16 Dark and Nihilistic Movies Like Taxi Driver

Nightcrawler Jake Gyllenhaal

Looking for movies that explore the dark and nihilistic themes of Martin Scorsese's classic Taxi Driver? We've got you covered. These 16 films share similar tones and themes to Scorsese's masterpiece, taking you on a journey into the bleak and unsettling depths of human nature.

1. American Psycho (2000)

American Psycho Christian Bale
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

This bleakly hilarious satire takes a harrowing look at one yuppie's descent into outright madness, as his killing spree gradually reaches epic proportions — or does it? 

2. Nightcrawler (2014)

Nightcrawler Jake Gyllenhaal
Image Credit: Bold Films.

There's no doubt that reporters and the folks responsible for capturing their footage can cross the line. In Nightcrawler, Jake Gyllenhaal's character Lou Bloom crosses the line, spits on it and pours black tar atop it before stepping over it again. 

3. Gone Girl (2014)

Gone Girl
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

Gone Girl really took the world by storm when it dropped. A man's wife goes missing and causes a media frenzy, and he finds himself at the center of the suspect list. 

4. Zodiac (2007)

Zodiac Robert Downey Jr., Jake Gyllenhaal
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Zodiac is based on the true story of the never-discovered Zodiac killer. The film is riveting, as you get the chance to see what the newsroom was like when Zodiac was sending in his letters.

5. Bringing Out The Dead (1999)

Bringing Out the Dead Nicolas Cage
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Directed by Martin Scorsese, this drama follows a burnt-out paramedic (Nicolas Cage) who struggles to maintain his sanity as he works long, grueling shifts in the chaotic streets of New York City. As one Scorsese fan puts it, “In a career full of masterpieces, I feel like Bringing Out The Dead is among the most underrated films of Scorsese's career. That movie is so good, but it's almost as though it's been lost to time. It's due for rediscovery.”

6. First Reformed (2017)

First Reformed
Image Credit: A24.

This thought-provoking drama stars Ethan Hawke as a pastor who begins questioning his faith and purpose after counseling a suicidal environmental activist (Philip Ettinger). It's written and directed by Paul Schrader, the writer of Taxi Driver, and is similar in its deeply unsettling and dark atmosphere.

7. The King of Comedy (1982)

The King of Comedy
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

This dark satire stars Robert De Niro as a delusional aspiring comedian obsessed with a talk show host (Jerry Lewis) and will stop at nothing to get on his show. Like Taxi Driver it's directed by the great Scorsese and stars the iconic veteran actor Robert De Niro. The plot also revolves around themes of alienation and obsession.

8. Bad Lieutenant (1992)

Bad Lieutenant
Image Credit: First Look Studios

Directed by Abel Ferrara, this crime drama stars Harvey Keitel as a corrupt and drug-addicted detective who spirals out of control as he investigates a brutal assault case. If you like Taxi Driver, you'll like this film that explores the psychological descent of its male protagonist and th

9. Kalifornia (1993)

This thriller stars Brad Pitt and Juliette Lewis as a young couple who embark on a road trip to visit murder sites, accompanied by a journalist (David Duchovny) and his girlfriend (Michelle Forbes). As tensions rise, the trip takes a dark and violent turn. Viewers insist this movie messed them up for a long time and is an underrated gem of darker cinema.

10. Falling Down (1993)

Falling Down
Photo Credit: Warner Brothers.

This action thriller stars Michael Douglas as a frustrated and unemployed defense worker who goes on a violent rampage across Los Angeles after being pushed too far by the injustices of modern society in this very quotable film with a similar tone to Taxi Driver.

11. Joker (2019)

Joker, Joaquin Phoenix
Image Credit: DC Films.

Directed by Todd Phillips, this psychological thriller stars Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck, a failed stand-up comedian who descends into madness and becomes the iconic villain known as the Joker. This film was heavily inspired by both Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy.

12. You Were Never Really Here (2017)

You Were Never Really Here 1
Photo Credit: Amazon Studios

This gritty thriller stars Joaquin Phoenix as a traumatized war veteran who works as a hitman and is hired to rescue a senator's daughter from a trafficking ring. This is a great choice if you're looking for a dark character study set in a gritty urban setting.

13. Marathon Man (1976)

Marathon Man
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

Marathon Man is a 1976 thriller about a graduate student and marathon runner who becomes embroiled in a dangerous conspiracy involving stolen diamonds and a former war criminal. The film stars Dustin Hoffman and Laurence Olivier and is known for its intense pacing and memorable scenes.

14. Before The Devil Knows You're Dead (2007)

Ethan Hawke and Philip Seymour Hoffman in Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007)
Photo Credit: ThinkFilms.

Directed by Sidney Lumet, this crime drama stars Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke as two brothers who plan a robbery that goes horribly wrong, setting off a chain of events that leads to tragedy. Much like Taxi Driver, this film features morally ambiguous characters whose decisions have devastating consequences. Both films are set in New York City.

15. One Hour Photo (2002)

Robin Williams in One Hour Photo (2002)
Photo Credit: Fox Searchlight.

This psychological thriller stars Robin Williams as a lonely photo technician who becomes obsessed with a family whose photos he develops, leading to a dangerous and disturbing fixation. Its tense, ominous atmosphere and plot revolving around how obsession can spiral out of control will be enjoyed by Taxi Driver fans.

16. The Omega Man (1971)

The Omega Man
Image Credit: Warner Bros

The Omega Man is a 1971 science fiction film about a man who appears to be the last surviving human in a world ravaged by a biological war. It stars Charlton Heston as Robert Neville, a scientist who is immune to the virus that has killed most of humanity but is now hunted by a group of mutated, nocturnal beings who were once human. Neville struggles to survive and find a cure while also dealing with the psychological toll of his isolation.

Source: Reddit.