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
Prior to principal photography, Director Alan Parker wrote a letter to the cast and crew. Publicity for the picture reproduced it. It said: "Firstly, to say something before we start. Secondly, to warn you about a very difficult film, and thirdly, because I heard Ingmar Bergman always did it! As you have gathered from the script, it is my intention to make a very violent, uncompromisingly brutal film, the subject matter of which will no doubt take its toll on us all. This is not just a boring prison story set in claustrophobic cells and corridors. It's much, much more than that, a prison no one's ever seen before. It's difficult to put into words, but I would like the audience to be shaken and shocked that such things happen, almost to the point of disbelief, but never to lose them." See more »
The amount of hash strapped to Billy's body differs from when he was first frisked in the airport and later when he was in the police interrogation room. See more »
[Susan makes her way through a line at an airline checkpoint]
Excuse me... Excuse me... Excuse me... Excuse me.
[she reaches Billy in line]
Geez, I hate flying.
It's something I ate. I think I've been poisoned.
Or you're just excited about getting home.
No, I think it's the baklavas.
[...] See more »
With regard to commercial network, and standard cable showings of the movie, and in the 1980 American Columbia Pictures Home Entertainment red border clam shell VHS/Betamax:
1.) All swearing is dubbed or silenced. 2.) The chicken being decapitated is normally not shown when Billy makes a run for it leaving the Turkish Bizarre. 3.) Billy is shown fully nude during a strip-search after his arrest. Censored prints only show his face. Some prints omit, Tex's line about "would you like to put your clothes on?" 4.) Susan exposing her breasts and Billy touching them when she comes to visit him and sees his horrifying, almost vegetative state is very skillfully cut on the American 1980 red border clam shell VHS/Betamax and all commercial TV prints. You would have to see the uncut movie to even realize that something was missing. See more »
First of all, the movie has inaccurate portrayal of the events and it is dishonest, more violent as a national hate-film. Many hearts were broken in Turkey" due to this film. Although the film is set largely in Turkey, most of the location work was done in Malta, using local actors along with some Greeks and Armenians playing Turks. At some occasions in movie, people supposedly speaking Turkish are, in fact, speaking Maltese. Moreover most of the supposedly Turkish dialogs are so inarticulate that they cannot be understood even by natives. Throughout the whole film, Turks figure as brutes, militarists, bloodthirsty, stupid and evil torturers and sadistic, in brief as true "bastards". Their image is a real caricature: ugly, with a mustache, badly shaved, suntanned, with eyes and hair very dark. They are stereotypical persons, who, even when they are killed in the film, they always have the lot they deserve! In an interview in 1984 producer David Puttnam admitted that the film is based on a "dishonest book".
Billy Hayes reveals himself 20 years after his release, that what is presented in the movie is a very exaggerated and fictional version of what happened to him in the prison in Istanbul, Turkey.
Finally, after 25 years, Oliver Stone has apologized to Turkey for this film in 2004 when he visited Turkey. He admitted that he did not do any research about the so called "true story" of Billy Hayes before he wrote the script. This hate-film has been definitely affected the relations between Turkish and American people as well as Turkish tourism.
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