Robert De Niro’s costume from Taxi Driver (1976) has been donated to the Harry Ransom Center by director and screenwriter Paul Schrader. The costume includes the boots, plaid shirt, and jacket worn by De Niro in the film.
“The boots are the boots I was wearing when I wrote the Taxi Driver script (along with Western shirts and a leather military jacket),” Schrader said. “The boots fit De Niro, so they ended up in the film. Bob had wanted me to give them to him, but I kept them, as they had sentimental value. When Bob called to tell me he’d given his papers and effects to the Harry Ransom Center, I realized it was time for the Taxi Driver clothes to take their place in the De Niro closet.”
The costume will be available to researchers who visit the Ransom Center.
“This is a great example of how costume contributes to character,” said Steve Wilson, the Ransom Center’s Associate Curator of Film. “We have this plaid, Western, all-American shirt, with a military jacket, because his character is a Vietnam vet. The jacket’s still got the name on the back and the paratrooper patches on the sleeves. It signals to the audience that his character is still attached to the military.”
Schrader wrote many iconic films of the twentieth century, including Taxi Driver and Raging Bull (1980). He also wrote and directed American Gigolo (1980) and Mishima (1985).
The costume joins the Ransom Center’s extensive film collection, which includes the archives of actor, writer, producer Robert De Niro, filmmaker David O. Selznick, screenwriter Ernest Lehman, and actress Gloria Swanson.