Cover image for Midnight cowboy / produced by Jerome Hellman ; screenplay, Waldo Salt ; directed by John Schlesinger.
Midnight cowboy / produced by Jerome Hellman ; screenplay, Waldo Salt ; directed by John Schlesinger.
Title Variants:
Macadam cowboy

Herlihy, James Leo.

Midnight cowboy.
[Repackaged ed.].
Publication Information:
[United States] : Metro Goldwyn Mayer ; Beverly Hills, CA : Distributed by Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, 2012.
Physical Description:
1 videodisc (113 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in.
General Note:
Title from container.

Based on the novel by James Leo Herlihy.

Originally released as a motion picture in 1969.
Two small-time hustlers whose powerful friendship transcends the gritty realities of big-city life and their own unfulfilled dreams.
Audience/Reading Level:
Rating: R; Restricted CHV rating: 18A.

On Order

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Based on a James Leo Herlihy novel, British director John Schlesinger's first American film dramatized the small hopes, dashed dreams, and unlikely friendship of two late '60s lost souls. Dreaming of an easy life as a fantasy cowboy stud, cheerful Texas rube Joe Buck (Jon Voight) heads to New York City to be a gigolo, but he quickly discovers that hustling isn't what he thought it would be after he winds up paying his first trick (Sylvia Miles). He gets swindled by gimpy tubercular grifter Rico "Ratso" Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman) but, when Joe falls in the direst of straits, Ratso takes Joe into his condemned apartment so that they can help each other survive. Things start to look up when Joe finally lands his first legit female customer (Brenda Vaccaro) at a Warhol-esque party; Ratso's health, however, fails. Joe turns a final trick to get the money for one selfless goal: taking Ratso out of New York to his dream life in Miami. One of the first major studio films given the newly minted X rating for its then-frank portrayal of New York decadence, Midnight Cowboy was critically praised for Schlesinger's insight into American lives, with the intercut mosaic of Joe's memories and Ratso's dreams lending their characters and actions greater psychological complexity. While they may have been drawn by the seamy content (tame by current standards), the young late '60s audience responded to Joe's and Ratso's confusion amidst turbulent times and to the connection they make with each other despite their alienation from the surrounding culture. Midnight Cowboy became one of the major financial and artistic hits of 1969, winning Oscars for Best Picture (the first for an X-rated film), Best Director, and former blacklistee Waldo Salt's screenplay. Though the one-two punch of Midnight Cowboy and The Graduate (1967) proved Hoffman's range and Voight's Joe Buck made him a star, both lost Best Actor to classical cowboy John Wayne for True Grit. The film was later re-rated R by the MPAA. ~ Lucia Bozzola, Rovi

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Texan Joe Buck (Jon Voight) ditches his dishwashing job and troubled past for a shot in the Big Apple and his pipedream of succeeding as a hustler ("I ain't a for-real cowboy, but I am one hell of a stud") in John Schlesinger's "buddy movie," with sickly, two-bit con man "Ratso" Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman) as Joe's dodgy pal. Groundbreaking as the sole X-rated film (later rerated "R") to earn a Best Picture Oscar, this downbeat but ultimately poignant drama gets the deluxe treatment-a high-definition restoration with lots of supplements-fit for a rhinestone cowboy. [See Trailers, LJ 4/1/18.] © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.