In my opinion, this is one of the greatest movies ever made in America and it deserved every single award it won and it's place on the AFI Top 100 list though it's shamefully too low on the IMDB Top 250 list, at only #183 as of this writing . If you enjoy acting of the highest calibre Voight and Hoffman are a superb match , well-drawn characterizations and inventive direction, editing and cinematography, you'll love this just as much as I did. Schlesinger paints a vivid, always credible picture of the late 60s New York City scene and it's many victims struggling to overcome <more>
personal demons and survive amidst the amorality, poverty and hopelessness of 42nd Street, New York City.The filmmaking techniques employed here brilliantly capture the feel of the underground New York film movement and of the city and are nothing less than dazzling. I've seen many ideas including the rapid-fire editing, the handling of the voice-over flashbacks, the drug/trip sequences and the cartoonish face slipped in during a murder scene to convey angst and terror stolen by other filmmakers.The relationship between Joe and Ratso is handled in such a way as to be viewed as an unusually strong friendship OR having it's homosexual underpinnings. I think the director handled this in a subtle way not to cop out to the censorship of the times, but rather to concentrate his energies on the importance of a strong human connection in life, whether it be sexual or not.MIDNIGHT COWBOY is a brave, moving film of magnitude, influence and importance that has lost absolutely none of it's impact over the years, so if you haven't seen it, you're really missing out on a true American classic. I recommend this film to everyone.Score: 10 out of 10.
Young, handsome, muscular Joe Buck Jon Voight moves from Texas to New York thinking he'll make a living by being a stud. He gets there and finds out quickly that it isn't going to be easy--he goes through one degrading experience after another. At the end of his rope he hooks up with crippled, sleazy Ratso Rizzo Dustin Hoffman . Together they try to survive and get out of the city and move to Florida. But will they make it?Very dark, disturbing yet fascinating movie. Director John Schelsinger paints a very grimy portrait of NYC and its inhabitants. In that way it's dated--the <more>
city may have been this bad in 1969 but it's cleaned up considerably by now. He also uses every camera trick in the book--color turning to black & white; trippy dream sequences; flash forwards; flash backs especially involving a rape ; shock cuts; weird sound effects...you name it. It keeps you disoriented and off center--but I couldn't stop watching.There isn't much of a story--it basically centers on the friendship between Rizzo and Buck. There is an implication that they may have been lovers the final shot sort of shows that . It's just a portrait of two damaged characters trying to survive in a cold, cruel, urban jungle.This was originally rated X in 1969--the only reason being that the MPAA didn't think that parents would want their children to see this. Nevertheless, it was a big hit with high schoolers back then X meant no one under 17 . It also has been the only X rated film ever to win an Academy Award as Best Picture. Hoffman and Voight were up for acting awards as was mysteriously Sylvia Miles who was in the picture for a total of maybe 5 minutes! It was eventually lowered to an R with no cuts when it was reissued in 1980.Also the excellent song "Everybody's Talkin'" was introduced in this film--and became a big hit.A great film---but very dark. I'm giving it a 10. DON'T see it on commercial TV--it's cut to ribbons and incomprehensible.
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 <more>
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.
Disturbing in a way, but great as well (by rbverhoef)
'Midnight Cowboy' was rated X with the original release back in 1969. There are some scenes where you can understand that, just a little. The movie about Joe Buck Jon Voight coming from Texas to New York City to become a hustler is sometimes a little disturbing. Dressed up as a cowboy he tries to live as a hustler, making money by the act of love. It does not work out as he planned. After a guy named Rico 'Ratso' Rizzo Dustin Hoffman first pulled a trick on him and stole some money they become friends. They live in an empty and very filthy apartment. Then Ratso gets sick <more>
and Joe has to try to make some money.The movie was probably rated X for the main subject but on the way we see some strange things. The editing in this movie is great. We see dream sequences from Joe and Ratso interrupted by the real world in a nice and sometimes funny way. Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight and the supporting actors give great performances. Especially Hoffman delivers some fine famous lines. The score is done by John Barry and sounds great. All this makes this a great movie that won the Best Picture Oscar for a good reason.
Two Stellar Performances and a Pervasive Honesty Make This One Still a Winner (by EUyeshima)
It's not quite the timeless masterpiece you would hope it would be based on the acclaim it garnered, but 1969's "Midnight Cowboy" is still a powerhouse showcase for two young actors just bursting into view at the time. Directed by John Schlesinger and written by Waldo Salt, the movie seems to be a product of its time, the late 1960's when American films were especially expressionistic, but it still casts a spell because the story comes down to themes of loneliness and bonding that resonate no matter what period. The film's cinematic influence can still be felt in the <more>
unspoken emotionalism found in Ang Lee's "Brokeback Mountain".The meandering plot follows Joe Buck, a naive, young Texan who decides to move to Manhattan to become a stud-for-hire for rich women. Full of energy but lacking any savvy, he fails miserably but is unwilling to concede defeat despite his dwindling finances. He meets a cynical, sickly petty thief named "Ratso" Rizzo, who first sees Joe as an easy pawn. The two become dependent on one another, and Rizzo begins to manage Joe. Things come to a head at a psychedelic, drug-infested party where Joe finally lands a paying client. Meanwhile, Rizzo becomes sicker, and the two set off for Florida to seek a better life. This is not a story that will appeal to everyone, in fact, some may still find it repellent that a hustler and a thief are turned into sympathetic figures, yet their predicaments feel achingly authentic.In his first major role, Jon Voight is ideally cast as he brings out Joe's paper-thin bravado and deepening sexual insecurities. As Rizzo, Dustin Hoffman successfully upends his clean, post-college image from "The Graduate" and immerses himself in the personal degradation and glimmering hope that act as an oddly compatible counterpoint to Joe. The honesty of their portrayals is complemented by Schlesinger's film treatment which vividly captures the squalor of the Times Square district at the time. The director also effectively inserts montages of flashbacks and fantasy sequences to fill in the character's fragile psyches. Credit also needs to go to Salt for not letting the pervasive cynicism overwhelm the pathos of the story. The other performances are merely incidental to the journeys of the main characters, including Brenda Vaccaro as the woman Joe meets at the party, Sylvia Miles as a blowsy matron, John McGiver as a religious zealot and Barnard Hughes as a lonely out-of-towner.The two-disc 2006 DVD package contains a pristine print transfer of the 1994 restoration and informative commentary from producer Jerome Hellman since unfortunately neither Schlesinger nor Salt are still living. There are three terrific featurettes on the second disc - a look-back documentary, "After Midnight: Reflections on a Classic 35 Years Later", which features comments from Hellman, Hoffman, Voight and others, as well as clips and related archive footage such as Voight's screen test; "Controversy and Acclaim", which examines the genesis of the movie's initial 'X' rating and public response to the film; and a tribute to the director, "Celebrating Schlesinger".
Moving, funny, sad, unaffected, astonishing... (by secondtake)
Midnight Cowboy 1969 This is such a gritty, touching story of two ordinary vulnerable young men, told with such honesty, it's impossible to criticize it taken whole. "Midnight Cowboy" is a terrific movie. It's terrific because of the two actors--an astonishing Dustin Hoffman, still a new name in Hollywood but already famous from "The Graduate" in 1967. And an equally astonishing Jon Voight, making his first large role in a movie. Each is a type of struggling man living on the fringe of New York barely surviving in a boarded up building , extreme but never a <more>
caricature. They gel as a pair, helping each other but with a bit of reluctance because neither wants to quite admit they need help.It's terrific further because of the filming, with lots of available light magic in dingy places. The cinematographer, Adam Holender, is remarkably making his first film here, though that might explain the freshness to a lot of the filming. There is in particular a lot of long lens telephoto shooting between more intimate scenes, showing layers of people and isolating the star in a moving world a difficult thing to do with good focus . It's also terrific for the writing, not just for the story but for the dialog. It strikes so subtly to some truth you don't quite expect, even though it's simple and almost obvious. The screenplay won an Oscar, as did the movie Best Picture and director John Schlessinger Best Director . It's worth noting that Schlessinger is a British director with some very tightly conceived movies already under his belt including the fabulous "Darling" , and here he seems to make New York as familiar as if he'd grown up here. Along those lines, Voight, playing the naive cowboy to a perfect pitch, is a native New Yorker. And Hoffman, though familiar with the city, is an L.A. kid.Where does the movie run into trouble? Why isn't it in the top ten of all time? I think it might boil down to three kinds of inserts into flawless the main narrative. The first is a series of flashbacks that in various ways try to "explain" or fill in the psychological background of Voight's character. As if it needs explaining. Or if it does benefit us all to know how he got to his beautiful troubled state, maybe there is something shocking and sensational about the inserts, as effective as they are on their own nightmarish terms.A second "insert" is a series of short sunny daydreams Hoffman's character has envisioning life in Florida in the sun. It's comic relief, and it mostly works, but there are cracks there. Finally there is a section of the actual narrative where the two men go to a party they've been invited to for spurious reasons weird luck, mostly . It's too obviously an excuse to film a scene in a drug-addled Warhol-esque party. The hosts are effete artist types who want to film some strange New Yorkers out of context, and so we see the film film these filmmakers and so on. A great scene, but weirdly out of place.But all of his is to be taken in stride as the meat of the story kicks back in each time. And here, with a melancholy soundtrack, you will be moved and entranced. Amazing stuff. Brave and a lesson in how a film can be adventurous and heartfelt and not painfully slick, all at once. And succeed artistically and commercially.
The only reason I knew of Midnight Cowboy was because it was in the AFI Critic's Top 100. For a top 100 it is not a very well known movie; indeed, I had to look hard to find a copy, I got the DVD version for about half-price. Surprisingly it was only rated M15+ the uncut version .I doubt many will take notice of this review more like comment so I'll make it brief.This is perhaps one of the strangest movies I've seen, partly because of the use of montages, artistic filming very art-house and the unusual theme. There are many things in the film I still don't understand <more>
I've seen it twice , and it makes for an emotionally confusing film.The filming and acting were very good, and it is the larger than life characters which make this film memorable. The main character is Joe Buck, a 'cowboy' from Texas who moves to New York to become a male prostitute. He meets the crippled conman Enrico 'Ratso' Rizzo and, of course they become friends going through the usual escapades. What makes the film interesting is the two characters are so different.I felt the film didn't really develop the relationship between Buck and Enrico Rizzo for the audience to have any real emotional connection, although the ending is certainly quite sad and tragic. You probably already know what happens by reading the reviews, but its pretty obvious from the start.I personally think the film beautifully and poignantly explores its main themes. The deprivation of humanity shown by the darkness of the city streets, the breaking-down tenements . Most of the characters in the film exist beyond the law a conman, giggolo.etc yet you can't help liking them. Joe Buck is endearing because he is so naive and optimistic, while we begin to feel pity for Ratso later in the film.I think the film was rated so high because it was certainly very ground-breaking for its period. At the time And even now it was definitely not a typical movie quite art-house . At a time when the cinema was dominated by tired westerns, musicals and dramas a film with such an unusual theme as Midnight Cowboy pops up.On a personal level, I must say I quite liked the film. The imagery conveyed a dream-like quality. I particularly liked the scene at the party, the music, images etc stay in your mind for a long time after watching. However, as a movie for entertainment's sake it was a bit lacking not really my style of movie in thrills. This is a film to be savoured and appreciated, rather than a cheap thrills action flick.Although I would hardly consider myself qualified to analyse this film, the characters and their motives were quite interesting. From what I understand from the flashbacks, Joe Buck was sexually abused as a child by his grandmother, although it still doesn't seem to be relevant to the story. He is a happy-go-lucky young stud, who suppresses his darker memories. The religious connotations in the film are also puzzling. Some have suggested a homosexual connection between Buck and Ratso, although I fail to see where they have got the idea from. The theme of homo-sexuality in general is more than touched upon in their conversation, and later in Joe Buck's encounter with a lonely old man, but it has little to do with the main story.Certainly from a technical point of view one of the finest films of the decade it has more of a 70s feel to it than a 60s feel and revolutionary for its time touching on subjects few other films dared to do. While it has a simple, sentimental story to it disguised by a hard edge the beauty of the film is in the strange, often psychedelic sequences.
Depressing squalor laced with sentiment (by moonspinner55)
Fascinating downer about a would-be male hustler in New York City forced to live in a condemned building with a crippled con-man. Extremely bleak examination of modern-day moral and social decline, extremely well-directed by John Schlesinger who never topped his work here and superbly acted by Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman. Packs quite a punch overall, yet the "fantasy" scenes--played for a quick chuckle--are mildly intrusive, as is the "mod" drug party. The relationship that develops between the two men is sentimental, yet the filmmakers are careful not to get mushy, <more>
and this gives the picture an edge it might not have had with a lesser director than Schlesinger. Originally X-rated in 1969, and the winner of the Best Picture Oscar; screenwriter Waldo Salt who adapted James Leo Herilhy's book and Schlesinger also won statues. ***1/2 from ****
If Might is Right; at "Midnight", darkness might enlighten my soul. (by CihanVercan)
After Racism, Rural exodus -also known as migration from the country side- is another socio-political issue of the 1960s. WestSide Story had dealt with Racism by a love feast in an artistic view. Now, Midnight Cowboy deals with rural exodus by a friendship tragedy in a psychological view. It has a deeply grievous ending that we witness one of the two companions of fate passing away.Director John Schlesinger skillfully deliver us the deepest secret thoughts, dreams, fantasies, fears and evaluations of two New York City scums. While the handsome Joe Buck Voight dreams of all the beautiful <more>
women of the world begging him to share a wild love fantasy, the poor Ratso Rizzo Hoffman dreams of a better and healthier life in clean and sunny Florida. Accordingly, Joe becomes a hustler to turn his fantasies into reality; and Ratso becomes a snatcher to collect enough money to migrate into Florida. Besides Ratso helps Joe to find his way to do whatever he can. They begin sharing everything in life. They share food, they share medicine, they share an uninhabited home, they share their earnings and thus they share a destiny. Regrettably as the story progresses, Joe realizes that being handsome is not the only thing to make all the beautiful women begging him to have fun; and moreover Ratso cannot see Florida since his heart fails defeated to his disease whilst he was on the bus taking him there.The Might is always right, and the Feeble has no right in the daylight. Thence, "Midnight" gives the factual sight.Despite the tragedy, there is no melodrama in Midnight Cowboy. Every aspect of each character is the reality of the poor who bear their inevitable fate. Thanks to this, Midnight Cowboy is a provocative view of a socio-political issue, the rural exodus.