5.0 out of 5 stars The best movie ever made
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...
Published on Feb. 13 2005 by J.Jones
2.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Performances
Over the years I seldom ever heard the mention of Midnight Cowboy in discussions among theater goers. I oftened rated the performances of both Dustin Hoffman and the then "new-comer" John Voight as the best acting performances ever to be seen. It came to mind that the "theme" of the film for the period in which it was produced may have had something to...
Published on Aug. 18 2001 by Lou Catalanotto
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5.0 out of 5 stars The best movie ever made,
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.
4.0 out of 5 stars A STORY ABOUT THE TRUE FRIENDSHIP.,
"Midnight Cowboy" is not easy to see. Even though it has lost a good deal of its original impact, this movie has visually striking scenes and powerful images. But underneath that though surface, "Midnight Cowboy" is a story about the unconditional friendship.
Joe Buck (played by Jon Voight) and "Razzo" Rizzo (played by Dustin Hoffman) are apparently the two more different persons in the whole New York City, but actually they share more in common than they and the audience think at the beginning of the film. Despite the fact that their origins are completely different, Joe and Razzo eventually understand that they only have each other in the tough Big City.
The song "Everybody Is Talking" is very good, and it is a great musical background to the gray streets of New York City. The director John Schlesinger never was known for finesse and subtlety, and this movie proves that he was a risky director. Jon Voight became well-known thanks to his portrayal of Joe Buck, and Dustin Hoffman portrayed a lovable loser with his usual skills.
"Midnight Cowboy" is a very dark film, but intelligent and influential at the same time. Perhaps some elements have lost their original impact, but still this is a powerful movie.
5.0 out of 5 stars The crude crash against the reality,
Midnight cowboy is a bitter and satirical story about the dreams and fantasies which turn around a smart boy village (Jon Voight) who thinks, he is the master of the world and so New York is another land to domain, but this will be a wrong choice as you can imagine.
Our boy goes to NYC and meets an outsider (Dustin Hoffman) who will feed his dreams. But the crude reality will show those men how far and wrong they are about New York as a promised land.
With surrealistic situations , the texan boy will experience slow but progressively, the dissapointment process , and his desired gigolo proyect will become in ashes ; and still yet ...
Well, Dustin is amazing as the uncommitmed street man, the locations in NYC look like a hell's preview; the sense of anguish and claustrophobia are notorius. Hunger, loneliness and hopeless will be his true colleagues in this nightmarish journey.
A well made fable about the dream and reality; the ancient myth of Eros and Psyque ; fantasy against imagination. A methaporical slap for those who still hope that NYC will receive you with open arms without any effort.
An extraordinary film who won the Academy Award and threw the gladiator actoral sand to Jon Voight.
Unforgettable and even recognized soundtrack even now.
Undoubtly the masterpiece of John Schlessinger and one of the most solid gems of the american cinema in any age.
5.0 out of 5 stars This Film Still Moves Me,
This review is from: Midnight Cowboy (VHS Tape)
Based on the novel by James Leo Herlihy, MIDNIGHT COWBOY, directed by John Schlesinger, seemed so on the cutting edge in 1969. Both Dustin Hoffman (Ratzo Rizzo) and John Voight (Joe Buck) were nominated for an Oscar for best actor-- as I recall, conventional wisdom was that they cancelled each other out-- but the movie received the Best Picture Award and Schlesinger walked away with the Award for Best Director.
I remember being blown away by the movie in '69. A great admirer of Schlesinger, I watched the movie again recently for the first time since its initial release. I wanted to see if it still was as powerful as I remembered. This time around parts of it seem stuck in the 60's-- the New York party that Ratzo and Joe attend, for example, and the pathetic homosexual-- nope, we can't call him gay-- who picks up Joe and feels he deserves the beating Joe gives him, after he calls his mother on the telephone. Of course, 1969 was the year that a group of despised dragqueens held police officers at bay for a couple of days in another part of New York at a bar called Stonewall. Although those of us in the provences weren't aware of it yet, the times, they were a-changing.
On the other hand, the characters of both Ratzo and Joe endure. Who will ever forgot Joe's hopelessly inept attempt at hustling Sylvia Miles or Ratzo, the real con artist, with his ever present limp. They would make any film critic's list of most memorable characters of the last half of the Twentieth Century. The movie obviously is about finding friendship in unlikely places. Everyone, from the most wealthy to the most down and out, needs love.
Finally, Ratzo and Joe's bus ride into the warm and balmy Miami to get away from the cold New York winter moved me as much today as it did when I first saw the movie. The ending made my eyes burn again almost 35 years later. This film will endure.
4.0 out of 5 stars Impressive Performances. More Low-Key than Racy.,
Joe Buck (Jon Voight) is a cocky but not so bright young man from a small Texas town who thinks he's quite a stud. He heads to New York City where he supposes every wealthy matron in town will want to pay for his company. When he fails to parlay his cowboy persona and youthful good looks into an income that he can live on, he develops a friendship with a low life con artist named Rico "Ratso" Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman) who sets himself up as Joe's "manager".
"Midnight Cowboy" is based on the novel of the same name by James Leo Herlihy and was adapted for the screen by Waldo Salt. John Schlesinger directed the film to such acclaim that it won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay in 1969 despite its "X" MPAA rating. The film's rating seems to be on account of its situation in the world of bartered sex. "Midnight Cowboy" is not very explicit by today's standards. Contrary to what one might expect, the narrative is really very low-key. The writing is indifferent to sex. The story is found in Joe Buck's emotional arch over the course of the film. The storyline itself is uneventful and, to be honest, the two main characters are completely uninteresting people. The film's performances are its best quality, and both lead actors were nominated for Academy Awards. Jon Voight does a fine job of conveying Joe's cockiness along with his gradual discovery of his own naiveté and perhaps lack of intelligence. Dustin Hoffman is memorable as sickly, pathetic "Ratso". Brenda Vaccaro is interesting in a supporting role as one of Joe's ladies. And Warhol actress "Viva" appears briefly as essentially herself, in a small role as the hostess of a Factory-like party for the art-is-a-man's-name crowd, where you can catch glimpses of some other famous Warhol groupies as well. So I'm recommending "Midnight Cowboy" for its performances.
The DVD: Both widescreen and full screen versions are on the same disc, each on a different side. The film starts up as soon as you put the disc in the player and can't be stopped until the movie actually starts. The only bonus feature is a theatrical trailer. Subtitles are available in English, Spanish, and French. Dubbing is available in French.
5.0 out of 5 stars Friendship in misery,
This review is from: Midnight Cowboy [Import] (VHS Tape)
This film is a classic and a cult film. A young Dustin Hoffman cuts out a part that is so brilliant and so moving that the film will remain in our minds no matter how long ago we have seen it. The hustling cowboy in New York was a myth in the 60s, but the film does not only work on ambiguous situations in that business, but takes advantage of the situation to depict New York under a very sad and dark light. People are indifferent to their neighbors. A man can die in the middle of the sidewalk, yet no one will even stop to check upon him. New York has a tremendous amount of poverty, misery and suffering, and this film only speaks of the whites in New York. To the point that Rico, the main character, is living on a dream, the dream to go to Florida. His situation is so dramatic that his friend Joe will, thanks to violent stealing in a sexual situation that will prevent the victim from speaking, realize his dream and take him to Florida. Unluckily he will die when crossing the city limits of Miami. He will have seen Florida from his seat on a bus but never set one foot on the ground. This dream is of course a sour version of the American dream, a dream that turns into a death march. But it is also a testimony of what was happening in the US in the 60s : poverty was discovered, total solitude and absolute isolation was common place in these big cities, and some tragedies were looming behind. It is thus a film about the coming of age of America, of White America, and their discovery that their world is not entirely what advertising and propaganda say all the time. This will lead to riots, upheavals, social crises, and many other evils in a society that was finally understood as being unequal, unegalitarian. It was the time when Warhol shot his own films, « Flesh » and « Trash », and this one is following exactly the same line.
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU
5.0 out of 5 stars Midnight Cowboy: A Classic.,
By way of starting this review, I want to say there's one reviewer who said that few adolescents or young adults will appreciate this film. Now, I can understand that (or can imagine that), but honestly, if you can relate at all with other people in a more than shallow way, Midnight Cowboy will be quite an experience, I think.
I'm in my early twenties and would, according to present standards, qualify as an adult, but certainly I haven't myself been in the gutter yet, nor been to the pawn shop, nor etc., etc.. nevertheless, I consider this a very strong film.
Of course I won't go into subject matter/themes/summary of MC, as that will be redundant and would rob you of half the fun. Most probably other reviewers have taken the liberty of being more informative. Rather I stain blank 'paper' with words urging you to rush out and buy MC. Repeat: watch MC.
Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman are terrific here. Also I was led to believe that this film contained graphic you-know-what, and indeed MC was rated X upon release, but nothing of the sort occurred. Must have been the drug party that caused all the controversy; there's nothing shocking about it these days.
5.0 out of 5 stars Who can ever forget Ratzo?,
They look soooo young, Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman. Watching this film for the 2nd or 3rd time, I realize not only how old they are now, but also how old I must be!
Midnight Cowboy was really revolutionary for its time, but by today's standards it's kinda tame. Still, what a great flick. After all, it put Jon Voight on the map, and if it weren't for that signature move, where would we be today without Angelina Jolie, his daughter?
In the movie, Jon Voight plays Joe Buck, a naive dude from Nowheresville, TX, who goes to NYC with aspirations of being a gigolo. He quickly finds it difficult to make a go of it and ends up in a dump with Ratzo Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman), a crippled con man and thief who apparently has TB.
One of my favorite blips in movies of all times if Ratzo smacking the hood of a taxi and yelling, "I'm walkin' here, I'm walkin' here!" - not to mention the madman religious freak who turns his toilet into a psychedelic shrine to Jesus.
Basically, though, at its heart the movie is a pathetic tale of friendship between 2 lost losers. A film classic.
5.0 out of 5 stars A John Schlesinger Masterpiece,
One of several miraculous films directed by the late John Schlesinger, MIDNIGHT COWBOY has a power that is undiminished more than thirty years after it was made. This is one of the few US-produced films that is aimed exclusively at an intelligent, adult audience. In this way it is like some of the better European films, which did not worry about reaching a 'broad' audience. It's a beautifully made film in every way, using some techniques developed by the French New Wave: jump cuts, simultaneity of past and present, cinema-verite camera-work. These techniques serve to give the film a kind of harsh, poetic immediacy. Neither Voight nor Hoffman have ever surpassed their performances and were both Oscar-nominated.
Waldo Salt's screenplay (based on the novel by sorely underrated James Leo Herlihy) is a brilliant look at the bonding of two seemingly incompatible personalities. A cold world of shame, disappointment and recrimination has isolated both men, and the film shows how they are drawn together out of common needs. On a broader scale, this is a study of the human need to be connected. Yet it avoids any sentimentality and remains emotionally committed throughout. The two main characters can be seen as somewhat symbolic: Joe (Voight) represents an American masculine ideal that does not exist. He himself knows this, as the flashbacks reveal with their images of emasculation. So he reduces himself to a stud, in an attempt to regain his sense of maleness. Ratso, on the other hand, has never really lived, only survived. He harbors illusions about a possible happy life buried deep within his damaged, tortured psyche. Joe's unflagging optimism allows Ratso to face his own fantasies. In the end, all these men have is each other.
The MGM DVD of MIDNIGHT COWBOY is a minimal presentation of a great film. The transfer appears to be high-quality and the sound is 2-channel stereo. The film's original trailer is included. It is unfortunate that Schlesinger's commentary, made for the laserdisc issue, could be be included on the DVD. This should be essential for any film fan.
5.0 out of 5 stars One Of The Best Films From The Sixties!,
More than anything else, this moody, evocative, and intelligently well-scripted film is a modern coming-of-age film, one that follows a pilgrim's progress from naïve and self-absorption for country bumpkin Joe Buck, played to perfection by Jon Voight in his first major movie appearance. The opening sequences illustrate what a wild-eyed rube Joe is, off to the big city from the wide-open spaces of Texas to become rich and infamous as a stud for hire. And in a story as old as big cities, he is quickly disabused of his silly dreams and his open-armed naiveté and is rescued by a troubling and troubled street creature named Enrico " Ratso" Rizzo, played by Dustin Hoffman. Hoffman's Rizzo is a stirringly accurate portrayal of the kind of urban cretins that lurk in many of the allies and coffee shops along the boulevard of broken dreams that is Manhattan.
What evolves along with their burgeoning friendship and mutual dependencies is a beautifully travelogue-type journey into the heart of the urban darkness modern man has created for himself, in all its native hues of gray, brown and the depressing, dirty shades of poverty, desperation, and squalor. We also find all of the petty meanness and well-polished indifference that only an outsider like Joe would even notice. In flashbacks harkening to his beloved grandmother who rescued from the abuse of his battering alcoholic father, we discover Joe is running away from the past while hoping for a better future, yet is not clever enough to figure out quite how to make the transition into a better adulthood. Rizzo helps learn the lessons of survival on the mean street, and educates Joe well enough for them to finally make an ironic escape that provides an emotional and provocative coda in the closing sequences.
This is a wonderful film, one that never deserved an "X" rating since the only thing pornographic about it is the way it portrays people treating other people, and in that sense it is obscene indeed. This is a film that will make you squirm a bit on the couch as the totality of its director's vision plays out, but one you will be glad you sat to experience in its long (over two hours) length. Most of us avid film fans were shocked when neither Voight nor Hoffman won the Oscar for their performance, which went to John Wayne for "True Grit" in an emotional tribute to the Duke's long and illustrious career. This is an edifying and entertaining way to spend a wonderful Saturday evening. Enjoy!
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Midnight Cowboy (Two Disc Collector's Edition) by Dustin Hoffman (DVD - 2006)