Midnight Express [Blu-ray] [Import]
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Midnight Express [Blu-ray]
Forever embroiled in controversy, Midnight Express divides viewers into opposing camps: those who think it's one of the most intense real-life dramas ever made, and those who abhor its manipulative tactics and alteration of facts for the exploitative purpose of achieving a desired effect. That effect is powerfully achieved, regardless of how you may feel about director Alan Parker and Oscar®-winning screenwriter Oliver Stone's interpretation of the story of Billy Hayes. It was the American Hayes--played by the late Brad Davis in an unforgettable performance--who was caught smuggling two kilograms of hashish while attempting to board a flight from Istanbul, Turkey, in 1970. He was sentenced to four years in a hellish Turkish prison on a drug possession charge, but his sentence was later extended (though not by 30 years, as the film suggests), and Hayes endured unthinkable brutality and torture before his escape in 1975.
Unquestionably, this is a superbly crafted film, provoking a visceral response that's powerful enough to boil your blood. By the time Hayes erupts in an explosion of self-defensive violence, Parker and Stone have proven the power--and danger--of their skill. Their film is deeply manipulative, extremely xenophobic, and embellishes reality to heighten its calculated impact. Is that a crime? Not necessarily, and there's no doubt that Midnight Express is expertly directed and blessed with exceptional supporting performances (especially from John Hurt as a long-term prisoner). Still, it's obvious that strings are being pulled, and Parker, while applying his talent to a nefarious purpose, is a masterful puppeteer. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
"Midnight Express" explores one man's time in a hellish Turkish prison. The tension of being caught and then beaten in prison are so well captured that you almost don't want to look. One scene that comes to mind is when Davis is hung upside down and beaten so bad, you can almost feel it.
Davis performance is exceptional, yet did not give him the career you'd expect. An excellent actor, who died at the age of 41.
The DVD itself is excellent too. An impressive widescreen transfer, plus a full screen option thrown in for people who dont know the value of widescreen (ie. a pointless inclusion in my opinion). The DVD also boasts a 1978 documentary of the film, and a trailer.
A must own! One of the best prison films to date, along with "Shawshank Redemption".
Brad Davis is phenomenal as Billy Hayes and it's a shame that he couldn't get his own real life together and become the star he should have become. Brad reminded me a lot of James Dean in this film. His acting, his looks, even the way he spoke. It was quite eerie actually. Brad deserved much better than one memorable film and a death, so cruel.
This is supposed to be a 20th Anniversary Edition dvd, which would suggest commentaries, deleted scenes and a host of other extras, but there is none of this. ...It's a real drag that this film doesn't get the proper dvd treatment it deserves. The featurette is nothing more than a VERY SHORT documentary on the life of the real Billy Hayes that was made in the late 70's. If you're looking for new information, you've come to the wrong place. The only thing that's great about this dvd is the transfer. It looks great for the most part, crisp and clean with very few artifacts and very little edge enhancement, though some of the scenes were very dark, which is probably the way they were originally shot. I'm not sure if it's just my dvd or if everyone else's dvd has a problem, but when Billy is meeting his Turkish lawyer for the first time and they are shaking hands they're is a slight "roll" in the dvd. Kind of like if you were watching this movie in the theater and the projector got hung up for a frame or two. It's not that bad but I thought I would mention it.
This is a great film and I highly recommend it to anyone who has never seen it. This movie holds up very well for being over 20 years old and it's still relevant today. I just wish it would have gotten much better treatment in this 20th Anniversary Edition. *sigh*
'Midnight Express' is the harrowing story of Billy Hayes [Brad Davis], a young American tourist condemned to a Turkish prison for his futile attempt to smuggle hashish out of the country. A victim of ineffectual diplomacy, where Billy Hayes is made an example by a corrupt legal system. Sentenced to 30 years and must overcome some ruthless brutality and his own descent into madness in order to survive and hopefully escape.
'Midnight Express' is powerfully directed by Alan Parker, who inspires searing performances from Brad Davis, John Hurt and Randy Quaid. It is an unforgettable look at one of the most dangerous prisons in the world, and one man's fight to get home.
FILM FACT: 'Midnight Express' won Academy Awards® for Best Music, Original Score for Giorgio Moroder and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium for Oliver Stone. It was also nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for John Hurt. Best Director, Best Film Editing and Best Picture for Alan Parker. The film was also entered into the 1978 Cannes Film Festival.
Cast: Brad Davis, Irene Miracle, Bo Hopkins, Paolo Bonacelli, Paul L.Read more ›
This story of a young American caught smuggling Hashish out of Istanbul goes out of its way to depict Turkey as a brutal, corrupt country, full of "furriners." Oliver Stone's script is embarrassing in places, particularly when Billy Hayes gives his big speech in court, calling Turkey "a nation of pigs." Talk about begging the question! I would be surprised if anyone of Turkish descent were not deeply offended by this.
As long as you don't take it too seriously, Midnight Express can be an enjoyable non-think action movie. John Hurt and Randy Quaid contribute superb performances, and Paul Smith does a convincing job of portraying the sadistic prison warden. (It's a safe bet that no actual Turks were used in the making of this film, which was shot in Malta.) Giorgio Moroder's disco soundtrack has dated badly, but is still catchy.
The DVD features an anamorphic transfer (enhanced for 16x9 TVs)with an excellent picture. The soundtrack, unfortunately, is Dolby 2.0 and does not seem to have been remastered; much of the music sounds tinny and thin.
Most recent customer reviews
Great movie, a cult classic. Davis gives a moving and outstanding performance.Published 12 months ago by LV
A fantastic movie--apparently true. Casting could not have been better. Buy it. Do not hesitate!! R. J. Landry, Barton, NSPublished 21 months ago by rojo208
Great acting, but Billy Hayes, the main character of this film was just plain dumb. He got caught attempting to smuggle hasish out of Turkey and endured years of gruelling torture... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Mark Feuer