'You Talkin' To Me?' Robert De Niro's 'Taxi Driver' Question, Explained

By Cyn Felthousen-Post
Source: IMDB

The meaning of the line "You talkin' to me?," uttered by Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) in the 1976 film Taxi Driver, is closely tied to the themes of the film as a whole. Directed by Martin Scorsese, Taxi Driver tells the story of a loner whose life, much of it spent behind the wheel of a New York City taxi cab, is unsatisfying. Bickle fantasizes about doing something of consequence -- he has the vague notion of "fighting back" -- and even rehearses his big moment. That's where the line comes in -- some imaginary punk starts giving him a hard time, and Bickle starts talking tough like John Wayne or Clint Eastwood. "You talkin' to me?"