Classic of the Week: Midnight Cowboy (1969)

Midnight Cowboy is a 1969 American buddy drama film directed by John Schlesinger, based on the 1965 novel of the same name by James Leo Herlihy. It stars Jon Voight as Joe Buck, a young Texan dishwasher, who quits his job and heads to New York City to become a male prostitute and Dustin Hoffman as Enrico Salvatore “Ratso” Rizzo, a poor con man, with whom Joe becomes friends and roommates with.

This film got an X rating, the equivalent of NC-17 or R today. It is the only adult film to win Best Picture at the Oscars. It has somewhat happy moments, but overall, it isn’t an uplifting film. That doesn’t make it bad. Voight and Hoffman are equally fantastic in their roles.

This film is filled with adult and controversial content, sex, drugs, stealing, prostitution, strip tease, homosexual moments, drinking and smoking and nudity and violence. Even today, it still shocks With it’s powerful and controversial moments. You see everything, nothing is covered up, complete nudity (at times up close), drugs up close, extreme violence, in your face, but it is all well done.

This film is one that, though extremely adult, is done tastefully, though certain sex scenes that are full on, seem a bit porn like. This film is not for everyone. Most conservatives don’t like it. But it still has its fans and still disturbs and amazes people today. It is quite slow at times, but does pick up. Many scenes are unsettling, the sex and drugs are over the top, but that’s the point of the movie.

This film has gone down to be an adult film, that is both disturbing and wonderful at the same time. Not many movies are like that. This story of a young male hustler in the Big Apple and a con man that become friends, doing illegal things, may not seem exciting and it isn’t supposed to be. It is not one that most people will flock to a theater or television screen to watch, but it is still great. It has gone done in history as one of the greatest films of all time.

From the theme song, “Everybody’s Talkin” by Harry Nilsson, to Ratso’s famous line spoken in a New York accent, “I’m walkin’ here,” this such an iconic film. One that should be on every movie lover’s must watch bucket list. This is a film that is so obscene, but yet, so powerful in the way it was portrayed. Many mature films are all sex or drugs, or both, this one has a lot of that too, but a lot of other things that make it special. This is shocked the world win it won Best Picture and deserved it. – Adults Only 4.5/5