The Grotesque Viewing of the Vietnam War Portrayed in “Taxi Driver”. The Vietnam War Essay Example

  • Category: Modern Wars, War,
  • Words: 983 Pages: 4
  • Published: 15 April 2021
  • Copied: 161

Being the first televised war, everyone's view of war changed. The Vietnam War is known for being the first truly televised war because the news was able to come to the front lines. At the same time as the war there began “advances in video and audio recording enabled both easier and more news coverage” (“Vietnam: the first television war”). In comparison to other wars, before they were showing more graphic and frontline action. For something new, it drew high views bringing more and more media to go record the war. Since the showing of wars was so new, it would bring much attention and was a good time to release such a gory film as Taxi Driver (1976). Everyone's perception of war had never been as gory and grotesque as watching the Vietnam War.

Everyone watching the war then needed to see uncensored films to help suit their post-war mood. The Vietnam War influences Martin Scorsese’s film Taxi Driver to show the realities of the soldiers when returning from war through the character Travis Bickle. The Vietnam War influenced Martin to show Americans’ true state after going through the war; by showing New York's harsh and toxic atmosphere after the war. In this essay, Taxi Driver considers a film influenced by the media's grotesque showing of the Vietnam war, and the effects it had on those who watched and those in the war. 

Before the Vietnam War, nothing as grotesque has shown live on TV. In the book (“The Modern Warfare- The Vietnam War- The Tet Offensive 1968”) it says, “full glare of international media” …" first started during Vietnam war” … “perceptions of conflict to a far greater extent.” As the media started to go international about the Vietnam war. The perceptions of conflict grew more than intended. Viewers became highly invested in the war and the action involved. In (“Vietnam: the first Television War”) it says for the media to do well they had to show “on-site coverage of the war in Vietnam” because it was the truth, unlike anything shared on television. As the viewers became highly invested, Martin intends for the film to fulfill their need for goriness.

The film Taxi Driver known for blood and the harsh scene at the end with the killings and the freedom of Iris from prostitution. The movie rated R for blood and had to make changes to get the rating R. After the war and while Martin was writing the movie there was a need from the audience to fulfill their post-war mood. He fulfills the need and now the movie is known highly and recognized by many.  

While the Vietnam war views were high during the war, from its goriness, not much shows of the effects after the war. Soldiers began to develop problems such as homelessness, PTSD, and the ability to join in everyday life. Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver, a soldier previously in the Vietnam war, is in New York City trying to incorporate himself back into normal life.  Travis is almost always wearing his military jacket and shows hardly without him wearing it. His jacket represents his draw to his time in the war. It shows how connected he is to serving and how it will forever be a part of him. Travis when going on a date with Betsy takes her to an adult cinema leaving Betsy disgusted with Travis.

It shows his withdrawal from society and how hard it is for him to just be a normal citizen. While on the coffee date with Betsy he proceeds to talk badly about her co-worker saying, “he has quite a few problems”. He cannot determine what is right to say and what is immature. He likely has some type of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and shows it in his everyday life and interactions. From the film, Martin’s influence from the awful showing of the war helps bring light to the aftermath of the soldiers and how they were truly.  

After watching many fellow Americans die while turning on the news, a big controversy began in the U.S as to what was taking so long and why so many people have died (“Digital History using new technologies to enhance teaching and research”). The public's faith in authority began to decrease causing a strife in the country. Martin felt the need to show Americans the true state of being and how they are feeling after the war. Through the character Travis Bickle, he returns from war to America that he feels not worth fighting for. Travis shows his distrust in the government with his scheming to kill the senator. He takes his distrust in the government and puts it onto himself to fix the problems around him.

According to (“The Modern Warfare- The Vietnam War- The Tet Offensive 1968”) “the fighting was beamed into American homes in glorious colors and there could be no hiding that something had gone drastically wrong with US foreign policy”. American became split with pro-war supporters and anti-war supporters (“Vietnam: the first Television War”). It caused friction among Americans and many protests began to break out. As the war is becoming more viewed, people begin to realize how much was wrong with U.S policy that they wanted to. In Taxi Driver, the New York atmosphere is Americans’ current state after the Vietnam War.  

With the media’s grotesque portrayal of the Vietnam War, it affected not only the soldiers, but Americans’ faith in America and the viewer’s need for goriness to suit their post-war mood. Being the first televised war and the media is on the front scenes, such grotesque and horrifying things are shown as never before. Martin and the film Taxi Driver were influenced by the media's portrayal of the war. The movie was in sync with America's post-war mood and was exactly what America was looking for. Not only influenced to help their post war mood but, it influenced to show the harsh realities of the soldiers in returning to “normal”. Many soldiers just like Travis Bickle came back with problems such as incorporating themselves back into society. In the showing of the war, Americans viewed the authority in charge in a bad light Martin aimed to portray that in the film. The film Taxi Driver was influenced by the media's grotesque showing of the Vietnam war. 

 

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