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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 28.57%
Average: 5.36%
Pretty Bad: 7.14%
Total Crap: 10.71%

2 reviews, 44 user ratings

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Midnight Express
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Slyder

"A greatly misunderstood movie"
5 stars

If you've seen and heard about this movie, originally released in 1978, then you probably have heard about all the negative criticism that surrounds it, especially from the Turkish counterpart (with all due respect). Believe me, it's not how they say it is, and it's not what you think. It's more than that, even more important than all that superficial criticism.

Well, Billy Hayes (Brad Davis) gets busted at the airport in Turkey for possessing hashish. He then makes a childish effort of trying to escape the police when asked to help them find the person who sold the drug to him. He gets busted again because of it, and is sent to a barbaric jail for four years. There he gets beaten up, and meets new friends Jimmy Booth (Randy Quaid) and Max (John Hurt), who also get beaten up later. Then the court appeals to the decision and he's sentenced to thirty years in prison. This was made as a reminder to all drug dealers so they know what would happen if they get busted. Knowing that he's going to die there, he tries everything within his reach to "take the midnight express", that is to escape.

Ok, so everybody in the audiences will ask themselves, why is he a hero when he's a simple punk trying to smuggle hashish? Why does this film accuse Turkish people of being brutal and barbaric? Well, in a way, I believe that Hayes is no angel, and we see that he grows up in jail. But still, we look at how people like us are treated in a horrific way. This film makes us reflect on how do we behave as humans, and up to what point should the punishment fit the crime? Everybody knows that if you do something wrong you must pay for it. Hayes at first we see, he accepts his guilt, but does that mean that he has to be punished gravely for something so worthless? Go to jail for 30 years for only 2 kilos of drug? I don't think so. And Iíll be damned if they throw me to jail just for smoking a cigarette!!

The story relies on the book written by Hayes. It stays truthful to it, thanks to Oliver Stone's adaptation and Alan Parker's riveting direction. Of course, it may exaggerates things a little bit for the effect in some parts, but the real message IS NOT: "Hate the Turks, they're barbaric" and some other shit like that. The message is that we as humans, whether or not we are criminal or not, must have at least A DECENT SENSE OF MERCY. Be human, accept your punishment, but we also must ask the punishers to punish within reason, to get what we deserve, and not go way over the limit, and punish us in a ridiculous and exaggerated way.

Now for those who think it's racist and portrays the Turks as barbaric people, let me tell you: IT'S NOT RACIST, thatís beside the point. Hell, I know for a fact that there's a bunch of people around the world that are just as sadistic as barbaric as the people portrayed in the film (Try the southern United States for example). You guys know that in the world, there is good people and bad people, always has always will. This film is excellent in the point that there are people there that play with the law, and modify it in their own way for their convenience, so they can punish you in a harsher way for a simple crime that instead of being a few years in prison, all of a sudden it turns into a life sentence. And for what? To make us live in fear? No way. Hayes tells everybody in the courtroom that they're pigs, and they are merciless. Sure, he says, "I hate your nation". He's saying that not because he's racist, but because thatís how he feels after being punished in an unjust way, and he thinks that because since everybody he has met behaves that way, then everybody in Turkey also behaves that way. Wouldn't you? I bet you would. The way they treat you contributes on the narrowing of your vision that since everybody you know behaves that way, you start believing that everybody in the whole place behaves the same way. That is not true and as I said, there are good people and there are also bad people. And this film depicts that in a magnificent way, it makes us think, "What do the laws stand for?" "Have I been punished the right way?" I certainly believe thatís what the film is trying to say, and thatís why this film is worth seeing.

In the end, do yourself a favor, forget all the shit that they've been telling you and "walk into the incredible true experience of Billy Hayes, and bring all the courage you can!"

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originally posted: 12/08/00 07:52:36
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User Comments

5/28/15 stanley welles powerful, engaging and fascinating 4 stars
4/22/13 Granny Shagger That haunting soundtrack, especially 'Istanbul Blues,' will live with me forever. 3 stars
3/25/13 Chris F Brilliant film keeps you riveted right through. 5 stars
12/01/10 Sugarfoot Brad Davis gives a decent performance, but you just don't have sympathy for his character 3 stars
7/25/10 Penny Very disturbing and racist. I would never watch it again. It leaves you with a sick feeling 2 stars
5/14/08 Quigley Has some disturbing and emotional scenes, but not the best prison film out there 4 stars
2/10/08 Pamela White drama at its finest 5 stars
11/10/07 Chris Turkish arsewipes should be eliminated from the earth 5 stars
11/04/07 Cansu Although I am Turkish, I wasn't able to understand the "Turkish" characters in the movie. 1 stars
6/23/07 ali baba fuck off films great turkish scum fucking stink 5 stars
5/19/07 maria although a well directed movie,it's racist and different from the book.stone apologized for 2 stars
2/20/07 Simon Movie is tottaly correct, if it was 1920; still good movie 4 stars
7/16/06 action movie fan powerful and engrossing--based on true story of turkish prison hell--makes sleep 5 stars
3/29/05 Vince Excellent script from Stone, and Parker's best movie. Superb. 5 stars
10/20/04 andi belmont i love the movie it was very moving and heart warming 5 stars
7/31/04 Stuart "Ohhhh Biiiillllllly" Awesome AWESOME scene ;) 5 stars
6/07/04 Daveman I have to say I've never been so amazed to see a film's protagonist make it through it all 4 stars
2/17/04 Theresa Compulsive viewing very rare 5 stars
2/15/04 john edge of your seat thriller - holds you in its grip from beginning to end 5 stars
7/27/03 Janice Sawyer If this movie were about Americans instead, what would we think about it then? 1 stars
4/07/03 Jack Sommersby Pretentious, simplistic, and overblown. 1 stars
12/20/02 Christopher Robb I disagree with the EFC reveiwer above. Midnight Express will always stand apart as a uniqu 5 stars
10/24/02 Charles Tatum Y'know, if dumbass hadn't been smuggling drugs, none of this would have happened! 1 stars
5/15/02 confused - what's the fuss about this? 3 stars
4/27/02 timmuchin totally racist,unreal,they dont know anything about Turkey and turkish people 1 stars
3/15/02 Monster W. Kung Good, but terribly depressing. 4 stars
3/11/02 R.W. Welch Maybe a little racist, but hey, what the heck, it's still an interesting flick. 4 stars
1/22/02 Solo4 It is racist and no very faithfull to the book but great entertainment 4 stars
9/08/01 Ersen I'm Turkish I'm barbarian I'm killer. I think the movie is masterwork of popular cultur. 2 stars
8/14/01 To Nga Lai This film is so powerful and thanks to the late wonderful actor-Brad Davis 5 stars
8/04/01 Elizabeth Garcia A great movie 4 stars
6/20/01 Sklookedy Sam Effective but definitely racist, deviates from book; Hayes himself admitted film is fiction 2 stars
5/29/01 Dennis Young Im 48 years old. I can see myself being Billy Hayes 28 years ago 5 stars
5/23/01 Bada Bing Crosby I miss Brad Davis 5 stars
5/21/01 Massiel Kempton Well harsh, incredibly well made, VERY motivating of human spirit. 5 stars
2/16/01 Ray McCoy Grim, engrossing tale about crime and punishment that disturbs but never goes over the top 5 stars
1/04/01 Michael This is just a bullshit. 1 stars
1/03/01 Mic Harrowing, even if not always true 4 stars
12/30/00 ken mead great timeless after 25 years 5 stars
12/25/00 Steven Robinson excellently made, inspiring work with a truly moving story and wonderful acting 5 stars
12/19/00 The Bomb 69 movie was scary and intense 5 stars
12/16/00 George E. Clark My favorite film of all times. I think it is a great film. 5 stars
11/29/00 Cristopher Revilla intense movie, one of the best films ever. 5 stars
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  02-Mar-1978 (R)



Directed by
  Alan Parker

Written by
  Oliver Stone

  Brad Davis
  Bo Hopkins
  Irene Miracle
  Paul Smith
  Randy Quaid
  John Hurt

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