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Midnight Express (1978)

7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 46,143 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.

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Writers:

(book), (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

Director Alan Parker once said that this film was "the first story which could be made in Europe with a British crew and had a chance of making it in the States. It's an American story; it doesn't compromise; and it's the opposite to what I've done before". See more »

Goofs

When Susan goes to visit Bill, it's possible to see a crew member reflected in the glass. 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: Ballrooms and Biscotti (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Istanbul Blues
By David Castle
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Superbly staged, with a wonderful score, powerful direction and outstanding performances
20 February 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

First off, I can understand any criticisms geared towards Midnight Express. Some might say it has a sympathetic depiction of drug traffickers. Some might say it has pitiless violence. Some might say the representation of the Turkish jailers is stereotypical. Some might say it had an over-simplistic approach to the key issues that greeted it upon release. Those who say that are in some ways right, this film does have those things.

However, while they are hard to counter in a way, I actually don't consider them flaws. To me, Midnight Express was still a superbly staged film. It has atmospheric cinematography and lighting, while the direction from Alan Parker is powerful and intelligent. Giorgio Moroder's electronic score is wonderful and unforgettable, some people may think it too strident perhaps, but I loved it and thought it added a lot to the film. The film also has a very good screenplay, a very effective and iconic opening sequence and a harrowing yet gripping story.

The acting is outstanding, especially Brad Davis, while Randy Quaid and the underrated John Hurt are also excellent. So all in all, Midnight Express is a great film. 10/10 Bethany Cox


4 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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