So What Did Siskel & Ebert Think Of Taxi Driver? (1976)

The first thing that struck me when watching this clip from “Opening Soon at a Theater Near You” was the realization that I couldn’t avert my eyes from Gene Siskel’s epic moustache. The second thing that hit me was how much Siskel seems to have despised Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver, in particular he was turned off by the brutal violence in the film.

This clips comes to us courtesy of Henry Conway007’s YouTube channel and as you can see from the image above this was when Siskel and Ebert were hosting the monthly Chicago only TV show that by the next year would become Sneak Previews and be carried nationwide thanks to PBS.


Editor at Retroist
Searching through the alleys for useful knowledge in the city of Nostalgia. Huge cinema fanatic and sometimes carrier of the flame for the weirding ways of 80s gaming, toys, and television. When his wife lets him he is quite happy sitting in the corner eating buckets of beef jerky.

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3 thoughts on “So What Did Siskel & Ebert Think Of Taxi Driver? (1976)

  1. Dar says:

    I admired Siskel’s deep sense of morals and almost traditional sensibilities. I respected that even up to his death he believed in certain moral principals for movies.

    Ebert too, but Ebert was a bit more open-minded likely.

  2. Absolutely, Dar. I remember Ebert talking about the passing of Siskel and said that Gene thought the best movie of 1998 was Babe: Pig In the City, he wasn’t poking fun at his co-host but trying to point out I think that he preferred more gentle films. :)

  3. Atari Adventure Square says:

    Truly agree Dar and Vic.
    Though, while I appreciated and respected Siskel’s detailed emotional opposition to content, I often sided with Ebert’s more objective stance on edgier material.
    Such polarizing films (Cameron’s Aliens comes to mind, where Siskel despised the child-in-peril ending) tended to push the boundaries and create new and exciting cinema.

    Indeed, there was something comforting about Gene Siskel’s defense of the cinematic experience, in that the communal journey of a great film is best when it reminds us of the good in humankind.

    But as a late teen/young adult, Ebert’s rebellious acceptance of the use of shock in movies fed my desire to explore the thinking behind the use of any elements in a movie to elicit reactions, while remaining faithful to an underlying theme.

    For example, I’ll always be grateful Ebert gave a raving four-star review to 1979’s Dawn of the Dead, going into detail about the benefits of shock and horror in a movie rich with social commentary.
    That review fed my deep respect and love for that film, as it spoke so eloquently about perceived hidden meanings that my film friends easily dismissed.

    They are both sorely missed. It’s great that their past reviews can still be seen today.

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