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Copycat Killers: Taxi Driver (2016)
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Copycat Killers: Taxi Driver (2016)

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In the years leading up to John F. Hinckley Jr.’s attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan, he became obsessed with the movie “Taxi Driver.” Hinckley saw the movie at least fifteen times, read and re-read the book it was based upon, and bought the soundtrack to the film, listening to it for hours on end. Hinckley even began to model certain aspects of his life on the actions of the main characters. Most importantly, Hinckley developed an intense obsession with an actress in the film, Jodie Foster.

One of Hinckley’s defense experts at trial, Dr. William Carpenter, Jr., stated that John Hinckley identified in many ways with Travis Bickle and “picked up in largely automatic ways many of his attributes.” Hinckley began to imitate Bickle’s preference for army fatigue jackets and boots, and developed a fascination with guns. He adopted Bickle’s preference for peach brandy and, like the movie character, began keeping a diary. According to Carpenter, Hinckley’s isolation from society and vulnerability led him to unconsciously begin to mimic Bickle’s traits. In Carpenter’s words, Hinckley “absorbed the identity of Travis Bickle.” Carpenter even believed that when Hinckley took a bus cross-country from Los Angeles, Washington was merely a stopover on his route to Yale, and another attempt to “rescue” Jodie Foster as the film script demanded.

IMDB (unrated)

John Hinckley Jr. @ Wikipedia

Attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan @ Wikipedia

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