#43 Midnight Cowboy

Midnight Cowboy

The first, and only, X-rated film to win a best picture Academy Award, John Schlesinger's Midnight Cowboy seems a lot less daring today (and has been reclassified as an R), but remains a fascinating time capsule of late-1960s sexual decadence in mainstream American cinema. In a career-making performance, Jon Voight plays Joe Buck, a naive Texas dishwasher who goes to the big city (New York) to make his fortune as a sexual hustler. Although enthusiastic about selling himself to rich ladies for stud services, he quickly finds it hard to make a living and eventually crashes in a seedy dump with a crippled petty thief named Ratzo Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman, doing one of his more effective "stupid acting tricks," with a limp and a high-pitch rasp of a voice). Schlesinger's quick-cut, semi-psychedelic style has dated severely, as has his ruthlessly cynical approach to almost everybody but the lead characters. But at its heart the movie is a sad tale of friendship between a couple of losers lost in the big city, and with an ending no studio would approve today. It's a bit like an urban Of Mice and Men, but where both guys are Lenny. --Jim Emerson

Product Description
Daring. Provocative. Shocking. Compelling. Nearly thirty years after its original release, "Midnight Cowboy is still heartbreakingand timeless" (The New York Observer). This Academy AwardÂ(r) winner* for Best Picture, Director and Screenplay also boasts OscarÂ(r)-nominated** performances by Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight, neither of whom have "ever been better on screen than they are here" (Chicago Tribune)! When Joe Buck (Voight), a good-looking,naively charming Texas "cowboy" makes his way to the Big Apple to seek his fortune, the only wealthhe finds is in the friendship of Ratso Rizzo (Hoffman), a scrounging, sleazy, small-time con man with big dreams. Living on the tattered fringe of society, these two outcasts develop an unlikely bond one that transcends their broken dreams and get-rich-quick schemes and makes Midnight Cowboy "that rarest of things: [a film] every bit as moving now as it was when it was [first] released" (Premiere). *1969 **1969: Actor

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