(Drama) ( 1976)
© 2001 by Raymond Weschler
Travis Bickle....................Robert de Niro
A young, very lonely and disturbed New York City taxi driver,
who desperately tries to make social connections with the
various women he meets.
A young and beautiful woman who Travis becomes attracted to,
who works for Senator Palantines Presidential campaign.
A director at Palantine headquarters who works with Betsy.
Senator Palantine...............Leonard Harris
A liberal Democratic Senator who is running for President,
who is in many ways, a typical politician.
A 12 year old prostitute who Travis decides he wants to save.
Sport (Matthew).................Harvey Keitel
Iris business manager (A pimp).
A taxi driver where Travis works, who has
been doing the same job for almost 20 years.
This film is the story of Travis Bickle, a very lonely and disturbed 26 year old
man who takes a job as a taxi driver in New York City. Travis is happy to work
long hours at night because he has trouble sleeping anyway, and unlike many of the
other taxi drivers, he does not mind driving in the most dangerous neighborhoods.
For Travis, work is both a source of money and an escape from the sad and isolated
life he has been living.
One day Travis gets up the courage to ask out Betsy, a beautiful young woman who is
working for Senator Charles Palantines campaign for President. Unfortunately, Travis
is socially awkward and inexperienced, and he soon ends up offending her. After Betsy
rejects Travis, his anger and frustration grow, and thus he decides he will have to
do something very important to change his life. Travis, who had spent time in the
military, decides to buy a complete collection of guns.
As Travis is preparing to act, he also decides that he wants to save the life of Iris, a
12 year old prostitute who he is convinced is being exploited and destroyed by the pimp
who manages her and the other men who use her. Once again, Travis desperately reaches out
in order to make some kind of social connection, but all the while, his anger and insanity
start to spin out of control. As the story reaches its violent conclusion, it seems that
the only question is who will be the victims of Travis frustration and loneliness.
Some Words and Expressions that You May not Know
Travis takes a job as a taxi driver
in order to pass the long and lonely hours.
Theres porno theatres for that.
Movie theatres that show adult or pornographic movies.
I ride around nights. Subways. Busses.
"To ride around" is to travel with no particular destination.
I figure if Im gonna do that, I might as well get paid for it.
"To figure" is a common way of saying to think or believe.
"Might as well" is another way of saying should.
Uptown? South Bronx? Harlem?
Three areas of New York city. South Bronx and
Harlem are poor African-American areas.
In this case, a license to drive a taxi. A "chauffeur"
is usually a driver of cars for wealthy people.
Hows your driving record? :: Its real clean, like my conscience.
If a persons driving record is "clean," they havent had any accidents
or driving tickets. A persons "conscience" is their ability to see what
is right and wrong, and if it is clean, they have no guilty feelings.
Military Record? :: Honorable discharge, May 1973.
An "honorable discharge" is an official statement by the military that
a person is leaving them in good standing, or with excellence or dignity.
Were you in the army? Marines.
A branch of the military that is best known for fighting on beaches.
Are you moonlighting?
"To moonlight" is to work an extra job
at night, in addition to a regular day job.
Fill out these forms and check back tomorrow when the shift breaks.
A "shift" refers to the specific hours that a group of people normally work
(The "night shift" might be from 12 midnight to 8am). The time when the shift
breaks is the time one group takes over for another.
Its a long hustle, but it keeps me real busy.
This is now a rare noun, but the verb "to hustle"
means to work hard and often very quickly.
I can take in 350 a week, sometimes more when I do it off the meter.
If a taxi driver earns money "off the meter," he doesnt report it to the
taxi company but keeps it for himself. The meter is the machine in the taxi
that tells passengers how much they owe.
All the animals come out at night. Whores...queers, fairies, dopers, junkies.
This is from a longer list of generally crude names, but these words are
at least worth recognizing: A "whore" is a prostitute, a "queer" and a "fairy"
are negative words for a homosexual, a "doper" is a person who uses lots of
illegal drugs, and a "junkie" is a drug addict.
"Venal" is an educated word for a person who will do anything
for money, or a person without any honor or integrity.
Someday a real rain will come wash all of this scum off the streets.
"Scum" is the filth that is found in between the tiles of a dirty shower,
but it is often used to refer to disgusting, immoral or horrible people.
Some wont even take spooks. Dont make no difference to me.
A dated racist word that refers to black people.
Each night when I return the cab, I have to clean the cum off the back seat.
A slang word for a mans semen or sperm.
Whats your name? :: Give me a break!
An excellent expression which often means "Stop being ridiculous,"
although here its used to mean "Stop harassing me and leave
me alone." Its widely used when one person says something that is
Damn! The days go on and on.
A common way of expressing anger or frustration.
I dont believe that one should devote his life to morbid self-attention.
"Morbid" is a powerful adjective that refers to an unhealthy interest
in death and other unpleasant subjects. This is Travis way of saying
people should not be so concerned with themselves.
Travis finds the courage to ask Betsy out.
I saw her at
Palantine campaign headquarters.
A political campaign is the act of running for public office,
and "campaign headquarters" are the offices where it is organized.
She appeared like an angel
Out of this filthy mass, she is alone.
"Filthy" is a powerful adjective which means extremely dirty.
In this case, "mass" is probably a reference to the masses, which
is a general term for the millions of common people.
Our slogan is "We are the People," and "are" is underlined.
A short phrase that is used to advertise a
product or express a political or social viewpoint.
This canvas report is ready to go. If Andy OKs it, send copies to headquarters.
A "canvas report" discusses the results of canvassing, which is the act of going
door to door looking for money or support. "To OK" something is to approve it.
We have to emphasize the mandatory welfare program.
"To emphasize" something is to treat it is as if it were particularly
important. If something is "mandatory," it is required, or must be done.
First push the man, then the issue.
This is Betsys way of saying that the Palantine campaign should
emphasize or more frequently discuss the man himself before talking
about his political beliefs on the various issues or topics.
Senator Palantine is a dynamic man.
If a person is "dynamic," they have a lot of energy and drive,
and they often have a lot of powerful or forceful ideas.
You sound like youre selling mouthwash.
A favorite consumer product to deal with bad breath.
Are we authorized to do that?
"To authorize" a person to do something is
to give them permission or approval to do it.
We can get in trouble selling pharmaceuticals in a campaign office.
A fancy word for prescription drugs.
Does he annoy you?
A good alternative to bother or irritate.
You really mean "yes" and youre being sarcastic. :: Youre really quick.
If a person is "sarcastic," they speak in a tone of voice that clearly implies
they mean the exact opposite of what they are actually saying. It is a way of
joking around. Note that in the right context, "quick" can mean intelligent.
Ill play the male in this relationship.
This is Toms way of saying that he will do the male or masculine things (such as fight
and offer protection), while Betsy should stick to playing the more feminine role.
Eye shadow, mascara, lipstick, rouge. Not rouge, "blush-on" they call it.
These are all types of cosmetics or make up. "Mascara" and "rouge" are used to
color the cheeks. "Blush-on" is rarely if ever used anymore, though you should
know that "to blush" means to get embarrassed so that your cheeks turn red.
Ah, Travis, hes a ladys man.
A ridiculous but still used expression for a playboy
or man that is able to charm or seduce lots of women.
Whatever the fuck it is, she uses a lot of it.
A vulgar but not uncommon way of adding emotion such as anger or
frustration to a statement. Note the definitive article makes "fuck"
a noun(!), and be aware this type of filler is more common in questions.
Perfume, the spray kind.
"Spray" is tiny drops of liquid that are blown in a certain direction.
Get this! In the middle of the Tribough Bridge
she changes her pantyhose.
"Get this" is a common way of telling someone else that you are about to
say something incredible or very interesting. "Pantyhose" are the nylon
coverings that women wear on their legs.
I jump in the back seat and I whip it out, and I said "You know what this is?"
In this context, "to whip it out" is the Wizards way of saying
that he quickly took his penis out from inside his pants.
I went and fucked her brains out. She goes wild.
"To fuck a persons brains out" is a vulgar way of saying to have very
passionate (or at least animated) sex with them. In this context, if a person
"goes wild," they yell and scream and have a grand old time.
We call him Doughboy because hell do anything for a buck.
"Dough" is a somewhat dated slang word for money,
and "buck" is still a very common way of saying dollar.
So, hows it hangin?
This is slangy and no longer used. "Hows it going?" is still current.
I heard on the radio some fleet driver
from Bell just got all cut up. :: Stick-up?
A "fleet" of cars is a group of cars that are all associated with the
same business,such as a taxi company. In this case, to be "cut up" is to be
injured after being attacked with knives. A "stick-up" is a robbery that is
almost always done with the use of a gun.
He got cut up by some crazy fucker.
Note the use of "some" which often functions as the indefinite article ("a").
"Fucker" is a very vulgar insult noun to describe a bad person.
You run all over town, dont you?
"To run all over town" is to go to many
different places, in this case as a taxi driver.
You handle some pretty rough customers, dont you?
"To handle" something is to take care of it, and in this case, if the
customers are "rough," they are perhaps tough or potentially violent.
You carry a piece?
A rarely used slang word for a gun.
I know a fellow who can get you a real nice deal.
A "fellow" is another word for guy (more commonly used in England).
A "nice deal" (or good deal) is a common way of saying a good price.
Its a good thing to have just as a threat.
A "threat" is a warning to hurt or punish.
Dig the symbols
"To dig" something is a very slangy and somewhat
dated way of saying to look at it or appreciate it.
I got this at his estate, The Pines.
In this case, an "estate" is the large house or mansion that is left
behind by a person who has just died (Here, by Errol Flynn, a famous
actor who was popular in the 1930s).
Im going to get in my cab and boogie.
Another dated but occasionally still used slang word which
can mean to dance, but often, as here, just means to go.
The mob does that. If a thief screws up on the job, theyll blow his finger off.
"The mob" is a way of referring to the Mafia or organized crime. "To screw up"
something is to do it very badly, or to fail at it. "To blow a persons fingers
off" is to either shoot them directly or perhaps cut them off a persons hands.
Either way, they are destroyed.
If they kill a stool pigeon, they leave a canary on the body. Its symbolic.
A "stool pigeon" is slangy word for a person who tells the police if somebody
else has done something illegal. A "canary" is a type of bird.If something is
"symbolic," it is expressing a certain statement or point of view, without actually
using specific words (Burning a flag in protest is a form of symbolic speech).
I would rather volunteer to her, if you dont mind.
Note that in reality, you can volunteer for a person (Senator Palantine), but not
to a person (In this case, Betsy). But Travis does just that, in his desperate
attempt to get to talk to Betsy instead of Tom.
I dont know exactly what his policies are,
but Im sure hell make a good President.
In a political context, "polices" are the programs and ideas that a
government or administration carries out on the various issues,
from health care to taxes to military spending.
How do you feel about the Senators stand on welfare?
A political "stand" is a persons opinion on an issue.
I see all these phones and all this stuff on your desk,
and that means nothing. I think youre a lonely person.
Note that "stuff" is a over used word for things in general,
in this case the various papers and supplies on Betsys desktop.
I saw in the way that you carried yourself that youre not a happy person.
"To carry oneself" means to behave, often in a certain
way that shows the general attitude of a person.
What do you say?
An interesting way of asking "what do you think of what I just said?"
Im there to protect you. Come on, just take a little break.
"Come on" is the most versatile phrasal verb in English. Here, it simply
means please, or "Im begging you." If a person takes "a break," they stop
working for a short time in order to relax.
After meeting Senator Palantine and seeing Iris
for the first time, things go very badly with Betsy.
15,00 volunteers in New York alone is not bad,
but Christ, the organizational problems.
A common way of expressing frustration, anger or other emotion.
Note this is widely used, and not just by religious people!
I got to get organized. Little things, like my apartment, possessions.
"Possessions" are the physical objects that a person
owns, from books and records to cars and houses.
He does have a few problems. :: I would say hes got quite a few problems.
Note that the addition of "quite" makes the statement
much stronger (i.e....he has a lot of problems).
His energy seems to be in the wrong places.
This is Travis way of saying Tom is a strange person (Betsy
may be thinking a classic phrase: "It takes one to know one").
I could just tell by the way you two were relating
that there was no connection whatsoever.
"To relate" to another person is to communicate with them, or try to
understand them (People often have trouble relating). This is Travis
way of saying that he thinks Betsy and Tom had a bad relationship and
they just didnt understand each other.
I felt that when I walked in, there was something
between us, there was an impulse we were both following.
An "impulse" is a sudden burst of energy, in this case emotional energy.
Here, Travis is trying to convince Betsy that they do have a connection.
With him, I felt there was nothing and I could sense it.
"To sense" something is to feel, detect or understand it.
Where are you from? :: Upstate.
Any part of New York state that is North or East or New York City.
"Hes a prophet and a pusher. Partly true,
partly fiction. A walking contradiction."
A "prophet" is a great religious leader or a person who thinks they
are connected to God. A "pusher" is a colloquial word for a person who
sells illegal drugs, especially to young people. A "contradiction" is a
statement or fact that appears to be logically impossible (Such as "hes
both talkative and shy"). These are words in a song that Betsy likes.
Thats my day off. At first she hesitated.
A workers "day off" is the day that that they dont have to go to work.
"To hesitate" doing something is to be reluctant to do it, or to wait or
pause before agreeing to do it.
This is making me nervous. I think we should have waited for the limo.
Short for a "limousine," which is a very large car in which
a professional driver takes people who sit in the back seats.
I was going to put one of your stickers in my taxi, but the company said its
against their policy. But they dont know anything. Theyre a bunch of jerks.
A "sticker" is a small piece of paper with a message on it that is stuck in
a place where it can be easily seen, such as the bumper of a car. A "jerk"
is a classic insult for a person who is stupid, arrogant, abusive, etc.
What is the one thing about this country that bugs you the most?
If something "bugs" you, it really annoys or bothers you.
He should clean up this city, because this city is like an open sewer.
Its full of filth and scum. Sometimes I can hardly take it.
An "open sewer" is a large pipe where trash and human waste (shit)
is thrown. "Filth" is horrible dirtiness, and "scum" is the filth in
a dirty shower. If a person "cant take it," they can no longer accept
or deal with it because its too disagreeable or painful.
I think the President should clean up this whole
mess here. Just flush it right down the fucking toilet.
This is Travis way of saying the next President should eliminate all
the prostitutes, drug users and others like them on the city streets.
Were going to have to make some radical changes. :: Damn straight.
"Radical" is a political adjective that means complete or fundamental.
As a noun, a radical is on the extreme wing of a political philosophy.
"Damn straight" is a silly way of saying "I completely agree."
Come on baby, this is a real drag. Dont make no scene.
If something is "a drag," it is considered an unfortunate or unpleasant
situation. This is a useful colloquial expression. "To make a scene" is to behave
in such a way, such as screaming or crying, that everyone around takes notice.
You wanna get busted?! Bitch, be cool.
Note that "want to"---> "wanna" in rapid speech. If a person is "busted," they
are arrested or get into trouble for having done something wrong or illegal
(such as selling drugs). "Bitch" is a very crude insult word for a mean woman.
"Be cool" is a slangy way of telling someone to cooperate, or perhaps not make a scene.
You got to be kidding!
If a person is "kidding," they are joking around or not being serious.
This is a dirty movie. :: No, all kinds of couples go here.
One way of referring to a pornographic or porno movie.
My parents were very strict.
If parents are "strict" with their kids, they force them to follow many rules that limit
their freedom, such as a requirement that they be in bed by a certain time each night.
Taking me to a place like this is about as exciting as saying "Lets fuck."
This is Betsys very blunt (direct) way of telling Travis that
she is offended that he took her to a porno movie.
Jesus Christ! I got a taxi.
A common way of expressing anger, frustration or other emotion.
Maybe you had a virus or something. 24 hour virus.
A type of tiny germ or organism that causes infections and diseases.
Please leave! :: Get your hands off of me!
One very direct way of telling a person to stop touching you.
Im calling the cop! Officer!
A "cop" is a widely used slang word for a policeman.
"Officer" is one more way of addressing a cop.
I realized how shes just like the others. Cold and distant.
A person who is "cold and distant" generally
talks very little and is hard to get to know.
Frustrated and angry, Travis decides to arm himself.
Pull over to the curb.
To "pull over" a car is to stop it by the side of the road. The "curb" is
the side of the street by the sidewalk, where people often throw trash.
Cabby, you see that light up there? The one
thats closest to the edge of the building?
A slangy way of referring to a taxi driver (A cab is a taxi).
Thats not my apartment. You know who lives there?
A nigger lives there! How do you like that?
"Nigger" is a horribly racist word to refer to a black person.
Im going to kill her with a 44 magnum pistol.
A well known type of very powerful gun.
You ever see what a 44 magnum does to a womans face?
It will fucking destroy it. Just blow it right apart.
"To blow apart" something is to destroy it by exploding it into tiny pieces.
Did you ever see what it can do to a womans
pussy? Now that you should see.
A vulgar word to refer to womens sexual organs.
You might think Im pretty sick.
Here, "sick" does not mean physically ill, but morally shameful.
I picked up this midget. Very good looking. Italian suits.
Very well dressed. Had a beautiful tall blonde.
A "midget" is a person who is very small, perhaps half the height of a
normal adult. A "good looking" person is physically attractive.
Then I pick up these two fags. They start arguing and yelling. The other
one says "you bitch" and then starts beating him on the head.
"Fag" is a very insulting word for a gay man. "To yell" is to
scream or shout. "Bitch" is a very negative insult word for a mean
or abusive woman. Here, "to beat" a person is to physically attack them.
This is an American free country. Weve got a pursuit of happiness thing.
"The pursuit of happiness" is a famous expression from the American
Declaration of Independence (written by Thomas Jefferson in 1776).
"To pursue" something is to try and obtain it. Note the use of "thing"
after a noun or expression. Common, but slangy and silly.
Youre consenting. Youre adult. But in
my fucking cab, dont go busting heads.
"Consenting adult" is a legal expression that refers to a person who is
agreeing to a certain behavior (such as sex), and is legally old enough to
make that decision. To "bust heads" is a very slangy way of saying to
physically hurt or attack people.
In California, when two fags split up, ones got to pay the other alimony.
If two people "split up," they end an official relationship. Note that
married couples split up, as do rocknroll groups! "Alimony" is the
money that a man is sometimes told that he must pay his wife each month
after they divorce, in order to give her a chance to become financially stable.
I saw a cop chasing this guy. He was on crutches.
Two long sticks with a section that fits under ones arm. They help people
who have difficulty walking, perhaps because they broke a leg.
The cop? No, the dude he was chasing.
A slangy and overused word for guy or fellow.
Got that five you owe me? The man is loaded.
In this context, if a person is "loaded," he has lots of money.
Hows the action around here? :: Pretty slow.
A very general word that in this case refers to business conditions,
or more specifically here, the number of passengers who want taxis.
I figure youve been around a lot. :: Shoot, thats why they call me the Wizard.
"To figure" means to think or believe. If a person has "been around a lot," they
have had a lot of useful or interesting experiences. In this case, "shoot" is a
way of expressing emotion such as happiness or pride. A "wizard" is a very
intelligent man with magical powers.
Things got you down? It happens to the best of us.
"Things got you down?" is a way of asking if a person is depressed
or sad because of things that have happened in their lives.
I envy you, your youth.
"To envy" a person is to wish you had something that they do.
Go on, get laid. Get drunk, do anything.
"To get laid" is a slangy, common and crude way of saying to have sex,
although it is never used when referring to sex with a steady partner.
You got no choice. I mean were all fucked, more or less, ya know.
If a person is "fucked," they are in a very bad or horrible situation.
Crude but not uncommon. Note that "you" ----> "ya" in rapid speech.
Thats the dumbest thing Ive ever heard. :: Its not
Bertrand Russell, but what do you want? Im a cabby.
"Dumb" is another word for stupid. Bertrand Russell
is a famous English philosopher and mathematician.
I dont even know what the fuck you are talking about.
Note that "the fuck" is added to statements (and more commonly,
questions) to express emotions such as frustration or anger.
What do you think of your opponent Goodwins chances in the primary?
An "opponent" is a person or team that you face in a sport, or in this
case, an election. The "primary" election is one in which individual political
parties choose the people who will represent them in the general election, which
is held several weeks or months later.
I think its academic because hes not going to win the primary. I am.
If an argument is "academic," it is not important in the real world,
but only in theory. In this case, Palantine is saying its already
obvious he will win the election against Goodwin.
How do you feel your campaign is going?
A political "campaign" is a series of political, business or military
actions all related to a single big goal (In this case, to win an election).
The people are rising to the demands that I have made of them.
Note that all American politicians love to refer to "the people," even
though people in general have widely varying ideas and viewpoints.
The people are beginning to rule. I feel it as the crowds swell.
"To swell" is to increase or grow rapidly. This is another one of
Palantines silly campaign lines in which he implies the people in
general have all decided to support him.
It will rise to an unprecedented swell in November.
If something is "unprecedented," nothing like it has ever happened
before (In this case, the desire of the people has never been so strong).
Note that November is the month US Presidential elections are held.
June 8th. My life has taken another turn again.
If life "takes a turn," something dramatic happens.
One day indistinguishable from the next.
If two things are "indistinguishable," they are
so similar that one cannot tell them apart.
Hey Travis, this here is Easy Andy. Hes a travelling salesman.
A "travelling salesman" is a person who travels from house to house,
business to business, or perhaps city to city, selling various goods.
44 magnum. It will stop a car at 100 yards and
put a round right through the engine block.
100 yards is the length of an American football field. In this case, a "round"
is a bullet. Easy Andy is saying that the 44 magnum is such a powerful gun that its
bullet will penetrate through a car engine even if it is fired from 100 yards away.
Its a premium high resale weapon.
"Premium" means of the highest quality, and if a gun is a "high resale
weapon," it sells for a high price used because it is such good quality.
I could sell this gun to some jungle bunny in Harlem for
$500, but I just deal high quality goods to the right people.
"To deal" means to sell. This is Easy Andys ridiculous and racist way
of saying that while he could sell guns to black people (jungle bunnies),
he only sells to white people that he thinks he can trust.
That 38, thats a fine gun.
A good adjective meaning good or excellent.
That 38, you go hammer with it all day, you come back,
and it will cut dead center on target every time.
A slangy way of saying that the gun will fire exactly where you
aim it (A target is the precise thing at which a person fires a gun).
Its got a really nice action to it and a heck of a wallop.
A "heck of a wallop" is a slangy way of saying that it has a lot of power.
Its a Colt 25 automatic. It holds six shots
in the clip and one shot in the chamber.
A "25 automatic" is another type of well known gun, and in this case,
a "shot" is another way of referring to the bullets. The "clip" and the
chamber" are two different parts of a gun.
Only a jackass would carry that cannon in the streets like that.
A "jackass" is a very stupid animal, and an insulting word for a jerk
or stupid person. A "cannon" is a very big type of weapon that fires
explosive balls across a battle field, although here, Easy Andy is
just talking about a gun.
Heres a beautiful hand made holster I had made in Mexico.
A "holster" is a leather holder that carries
a gun, that people wear like a belt.
How about dope? Grass, hash, coke, mescaline, downers
"Dope" is a general term for illegal drugs. "Grass" and "hash" refer
to marijuana, "coke" is short for cocaine, and "mescaline" and "downers"
are types of illegal pills. They are all slangy words for illegal drugs.
How about uppers, amphetamines. :: Im not interested in that stuff.
Two more colloquial words for illegal pills.
I can get you a brand new Cadillac with the pink slip for two grand.
A Cadillac is a well known and expensive American car.
The "pink slip" is the piece of paper that proves you own a car.
A "grand" is a colloquial way of saying $1,000 dollars.
I got to get in shape now. Too much sitting has ruined my body.
"To get in shape" is to exercise so that your body becomes
strong and healthy. "To ruin" something is to destroy it.
50 push-ups. 50 pull-ups.
Two types of exercises. With "push-ups," you use your hands to push your
body up and down while on the ground. With "pull-ups," you use your hands
and arms to pull your chin above a bar.
Its getting harder and harder. Its throbbing now.
If something starts to "throb," it beats strongly and quickly
(If your head throbs, it will lead to a bad headache).
All the kings men cannot put it back together again.
A famous line from a novel, that says that even a
man as powerful as a king cannot control all events.
Travis prepares to act as his world turns ever more violent.
Youre a Secret Service agent, arent you?
The secretive branch of the federal government that is best known
for protecting the President and other well known political leaders.
I saw some suspicious looking people over there.
If a person is "suspicious looking," they look like they may be
dangerous or possibly about to do something that is illegal.
I was curious because I think I d be good at it.
If a person is "curious" about something, they are interested
in it. If something is curious, it is odd or strange.
Im very observant. I was in the Marine Corps.
If a person is "observant," they notice what is going on around them,
or little details that others may not see. The "Marine Corps" is the
branch of the US military that is best known for landing on beaches.
I noticed a pin. Its a signal, isnt it?
A small piece of metal that is used to fasten cloth together. A
"signal" is a message that is sent, usually without the use of words.
154 Hippo Avenue. Like a rabbit. Hip, hop.
"Hip hop" is the expression used to describe how
a rabbit jumps or runs from one place to another.
Is there a zip code with that?
The five digit code that helps the mail service deliver the mail.
Thats six digits.
A "digit" is any of the numbers from 0-9.
Im standing here; You make the move.
One way of telling a person to take the first action (In this
case, the first violent action, such as reaching for a gun).
Dont try it, you fuck.
A very aggressive and vulgar insult with very strange grammar
(The 2nd person pronoun "You" followed directly by "fuck" as a noun).
You talking to me?
Well, Im the only one here.
This is one of the most famous lines in the history of the movies, and the
words that made Robert Di Nero a huge Hollywood star. Note that it is a typical
elliptical sentence, with the "Are" missing from the beginning of the question.
You fuckers, you screwheads. Here is a man who would not take it anymore.
A "screwhead" is Travis way of referring to a crazy person, but this
is never used (A screw is a tiny metal part for fastening things together,
and if a person "has a few screws loose," he is considered crazy). If a
person refuses "to take it," he refuses to accept a particular situation.
A man who stood up against the scum, the cunts, the dogs, the filth, the shit.
"To stand up against" someone is to fight or resist them. "Scum" are the
most disgusting or dirtiest or worst people who exist. "Cunt," is an
extremely vulgar word for a womans sexual organs.
Ok, shut your fucking mouth and give me the cash out of your drawer.
In this case, a "drawer" is the narrow container
that contains the money in a cash register machine.
Let me have it. Give me the bread.
A very slangy and somewhat dated way to refer to money.
I aint got a permit for this thing.
A paper document that shows official approval
to do something (In this case to own a gun).
Thats the 5th motherfucker this year.
Another extremely vulgar insult noun.
We, the people, still suffer from unemployment,
inflation, crime and corruption.
"We, the People" are the words that start the US Constitution, and words
that Senator Palantine likes to use in his speeches. "Corruption" is illegal
or immoral behavior, especially on the part of government officials who accept
money in exchange for doing favors.
I cant send you my address
the sensitive nature of my
work for the government demands utmost secrecy.
"Utmost" means the highest level. This is Travis
way of telling his parents why he can never see them.
I have been going with a girl for several months
and I know youd be proud if you could see her.
"To go with a girl" is a casual way of saying to go out with
her in a romantic way, perhaps by going out on lots of dates.
No more will we the people bear the burden of the suffering for the few.
"To bear a burden" is to accept the pain or trouble that goes with a certain
responsibility or situation. This is Palantines way of suggesting he is with
the masses of people against the rich or powerful.
Travis decides to save Iris, whether she wants to be saved or not.
You looking for some action?
A typical way for a prostitute to ask a man
on the street if he is interested in their services.
Officer, I swear Im clean. You gonna bust me for nothing?
In this context, to be "clean" means to have taken no illegal drugs in
the recent past nor to be in possession of them. "To bust" a person is
to arrest them for having done something illegal.
Youre a real cowboy.
The well-known men who took care of cattle (cows) in the old
American West, who went from place to place on horseback.
You can cum on her, fuck her in the mouth, fuck her in
the ass. Shell get your cock so hard shell make it explode.
To "cum" (same pronunciation as "come") is to have
an orgasm. A "cock" is a common slang word for a penis.
But no rough stuff.
A way of referring to activity that is painful or violent.
Catch you later, copper.
"Catch you later" is a very slangy way of saying "see you later."
"Copper" is a ridiculous way of saying cop, or police officer.
Im no cop. :: Well if you are, its entrapment already!
"Entrapment" is a legal word that refers to the action of the police or
government officials to convince a person to commit a crime that they
normally would not have done. If a person can prove that they were in
fact entrapped (seduced!), they cannot be found guilty of the crime.
Im hip. :: Buddy, you dont look hip.
"Hip" is a very slangy way of saying young and modern and fashionable,
or more colloquially, cool. "Buddy" is another word for friend, though
it is often used sarcastically when the speaker doesnt even know the
person they are speaking to.
Looks arent everything.
"Looks" refers to general physical appearance. This is a sad little comment that
one would say to a person who is upset because they know they are not good-looking.
Im timing you, too.
"To time" a person is to see how long they take to do something
(In this case, to make sure Travis has paid enough for Iris).
Remember you got into this Checker Taxi, and that guy
Matthew came by and said he wanted to take you away.
Note that the most common way to enter a car is to "get into" it.
We better make it or Sport will get mad. So how do you want to make it?
In the right context, to "make it" simply means to have sex.
Youre the one who wanted to get out
of here. :: Well I must have been stoned.
If a person is "stoned," they are usually under
the influence of a drug like marijuana.
What do you mean? They drug you? :: Come off it, man!
"To drug" a person is to give them a drug that will make them stoned or
high or confused, often without them knowing that they are taking the drug.
"Come off it" is an excellent colloquial way of telling a person to stop
saying something that is ridiculous or cant be taken seriously.
Shit, man! What the hell is the matter with you?!
"Shit, man" are simply stupid filler words to express anger or frustration,
but this kind of language is very common with certain people. "The hell"
is added to Wh questions to show similar emotion.
They hate me. Why do you think I split in the first place?
In this case, "to split" is a very slangy way of saying to leave.
A girl should live at home. :: Didnt you ever hear of Womens lib?
This is short for "womens liberation," the social movement
that began in the 1960s to give women equal rights with men.
You should be going to school. :: God, are you square.
"God" is often used to show emotion. "Square" is a silly and dated way to
refer to a person who is socially conservative, or more precisely, the
opposite of cool. Note the noun and pronoun are inverted (are you) as a
stylistic way of showing emphasis (You are so square).
Im not square. Youre the one whos square. Youre full of shit, man.
A vulgar insult. If you tell a person that they are "full of shit,"
you are telling them that they are saying nonsense or lies.
You walk out with those fucking creeps and lowlifes and degenerates
out on the street, and you sell your little pussy for nothing, man.
"Creeps, lowlifes" and "degenerates" are all very unpleasant,
immoral or disgusting people who you would prefer to avoid (For Travis,
the pimps who manage prostitutes are the biggest lowlifes).
I dont go screw and fuck with a bunch of killers and junkies the way you do.
"To screw" is to have sex (but much less vulgar than to fuck).
A "junkie" is a drug addict, especially one addicted to heroin.
You call that being hip? What world are you from?
A clever question to ask a person who has said
something that is completely ridiculous.
Im a Libra, too. Thats why we get along so well.
A "Libra" is one of the 12 astrological signs (those signs based on a
persons birthday and the stars). If two people "get along well," they
enjoy being with each other.
Hes also a dope shooter. :: So what makes you
so high and mighty? Will you tell me that?
A "dope shooter" is a dated way of referring to a heroin addict.
If a person feels "high and mighty," they consider themselves
important or perhaps morally better than others.
What are you guys going to do about Sport and that old bastard?
A common insult word for a mean or abusive man.
Sport didnt beat me up once.
To "beat up" a person is to physically attack or hurt them.
Hes the lowest kind of person in the world
Hes the scum
of the earth. Hes the worst sucking scum that Ive ever seen.
"The scum of the earth" is an expression to describe the
most disgusting, immoral or horrible people that exist.
Im gonna go up to one of those communes in Vermont.
A "commune" is a place where a large group of people live together and
share all of their possessions, even though they are not part of the same
biological family. Vermont is small state North of New York.
Youre a Scorpion. I can tell every time.
"Scorpion" is another astrological sign like Libra.
Note that "to tell" can also mean to know or notice.
Im doing something for the government. The
cab thing is just part-time. :: Are you a narc?!
A "part-time" job is one in which the person works much less than
40 hours a week. A "narc" is a police officer who tries to stop
the sale of illegal drugs (narcotics).
God, I dont know who is weirder. You or me.
"Weird" is an excellent word which means very strange or bizarre.
Baby, if you ever liked what you were doing, you wouldnt be my woman.
A ridiculous thing for a pimp to say to a 12 year old prostitute.
Its only you who keeps me together.
"To keep a person together" is to help them to stay emotionally stable.
My whole life has been pointed in one direction.
This is Travis way of saying it has been his destiny or fate to do
one particular thing that will be extremely important or significant.
We are here today at a crossroads; Columbus Circle.
A "crossroads" can be where three or more streets meet at one place,
or more generally, a time in history where there are several possible
directions by which a country can move ahead into the future.
It is appropriate that we meet here today,
because we meet at a crossroads in history.
A useful word meaning correct, acceptable or suitable.
Today, we have reached the turning point.
A "turning point" is a point in time or history when people must
make a big decision to move in a fundamentally different direction.
Go back to your fucking tribe before you get hurt.
A "tribe" is a group of North American Indians, such as the Mohawks.
Get the fuck out of here. :: Suck on this.
A vulgar but grammatically interesting way of simply saying "leave."
"Suck on this" is also a vulgar insult, but in this context has no
You crazy son of a bitch. Ill kill you.
A "son of a bitch" is an insult noun for a mean or abusive person.
I cant say how happy we are to hear that you are well and recuperating.
If a person is "recuperating," they are
recovering or getting better after being sick.
We tried to visit you, but you were still in a coma.
A "coma" is the physical state in which a person is alive and breathing,
but completely unconscious for many days, weeks or longer.
Needless to say, you are something of a hero around this household.
"Needless to say" is a short way of saying "It is not necessary to say this because
it is so obvious, but
" A "household" is a home where one or more people live.
We have taken steps to see that she has never cause to run away again.
When kids "run away from home," they leave at a young age in order to live elsewhere
on their own. Obviously, their parents are usually very upset when they do this.
I want to swap tires...
"To swap" two things is to trade or exchange them. This verb is also used in the
expression "to swap wives," when couples decide to sleep with each others spouses.
I hear Palantine got the nomination.
"The nomination" of a political party is the person who is named to represent
them in a general election against candidates from other political parties.
It was nothing really. I got over that.
In this case, to "get over" something is to forget
about it and move on to other things.
The papers always blow these things up.
If the news media "blows up" a story, they
make it appear more important than it really is.
Just a little stiffness. Thats all.
If a person has "stiffness" in their muscles, they are usually a little
sore or they hurt a little, perhaps because they exercised too much.
Possible Topics for ESL Class Discussion
1. Why is Travis so angry?
2. Have you ever known anybody like him?
3. How would you describe Senator Palantine? Why?
4. Did Travis really save Iris? Did the means justify the ends?
5. What did you like and not like about this movie?