Directors will work with hundreds of actors throughout their career and actors will work with several directors. It is just the nature of the film industry. Sometimes, however, a special relationship forms between an actor and director. The two may have really enjoyed working together and decide to collaborate again. Sometimes, directors like to use the same actors throughout many of their films. When this occurs, the viewers get the benefit of seeing an actor/director relationship grow into more and better collaborations. The flow that exists between the two provides a familiarity between movies, even if they are completely different.
Some of my favorite examples of director/actor collaborations include Tim Burton and Johnny Depp (8 films), Wes Anderson and Bill Murray/Owen Wilson (5/6 films respectively), Coen Brothers and Frances McDormand/Steve Buschemi/John Goodman (6/6/5 films respectively), Sam Raimi and Bruce Cambell (9 films), Robert Rodriguez and Danny Trejo/Antonio Banderas/Salma Hayek/Cheech Marin (8/7/7/7 films respectively), Luc Besson and Jean Reno (5 films), Kevin Smith and Jason Lee (7 films), John Carpenter and Kurt Russell (5 films), David Lean/Alec Guinness (6 films), Rob Zombie and Sid Haig/Sheri Moon Zombie/Bill Moseley (5/4/4) and John Ford/John Wayne (21 films!). In this particular case however, I am talking about Martin Scorsese and Robert DeNiro, who have collaborated on 8 films.
Sadly, of the 8 Scorsese/DeNiro collaborations, I had only seen one the I can remember (Goodfellas). Fortunately for me, three of them are on the AFI 100 Years...100 Movies List, though one of them happens to be Goodfellas. I recently got my act together and watched both of the Scorsese/DeNiro films that are on that list, Raging Bull and Taxi Driver.
Travis comes romantically interested in a campaign worker (Cybil Shephard) but when things don't work out he starts to become more violent. Travis also encounters a young prostitue (Jodie Foster) and becomes angered by the illegal activities taking place around him.
Travis attempts to assassinate a presidential candidate, but is chased away by the [incompetent] secret service before he gets a chance. He decides to go find the young prostitue and save her from the life she is stuck in. He murders her pimp and a couple other men in the vicinity while being shot several times himself.
It is suggested at the end of the film that Travis was labeled a hero and survived the encounter. The ending is interesting though cause it can be interpreted in different ways. One could believe what they see is how it is, but one theory states that Travis had become completely insane at some point in the film and the scenes near the end of the film are figments of his imagination. Another theory is that he simply died during the shootout and the final scenes are his dying thoughts.
It's sometimes nice to have a concrete conclusion to a film, but I enjoy having something to think about and interpret in my own way. I enjoyed Taxi Driver and it's no surprise to me that it was nominated for several Academy Awards, though it didn't win any.
This critically acclaimed film was nominated for eight Academy Awards, winning two for Best Actor (DeNiro) and Best Editing. DeNiro was very dedicated to the role, having both gained 60 pounds for the later years of La Motta's life as well as training with La Motta to be a professional-level boxer. The boxing scenes (there were many) were convincing and I really liked the way they were filmed. A majority of the film takes place through the 40's, and the black and white format fits the tone and time period of the film quite nicely. Another knockout (budum-bum) for the team of Scorsese and DeNiro.