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The Searchers" and "taxi Driver

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The resemblance amongst the two films "The Searchers" and "Taxi Driver" are apparent in many ways. The influence of Ford's western classic on Scorsese's urban melodrama is projected through each director's presentation of the protagonist to the audience, the plots and themes. In Ford's film the audience is introduced to Ethan Edwards, a man that is neither heroic nor admirable but rather an audacious, isolated war veteran with a strong hatred for savagery, particularly Indians, and a strong sense of frank justice. This same scheme is also found in Scorsese's exhibition of Travis Bickle, a man that is withdrawn from society, mentally and physically, who seeks to rid the streets of New York of its "scum". The character portrayals have established one of the key connections between the two films that allow viewers to recognize the influence of Ford's motion picture on Scorsese's.

The plots also serve as another connection between the films. The key storyline in each film is that of an impassioned war veteran whom is socially out casted that becomes captivated during a search to liberate a young girl and restore her innocence, so that he may reestablish her with society, thus cleansing his own soul in gritty justice. Although, you can see the influences there are definitely some distinct differences in the film that further project how "Taxi Driver" can be perceived as a 1970's reprise of "The Searchers". For instance, Scorsese could not have appealed effectively to an audience if Travis were an actual cowboy, so instead, he conceptualized Travis into a character, more realistic and fitting to the time period and what better than a taxi driver. In deep consideration taxi drivers are modern cowboys being that they come into contact with civilization and savagery amongst their daily journeys.

Along with characterization and plot execution, theme is the third vital connection amongst the two movies. Wandering, loneliness and obsessive searches are at the forefront of important themes in the films and in "The Searchers" opening credits the lyrics "What makes a man to wander? What makes a man to roam? What makes a man leave bed and board [a]nd turn his back on home? Ride away, ride away, ride away" have set the tone for each film. The themes are presented in a manner of forthright realism that captures the audience with violence and high intensity. The violence that ensues is brought forth by, each protagonists deeply rooted hatred for savagery and an intense belief in justice. Thus, the strong resemblances between these two are what clearly establish the influence of John Ford's "The Searchers" on Martin Scorsese's "Taxi Driver".



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