Robert De Niro Not Talkin' To Fans Who Yell Iconic Line At Him

During a Tonight Show appearance, the actor explores a previously unknown part of Taxi Driver's legacy.

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In a recent appearance on The Tonight Show, iconic actor Robert De Niro confirmed that he "more or less" improvised the "You talkin' to me?" line from Taxi Driver. For those who haven't seen the classic 1976 film (and you really should, as soon as humanly possible)--the movie tells the story of Travis Bickle, a taxi driver and veteran whose mental state deteriorates as he works nights in a decaying New York City.

De Niro tells Jimmy Fallon that "more or less" it's the line people yell out to him most when spotted in public. Added the actor, "[They'll yell it] from odd places. You know, a bunch of kids pull up next to me... I remember years ago in LA and down in the Valley or somewhere in Culver City, kids pull up next to me in a red light and say 'you talkin'' and I don't know how they recognize me or whatever." De Niro said he never responds to fans shouting at him.

The "you talkin' to me?" line kicks off a speech that has become a pop culture mainstay even today, all these decades later--in 2005 it was ranked tenth on the American Film Institute's 100 Years… 100 Movie Quotes, a list of the top quotations in American cinema. In Taxi Driver, De Niro, as Bickle, is staring at himself in a mirror, and imagining a confrontation that would give him the opportunity to draw his gun and use it.

Also, when speaking with Fallon, De Niro talked a bit about how he came to opt out of starring in the 1988 classic dramedy, Big. De Niro is currently, as he did on Taxi Driver, working with director Martin Scorsese on the upcoming Killers of the Flower Moon.

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