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Midnight Express (1978)

7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 47,940 users  
Reviews: 236 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.

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(book) (as William Hayes) , (book), 1 more credit »
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Title: Midnight Express (1978)

Midnight Express (1978) on IMDb 7.7/10

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

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Cast

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

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:

 »
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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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The large group of Turkish police and soldiers at the Istanbul airport, which are on hand to search each passenger before they board the jet, was another attempt by the film makers to portray Turkey as an authoritarian police state. But in reality, this real-life event that Billy Hayes encountered of a thorough search of each passenger was a reaction to the PLO hijacking (and subsequent destruction) of four passenger jets in Europe just four weeks prior to the event portrayed at the beginning of the film (October 6, 1970). There are two somewhat oblique references to this event early in the film: a headline on the paper that Susan is reading on the bus that takes them to the plane ("Nixon Outraged at Palestinian Hijackers"), and again in the car after his arrest when Tex says "You decided to fly at a bad time... guerrillas all over the place, blowing' up planes... 4 planes in 4 days". See more »

Goofs

Boom operator visible chasing[?] as he climbs a path by the prison wall. 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 Gilmore Girls: The Road Trip to Harvard (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Istanbul Blues
By David Castle
See more »

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User Reviews

Haven't seen this many ugly people in one movie!
17 December 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Wow. This was disturbing. I live in Nottingham, I have many Turkish friends who study here. If I didn't know them, I'd probably think that there wasn't a single Turk who is nice and pleasant... Some parts were actually funny. The judge (in Billy's hate monologue scene) was sounding exactly like Jabba the Hutt! I've heard people speak Turkish around me, so I knew the language which was supposed to be Turkish in the movie, wasn't. Come on people... Feels like this movie was made to make Turks look bad in every way possible. I've read an interview and I learnt that the real Billy Hayes was truly disappointed with the portrayal of Turkish people in the film. Anyway, this movie was fun to watch but would be ignorant to believe. Have a good one


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