Frequently starring in the films of Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino, there are few actors as culturally pertinent as Leonardo DiCaprio, an actor who has long-enjoyed success at the very top of the Hollywood ladder. Consolidating his industry success after his role in James Cameron’s Titanic, DiCaprio has since enjoyed success with The Aviator, The Revenant and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
A longtime admirer of his collaborator Martin Scorsese, the actor has worked with the seasoned director on projects such as The Departed, The Wolf of Wall Street as well as the upcoming Killers of the Flower Moon. Maintaining the view that Scorsese has been one of his greatest teachers in the industry, DiCaprio told The Independent, “There is almost no aspect of his life, creative or personal, where he doesn’t reference the history of movies”.
Reflecting further on the influence of the director on his career, the actor explained, “As a young actor standing beside him during the creative process of making a movie, I discovered that just like a painting, a sculpture, music or theatre, film was just as essential, relevant, as a matter of fact, the most integral art form of our time. I felt I could truly own the term artist by working alongside him”.
Of all the films that Leonardo DiCaprio has helped Martin Scorsese bring to life, it is Taxi Driver that DiCaprio admires the most, going as far as to call it “the greatest independent film ever made” in an interview with Charlie Rose. Speaking on a roundtable with the presenter and Martin Scorsese, the actor stated, “The one that really moved me the most was Taxi Driver, I remember watching it at 15 years old and being transfixed with Travis Bickle because I was locked into this character and I felt such incredible empathy toward him, I understood him, I understood his loneliness and then he deceived me”.
Continuing, DiCaprio explained, “At the point he deceived me I said ‘who is this guy I am watching, who is this person’ and I was identifying with him and I was with him on this journey, and all of a sudden ’this is not the person that I thought he was’. To me, it’s really the greatest independent film ever made”.
Immortalising Martin Scorsese in the popular consciousness, Taxi Driver became the director’s neo-noir crime classic, starring Robert De Niro as an insomniac, lonely and highly volatile taxi driver who glides along the filthy streets of New York at night. Fellow director and purveyor of filmmaking, Quentin Tarantino also said of the film, “One of the things about Taxi Driver [is] that it is just so magnificent. I actually do feel that it may be the greatest first-person character study ever committed to film. I mean, I really actually can’t even think of a second, or a third or a fourth that can even come into contention with it”.
Take a look at the trailer for Martin Scorsese’s iconic film right here.