIMECUT: PALANTINE is speaking on the platform.
TRAVIS' empty taxi sits parked a few blocks away from rally.
At this distance, the rally sounds are almost
C.U. of TRAVIS' boots walking. They make their way past one
person, then two, then a cluster of three or four. SOUNDS of
We see a FULL FIGURE SHOT of TRAVIS: he is standing alone in
an opening near the fringes of the CROWD.
TRAVIS looks like the most suspicious human being alive. His
hair is cropped short, he wears mirror-reflecting glasses.
His face is pallid and drained of color, his lips are pursed
and drawn tight. He looks from side to side. One can now see
the full effect of TRAVIS' lack of sleep and sufficient diet --
he looks sick and frail.
Even though it is a warm June day, TRAVIS is bundled up in a
shirt, sweater and Army jacket buttoned from top to bottom.
Under his jacket are several large lumps, causing his upper
torso to look larger than it should. He is slightly hunched
over and his hands shoved into his pockets.
Anyone scanning the crowd would immediately light upon TRAVIS
and think, "There is an assassin."
TRAVIS pulls the vial of red pills from his pocket and
swallows a couple.
SECRET SERVICE MAN standing beside the platform, scanning
the CROWD. It is the same SECRET SERVICE MAN TRAVIS spoke to
at the first rally. TOM, dressed in a conservative suit,
stands beside him.
PALANTINE is wrapping up his short speech:
...and with your help we will go on
to victory at the polls Tuesday.
TRAVIS begins moving up into the crowd.
On to victory in Miami Beach next
and on to victory next November!
PALANTINE steps back, smiling and receiving the applause.
Then, nodding, at the SECRET SERVICE MAN he descends the
stairs and prepares to work his way through the CROWD.
TRAVIS unbuttons the middle two buttons of his jacket, opening
access to his holster. With the other hand he checks the .44
hooked behind his back.
PALANTINE smiles and shakes a few of the many hands
outstretched toward him.
The SECRET SERVICE MAN, scanning the CROWD, spots something
that interests him. He looks closely.
SECRET SERVICE MAN'S P.O.V.: TRAVIS, his face intense, pushes
his way through the CROWD.
PALANTINE works his way through crowds and cameras.
SECRET SERVICE MAN motions to SECOND SECRET SERVICE MAN and
points in TRAVIS' direction.
TRAVIS slips his hand into his jacket.
The SECOND SECRET SERVICE MAN converges on TRAVIS from the
TRAVIS and PALANTINE draw closer to each other.
SECRET SERVICE MAN, walking just behind PALANTINE, grabs the
candidate's hand and pulls him backward. PALANTINE looks
sharply back at SECRET SERVICE MAN who motions for him to
take a slightly altered route.
TRAVIS sees this: his eyes meet the SECRET SERVICE MAN's.
He recognizes the situation. To his right he spots the SECOND
SECRET SERVICE MAN.
TRAVIS' eyes meet PALANTINE's: candidate and would-be assassin
exchange quick glances.
TRAVIS hastily works his way back through the CROWD. He hears
the SECRET SERVICE MAN's voice call out:
SECRET SERVICE MAN
Detain that man!
OVERHEAD SHOT reveals TRAVIS has the jump on his pursuers.
He is breaking free of the CROWD while they are still mired
TRAVIS, free of his pursuers, quickly makes his way down the
sidewalks. The SECRET SERVICE MEN look futilely about.
TRAVIS jumps in his cab. Sweat covers his face.
The film is moving fast now; it pushes hard and straight
toward its conclusion. We're moving toward the kill.
LATE AFTERNOON. TRAVIS' taxi skids around a corner and speeds
TRAVIS checks his mail slot: the letter to IRIS has already
been picked up by the MAILMAN.
TRAVIS, stripped to the waist, walks back and forth across
his INT. APARTMENT, wiping his torso with a bath towel.
TRAVIS BEGINS DRESSING:
-- He straps the Army combat knife to his calf.
-- He reflexes the metal gliders and the Colt .25 on his
INTERCUT: SPORT stands in his doorway on the LOWER EAST SIDE
shot with LONG DISTANCE LENS. It is EARLY EVENING.
INTERCUT: A pudgy middle-aged white PRIVATE COP walks up to
SPORT. The two men laugh, slap each other on the back and
exchange a soul shake. They discuss a little private business
and the PRIVATE COP walks off in the direction of IRIS'
-- TRAVIS straps on holster and fits the .38 Special into
INTERCUT: PRIVATE COP walks down block.
-- TRAVIS hooks the huge Magnum into the back of his belt.
He puts on his Army jacket and walks out the door.
INTERCUT: PRIVATE COP turns up darkened stairway to IRIS'
NIGHT has fallen: TRAVIS' taxi careens down 10th Ave. He
speeds, honks, accelerates quickly. The glare of speeding
yellow and red lights flash through the night.
TRAVIS' P.O.V.: PEDESTRIAN attempts to flag down TRAVIS'
taxi, but quickly steps back up on the curb when he sees
TRAVIS has no intention of stopping for anything.
INTERCUT: SPORT maintains his post in the dark doorway. He
waves to a GIRL who passes, and she waves back.
TRAVIS' taxi screeches to a stop and parks obliquely against
TRAVIS walks down the block to the doorway where SPORT stands.
CAMERA TRACKS with TRAVIS.
Without slowing, TRAVIS walks up to SPORT and puts his arm
on his shoulder in a gesture of friendliness.
Hey, Sport. How are things?
How are things in the pimp business,
What's going on?
I'm here to see Iris.
TRAVIS pushes SPORT back into the dark recesses of the
Wha -- ?
Yeah, Iris. You know anybody by that
Hillbilly, you'd better get your
wise ass outa here and quick, or
you're gonna be in trouble.
TRAVIS is being propelled by an inner force, a force which
takes him past the boundaries of reason and self-control.
You carry a gun?
SPORT looks into TRAVIS' eyes, saying nothing: he realizes
the seriousness of the situation.
TRAVIS pulls his .38 Special and holds it on SPORT, pushing
him even further back against the wall.
Hey, mister, I don't know what's
going on here. This don't make any
Show it to me.
SPORT reluctantly pulls a .32 caliber pistol (a "purse gun")
from his pocket and holds it limply.
TRAVIS sticks his .38 into SPORT's gut and discharges it.
There is a muffled blast, followed by a muted scream of pain.
Now suck on that.
Agony and shock cross SPORT'S face as he slumps to the floor.
TRAVIS turns and walks away before SPORT even hits.
As TRAVIS walks away, SPORT can be seen struggling in the
TRAVIS, he gun slipped into his jacket, walks quickly up the
AROUND THE CORNER, TRAVIS walks into the darkened stairway
leading to IRIS' apartment.
As he walks up the stairs, TRAVIS pulls the .44 Magnum from
behind his back and transfers the .38 Special to his left
hand. He walks up the steps, a pistol dangling from each
AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS, TRAVIS spots THE OLD MAN sitting
at the far end of the dark corridor. THE OLD MAN starts to
get up when TRAVIS discharges the mighty .44 at him. BLAAM!
The hallway reverberates with shock waves and gun powder.
THE OLD MAN staggers at the end of the corridor: his right
hand has been blown off at the forearm.
There is the sharp SOUND of a GUNSHOT behind TRAVIS: his
face grimaces in pain. A bullet has ripped through the left
side of his neck. Blood flows over his left shoulder.
TRAVIS' .44 flies into the air.
TRAVIS looks down the stairway: there SPORT lies choking in
a puddle of his own blood. He has struggled long enough to
fire one shot.
Falling, TRAVIS drills another .38 slug into SPORT's back
but SPORT is already dead.
TRAVIS slumps to his knees. Down the corridor THE OLD MAN
with a bloody stump is struggling toward him. TRAVIS turns
his .38 toward THE OLD MAN.
The door to No. 2 opens: IRIS' scream is heard in the b.g.
The bulky frame of the PRIVATE COP fills the doorway. His
blue shirt is open, in his hand hangs a .38 service revolver.
The PRIVATE COP raises his gun and shoots TRAVIS. TRAVIS,
blood gushing from his right shoulder, sinks to the floor.
His .38 clangs down the stairs.
THE OLD MAN grows closer. TRAVIS smashes his right arm against
the wall, miraculously, the small Colt .25 glides down his
forearm into his palm.
TRAVIS fills the PRIVATE COP's face full of bullet holes.
The PRIVATE COP, SCREAMING, crashes back into the room.
THE OLD MAN crashes atop TRAVIS. The .25 falls from TRAVIS'
Both men are bleeding profusely as they thrash into IRIS'
room. IRIS hides behind the old red velvet sofa, her face
frozen in fright.
TRAVIS, trapped under the heavy OLD MAN, reaches down with
his right hand and pulls the combat knife from his right
Just as TRAVIS draws back the knife, THE OLD MAN brings his
huge left palm crashing down on TRAVIS: THE OLD MAN's palm
is impaled on the knife.
OLD MAN SCREAMS in pain.
Police SIRENS are heard in b.g.
With great effort, TRAVIS turns over, pinning THE OLD MAN to
the floor. The bloody knife blade sticks through his upturned
TRAVIS reaches over with his right hand and picks up the
revolver of the new dead PRIVATE COP.
TRAVIS hoists himself up and sticks the revolver into the
OLD MAN's mouth.
THE OLD MAN's voice is full of pain and ghastly fright:
Don't kill me! Don't kill me!
IRIS screams in b.g. TRAVIS looks up:
Don't kill him, Travis! Don't kill
TRAVIS fires the revolver, blowing the back of THE OLD MAN's
head off the silencing his protests.
The police SIRENS screech to a halt. SOUND of police officers
running up the stairs.
TRAVIS struggles up and collapses on the red velvet sofa,
his blood-soaked body blending with the velvet.
IRIS retreats in fright against the far wall.
First uniformed POLICE OFFICER rushes in room, drawn gun in
hand. Other POLICEMEN can be heard running up the stairs.
TRAVIS looks helplessly up at the OFFICER. He forms his bloody
hand into a pistol, raises it to his forehead and, his voice
croaking in pain, makes the sound of a pistol discharging.
Out of breath fellow OFFICERS join the first POLICEMAN. They
survey the room.
TRAVIS' head slumps against the sofa.
IRIS is huddled in the corner, shaking.
LIVE SOUND CEASES.
OVERHEAD SLOW MOTION TRACKING SHOT surveys the damage:
-- from IRIS shaking against the blood-spattered wall
-- to TRAVIS blood-soaked body lying on the sofa
-- to THE OLD MAN with half a head, a bloody stump for one
hand and a knife sticking out the other
-- to POLICE OFFICERS staring in amazement
-- to the PRIVATE COP's bullet-ridden face trapped near the
-- to puddles of blood and a lonely .44 Magnum lying on the
-- down the blood-specked stairs on which lies a nickle-
plated .38 Smith and Wesson Special
-- to the foot of the stairs where SPORT's body is hunched
over a pool of blood and a small .32 lies near his hand
-- to CROWDS huddled around the doorway, held back by POLICE
-- past red flashing lights, running POLICEMEN and parked
-- to the ongoing nightlife of the Lower East Side, curious
but basically unconcerned, looking then heading its own way.
EXT. TRAVIS' APARTMENT - DAY
It is EARLY FALL. The trees are losing their leaves.
SLOW TRACKING SHOT across INT. APARTMENT. Room appears pretty
much the same, although there is a new portable TV and an
inexpensive easy chair.
VISUAL: TRACK begins at table and works across the room to
WE SEE THESE ITEMS:
-- On the table rests the diary, closed. A desk calendar
stands on the table: it is October.
-- Across the wall where the Palantine clippings once hung
there are now a series of new newspaper clippings. Right to
left, they read:
1. The first is a full back page from the N.Y. Daily News.
Headline reads: "CABBIE BATTLES GANGSTERS." There are large
photos of police standing in IRIS' room after the slaughter,
and a picture of TRAVIS' cabbie mug shot.
2. Underneath there is a more discreet clipping without photo
from the N.Y. Times. Two-column headline reads: "Cabbie
Shootout, Three Dead."
3. A follow-up story from the News. Two-column photo shows
plain middle-aged couple sitting in middle-class living room.
Two-column headline reads: "Parents Express Shock, Gratitude."
4. A two-column Daily News story without photo. Headline
reads: "Taxi-Driver Hero to Recover."
5. A one-column two-paragraph News story stuck on an obscure
page. Headline reads: "Cabbie Returns to Job."
-- At the end of the clippings, a letter is tacked to the
wall. It is a simple letter hand-written on plain white paper.
The handwriting makes a conscious effort to appear neat and
orderly. We recognize that it is the same letter that is
being read in voice over.
-- When we finally arrive at the mattress, we find it is
barren. A pillow and blanket (new purchases) are folded at
the head of the mattress.
AUDIO: THROUGHOUT THE TRACK, we hear the voice of a middle-
aged uneducated man reading in voice over.
It is the voice of IRIS' FATHER and he is reading a letter
he sent to TRAVIS, and which TRAVIS has tacked to his wall.
IRIS' FATHER (V.O.)
Dear Mr. Bickle,I can't say how happy
Mrs. Steensma and I were to hear
that you are well and recuperating.We
tried to visit you at the hospital
when we were in New York to pick up
Iris, but you were still in a coma.
There is no way we can repay you for
returning our Iris to us. We thought
we had lost her, but now our lives
are full again. Needless to say, you
are something of a hero around this
household. I'm sure you want to know
about Iris. She is back in school
and working hard. The transition has
been very hard for her, as you can
well imagine, but we have taken steps
to see she never has cause to run
away again. In conclusion, Mrs.
Steensma and I would like to again
thank you from the bottom of our
hearts. Unfortunately, we cannot
afford to come to New York again to
thank you in person, or we surely
would. But if you should ever come
to Pittsburgh, you would find yourself
a most welcome guest in our home.
Our deepest thanks,
Burt and Ivy Steensma
EXT. PLAZA HOTEL - NIGHT
Four cabs stand in the waiting line in front of the hotel.
Near the entrance, TRAVIS and WIZARD stand in the light
TRAVIS' hair is almost fully grown back to its normal length.
TRAVIS wears the same clothes -- cowboy boots, jeans, western
shirt, Army jacket -- but he isn't wearing a gun. There is a
thick scar on the left side of his neck.
Wizard is speaking.
A private-owner wanted to swap wheels.
Now my tires were brand new. "Give
me a couple days," I says.
CHARLIE T. parks his cab in line and walks toward TRAVIS and
Howdy Wizard, Killer.
CHARLIE T. points his pistol/finger at TRAVIS, fires, says
"Pow" and laughs.
Don't mess with the Killer.
Hey Charlie T.
Hey Travis, I think you gotta fare.
They all turn. P.O.V. of DOORMAN closing rear door of TRAVIS'
Take it slow, Killer.
TRAVIS waves back to CHARLIE T. and WIZARD as he runs around
cab and jumps in the driver's seat.
TRAVIS' taxi pulls away.
C.U. TRAVIS at the wheel. A FEMALE VOICE says:
34 East 56th Street.
TRAVIS recognizes the voice. He looks in the rear-view mirror:
It is BETSY.
TRAVIS says nothing: he heads toward 56th Street.
After a silence, BETSY speaks:
There is an uneasy pause.
I see where Palantine got the
Yes. It won't be long now. Seventeen
Well, I hope he wins.
There is another pause.
How are you, Travis? I read about
you in the papers.
Oh, I got over that. It was nothing,
really. The papers always blow these
A little stiffness. That'll go away.
I just sleep more, that's all.
TRAVIS' taxi pulls up to 34 East 56th Street.
Here we are.
BETSY digs in her purse.
No, no, please. This fare's on me.
Thank you, Travis.
BETSY gets out of the cab and stands by the right front
window, which is open.
TRAVIS prepares to drive away.
Maybe I'll see you again sometime,
BETSY steps away from the curb and TRAVIS drives off. She
watches his taxi.
CAMERA FOLLOWS TRAVIS' taxi as it slowly disappears down
SUPERIMPOSE TITLES: THE END
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