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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

directed by Martin Scorsese
USA 1976

 

What can be said about Taxi Driver that hasn't been said in its almost 30 years of existence ? Nothing, except that it's probably one of the best films ever made, a well deserved Palme d'Or at Cannes and a true modern classic. Paul Schrader, Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro tell the loneliness and drifting of Travis Bickle, a Vietnam veteran with no purpose, no dreams, nothing except a sleeping anger towards the world and the people around him. Travis can't sleep at night and chooses to work as a nocturnal taxi driver.

Travis' state of mind and his work allow Scorsese to show a side of New York that's progressively darker and darker, with the help of Michael Chapman's gorgeous photography and Bernard Hermann's haunting last score, from the classy campaign HQ to the dirty streets where 12-year-old hookers (young Jodie Foster, incredible) are beaten up by their pimp (Harvey Keitel, amost unrecognizable). Travis becomes more and more self-centered, destructive and mad (the famous "You talking to me ?" scene is a powerful example of it) and finally decides to act and to kill the ones that prevent him from being happy with the girls of his life.

I won't tell the end for those among you who haven't seen this masterpiece yet, but I'll say this : it's unconventional, unexpected, with a strange twisted sense of irony and a false calm that makes us think that nothing has changed, that Travis is still the same. Nothing is simple, nothing is bright or dark in Taxi Driver, an extremely powerful film about loneliness and redemption. Maybe Scorsese's best film and De Niro's best performance, both next to Raging Bull.

Fabe Ashen

Posters

Theatrical Release: February 8th, 1976

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Comparison:

Gaumont Columbia Tri Star (Collector's Edition) - Region 2 - PAL vs. Columbia Tri Star (Collector's Edition) - Region 1, 3, 4 - NTSC vs. Sony Pictures (Two-Disc Collector's Edition) - Region 1- NTSC vs. Columbia Tri Star (Superbit) - Region 2 - NTSC vs. Sony - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Fabe Ashen and Gary Tooze and Mark Wilson for the Screen Caps!

1) Gaumont Columbia Tri Star (Collector's Edition) - Region 2 - PAL - TOP LEFT

2) Columbia Tri Star (Collector's Edition) - Region 1, 3, 4 - NTSC - TOP RIGHT

3) Sony  (2-disc Collector's Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM LEFT

4) Columbia Tri Star (Superbit) - Region 2 - NTSC - BOTTOM MIDDLE

5) Sony - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM RIGHT

 

DVD Box Covers

Distribution

Gaumont Columbia Tri Star

Region 2 - PAL

Columbia Tri Star
Region 1, 3, 4 - NTSC

 

 

   

   

Sony Pictures (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)

Region 1 - NTSC

Columbia Tri Star
Region 2 - NTSC

Sony Pictures

Region FREE - Blu-ray

Distribution

Gaumont Columbia Tri Star

Region 2 - PAL

Columbia Tri Star
Region 1, 3, 4 - NTSC

Sony Pictures (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)

Region 1 - NTSC

Columbia Tri Star
Region 2 - NTSC

Sony Pictures

Region FREE - Blu-ray 

Runtime 109mn 1:53:40 1:53:36 1:53:49 1:53:48.822
Video

1.85 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.34 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.85 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 4.55 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.85 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.67 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.85 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: ? mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,035,571,734 bytes

Feature: 29,532,616,704 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 24.03 Mbps

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Gaumont Columbia Tri Star (Collector's Edition)

 

Bitrate:

Columbia Tri Star (Collector's Edition)

 

Bitrate: 

Two-Disc Collector's Edition

Bitrate:

 

Blu-ray

 

Audio English (Dolby Digital Surround 2.0), French, German (Dolby Digital Mono 2.0)

English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)

English (Dolby Digital Surround 5.1,), DUB: French (Dolby Digital Surround 5.1,)

English (Dolby Digital Surround 5.1, DTS), (English 2.0 dual mono)

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2154 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2154 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio French 2167 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2167 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio Portuguese 2170 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2170 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Subtitles English, French, German, none English, Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, Thai, none English, French, Spanish, none English and Japanese English, English (SDH), Chinese, French, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai, and none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Gaumont Columbia Tri Star

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85

Edition Details:
• Making of (71 mn)
• Original Screenplay
• Still Gallery with commentary by Laurent Bouzereau
• Storyboards
• Theatrical Trailer
• Cast and crew filmographies

DVD Release Date: 19 October 1999
Keep case

Chapters 28

Release Information:
Studio: Columbia Tri Star

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85

Edition Details:
• Making of (71 mn)
• Original Screenplay
• Photo Gallery
• Advertising materials
• Filmography

 

DVD Release Date: June 15, 1999
Keep case

Chapters 28

Release Information:
Studio: Sony Pictures

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85

Edition Details:
• New Feature-length Commentary by Writer Paul Schrader
New Feature-length • Commentary by Professor Robert Kolker

• Original Screenplay Read Along
Disc 2

• "Martin Scorsese on Taxi Driver" Featurette (16:49)

• "Producing Taxi Driver" Featurette
• "Influence and Appreciation" Documentary
Robert De Niro, Oliver Stone, Roger Corman and others pay tribute to Scorsese and the film
• "God’s Lonely Man" Documentary
• "Travis’ New York Locations" Featurette
Storyboard to Film Comparisons with Martin • Scorsese Introduction
"Taxi Driver Stories" Featurette
"Making Taxi Driver" Documentary
• Animated Photo Galleries
"Including • Scorsese at Work" Photo Montage

 

DVD Release Date: August 14th, 2007
Custom Digipack slipcase (see image above)

Chapters 28

Release Information:
Studio: Columbia Tri Star

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85

Edition Details:
• No extras

 

DVD Release Date: 22 June 2005
Amaray

Chapters 28

Release Information:
Studio: Sony Pictures

 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,035,571,734 bytes

Feature: 29,532,616,704 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 24.03 Mbps

 

Edition Details:
• movieIQ
• Original 1986 Commentary with Director Martin Scorsese and Writer

Paul Schrader recorded by The Criterion Collection
• Interactive Script to Screen
• Feature Length Commentary by Writer Paul Schrader
• Feature Length Commentary by Professor Robert Kolker
• Martin Scorsese on Taxi Driver (16:52 in 1080i)
• God's Lonely Man (21:42 in 1080i)
• Producing Taxi Driver (9:53 in 1080i)
• Influence and Appreciation: A Martin Scorsese Tribute (18:30 - in 1080i)
• Taxi Driver Stories (22:23 in 1080i)
• Making Taxi Driver (1:10:55 in 480i)
• Travis' New York (6:16 in 1080i)
• Travis' New York Locations (9 - 4:49)
• Storyboard to Film Comparisons with Martin Scorsese (intro: 4:32 - 8:21)
• 4 Photo Galleries (9:28 in total - 1080i)

 

Blu-ray Release Date: April 5th, 2011
Custom thick cardboard Digipak

Chapters 16

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Sony - Region FREE Blu-ray - March 2011: This 1080P transfer is richer and has much better contrast than any of the previous DVDs. I always liked the Super-Bit DVD from Japan but this HD appearance is far in advance looking so much more film-like with textured grain and an authentic thicker and heavier appearance. There is some yellow/gold in there (taxi cab?) and I think this would be an intentional look. This is, most likely, the same transfer offered around the world. There is a shade more information in the frame from the older SD renderings and overall this Sony Blu-ray produces a mesmerizing visual and aural experience. 

Speaking of which - the soundtrack is, in my opinion, such a large part of this film's immersive experience. We are talking Bernard Herrmann in a seething, unforgettable work transferred in lossless via a DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 2154 kbps. The rhythmic tapping of the drum to slow motion visuals is... some of the most memorable in all of cinema. Taxi Driver is a film that never seems to deteriorate in viewing value and the bass response, crispness and power of the track is exported in just the right proportions. This is a score that could easily overtake - but simply remains potent - supporting tone and mood with undeniable proficiency. It sounds flawless and there are optional subtitles and foreign language DUBs offered on the region FREE Blu-ray disc.

Fabulous extras that offer the original 1986 Commentary with Director Martin Scorsese and Writer Paul Schrader recorded by The Criterion Collection for their LaserDisc. This is a fabulous addition - plus there are separate commentaries by Schrader (plenty of pauses but great info) and another by Professor Robert Kolker (both available previously on the 2-disc Collector's Edition DVD.) Repeated but more efficiently on Blu-ray is an 'Interactive Script to Screen' where you can read the script in a smallish window as the film runs. We get the previously offered Martin Scorsese on Taxi Driver  for 16:52, God's Lonely Man for 21:42, Producing Taxi Driver for almost 10-minutes and the Influence and Appreciation: A Martin Scorsese Tribute documentary with Robert De Niro, Oliver Stone, Roger Corman and others paying tribute to Scorsese and the film for shy of 20-minutes - all in 1080i. Also included in HD are the same Taxi Driver Stories (running 22:23) - "Travis’ 9 New York Locations" Featurette and the extensive 70-minute Making Taxi Driver in 480i. There are the Storyboard to Film Comparisons with a 4.5 minute intro from Martin Scorsese and the piece itself running 8:21. Lastly, on the digital front are 4 Photo Galleries (9:28 in total - in 1080i) and this disc has 'movieIQ' optional on your viewing if you have an Internet connection to your player . It is described as - "movieIQ takes advantage of Gracenote’s Video Explore solution, which brings powerful search and navigation capabilities to connected consumer electronic devices. Video Explore allows users to search the online Gracenote video database, linking together related cast, crew, movies, TV episodes, franchises, seasons, DVDs, and Blu-rays. Gracenote’s global Video database contains rich video information for North America, Europe, and Japan, including factual metadata, synopses, credits, and detailed descriptive elements." The case is a thick, heavy cardboard Digi-pak with 12 Photo-cards (postcard size) of image from the film - they are quite nice.

NOTE The subtitles for the commentaries are not accessible as they are on the DVD (see samples below).

It seems that I reach for Taxi Driver on my collection shelf more often than any other film. In this absolute package Sony are offering this masterpiece at an incredibly reasonable price. It has our highest recommendation and with immense value will, undoubtedly, be represented in our year-end picks for Blu-ray of the Year. The disc is worth the lossless track alone. Buy with extreme confidence. This is one of the best new-format deals I've ever seen.   

***

ON THE DVDs:

ADDITION: Sony 2-disc CE August 07': A pleasant surprise has the new 2-disc Collector's Edition from Sony looking very much like the Japanese SUPERBIT release. Colors are matched up fairly well although they are a shade cooler in the Sony region 1 edition (minutely darker). Artifacts are still in existence but we may not see them totally free-up until the title reaches the new formats (in this case Blu-ray). Still this looks very good and seems to show the most information in the frame. So the image is a huge plus - exceeding my expectations - but perhaps even a bigger selling feature are the extensive supplements.

Audio has a 5.1 track and an optional French 5.1 DUB. This is one area that the SUPERBIT excels - as well as a 5.1 it has a DTS and 2.0 English track.

The extra features of the Sony are fabulous. Two excellent new commentaries - the first from screenwriter Paul Schrader details many interesting facts of how Scorsese adapted/translated Paul's his script. I love listening to Schrader who always impresses me with his keen intellect and valuable insights. There is a second commentary by Robert Kolker - Professor, Film Studies & Digital Media at Georgia Institute of Technology. This is a more academic and intensive look at the film as one might find on a Criterion label - themes and symbols are discussed and it is very professional.  The bonus about these commentaries are that they have optional English subtitles. BFI have used this in the past and I hope Criterion, Warner and other DVD production companies start to incorporate this feature. Also on disc one we have an organized shooting screenplay (not the continuity screenplay) - some may be keen to check this out as it has scenes that are NOT part of the final film version.

The second disc seems endless - a real pleasure to indulge yourself in - I had trouble believing it could fit on a dual layered DVD! It ends up being almost 3 hours of supplemental featurettes, storyboard comparisons and documentaries... and all aside from the Making of... are 16X9 enhanced. Wow - where to start - "Martin Scorsese on Taxi Driver" is about 17 minutes long and Scorsese gives a decent production overview crediting Schrader quite a lot for the projects success. There are seven other featurettes (most around 10-20 minutes in length) with a lot of the main cast (De Niro, Cybill Shepherd, Peter Boyle, Albert Brooks etc.) giving sound bites, but the big documentary is the one from the previous Region 1 releases - the Making of... which I actually enjoyed watching a second time. There is also a gallery and two segments on storyboarding the film. NOTE: The 2nd disc has many more optional subtitles (than the main disc) - English, Japanese, Spanish, Korean and Portuguese - and is also coded for region 1,2,3 and 4 preparing for releases of these supplements elsewhere.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Great deal folks - one of the best releases of the year considering what you are getting for your dollar value. With the image further corrected from the, often, (too) bright SUPERBIT - the only thing we could have asked further is removal of the artifacts which may happen one day in Blu-ray. My old Criterion laserdisc has some strong extra features but the two new commentaries (both excellent) and additional featurettes are worth the price alone even if the image had not been improved - which it has in my opinion. I really enjoyed the whole disc and feel like viewing it all over again right now. An important film and essential DVD... highly recommended! 

 - Gary Tooze

***

NOTE: the Region 1, 3, 4 NTSC and Region 2 PAL releases are very similar in appearance and features ('Stills Gallery' commentary omission on the NTSC) - see comments below:

***

This is another case of image VS extras : if you know which one you prefer, you'll know right away what version to pick. The Superbit offers a much better image quality : apparently mastered (hopefully in HD) from another source than the Collector's Edition (CE), this Japanese edition sometimes shows some cropping on the left and bottom of the frame (see set of captures 1 and 2), sometimes gives a bit more on the same sides of the frame (see set of captures 4 and 5). It also seems to have a similar sharpness than the CE, but colors and contrast are much more satisfying and seem more accurate on the Superbit than on the washed out CE. Soundwise, the remixes make Bernard Hermann's score more enveloping than the poor surround mix from the CE, and the DTS has the edge with better low frequencies. But considering the film, it can't be explosive or reference material.

Now, on the extras side, the Superbit is of course the big loser, with none of the excellent supplemental material from the CE 'sincluded, although even this one omitted the amazing audio commentary from the Criterion Laserdisc.

 - Fabe Ashen

TAXI DRIVER - The early Columbia/Sony DVD was a catastrophe and the U.S. Collector's Edition did not update the awful image as seen through the opening steam with an insane amount of digititis, though Scorsese had a Dolby SR remix done on the film for theatrical re-issue which was transferred weakly as Dolby 2.0 Stereo for that successor. Neither could compete with the fine color on the old 12" Criterion LaserDisc. The SUPERBIT edition is cleaner, warmer and has DTS. A closer look at it versus the old Criterion version would better demonstrate how accurate the colors are, which may or may not have slight yellow/green issues. As the Divimax HALLOWEEN proved, you can have a clearer transfer and all the wrong colors. Can we get Scorsese's great Criterion commentary someday on DVD?

 -Nicholas Sheffo from FulvueDrive-In.com

It is hard to know which colors are the most accurate representation of the film. To me, the green army jacket in the CE's seems to be more 'true' to ones I have seen in real life. The SuperBit is definitely brighter and even beyond that I think it is marginally sharper as well. I believe the commentary on "Stills Gallery' of the PAL is in French so of no use to those who only understands English. This film needs an NTSC re-release soon!

 - Gary Tooze

 



2-disc Collector's Edition package

 

 

DVD Menus


(
Gaumont Columbia Tri Star (Collector's Edition) - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT vs. Columbia Tri Star (Collector's Edition) - Region 1, 3, 4 - NTSC - RIGHT)
 

 

Sony  (2-disc Collector's Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT Columbia Tri Star (Superbit) - Region 2 - NTSC - RIGHT)

 

 
 
 
 
 

 

DVD disc 2

 

Sony - Region FREE - Blu-ray


 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE BELOW TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Sony Subtitle Samples

 

1) Sony  (2-disc Collector's Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Sony - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

Paul Schrader commentary:

 

 

 Robert Kolker commentary:

 

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Gaumont Columbia Tri Star (Collector's Edition) - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Columbia Tri Star (Collector's Edition) - Region 1, 3, 4 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Sony  (2-disc Collector's Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC THIRD

4) Columbia Tri Star (Superbit) - Region 2 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) Sony - Region FREE - Blu-ray - FIFTH

 

 


1) Gaumont Columbia Tri Star (Collector's Edition) - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Columbia Tri Star (Collector's Edition) - Region 1, 3, 4 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Sony  (2-disc Collector's Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC THIRD

4) Columbia Tri Star (Superbit) - Region 2 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) Sony - Region FREE - Blu-ray - FIFTH

 


1) Gaumont Columbia Tri Star (Collector's Edition) - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Columbia Tri Star (Collector's Edition) - Region 1, 3, 4 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Sony  (2-disc Collector's Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC THIRD

4) Columbia Tri Star (Superbit) - Region 2 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) Sony - Region FREE - Blu-ray - FIFTH

 


1) Gaumont Columbia Tri Star (Collector's Edition) - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Columbia Tri Star (Collector's Edition) - Region 1, 3, 4 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Sony  (2-disc Collector's Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC THIRD

4) Columbia Tri Star (Superbit) - Region 2 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) Sony - Region FREE - Blu-ray - FIFTH

 


1) Gaumont Columbia Tri Star (Collector's Edition) - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Columbia Tri Star (Collector's Edition) - Region 1, 3, 4 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Sony  (2-disc Collector's Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC THIRD

4) Columbia Tri Star (Superbit) - Region 2 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) Sony - Region FREE - Blu-ray - FIFTH

 

 


1) Gaumont Columbia Tri Star (Collector's Edition) - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Columbia Tri Star (Collector's Edition) - Region 1, 3, 4 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Sony  (2-disc Collector's Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC THIRD

4) Columbia Tri Star (Superbit) - Region 2 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) Sony - Region FREE - Blu-ray - FIFTH

 


1) Gaumont Columbia Tri Star (Collector's Edition) - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Columbia Tri Star (Collector's Edition) - Region 1, 3, 4 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Sony  (2-disc Collector's Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC THIRD

4) Columbia Tri Star (Superbit) - Region 2 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) Sony - Region FREE - Blu-ray - FIFTH

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

 

 

   

   

Sony Pictures (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)

Region 1 - NTSC

Columbia Tri Star
Region 2 - NTSC

Sony Pictures

Region FREE - Blu-ray


Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Blu-ray




 

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