7.7/10
57,230
251 user 66 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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2,325 ( 383)

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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

Publicity for this picture told of the start of the letter that Billy Hayes wrote to his parents in 1970. It read: "Dear Mum and Dad, This is the hardest letter I've ever had to write. I know the confusion and the pain it will cause you, and the disappointment.....I was arrested at Istanbul Airport yesterday, attempting to board an airplane with a small amount of hashish.....". This letter was written in 1970 by Billy Hayes, a clean-cut American kid who had only twenty-three hours to go before he would be graduated from Marquette University. It revealed the start of a chain of bizarre events which brought Hayes close to being sentenced to life imprisonment in Turkey. 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.
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in Pretty in Pink (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

Love's Theme
Composed By Giorgio Moroder
Arranged By Harold Faltermeyer, Giorgio Moroder
Published by Gold Horizon Music Corp. (BMI)
(p) 1978 Casablanca Record and FilmWorks, Inc.
© 1978 Columbia Pictures
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User Reviews

What a tense movie!
21 May 2002 | by (santa cruz, ca) – See all my reviews

It's interesting to note the comments on this movie.

I saw it on TV last night, not for the first time, and I noticed how the Turks in the film are all one-dimensional bad people, and physically ugly to boot. I also read that many of the scenes are completely fictional. I am not one of those people who think that a "true" story must be completely true; I think that the purpose of movies is to entertain, and this one certainly does that, if in a harrowing way. But, given the politics of our time, if the author of the screenplay wanted to create a demon people for dramatic effect, perhaps it would have been better to have set the story in a fictional or unidentified country.

The other observation I would make is, we are not much better than they are. We regularly sentence people to ungodly amounts of prison time for drug offenses, both on a state and federal level. Our prisons are no picnic, either, with many of the same sorts of things that were portrayed in the movie happening right here at home.

So, go check "the man in the mirror" before you condemn anyone else.


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