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Midnight Express (1978)

7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 45,391 users  
Reviews: 233 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), (book), 1 more credit »
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Title: Midnight Express (1978)

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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

Plot Keywords:

prison | prisoner | drugs | student | smuggling | See more »

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
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Oliver Stone wrote the first draft of the screenplay in six weeks. See more »

Goofs

The "fez" hat worn by several Turkish men in the movie has been extremely rare in Turkey since 1925 when it was abolished by Kemal Ataturk (the leader and founder of the Republic of Turkey) in an attempt to "westernize" the country. 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 »

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User Reviews

 
Just returned from Istanbul
3 October 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This thirty year old movie is still affecting how Americans feel about Turkey. Turkey has been a good friend to the USA for a very long time. I remember when the movie came out and set Billy boy up as the VICTIM. The creep was smuggling...he deserved what he got. I can't imagine what his book would have been like if he had been caught here in Michigan and sent to Jackson Prison in the 1970's. His butt hole would have been about the size of the Grand Canyon by the time he escaped. I had a great time in Istanbul, the people were wonderful and warm. I will be returning for future vacations. But, every time I told someone I was going on vacation in Istanbul they would ask, "Didn't you see Midnight Express?" "Yeah, it was a bad movie." Sad!


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