“Someday a real rain'll come and wash all this scum off the streets.”
With those words, Travis Bickle – as portrayed unforgettably by Robert De Niro – earned himself a permanent place in the Cinematic Anti-Hero Hall of Fame. Bickle, of course, is the central character in Martin Scorsese’s classic, highly influential Taxi Driver, released in 1976. Written by Paul Schrader, the film follows DeNiro through the gritty mean streets of Hell’s Kitchen in New York City, populated by lost souls of all stripes.
De Niro’s constant sartorial companion during his harrowing, hallucinatory adventures? The Alpha M-65, the tough, versatile field coat that’s managed to stay cool from the 1950s to the present day.
Taxi Driver’s costume department chose the M-65 wisely: as written by Schrader, the Bickle character is an ex-marine who served in Vietnam, and many vets brought their trusty M-65s home with them, in the process unwittingly creating an authentically badass fashion statement. DeNiro without his M-65 is kind of like Superman without his cape.