Martin Scorsese’s hand-drawn storyboards for ‘Taxi Driver’
Taxi Driver, the 1976 American thriller directed by Martin Scorsese, is considered by many cinephiles as one of the greatest films of all time.
The film, depicting the story of a lonely veteran working as a taxi driver played by Robert De Niro, explores the raw subject of mental health as the driver descends into insanity. The taxi driver, Travis Bickle, takes on the job in an attempt to battle his depression and chronic insomnia. What ensues is an infatuation with a campaign volunteer for presidential candidate Charles Palantine and, ultimately, the plot to assassinate the candidate.
“Movies touch our hearts and awaken our vision, and change the way we see things,” director Scorsese once said when discussing the film. “They take us to other places, they open doors and minds. Movies are the memories of our lifetime, we need to keep them alive,” he continued.
The film was released to critical and commercial acclaim and, as the popularity grew, Taxi Driver was nominated for four Academy Awards which included Best Picture, Best Actor for Robert De Niro and Best Supporting Actress for Jodie Foster.
For Scorsese, the planning process of developing Paul Schrader’s screenplay was a process which took things back to simplicity, hand drawing all the storyboards with a pencil to set out his intentions.
“Storyboards express what I want to communicate,” Scorsese previously told Phaidon in reference to the exhibition ‘Between Film and Art’ which focused on storyboards which been created by filmmakers such as Scorsese, Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg and more. “They show how I would imagine a scene and how it should move to the next,” he added.
“The pencil line leaves little impression on the paper, so if the storyboard is photocopied it loses something. I refer back to my original drawings in order for me to conjure up the idea I had when I saw the pencil line made.”
He added: “These storyboards are not the only means of communication for what I imagine,” the director explains before adding: “but they are the point where I begin.”