Released in the year of 1976, Taxi Driver is a Martin Scorsese directed film which starred Robert De Nero. A drama set in New York City, the plot follows Travis Bickle's (De Nero) attempt to reintegrate himself to society after his honorable discharge from the U.S. Marines. .
The terms purification and purge, both are commonly used in medicine and religious actions, are commonly stated in this film. Multiple times in the film, Travis speaks lowly of the city which he calls home. He claims that the streets are forever filled with scum and lowlifes and he wishes to purge the filth out of New York City by any means. Whether by politicians such as Palpatine or by his vigilant hand, he desires the cleansing of the streets. When Travis listens to the one patron who planned to murder his wife for sleeping with another man, Travis then decides that he should take the purification of New York City into his own hands. That was when Travis's own mind set began to deteriorate. Travis' already poor mental stability, combined with the description of what the unnamed taxi rider (Scorsese cameo!) wanted to do with his wife, attributed to the entire vigilante mindset adopted by Travis. He began to believe that he was the cure for the disease of New York City. Relating to the religious usage of the terms purify and purge, Travis began to think that he was a patron saint or guardian angel for New York, therefore he must purify and better his body to fight crime. His downward spiral of mental stability can be attributed to the unruly environment of New York City. So it can be said that Travis was infected by the disease of New York City.
Referring to the "filth " of New York City, the media and how it only glorifies people who go to the extremes is another notable theme of Taxi Driver. After the shootout against the prostitution ring, Travis gains fame on a national level. His story and image are displayed on articles and he is reveled as a hero.