Midnight Express (1978)
Max: The best thing to do is to get your ass out of here. Best way that you can.
Billy Hayes: Yeah, but how?
Max: Catch the midnight express.
Billy Hayes: But what's that?
Max: [laughs] Well it's not a train. It's a prison word for... escape. But it doesn't stop around here.
[to the Turkish court]
Billy Hayes: I just wish you could be standing where I'm standing right now and feel what that feels like; because, then, you would know something that you don't know, Mr. Prosecutor: Mercy! You would know that the concept of a society is based on the quality of that mercy; its sense of fair play; its sense of justice! But I guess that's like asking a bear to shit in a toilet.
Billy Hayes: I've spent 3 1/2 years of my life in your prison, and I think I've paid for my error, and if it's your decision today to sentence me to more years, then I...
[he becomes overcome with anger]
Billy Hayes: Dear Susan: Poor Jimmy was caught and beaten so badly he got a severe hernia, and lost a testicle. He's been in the sanitarium for months. In comparison, my problems seem very small.
Billy Hayes: What's Jimmy's story? Why is he in here? Hash?
Erich: No. He was caught stealing from a mosque. That is also a heavy crime here in Turkey.
Billy Hayes: What did he steal?
Erich: Two candle sticks.
Billy Hayes: That's all?
Erich: That's all.
Billy Hayes: Why? Why would he do that?
Erich: Who knows? He's always been a wild child. He's got more balls then brains. Did you know that he was in here for a year-and-a-half before he told his parents what happened to him?
Billy Hayes: What about you? What are you in for?
Erich: Hashish. 90% of the foreigners here are in for hashish or drug related charges from smuggling to posession. My advice is you get yourself a very good lawyer and try to argue down the charge you face. If they make it posession, the sentance is lighter.
Billy Hayes: What were you convicted of?
Erich: Smuggling hash with the intent to sell.
Billy Hayes: What sentence did you receive?
Erich: 12 years. I've been here for just over four years.
Billy Hayes: How much did you have on you?
Erich: 100 grams.
Billy Hayes: [voiceover] To the Turks, everything is "shurla burla", which means "like this, like that". You never know what will happen. All foreigners are "ayip", they're considered dirty. So is homosexuality, it's a big crime here, but most of them do it every chance they get. There are about thousand things that are "ayip", for instance, you can stab or shoot somebody below the waist but not above because that's intent to kill. So everyone runs around stabbing everyone else in the ass. That's what they call Turkish revenge. I know it must all sound crazy to you, but this place is crazy.
Jimmy: What you in for? Hash?
Billy Hayes: Yeah.
Billy Hayes: The airport - trying to get home.
Jimmy: That's heavy.
Billy Hayes: You think so?
Jimmy: Yeah, I think so. This ain't the good ole USA. This is Turkey, man. It's a fuckin' accident here if you're innocent. They ain't nobody here who's innocent.
Erich: Don't pay too much attention. Anything is possible in Turkey. He's talkin' about if they hit you for smuggling. It can be bad. But, if they make it possession. It's easier. You might even get bail.
Erich: And if you make bail, you're free. You can get yourself a fake passport or sneak across the border to Greece.
Jimmy: Yeah, sure. Keep dreamin'. See where that gets you.
Ahmet: Where are you going? Why don't you walk the wheel with us? What is the matter my American friend? What has upset you? Oh, a bad machine doesn't know that he's a bad machine. You still don't believe it? You still don't believe you're a bad machine? To know yourself is to know God, my friend. The factory knows, that's why they put you here. You'll see. You'll find out. In time, you'll know.
Billy Hayes: Oh, I know. I already know. I know that you are a bad machine. That's why the factory keeps *you* here. And do you know how I know? Huh? I know, because I'm from the factory. I make the machines!
Jimmy: The second way out, I need you guy's help, and that's under.
Billy Hayes: You mean tunnel? Are you serious?
Max: This is Shagmahr prison, not Stalag 17.
Jimmy: Well that's where you're wrong fuckface, 'cause it's already built!
[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]
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.
Susan: I told you not to eat 'em.
Billy Hayes: Look, I gotta go to the john again. You go on through and I'll catch up to you, OK?
Susan: So I'll wait.
Billy Hayes: No, go. I'll... I'll catch up to you. I'll... I'll only be a minute. OK? OK?
[Tex has a large revolver pointed at Billy whom he just recaptured trying to escape]
Tex: You seem like a nice guy, Billy. I really do feel sorry for you. But if you still try anything or try to run away again, I'll blow your fucking brains out!
[to the Turkish court]
Billy Hayes: For a nation of pigs, it sure is funny you don't eat'em! Jesus Christ forgave the bastards, but I can't! I hate! I hate you! I hate your nation! And I hate your people! And I fuck your sons and daughters because they're pigs! You're a pig! You're all pigs.
Tex: You decided to fly at a bad time, Billy. They're guerrillas all over the place blowing up planes and all.
Billy Hayes: It's stupid.
Tex: Kids don't read the newspapers and that there are people kickin' up a shitstorm about the flow of heroin from Turkey you got.
Billy Hayes: I didn't have heroin.
Tex: I'm not up on all that. A drug's a drug, seems to me, Billy.
Billy Hayes: It was my first time. I'm not really a smuggler. It was only two kilos.
Tex: You can see right now, it don't really matter, do it, if it was two kilos or if it was two hundred. The Turks love to catch any foreigner. It shows the world they're fighting the drug trade.
Billy Hayes: Are you with the consulate?
Tex: Somethin' like that.
Tex: How much did you pay this joker? This cab driver?
Billy Hayes: Two hundred dollars. It was my last two hundred.
Tex: How much did you figure to make?
Billy Hayes: I was only gonna sell some of it to my friends. I'm not a pusher. Honest.
Tex: It beats workin'. Do you get a family back home?
Billy Hayes: Yeah, a mother, father, brother, sister in Babylon, Long Island.
Tex: It'll be tough on 'em.
Billy Hayes: It looks like a cheap hotel.
Jimmy: Only the room service is lousy. I'm Jimmy Booth. This is Erich - something Swedish, I don't know.
Erich: Just Erich.
Jimmy: He cleaned you up.
Billy Hayes: Thanks. I'm Billy Hayes. At least, I used to be.
Tex: A girlfriend?
Billy Hayes: Yeah. She was on the plane.
[Tex glares at Billy]
Billy Hayes: She didn't know anything about it. I didn't want her to.
Tex: Lucky girl.
Billy Hayes: Yeah. She used to say I was the lucky one.
Tex: Well, let's hope so, Billy. I sure as hell hope so.
Mr. Hayes: All right, Billy. I know it sounds tough, but - we are going to get you out! I promise you. I don't want you to get stupid and pull anything. They can play with your sentence. All right. Now, I'm putting 500 dollars in the bank. Anything you need, you write. There's food here. There's candy. And there's writing paper. Books. Cigarettes. Soap. Toothbrush.
[Empties bag onto table, slams it down]
Mr. Hayes: I've been writing insurance policies for 30 goddamn years and now I've got to see my own son - Jesus. Jesus! Billy, if I could be where you are... I'd be there.
Billy Hayes: I love you, Dad.
[Guards take him away]
Mr. Hayes: [to Hamidou] You take good care of my boy, you hear? Or I'll have your fuckin' head, you Turkish bastard!
[Billy, Max and Jimmy are going over blueprints of the prison]
Jimmy: There's two ways out, I figure. Over the roof, but that's only one person, maybe two. The other way is under.
Billy Hayes: Tunnel?
Jimmy: It's already built! There's a basement substructure where they used to keep weapons and stuff, but beneath that there's these old catacombs that the Christians built about a thousand fucking years ago to bury their dead. We're sitting right on top of it - here. The Kraut said there's a whole bunch of hollow sealed shafts sort of like dumbwaiters running along this wall. One of them is right in there, right next to our shower. We can get in there, he says, we can get down into the catacombs. With the three of us working...
Max: [tapping at the wall] Gotta be here someplace. Thought I heard a couple of dead Christians singing down there.
Jimmy: Stop shitting me, man!
Billy Hayes: But how would you get into the shaft, Jimmy?
Max: I suppose you knock three times and ask for St. Peter.
Billy Hayes: I find loneliness is the physical pain which hurts all over. You can't isolate it in one part of your body.
Billy Hayes: Can I have a blanket? You think I could have a blanket? It's cold. Could I have a blanket? A blanket!
Billy Hayes: Peacocks? Why peacocks?
Jimmy: The Turks use them instead of dogs. They scream like mad if they're disturbed and they don't get rabies. The old sultans used to use them to guard their harems.
Billy Hayes: Who are the kids?
Jimmy: Kids - little fuckers! Thieves. Rapists. Pickpockets. Murderers. You name it, they do it. Don't trust any of 'em.
Jimmy: You're going to eat a lot more fasolia beans, Billy Baby, before you taste - hamburger again. Cause you broke the law, man, and you got caught.
Max: There are no straight lawyers in Turkey. All bent. Bent, as happens, occupational necessity. They have special classes in corruption at night school. If you get suspected of honesty, then you get disbarred.
Billy Hayes: Where are you stayin'?
Mr. Hayes: The Hilton.
Billy Hayes: How do you like it? Istanbul?
Mr. Hayes: An interesting place. I tell you the truth I think the food is lousy. The crap they sell in these little restaurants. I had to run to the toilet. You should've seen the toilet. Anyway, I'm not taking any more chances. I'm going to eat at the Hilton, every night, with steak and French fries and lots of ketchup. - - Billy, why did you do it?
Billy Hayes: Money.
Mr. Hayes: Look, I know you kids smoke that stuff and we drink booze; but, taking it across the border, that's - that's stupid, Billy. That's stupid!
Billy Hayes: I know. Dad - get me out of here.
Billy Hayes: Dear Susan: 1970 has now passed into 1971. You can drift in here and never know you're gone. You can fade so far out that you don't know where you are anymore or where anything else is.
Stanley Daniels: Sit down for a moment, Billy. I'm afraid I - have some bad news for you.
Billy Hayes: So, now it's time for me to speak. What is there for me to say? When I finish, you'll sentence me for my crime. So, let me ask you now: what is a crime? What is punishment? It seems to vary from time to time, place to place. What's legal today is, suddenly, illegal tomorrow; because, some society says it's so. And what's illegal yesterday, is, suddenly, legal; because, everybody's doing it and - you can't put everybody in jail. I'm not saying this is right or wrong. I'm just saying: that's the way it is.
Ahmet: I've been here a very, very long time and they'll never let me go. They won't let you go, either. I mean, they'll tell you they'll let you go. But, in fact, you'll stay. You'll never go from here.
Ahmet: You see, we all - come from a factory and, sometimes, the factory makes bad machines. They don't work. So, they put them here. The bad machines don't know that they're bad machines. But, the people at the factory know. They know that you are one of the machines that doesn't work.
Ahmet: Good morning, my American friend. It will be trouble if you go this way. A good Turk always walks to the right! Left is communist! Right is good. You see, you must go the other way. The other way is good!