7.7/10
56,372
248 user 65 critic

Midnight Express (1978)

Billy Hayes, an American college student, is caught smuggling drugs out of Turkey and thrown into prison.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (book) (as William Hayes) | 1 more credit »
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2,609 ( 502)

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ON DISC
Won 2 Oscars. Another 14 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Irene Miracle ...
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Tex
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Hamidou (as Paul Smith)
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Max
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Franco Diogene ...
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Gigi Ballista ...
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Joe Zammit Cordina ...
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Storyline

On October 6, 1970 while boarding an international flight out of Istanbul Airport, American Billy Hayes is caught attempting to smuggle 2 kilos of hashish out of the country, the drugs strapped to his body. He is told that he will be released if he cooperates with the authorities in identifying the person who actually sold him the hash. Billy's troubles really begin when after that assistance, he makes a run for it and is recaptured. He is initially sentenced to just over four years for possession, with no time for the more harsh crime of smuggling. The prison environment is inhospitable in every sense, with a sadistic prison guard named Hamidou ruling the prison, he who relishes the mental and physical torture he inflicts on the prisoners for whatever reason. Told to trust no one, Billy does befriend a few of the other inmates, namely fellow American Jimmy Booth (in for stealing two candlesticks from a mosque), a Swede named Erich, and one of the senior prisoners having already ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A story of triumph. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

6 October 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Expreso de medianoche  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,800,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$35,000,000 (USA)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(still photographs)| (Eastmancolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

To find a suitable prison for filming, location scouts were conducted in Crete, Cyprus, France, Israel, Italy, Sicily, Spain and Malta, the latter country being successful with Fort St Elmo which got to double for Istanbul, Turkey's Sagmalcilar Prison. The fort was the site of the legendary Great Siege of Malta in 1565. The original Turkish gaol could not be used for self-explanatory reasons. See more »

Goofs

Muslim prayer is depicted incorrectly. Muslim prayer has definite steps and rules, and there's always a leader to the prayer when more than two are praying. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[Susan makes her way through a line at an airline checkpoint]
Susan: Excuse me... Excuse me... Excuse me... Excuse me.
[she reaches Billy in line]
Susan: Nervous?
Billy Hayes: No.
Susan: Geez, I hate flying.
Billy Hayes: It's something I ate. I think I've been poisoned.
Susan: Or you're just excited about getting home.
Billy Hayes: No, I think it's the baklavas.
[...]
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Soundtracks

The Chase
(uncredited)
by Giorgio Moroder
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User Reviews

When you're busted for drugs over there!
2 October 2002 | by (Auburn, Me) – See all my reviews

While this film is entertaining to watch and has its level of suspense at various points it is not a truly `true story' much of it according to the real Billy Hayes never happened and his eventual escape is very different from what is depicted in this motion picture. It also tends to demonize the nation of Turkey and presents a distorted view of its people. Is it possible to have sympathy for the main character? He was fully aware of what he was doing and knew the consequences should he be caught so sympathy is on an individual basis. You may have sympathy or may not.

A number of years ago a public service commercial narrated by actor Hal Holbrook frequently ran on Television, which told of Americans being held in foreign prisons. He spoke of one American held in a Turkish prison. Was it Billy Hayes? The commercial ends with the line `When you're busted for drugs over there you're in for the hassle of your life' That's the message this film was intended to send out irregardless if the events in it were true or fictionalized for dramatic purposes. As always purchase or rent a copy to see the uncut unedited version.


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