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#50: Taxi v Casablanca (Poll Closed)

Results for this poll have been set to private.
Posted 8 months.


  • Matt, Little Rock - 7 months ago

    I get it, Taxi Driver is a singular vision of a rising auteur and Casablanca is the product of the a studio system that didn't even realize that they had a good movie (much less a great movie) on their hands; but having seen a restored print on the big screen last year, I was struck by how noir Casablanca was...and how subversive.

    Both Travis Bickle and Rick Blaine are anitheroes. Both are seething at a world that is imploding around them. But Bogie has a Bergman; and DeNiro underage Jodie Foster???? Casablanca asks us to wake up ("I bet they're asleep in New York. I bet they're asleep all over America.) and fight for something. Taxi Driver asks us to descend into madness and then sneak out the back door before we are seen as the sociopaths we really are.

    I vote for hope against hopelessness even through the eyes of the hopelessly cynical.

    "Allons enfants de la Patrie,/Le jour de gloire est arrivé!/Contre nous de la tyrannie,/L'étendard sanglant est levé, "!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Gil - 7 months ago

    I'd like to hear Travis Bickle's opening monologue across the first few minutes of Casablanca. But no. I'm sorry, Mr Bickle, I'm not taking to you.

  • There are lots of ways to navigate a Filmspotting Madness crossroads. Here's one: plain and simple, which movie lingers, more persistently, in the brain? Not "which is a better time," "which has a more memorable soundtrack," "which will my kids like more," or "which casts a bigger shadow in film history." No; just an honest, truthful assessment: between two given touchstones, which is more likely to invade my thinking? Which cut a deeper, more indelible groove in my gray matter?

    I enjoy Casablanca and admire it; I understand why it's beloved. It's charming; it's poignant; it's beautiful. I'd hate to part with it. But does it resonate in my thinking the way Taxi Driver does? Maybe Taxi Driver has an insurmountable leg-up simply because, unlike Casablanca, it directly references a world I recognize: it might be four decades old, but it still feels like a genuine meditation on modern life. Spend time alone in a big city without a ton of cash, and it's hard not to relate to haunted atmosphere Scorsese evokes. It's just a frightening enough collision of economic, sexual, racial, and political anxieties to feel even more spooky in 2017.

    They're both wonderful movies, but I'm going to pass on the comfortable chestnut this round. My vote goes to the menacing art film which haunts my dreams.

  • Jackson Ross - 7 months ago

    This matchup is the crossroads that forced me to reckon with how I approach Filmspotting Madness. These are both masterpieces, but if I had to choose one to be lost to history, never to be seen again? You're damn right I'm saving Casablanca. Taxi Driver did its job; that moody score by Bernard Hermann, the unsettlingly internal Robert De Niro performance; I don't need to witness them anymore because they're seeped into my brain, permanently ready to haunt my psyche should the opportunity call for it. But Casablanca? I need Casablanca, I need it for the days when I come home after a long, monotonous day at work. Because in the dictionary, next to the definition of "movie magic" is a picture the eye contact Rick and Ilsa make upon their reunion. Because there's no Hollywood subgenre more delightful than Peter Lorre annoying Humphrey Bogart. If the rules of Filmspotting Madness are true, and everything else is gone forever, well, Casablanca's existence just bodes better for humanity than Taxi Driver's.

  • Gerry Bradley, Calgary AB - 8 months ago

    Wow, what a choice, do you permanently eliminate "You talking to me?" or "Round up the usual suspects!". I think Scorsese deserves to be here, but I believe we can't go on without Paris, so I say, "Play it Sam, you played it for get, you can play it for me."

  • Eric Wooley - 8 months ago

    There's never not a time that I would happily sit down and watch Casablanca​. Add in the importance of the time period it came out and the history around that, plus the fact it might be the most quotable movie there is (certainly among nearly 80 year old movies) and this is easy. It's the most classic classic.

  • Saad Khan - 8 months ago

    Recently heard Paul Schrader describe the concept of Taxi driver coming to him of a dead man in a steel yellow coffin swimming through the gutters of NY city. Plus, it has the best scene ever made "You're talking to me"

  • Dawn Polvorosa - 8 months ago

    Are you kidding. Casablanca should make it to the final round. Anyone who votes against Casablanca just hasn't seen it. This one was easy. Unlike many others.

  • Luke Pamer - 8 months ago

    This was such a no brainier for me, I had to leave a comment. If, as Adam says, only one film can survive, it's got to be Taxi Driver. Casablanca is a great film that leaves you feeling warm. But few films leave you with a feeling of uncertainty and despair the way Taxi Driver does. It's probably due to a lot of films wanting to be remembered for the fond feeling people attach to the viewing, so for Taxi Driver going against the grain and creating such an emotional response from me every time, it deserves to live on.

  • Adrian, Boulder CO - 8 months ago

    I love Scorsese, and let me start by saying that not a single one of his films is a vegetable or oatmeal.
    That said, Taxi Driver has nothing on Casablanca. Short of some David Lean (which by the way, where is he in this madness?), this is in contention for one of the best movies set during war time. No contest. Go home misanthropes (kidding, just talking the film madness talk).

  • I revisited Taxi Driver when it returned to theaters for its 40th anniversary last fall. While as a teen I found Taxi Driver to be a memorable and enjoyable "wow, that was so messed up!" kind of movie, this time I was truly moved. The first time I saw Taxi Driver, my only home had been the idyllic 'burbs, but now that I have lived in New York City for over a decade, the themes of urban isolation and young adult male angst came to life. The screenwriter confessed that the film was somewhat autobiographical, and undoubtedly many a cynic has watched Taxi Driver and felt an uncomfortable degree of identification with Bickle's repressed frustration over the dirtiness of this horribly imperfect world. Musically and visually, Taxi Driver crushes, and let me admit that I have long suspected De Niro of being a shade overrated, but his performance here is so brilliant that if his only other turn were as the titular lead in Dirty Grandpa (God help us), I would consider De Niro a genius for Travis Bickle alone.

    Perhaps I am a victim of popular perception and the worship of a culturally-deemed classic here, but I did go with Casablanca despite not having seen it in many years. In college, I took a Hitchcock class with Andrew Sarris, and in it he casually mentioned that he had seen Casablanca about one hundred times. The dialogue, he said, was so perfect that he could still hardly believe it. Given that I can still quote the ending almost word-for-word, I'd say the man had a point. Many of the films left in the contest, including Taxi Driver, The Godfather, and Star Wars, can seem cliche to the point of being almost cheesy these days. This is true for Casablanca perhaps more than any other film remaining, but then I remember that scenes like the ending of Casablanca seem almost cliche because this movie itself is so FREAKING AMAZING that the waves of its impact have come full circle to render it cliche. Casablanca *is* the cliche - no, Casablanca *is* the archetype, and it is moving on to the next round.

  • Eddie (Reseda, CA) - 8 months ago

    Travis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful meltdown.

    Taxi Driver is probably the greatest American film. Sorry Curtis, Bogey, Bergman!

  • Bernd Linhart - 8 months ago

    When Casablanca happens to be on TV, I ain't leaving the house even though I own it on DVD. Can't say the same for Taxi Driver. I have to drink a beer, a glass of wine or a xanax before sitting and watching Taxi Driver. No I don't have to get or-gan-nized because I'll always have Paris.

  • Bernd Linhart - 8 months ago

    When Casablanca happens to be on TV, I ain't leaving the house even thought I own it on DVD. Can't say the same for Taxi Driver. I have to drink a beer, a glass of wine or a xanax before sitting and watching Taxi Driver. No I don't have to get or-gan-nized because I'll always have Paris.

  • Jesse Rivers - 8 months ago

    Taxi Driver has been my favorite film since I saw it twenty years ago (I'm not sure what that says about me). And I truly believe Scorsese to be the greatest to ever do it. It's difficult to imagine a world without Taxi Driver. But I'm a humanist and I'm voting Casablanca for the good of mankind. How can we deprive future generations of the greatness that is Bogart and Bergman delivering that wonderful dialogue? Casablanca is the reason that movies exist. I already hate myself for doing this, but I'll take a bit of solace in knowing that Goodfellas has a chance to make it to the Finals. Goodfellas vs. Casablanca? Oh my....

  • Billy Ray Brewton - 8 months ago

    I know I'm in the minority here, but TAXI DRIVER has never been one of my favorite Scorsese films. I have a difficult time engaging with it. CASABLANCA, on the other hand, never loses its appeal. It's a timeless love story that continues to compel audiences all these years later. There's a reason it's most people's go to #2 on those "Best of All-Time" lists. There's a reason it's quoted so often. It's just a damned fine piece of film. I have a hunch TAXI DRIVER is going to take this one, but I hope Sam plays it into at least one more round.

  • Brendan Carroll - 8 months ago

    This is a no-brainer, Taxi Driver all the way. I had no idea the direct influence on Pulp Fiction until I read this a few days ago and it blew my mind. Especially interesting if they wind up facing off.

  • Ben Frazell - 8 months ago

    "You talkin' to me?" vs. "Here's looking at you, kid." Cynicism amidst the darkness vs. idealism in a time of war. De Niro vs. Bogart and Bacall. It's a tough choice. Since the voters seem to be throwing out the classic films (Rio Bravo, The Apartment, Singin' in the Rain), I'll vote for older classic.

  • W. David Lichty - 8 months ago

    Because the film's timing with relation to the war, the labyrinthine way in which it came to its perfection, and its place in film history are completely unessential to its continued greatness as a movie to both experience, and think about, it's the pick.

    Next to Casablanca, Taxi Driver is pretty good.

  • Steve Kimes - 8 months ago

    DeNiro's riveting performance, a build up toward eye-popping instability, or a bunch of people mildly talking about how great Paris used to be. Guys... Paris was never all that great.

  • Daniel- Nashville, TN - 8 months ago

    "We'll always have Paris."
    Not anymore.

  • Chris Massa - 8 months ago

    Taxi Driver is a masterpiece of angst and pent-up rage, an absolute masterclass in every aspect of filmmaking, one of the greatest movies ever made about the descent of contemporary masculinity... and I'm voting against it. Why? Because, at least for this round, I don't want to live in a world without Casablanca. It's that simple.

  • Felix, Anchorage AK - 8 months ago

    Of all the film polls in all the towns in all the world, I had to take this one?!

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