Top 10 Films about Taxi Drivers

Top 10 Films hails a cab to take a look at the best movies to feature taxi drivers. Among them I find a boy racer, superhero, conspiracy theorist, ghost and lonely revolutionary.

We’ve all been in one. Whether it is the iconic yellow taxis of New York City, the black cabs of London town, or the more inconspicuous cars of smaller firms, the public service these drivers perform is one we rely upon day after day. But how have they been depicted in cinema? Martin Scorsese found a lonely one (Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver), Luc Besson found a superhero (Korben Dallas in The Fifth Element), Gerard Pires found a boy-racer (Daniel in Taxi), and Richard Donner found a conspiracy theorist (Jerry Fletcher in Conspiracy Theory). If each character showed very different personal traits they still all have one thing in common: an ability to get you from A to B…some more safely than others…

More Top 10 Films about… Animals In Film | Anti-Heroes | Brits On Holiday | 1980s Childhood Adventure Films | Clowns | Drug Addiction | Girl Power | Marriage | Prostitution

10. Conspiracy Theory (Donner, USA, 1997)

taxi driver films
Twists and turns are aplenty in Richard Donner’s film about taxi driver Jerry Fletcher (Mel Gibson) who knows a few too many government secrets to be left telling the world his conspiracy theories on each and every taxi fare. Cat and mouse adventure ensues with concerned friend Julia Roberts along for the ride.

9. Scrooged (Donner, USA, 1988)

taxi driver films
Bill Murray gets more than he bargained for when he catches a cab in New York City. The unscrupulous TV exec has made enough enemies during his selfish life that he has invited the wrath of Dickens’ ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. It is the Ghost of Christmas Past who whisks him away in a taxi to a simpler time.

8. Taxi! (Del Ruth, USA, 1932)

taxi driver films
The oldest of our taxi driver films Taxi! sees a bunch of drivers forced to band together to battle a ruthless mob intent on dominating the industry. James Cagney stars as one of a group of cabbies who refuse to be bullied by the gang threatening their livelihood.

7. Carry On Cabby (Thomas, UK, 1963)

taxi driver films
The Carry On team put their traditional comic spin on the world of being a “cabbie” and make one of the funniest taxi driver films. It is the tale of a competing husband and wife (Charlie Hawkins played Sid James and Peggy played by Hattie Jacques) who run Speedee Taxis and GlamCabs. When Peggy feels her husband is neglecting her she sets up GlamCabs to spite him only to find the company take off and threaten Charlie’s business. However, Charlie has no clue the taxi firm competing with him is his wife’s.

6. Taxi (Pires, France, 1998)

taxi driver films
I feel the need…the need for speed! That’s what you get in Gerard Pires’ 1998 film Taxi. Daniel works as a taxi driver but really wants to be in a racing car. However, with a supercharged engine under the hood of his road car, he gets his passengers from “A” to “B” in super-quick time. Just remember to wear a seat belt, and for goodness sake, hold on!

5. My Son The Fanatic (Prasad, UK, 1997)

taxi driver films
Om Puri is the taxi driver in Udayan Prasad’s film based on the short story of the same name by Hanif Kureishi. Puri is increasingly troubled by his son’s worrying behaviour after he converts to fundamentalist Islam. As he struggles to make an honest living, he finds solace and friendship in a local prostitute played by Rachel Griffiths. Prescient and honest, this British social drama is both hard-hitting and heart-warming.

4. Night on Earth (Jarmusch, USA, 1991)

taxi driver films
Five taxi drivers and five taxi rides for the price of one. Jim Jarmusch’s film takes place in one night but five separate locations around the world. In Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Rome and Helsinki, five journeys take place as Jarmusch explores the short but somewhat intimate relationships formed between passenger and driver.

3. Collateral (Mann, USA, 2004)

taxi driver films
Jamie Foxx finds himself driving the wrong shift when contract killer Vincent (played by Tom Cruise) enters his cab. It is a big payday for the taxi driver but at what cost. Luckily for Foxx, he equips himself well. So if you’re in need of this kind of chauffeur service (door-to-door transport for each assassination), head to Los Angeles and ask for Max Durocher.

2. The Fifth Element (Besson, France, 1997)

taxi driver films
Scared of heights? Then stay away from Bruce Willis’ flying taxi in a 23rd century metropolis populated by such tall buildings you need airborne public transport to access them. This smart-talking taxi driver is a nice guy who is suddenly thrust into an adventure to save the world. Approach with care…and expect a hefty fare.

1. Taxi Driver (Scorsese, USA, 1976)

taxi driver films
Robert De Niro is the taxi driver in Martin Scorsese’s classic film about a socially malfunctioning loner who turns anti-hero after befriending an underage prostitute. Although the taxi, driven by Travis Bickle, is not the one you really want to get into, there is every chance he’ll help you out of a tight fix if in doing so he can vent his rage onto some unassuming victim. A classic in all senses of the word, Taxi Driver is of course the quintessential movie about those men and women who help us get for “A” to “B”.

Written and compiled by Daniel Stephens.

More Top 10 Films about… Animals In Film | Anti-Heroes | Brits On Holiday | 1980s Childhood Adventure Films | Clowns | Drug Addiction | Girl Power | Marriage | Prostitution

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About the Author
Editor of Top 10 Films, Dan Stephens is usually found pondering his next list. An unhealthy love of 1980s Hollywood sees most of his top 10s involving a time-travelling DeLorean and an adventurous archaeologist going by the name Indiana.

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  1. Chris Reply

    I don’t think there’s any doubt Taxi Driver is the best of the bunch. But there are some great picks amongst the top 10 as well…I’ll have to check out Carry On Cabby and Taxi but I’m a big fan of Fifth Element and Collateral.

  2. Rodney Reply

    Did you ever see that awful Taxi film with Queen Latifah?

    Dear Lord, what a horrendous piece of crap.

    This list is prety sweet though, I totally forgot about Gibson’s Conspiracy Theory flick….. I’d have had Collateral above Fifth Element, though.

  3. Mark Reply

    Another fun list ….

    Speaking of Murray, doesn’t he start Stripes as a taxi driver?

    Carroll O’Conner was a cab driver in Law and Disorder (not a bad little film – directed by Ivan Passer).

    DC Cab? Pretty silly, but it does have an in shape Gary Busey as well as a reverse dolly zoom (with Mr T) that would even make Spielberg’s jaw drop.

  4. Louise Reply

    Really glad to see Carry on Cabbie here. I’m a big fan of the Carry Ons and love an excuse to pop them into a list.

    Maybe not quite a taxi driver but I’m going to give a quick shout-out to Argyle from Die Hard. A small, but perfectly formed, role.

  5. Neal Damiano Reply

    Fantastic list, Dan

    Props to you for putting Taxi Driver as number one, well deserved!!

  6. Evan Crean Reply

    Another amazing list chaps. I would say that my Top 2 favorite cab drivers match up with yours. Travis Bickle may be the ultiamte choice for this list, but I think Korben Dallas is easily the most badass. Too bad all cab drivers aren’t former special forces operatives. Some other cab drives you’d find on my own Top 10 are John Winger (Bill Murray) from Stripes and Cabbie from Escape from New York. Although Winger doesn’t drive a cab for long, he has hilarious tactics for freaking out his fares, and he doesn’t shit from them either. Cabbie (Ernest Borgnine) is loyal and willing to take Snake and company through some incredibly dangerous stretches. He’s the main reason the old school cab in Grand Theft Auto III is nicknamed “The Borgnine.”

  7. ruth Reply

    What a cool Top 10 Dan! I only remember Taxi Driver (d’oh!) and Collateral. I forgot that Gibson played one in Conspiracy Theory, it’s been a while since I saw that one.

  8. Dan Reply

    @Evan: Cabbie from Escape From New York – great shout! :)

  9. Martin C Reply

    Nice picks…love the cab driver in Scrooged!

  10. Pete Turner (@ilovethatfilm) Reply

    Great list! Don’t think I’d have been able to come up with 10! Fell asleep in Conspiracy Theory so if I could think of another, I’d replace Mad Mel. Loved Jamie Foxx in Collateral but there really isn’t any competition for number one here!

  11. Alex Withrow Reply

    Great list! I recently watched Night on Earth for the first time, and I really loved it. Such a perfectly Jarmuschian film.

  12. Mark Reply

    I was thinking about this list again before reading Alex’s above comment, and I’ve come to the conclusion that Night on Earth should arguably pip Taxi Driver at the post for the number one position … this despite the fact I’ve always thought the Scorsese movie was better.

    Aside from the fact the Jarmusch film has a more global outlook for taxi drivers (with that beautiful, heartfelt angst ridden final vignette in, if memory serves me correctly, Helsinki), it wasn’t because he became a taxi driver that De Niro’s Bickle went over the edge (although it didn’t help) – he was already a confused, lonely, pill popping, apricot brandy drinking, porn watching walking time bomb at the start, who essentially took the job on because he couldn’t sleep.

    In other words, Night on Earth was about taxi drivers; Taxi Driver was more about a nut job.

  13. Dan Reply

    @Mark: very good point Mark, one that I tend to agree with. There’s always that battle between relevancy and quality in my top 10 lists but I favour the latter for the number one spot in general.

  14. Chris Reply

    Great list! Haven’t seen Scrooged or Conspiracy Theory in years, I might want to rewatch them. The top 3 are currently in my top 150.

  15. J Vande zande Reply

    Great List. I would have to include the little known film, Sidelong Glances of a Pigeon Kicker… based on a novel by the same name.

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