Daring. Provocative. Shocking. Compelling. Nearly thirty years after its original release, "Midnight Cowboy is still heartbreakingand timeless" (The New York Observer). This Academy AwardÂ(r) winner* for Best Picture, Dire... more »ctor and Screenplay also boasts OscarÂ(r)-nominated** performances by Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight, neither of whom have "ever been better on screen than they are here" (Chicago Tribune)! When Joe Buck (Voight), a good-looking,naively charming Texas "cowboy" makes his way to the Big Apple to seek his fortune, the only wealthhe finds is in the friendship of Ratso Rizzo (Hoffman), a scrounging, sleazy, small-time con man with big dreams. Living on the tattered fringe of society, these two outcasts develop an unlikely bond one that transcends their broken dreams and get-rich-quick schemes and makes Midnight Cowboy "that rarest of things: [a film] every bit as moving now as it was when it was [first] released" (Premiere). *1969 **1969: Actor« less
A gritty New York with all its contrasts and inconsistencies
Linda Linguvic | New York City | 07/16/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"An academy award winner in 1969 in spite of having an X rating, this is one of those classic films that have aged well. British director John Schlessinger, in his first American film, captured the gritty sordidness of New York City, as it was in those days, with all its contrasts and inconsistencies. We see a man sprawled on the sidewalk in front of an upscale jewelry store being ignored by passersby.Jon Voight is cast as Joe Buck, a young man from Texas who comes to New York with the dream of becoming a male prostitute. Dustin Hoffman is Rico Ratzo Rizzo, a the crippled street-wise hustler who first cons the young Texan and later befriends him. Together, these two outcasts form a strange bond as they struggle to survive on the streets of New York. Joe Bucks' story is told with flashbacks and surreal fantasy sequences, which seem unfocussed at times, but give us an understanding of who he is. Ratzo, however, doesn't need this kind of cinematographic background; his quirky character is all right there.The film is full of memorable characters - Sylvia Miles as an aging Park Avenue woman with a thick New York accent who considers herself "one helluva gorgeous chick", John McGiver, the religious nutjob who Joe Buck thinks will give him connections to rich women, and Brenda Vacarro who takes Joe home with her after a psychedelic party. There's a memorable soundtrack too -- "The Echoes of My Mind". And then there's the memorable conclusion which takes place on a bus headed for Florida.I loved this video but it's not for everybody. It's downbeat and sad and disturbing. But it says something about human nature and human connection. And it pictures a way of life that might not be pleasant but is a reality. Recommended."
Still Meaningful Today
L. Shirley | fountain valley, ca United States | 10/12/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"1969 was an excellent year for films.There was Anne of the Thousand Days, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,Hello Dolly,Easy Rider, the list goes on and on.Why is it then that this is the film that won the Academy Awards for best picture,director and screenplay of that year? (and was also given nods for both leading actors). Perhaps the voters over 30 years ago could forsee that this movie would stand the test of time.
This is a story that tugged at our heartstrings, and made us up sit up and take notice of the world around us. Joe Buck(John Voight), a naive,good looking,Texas "cowboy", in a get up that looks as if he is Alan Ladd reincarnated, hits the "Big Apple" in hopes of striking it rich (literally) with the ladies there.
It isnt long before his hopes are dashed, he is broke,life on the streets of New York is savage.He must do things that turn his stomach in order to survive. He finds himself in need of a friend. The friend comes in the form of one "Ratso" Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman), a sleazy. panderer, who offers Joe a place with him in a condemned apartment building.
Ratso takes Joe under his wing, and together they try to survive on one get rich quick scheme after another. These two very different men form a unique bond. Joe has disturbing thoughts of the past, and Ratso has dreams of the future. When Ratso falls ill,though. it is Joe who must care for him. Their friendship moved us then and it will move you now.
The actors are phenominal in their performances. Hoffman fresh off his success in "The Graduate" shows us way back then how versitile he is, and Voight the newcomer proved his dramatic skills early on. The director John Schlesinger (Far From the Maddning Crowd) gives us a very realistic view of life on the streets. At the time of it's release this film was rated X (it is R now) and although there are some expicit scenes, the main focus is on the kinship of man.
The DVD(MGM) is a nice transfer. The colors ar vibrant. It is in the original widescreen format (with a standard format on the b side of the disc) It is in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround,not the best I have heard done on a film of this age, but still good enough. The soundtrack is wonderful with the great song "Everybody's Talkin". No other special features on the disc itself but it does come with a booklet on the casting and making of the film, along with some other interesting facts about it.
This would be an excellent addition to any film collection.
Funny, mind-opening, ultimately heartbreaking.
lonesome_insomniac | Scotland | 06/10/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I saw Midnight Cowboy for the first time last night, and I'm furious with myself for waiting so long to give it a shot. I reacted to it in a very personal way, and it's been on my mind all day. Hoffman and Voigt's performances are pitch-perfect, Schlesinger's direction is daring, snappy, unique, Waldo Salt's screenplay is full of wit and compassion, and the fabulous music really sets the tone. Unlike many others I don't feel that the movie has dated in any serious way. The much-talked-about acid-trip party sequence does look very 60s, but it isn't embarrassing or anything. Besides, the movie was made and is set in the 60s, so whaddya expect? As a previous reviewer mentioned, the director was hardly gonna make this picture with the 21st Century audience in mind. He made it as a reflection of the time and place. (This is common in Schlesinger's work -- he has a remarkable eye for detail.) Most importantly, modern audiences will still be able to relate to all the movie's main themes, like lonliness, confusion, friendship, sex and disappointment. The only real problem I have with the film is that at times it seems strongly homophobic -- the few gay characters who are developed in the movie are all presented as pathetic, sadomasochistic crazies. But then, the movie takes a harsh attitude to all the characters except the two leads, so perhaps I'm overreacting. So, anyone who considers themselves film buffs simply must watch Midnight Cowboy. Not because it's a well-known much-quoted classic of cultural significance (which it is as well) but because it'll genuinely make you laugh and cry, and later, think. Actually, whoever you are, watch it anyway. Yours truly is certain you won't be disappointed."
The best movie of all time. Really.
Kristen | CT | 04/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Yes, you read that right-- it's the best! Of all time! Now with me being a total moviephile, that's a big achievement for a film. Hundreds go into my cosideration, and only ten are chosen as TRULY GREAT. And Midnight Cowboy is the daddy of 'em all. here's why: 1.)Excellent storyline. It's tragic, poignant, sometimes funny (like the strange things you hear on Joe's radio, or see on the picket signs of protesters, for example, one sign said, "Liberate freedom!" I got a kick out of that). Plus, who can resist a buddy drama? The friendship that grows between Ratso and Joe is... ineffable. They're like Frodo and Sam, only cooler. And who can resist a late-coming-of-age story? How about the plight of the poor, and life on the edges? It just blows my mind.It's SO SAD! All of the characters are so fully-realized (Joe, giving in when the old lady asks him for money, or not taking the kid's watch...! ! ! Or Ratso, trying to help Joe out, falling down those stairs, dreaming of Florida...! But I digress.) This movie isn't afraid of blatant symbolism. Nowadays movies seem too cool to have blatant symbolism like the radio or the sign or the ring (etc! I could go on for hours!). Now if you cough and miss a line, whoosh, you miss the symbolism. And what beefs up a piece better? It's reassurance. And I love it. 2.) The acting. OH MY GOD!!! I cried like a GAZILLION times during this movie, mainly because there were no actors. They were real people. Real people! And the whole thing was so real, and so poignant, and it's not like they're idealized characters, far from it, but they're so easy to relate to (outsiders, losers, flailing and failing). 3.)Beautiful music. I listen to the soundtrack all the time. It starts out with the hopeful "Everybody's Talkin'", which is about new experiences and having high hopes for the future (like "finally moving on to where I want to be in life!") Then the soundtrack descends into depressing, lonely cowboy songs and drug-addled experimentalist music. A lot of it is quite "period" but that detracts none of the music's validity. The songs are all great. But then in the end, "Everybody's Talkin'", again, as Joe decides to straighten up his act and accept reality. In case you haven't noticed, yeah, this is one AWESOME MOVIE. Plus the direction was cool. There were the zoom-in shots, which have been retired, apparently, and there was no bland, fearful cinematography. This movie was so sincere, it was like an open door. That's what makes it great. It leaves itself open for anyone with its sincerity, which is either the makings of a Great One or of a bomb (so easy to laugh at a bad, sincere movie!). In this case, Duh! It's a Great One!"
Midnight Cowboy Stands the Test of Time
scoobles | Connecticut, United States | 12/25/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Midnight Cowboy is an Oscar-winning movie that stays with you long after viewing. It has a timeless message about urban life, searching for dreams and the reality of living.The movie is very very strong and affecting. The best is to see the whole movie without the editing for television, so that one can follow the story of Joe's life back in the country. The flashback scenes are crucial to understanding why Joe came to New York and the television versions cut these out! When first released, it was rated X! But this refers to the party scenes including drug use and sexual content of some scene of the movie. These scenes are MILD compared to the majority of R-rated films today."Cowboy" Joe Buck (Voight) tries to make a living as a male prostitute, what he feels he does best. This belief is shaken by the harshness of New York City living.Joe meets Enrico "Ratso" Rizzo and teams up with a poverty-stricken handicapped man to find a dream for both of them. The end of this film is amazing and I challenge anyone to stop himself from be moved at the closing scene. Coupled with the haunting musical theme, Hoffmann makes a presentation not soon to be forgotten."