MOVIEmeter
Top 5000
Down 190 this week

Midnight Express (1978)

7.7
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.7/10 from 46,191 users  
Reviews: 235 user | 62 critic

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

Director:

Writers:

(book), (book), 1 more credit »
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $9.99 on Amazon Instant Video

Editors' Spotlight

Alpha House Premieres Today

All ten episodes of the second season of "Alpha House" are available now. Watch them now, only on Prime Instant Video.


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 27 titles
created 14 Mar 2012
 
a list of 41 titles
created 09 Oct 2012
 
a list of 49 titles
created 09 Aug 2013
 
a list of 25 titles
created 9 months ago
 
a list of 21 titles
created 8 months ago
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Midnight Express (1978)

Midnight Express (1978) on IMDb 7.7/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Midnight Express.

User Polls

Won 2 Oscars. Another 16 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Two FBI agents with wildly different styles arrive in Mississippi to investigate the disappearance of some civil rights activists.

Director: Alan Parker
Stars: Gene Hackman, Willem Dafoe, Frances McDormand
Angel Heart (1987)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Harry Angel is a private investigator. He is hired by a man who calls himself Louis Cyphre to track down a singer called Johnny Favorite. But the investigation takes an unexpected and somber turn.

Director: Alan Parker
Stars: Mickey Rourke, Robert De Niro, Lisa Bonet
Birdy (1984)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

After two friends return home from the Vietnam War one becomes mentally unstable and obsesses with becoming a bird.

Director: Alan Parker
Stars: Matthew Modine, Nicolas Cage, John Harkins
Papillon (1973)
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A man befriends a fellow criminal as the two of them begin serving their sentence on a dreadful prison island, which inspires the man to plot his escape.

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner
Stars: Steve McQueen, Dustin Hoffman, Victor Jory
Biography | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The biography of Ron Kovic. Paralyzed in the Vietnam war, he becomes an anti-war and pro-human rights political activist after feeling betrayed by the country he fought for.

Director: Oliver Stone
Stars: Tom Cruise, Raymond J. Barry, Caroline Kava
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A fifteen year marriage dissolves, leaving both the husband and wife, and their four children, devastated. He's preoccupied with a career and a mistress, she with a career and caring for ... See full summary »

Director: Alan Parker
Stars: Albert Finney, Diane Keaton, Karen Allen
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Portraying one of the shadier details of American history, this is the story of Jack McGurn, who comes to Los Angeles in 1936. He gets a job at a movie theatre in Little Tokyo and falls in ... See full summary »

Director: Alan Parker
Stars: Dennis Quaid, Tamlyn Tomita, Sab Shimono
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Tex
Paolo Bonacelli ...
...
Hamidou (as Paul Smith)
...
...
...
Max
Mike Kellin ...
Franco Diogene ...
...
Gigi Ballista ...
...
Peter Jeffrey ...
Joe Zammit Cordina ...
Edit

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:

Walk into the incredible true experience of Billy Hayes, and bring all the courage you can! See more »

Genres:

Biography | Crime | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

| |

Release Date:

6 October 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Expreso de medianoche  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,300,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$35,000,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Both Richard Gere and John Travolta were considered for the part of Billy Hayes. See more »

Goofs

The Turkish spoken by the Turkish characters in the film is uniformly broken. The actors are obviously not Turkish; sometimes the language is so broken it is difficult for native speakers to understand what they are saying. 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.
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in King Kong (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Istanbul Blues
By David Castle
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A Contemporary "Jude Suess"
4 February 2002 | by See all my reviews

Artistically, MIDNIGHT EXPRESS is quite well made... I do recall several media reports at the time of the film's release that led to contrary impressions, supporting the deliberate attempt by the filmmakers to do a hatchet job on the setting of this film. The first was Billy Hayes himself, when he first arrived on native soil, having pulled off his alleged escape; he said on TV, "I like the Turks...it's the prison I had a problem with" Easy to understand; few prisons are a joy ride, regardless of nation of origin. From this, I gathered he personally didn't have an animosity against the Turks, although MIDNIGHT EXPRESS goes out of its way to make everything negative about the country and culture. Only the "Western" characters are good and attractive, and the folks selected to play the Turks are corrupt, physically ugly and basically sub-human. The exterior scenes in Turkey itself have a grayish tint, implying the land is a hell-hole, and even the near-universally acclaimed cuisine gets a black eye.

The second thing from the (film's release) period I recall was a discussion on radio that claimed the prison Billy served time in was relatively modern, built in the mid-sixties... and not the Devil's Island PAPILLON setting depicted in the movie. (A 19th-Century British barracks in Malta was used for the prison.) Naturally, some artistic leeway is allowed here, since the movie's purpose is to paint a picture of a living nightmare.

I recall reading the book years ago, and when our hero got his unfair sentence, naturally he was in despair... but at that moment, he felt an almost gallant, resigned acceptance. In contrast, when Billy gave his courtroom speech in the movie (which certainly was a defining moment of the film's ill-naturedness... to quote part of the speech: "For a nation of pigs, it sure seems funny that you don't eat them! Jesus Christ forgave the bastards, but I can't! I hate! I hate you! I hate your nation! And I hate your people! And I f**k your sons and daughters because they're pigs! You're all pigs!"), the three ugly judges actually hung their heads in shame. I wonder if there's a courtroom in any nation that would permit such a prolonged and loud outburst.

The August 30th post mistakenly referred to Turkey as an Arab nation.... so the user must not have seen "Lawrence of Arabia," where the Arabs were the heroes and the Turks were the villains. It's interesting that in the rare Hollywood film where Arabs are portrayed "positively," Turks still come across as barbaric.

A Turkish-American friend has told me, contrary to what others here are thinking that the film couldn't really prejudice the viewer, that the film has achieved one of its purposes, to leave a sore, anti-Turkish taste in mouths. Keeping in mind that Americans are generally ignorant of the ways of many foreign nations, this film continues, even today, of being the only source of information most Americans have about Turkey. As cinematically effective and wonderfully made this film is, there's a disturbing side to MIDNIGHT EXPRESS that makes it mildly resemble a contemporary "Jude Suess," or THE ETERNAL JEW ("Der Ewige Jude").


164 of 248 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Best line in the movie BrionyTallis
Giorgio Moroder ROCKS tennavision
I hate IMDB Scoring yuotman
did he come back for max? La-z-girl_recliner
Interview with real Bill Hayes OnurFrancois
People you would think were in the movie but were not. Ramuna
Discuss Midnight Express (1978) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page