Sociological Themes in the “Taxi Driver” Film

Like other forms of artistic expression, movies can serve society, draw public attention to existing problems, and raise ethical questions. Taxi Driver is a movie by Martin Scorsese that tells a compelling emotional story of Travis Bickle, who works in New York as a cab driver after being discharged from the military. The movie discusses the sociological themes of deviance and socialization, showing the world through the eyes of a war veteran who is unable to adjust to a healthy life.

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The problems that people who have been through traumatic experiences face in society are depicted in detail. Travis, who exhibits several symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder after serving as a marine in the Vietnam War, returns to his home city and needs to start a new life. From the beginning of the film, the audience can see how his compromised social skills make it impossible for the protagonist to lead an everyday life.

The main character cannot make friends and fails to start a romantic relationship. Driven to a state of depression and suffering from insomnia, Travis finds comfort in drugs, alcohol, and pornography (Taxi Driver). This tendency, accelerated by several encounters with injustice in society, pushes the protagonist to violent behavior and results in him committing a series of murders. Society needs to provide help to such persons to assist them in their attempts to develop an active lifestyle and become well-adjusted community members.

The movie emphasizes that Travis commits his violent actions without any motives of self-interest. On the contrary, it is his sense of justice that pushes him to turn to violence. Showing that the protagonist is not an evil criminal but a deeply confused and emotionally traumatized individual, the film suggests that violence results from his unaddressed mental condition. It can be assumed that if Travis had received professional help and guidance, his strive for justice would have manifested itself more healthily. The movie draws public attention because millions of people who need rehabilitation and psychological support do not get them. Helpless to solve their problems independently, such individuals fall into unhealthy patterns of behavior and might hurt themselves or others.

The issue of deviance that is developed because of the inability of an individual to socialize and relate to other human beings is a central social message of the film. The protagonist is a war veteran but is it is not completely clear whether his deviant behavior is a result of post-traumatic stress disorder, his childhood, or something else. The events that led to the development of the character’s mental condition are not explained, suggesting that it is not what the audience should focus on. Similar problems with socialization are faced by people with emotional trauma or individuals who are released from mental institutions or correctional facilities. Thus, it is essential to note that such persons need special attention and help to start a healthy life.

The movie Taxi Driver addresses an important social issue discussing the conditions that push poorly socialized individuals to deviant behavior. The film provides a realistic depiction of a life of such a person, showing the protagonist in a state of depression and emotional despair. By drawing attention to this problem, the movie emphasizes the necessity to address the issue, providing the necessary help to people who need it.

Work Cited

Taxi Driver. They were directed by Martin Scorsese, performance by Robert De Niro, Columba Pictures, 1976.

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"Sociological Themes in the "Taxi Driver" Film." StudyCorgi, 2 July 2021,

1. StudyCorgi. "Sociological Themes in the "Taxi Driver" Film." July 2, 2021.


StudyCorgi. "Sociological Themes in the "Taxi Driver" Film." July 2, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Sociological Themes in the "Taxi Driver" Film." July 2, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Sociological Themes in the "Taxi Driver" Film'. 2 July.

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