Texas greenhorn Joe Buck arrives in New York City for the first time. Preening himself as a real "hustler", he finds that he is the one getting "hustled" until he teams up with down-and-out but resilient outcast Ratso Rizzo. The initial "country cousin meets city cousin" relationship deepens. In their efforts to bilk a hostile world rebuffing them at every turn, this unlikely pair progress from partners in shady business to comrades. Each has found his first real friend.Written by
Jon Voight and John Schlesinger wrapped filming in Texas and Voight noticed how red the director's face was. Voight thought Schlesinger was having a heart attack and asked him if he was okay. "He looked up at me and said, 'What have we done? What will they think of us?' After all, we had made a film about a dishwasher who lives in New York and f*cks a lot of women," Voight told Esquire. "In the moment he'd finished it, he was shaking. All of a sudden, he saw it as banal and vulgar. He's having an anxiety attack and I grabbed his shoulders to shake him out of it. I said, 'John, we will live the rest of our artistic lives in the shadow of this great masterpiece.' He said, 'You think so?' I said, 'I'm absolutely sure of it.' The only reason I said such an extravagant thing was because I wanted to get him out of it and nothing would take him out of it but that. But the statement turned out to be true." See more »
As the bus Joe Buck rides approaches New York, the view focuses on the Statue of Liberty. However this shot is from the New Jersey Turnpike's Holland Tunnel-Newark Bay Extension (Interchange 14C) going southbound, away from New York. Minutes later in the same scene, the view from the bus shows the Midtown Manhattan skyline as it enters the Lincoln Tunnel. See more »
Whoopee-tee-yi-yo. Get along little dogies. It's your misfortune and none of my own.
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ABC edited 25 minutes from this film for its 1974 network television premiere. See more »
The Lily of the Valley
Lyrics by Charles W. Fry
Music by William S. Hays
Arranged by Ira D. Sankey See more »
Big Joe Heads To The Big Apple
Virile, but naive, big Joe Buck leaves his home in Big Spring, Texas, and hustles off to the Big Apple in search of women and big bucks. In NYC, JB meets up with frustration, and with "Ratso" Rizzo, a scruffy but cordial con artist. Somehow, this mismatched pair manage to survive each other which in turn helps both of them cope with a gritty, sometimes brutal, urban America, en route to a poignant ending.
Both funny and depressing, our "Midnight Cowboy" rides head-on into the vortex of cyclonic cultural change, and thus confirms to 1969 viewers that they, themselves, have been swept away from the 1950's age of innocence, and dropped, Dorothy and Toto like, into the 1960's Age of Aquarius.
The film's direction is masterful; the casting is perfect; the acting is top notch; the script is crisp and cogent; the cinematography is engaging; and the music enhances all of the above. Deservedly, it won the best picture Oscar of 1969, and I would vote it as one of the best films of that cyclonic decade.
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