Critical paper discussing films

Critical Paper Discussing Films

The films are an effective way to examine the point of view along with arguing on different points of view of cinema. Two films, “taxi driver” and “the general” is chosen for examining the story along with comparing the cinematic features of the movie. The movie “Taxi Driver”, released in 1976 was a psychological thriller movie which deals with an ex-marine who was drove taxi in New York City and was a Vietnam veteran. The film “the general” was a silent comedy movie that was released in 1926. The story line was about a hapless railroad engineer who faces the Union soldiers in the period of American civil war.      

It is necessary to examine all types of movies, specifically the thriller and the comedy movies for understanding the concept of story-line that determines the success rate of a film along with attracting viewers to watch the film. The journey of films from the era of silent movies to the present audio visual movies can be understood by comparing the story lines.


The story of the movie “taxi driver” is a psychological thriller movie where a night taxi driver attempts to clean the sleave along with dysfunction as well as prostitution in the city along with finding the meaning of his existence (Nugroho, Agustinus Dwi). The movie “the general” is an action-adventure comedy film that explains the railroad engineer who fight against the union agents during the American Civil War where his beloved gets captured as a hostage.

The story of the movie “taxi driver” is that the protagonist of the movie attempts to fight back his illness of insomnia and drove taxi at night (Taxi Driver). As the protagonist drove taxi at night, he witnesses incidents that convey the message of highly polluted society and he plans to single-handedly attempt to clean the antisocial and “cold people” who he detests. He begins physical training along with acquiring 4 handguns from an illegal dealer of guns and weapons. The protagonist, Travis Bickle, was a 26 years old ex-marine who was honorably discharged who is presently depressed and had chronic insomnia. He drove taxi at night shift and takes passengers to boroughs. Apart from driving a taxi, he frequently visited porn theaters and maintained a diary in which he records aphorisms. The story forwards as Travis helps an adolescent prostitute to escape from her pimp. However, he was not able to save the girl at the time as the pimp drags the girl while throwing $20 crumpled bill. The protagonist saves a store from robbery while killing the robber. The store owner helps Travis to escape by claiming the gun as his along with taking the responsibility of killing the robber. He then helps the adolescent prostitute to escape the brothel by giving her money (Taxi Driver). He gets into a fight with the timekeeper of the brothel along with killing the keeper. However, the whole incident is presented as an attempt to save Iris, the adolescent prostitute. The entire incident of saving the girl changes Travis’ life, who is honored along with being hailed as a local hero.

The story of the movie “the general” is about a train engineer who saves the Confederate Army from the Union soldiers by risking life along with sending the message of sudden attack from the Union soldiers (The General). The main content of the movie describes the way in which the protagonist of the movie, Johnnie Gray saves the Confederate Army by informing them about the surprise attack along with taking backup soldiers to fight the Union Agents. Johnnie fails to notice that the flatcars are not hooked and he is all alone to fight the Union agents. The main difference of the story of the movie is the addition of comedy within the film that enhances the richness in terms of entertainment of the movie. The movie was a piece that was released at the end of the silent era (The General). However, the richness of the storyline and a clear indication of the scenes earned the interest of the viewers who enjoyed the silent movie. The comedy elements included instances where Johnnies jumps and hide in the forest along with embracing his girl while saluting the soldiers passing by.

The budget of the film, “the general” was quite high, which resulted in an inability to earn a significant profit. However, the film was reevaluated after failure in claiming of copyright. The re-evaluation earned the film the title of being counted as one of the greatest American films ever made. The story, along with the depiction of the then scenario of “Taxi Driver” grabbed the attention of the critics and earned a good amount of profit. The film was nominated for best picture, best-supporting actress along with the best actor. The film received Palme d’Or in 1976 Cannes Film Festival despite being linked with controversy about the depiction of child prostitutes. The “taxi Driver” is termed and discussed as a great film of all time. The film “The General” as added in the first-class film registry of the Library of Congress (The General).

The “Taxi Driver” was chosen for preservation in the film registry of the Library of Congress (Nägeli, Tobias, et al.). The “Taxi Driver” used pictures along with a demonstration of the ethically polluted society for grabbing the interest. However, “the general” used comedy and was a silent movie. Comparing the concepts used in the movies, it can be expressed that “the general” was able to attract more viewers as despite being silent the audience highly enjoyed the movie (Nägeli, Tobias, et al.). The “Taxi Driver” was full of incident that was related and landed the movie into controversy for showing violence along with child prostitutes (Brown, Blain). Both the film ended by depicting the protagonist as a hero, the taxi driver continues to remove the “cold” people and the rail engineer was promoted to lieutenant. The difference in the era of the release of the movies distinguished the characters along with the climax of the story.


It can be concluded that the era of the story determines the flow of the story. It is evident that the use of the proper cinematography enables a film to do business irrespective of the movie is silent. “The General” movie was a silent one, however, its audience understood the comedy element along with the story. The “Taxi Driver” movie had action and thrillers in it along with the depiction of the violence observed during the 1976 era. The stories of both movies are to save the country, the protagonist of “Taxi Driver” used illegal means while “the General” used proper legal ways along with taking help from the army.


Works Cited

“Taxi Driver (1976) – Imdb.” IMDb. N. p., 2019. Web. 16 Oct. 2019.

“The General (1926) – Imdb.” IMDb. N. p., 2019. Web. 16 Oct. 2019.

Brown, Blain. Cinematography: theory and practice: image making for cinematographers and directors. Focal Press, 2016.

Nägeli, Tobias, et al. “Real-time planning for automated multi-view drone cinematography.” ACM Transactions on Graphics (TOG) 36.4 (2017): 132.

Nugroho, Agustinus Dwi. “The Artist: Silent Technique in Film Form.” International Journal of Creative and Arts Studies 3.1 (2016): 9-19.