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Taxi Driver turned 40 this year, and Tribeca Film Festival celebrated with a special screening and a panel featuring Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro Thursday evening at the Beacon Theater on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

The celebration brought together all the starry cast members, including screenwriter Paul Schrader, and stars Cybill Shepherd, Harvey Keitel and Jodie Foster, who all seemed to be in high spirits on the red carpet.

Jodie Foster
Jodie Foster | Paula Schwartz Photo

De Niro, who was just starting out in his career, played the volatile and mentally unhinged Vietnam-vet Travis Bickle. As he usually does, De Niro moved briskly past reporters on his way into the theater.

Keitel, who played a pimp in the film, and later admitted in the panel that he researched the role by seeking out real pimps, looked great. Paul Schrader who wrote a script that was not just turned into a great film but became a touchstone event in American popular culture, told me on the red carpet of the film’s success, “Sometimes you get lucky.”

Michael Moore was also on the red carpet looking healthy again after struggling with pneumonia that kept him from promoting his own film, “Where to Invade Next.”

Cybill Shepherd, still very blonde, arrived late and did a few television interviews before hurrying inside the theater. Jodie Foster, who was only 13 when she played a prostitute in the film, was all smiles and looked terrific in a blue pantsuit.

Jodie Foster, Taxi Driver
Jodie Foster | Paula Schwartz Photo

After the filmmakers and cast hurried inside the theater to introduce the screening of the 1975 film, they assembled in a private room of the Beacon Hotel next door to the theater to wait until the screening was over. Then they took to the stage again to reminisce about the film’s shoot on a small budget and during a hot, humid summer with continuous threatening thunderstorms.

Earlier on the red carpet, I asked Jodie Foster to share her memories of working with Scorsese on “Taxi Driver.”

“The best part was everything ’cause he’s adorable, and he was just giggling and happy and full of joy. He just loves movies,” Foster told me. “He loved them then and he loves them now. Just watching his face after a take was such fun cause I could hear him giggling. He’d be in the middle of a take and he’d giggle, even though it was take 25.”

That was the best part about working on the film, Foster said, but the worst part? “It was hot and I had clothes I didn’t want to wear, the hot pants. I wasn’t into it. It wasn’t my thing.”

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