Taxi Driver & 9 More Paul Schrader Best Scenarios, Ranked According To IMDb
Paul Schrader is an American screenwriter, director and film critic. He rose to prominence in the 1970s during the New Age of Hollywood. Over the next few years, he would write, or in some cases co-write, the screenplays for four of Martin Scorsese’s flagship films: Taxi Driver, Angry bull, The last temptation of Christ, and Bring out the dead.
Despite his many memorable and acclaimed films both as a writer and director, Schrader would receive his first Oscar nomination until 2018 for writing the underrated First reformed. Yet his work speaks for itself and remains highly rated on sites like IMDb, cementing his legacy as one of cinema’s most prolific screenwriters.
ten American Gigolo – 6.2
American gigolo is a 1980 neo-noir drama best known as the career-launching film of Richard Gere. It tells the story of Julian Kaye, a dear sex worker in Los Angeles who becomes the prime suspect in a murder case. The film also holds the somewhat infamous distinction of featuring one of the first instances of frontal male nudity in a mainstream Hollywood film.
The film received mixed reviews from critics, but was a box office success. He also presented one of the rock band Blondie’s most successful singles, “Call Me”.
9 Mosquito Coast – 6.6
Based on the 1981 novel of the same name, Mosquito Coast stars Harrison Ford, Helen Mirren and the late River Phoenix. It tells the story of a family that moves from the United States to the jungles of Central America, where they try to find a simpler and happier life. Things turn quickly when the Patriarch becomes erratic and aggressive.
Mosquito Coast is notable for presenting Harrison Ford in a rare antagonistic role. However, it was a box office bomb and received poor reviews upon release. Modern revaluations of the film have been more positive, and it currently owns 76% on Rotten Tomatoes.
8 Light sleeper – 6.8
The second collaboration between Schrader and Willem Dafoe, A light sleeper is a 1992 crime drama film. It focuses on a high-class drug dealer who is involved in a series of tragic events after a chance encounter with a former lover. He co-stars Susan Sarandon and Dana Delany.
A light sleeper received positive reviews from critics, with particular praise for Dafoe’s performance. The film disappointed at the box office, however, but remains highly regarded by critics and moviegoers.
7 Obsession – 6.8
Obsession was one of Schrader’s first films, released the same year as Taxi driver. Directed by Brian De Palma and starring Cliff Robertson, Genevieve Bujold and John Lithgow, it tells the story of a man who falls in love with the exact double of his deceased wife.
Strongly influenced by Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece, fear of heights, Obsession is one of Schrader’s least favorite films. De Palma made substantial changes to the script, which led to Schrader losing interest in the project. Again, Obsession was an unexpected box office success, becoming De Palma’s commercial breakthrough.
6 Affliction – 7.0
Despite its premiere at the Venice Film Festival in 1997, Affliction premiered only in December 1998. Starring Nick Nolte, James Coburn, Sissy Spacek and Willem Dafoe, the film follows Wade Whitehouse, a small town policeman whose obsession with a fatal accident leads him down a lane tragic.
Affliction was a commercial disappointment but received critical praise, especially for the performances of Nolte and Coburn. Both received Oscar nominations, with the latter winning the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.
5 First reform – 7.1
First reformed is one of Schrader’s most critically acclaimed projects. With Ethan Hawke and Amanda Seyfried, it tells the story of a Protestant minister serving as pastor in a declining New York church struggling with its plight.
Critically acclaimed and considered one of the best films of 2017, First reformed earned Schrader his first Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. Hawke’s performance also received numerous accolades, but was sadly snubbed at the Oscars.
4 Blue collar – 7.5
Blue collar was Schrader’s first director. Co-written with his brother Leonard, it stars Richard Pryor and Harvey Keitel. Blue collar is a critique of union practices and a raw portrayal of the working class, somewhat lightened by Pryor’s comedic sensibilities.
The film received universal critical acclaim and was a moderate commercial success. Blue collar is also known for its struggling production. Schrader faced off against the cast, including the two stars, and suffered a mental breakdown that made him think seriously about his career.
3 The last temptation of Christ – 7.5
Widely regarded as one of the most controversial films of all time, The last temptation of Christ was Schrader’s third collaboration with Martin Scorsese. It stars Willem Dafoe as Jesus Christ and describes his life and his struggle with fear, doubt, reluctance and various forms of temptation.
The film underperformed commercially and did not achieve major critical recognition other than Scorsese’s Oscar nomination for Best Director. In fact, the film received a Razzie Award nomination for Harvey Keitel’s supporting performance.
2 Raging Bull – 8.2
Widely regarded as a modern masterpiece, Angry bull is one of Scorsese’s greatest triumphs. With a bravery performance by Robert De Niro, Angry bull focuses on Italian-American middleweight boxer Jake LaMotta, following his troubled and self-defeating personal life.
The film achieved moderate box office success. Critics unanimously praised De Niro’s performance, but criticized the film for its excessive violence. Nonetheless, he received eight 53rd Oscar nominations, winning De Niro his second Oscar.
1 Taxi driver – 8.3
Taxi driver was Schrader’s first project after his scriptwriting debut, The Yakuza. It also marked the second collaboration between Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro, following Middle streets. Set in a morally bankrupt New York City, the film follows the rapidly deteriorating mental state of war veteran Travis Bickle.
Schrader drew inspiration from Arthur Bremer’s diaries, as well as his own experience battling chronic insomnia. A critical and commercial success, Taxi driver received four 49th Oscar nominations, including Best Actor for De Niro. It remains one of the most influential films of all time, inspiring several films to date.
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