Alcatraz is the most secure prison of its time. It is believed that no one can ever escape from it, until three daring men make a possible successful attempt at escaping from one of the most infamous prisons in the world.
The French naval ship, Le Vengeur, based out of Marseille, has just docked in Brest for an extended stay. The ship's captain, Lieutenant Seblon, can see the passion in his men, which can as... See full summary »
Intent on seeing the Cahulawassee River before it's dammed and turned into a lake, outdoor fanatic Lewis Medlock takes his friends on a canoeing trip they'll never forget into the dangerous American back-country.
On October 6, 1970 while boarding an international flight out of Istanbul Airport, American Billy Hayes (Brad Davis) is caught attempting to smuggle two kilos of hashish out of the country, the drugs strapped to his body. He is told that he will be released if he cooperates with the authorities in identifying the person who sold him the hashish. Billy's troubles really begin when after that assistance, he makes a run for it and is recaptured. He is initially sentenced to just over four years for possession, with no time for the more harsh crime of smuggling. The prison environment is inhospitable in every sense, with a sadistic prison guard named Hamidou (Paul L. Smith) ruling the prison, he who relishes the mental and physical torture he inflicts on the prisoners for whatever reason. Told to trust no one, Billy does befriend a few of the other inmates, namely fellow American Jimmy Booth (Randy Quaid) (in for stealing two candlesticks from a mosque), a Swede named Erich (Norbert ...Written by
Screenwriter Oliver Stone apologized in 2004 for offending Turkey with this movie. "Visiting Turkey for the first time since the movie was released in 1978, Stone admitted 'over-dramatizing' the screenplay, which he wrote. 'It's true, I over-dramatized the script.' Stone told reporters in Istanbul, before holding talks with Turkey's Culture and Tourism Minister, Erkan Mumcu. Stone said that the country had improved greatly since 1974." (The Guardian, December 16, 2004) See more »
The movie is set in 1970. When Billy Hayes makes a visit to the toilet at the airport to wash his face, there is a poster on the wall showing a shot of the Bosphorus Bridge which was built in 1973. See more »
[Susan makes her way through a line at an airline checkpoint]
Excuse me... Excuse me... Excuse me... Excuse me.
[she reaches Billy in line]
Geez, I hate flying.
It's something I ate. I think I've been poisoned.
Or you're just excited about getting home.
No, I think it's the baklavas.
[...] See more »
The only opening titles are: Columbia Pictures presents a Casablanca FilmWorks production an Alan Parker film Midnight Express After this, the opening prologue text reads "The following is based on a true story. It began October 6, 1970 in Istanbul, Turkey." See more »
With regard to commercial network, and standard cable showings of the movie, and in the 1980 American Columbia Pictures Home Entertainment red border clam shell VHS/Betamax:
1.) All swearing is dubbed or silenced. 2.) The chicken being decapitated is normally not shown when Billy makes a run for it leaving the Turkish Bizarre. 3.) Billy is shown fully nude during a strip-search after his arrest. Censored prints only show his face. Some prints omit, Tex's line about "would you like to put your clothes on?" 4.) Susan exposing her breasts and Billy touching them when she comes to visit him and sees his horrifying, almost vegetative state is very skillfully cut on the American 1980 red border clam shell VHS/Betamax and all commercial TV prints. You would have to see the uncut movie to even realize that something was missing. See more »
I have to be fair, the movie does what it's supposed to and that's giving the audience a horrific thrill ride. You'll spend your time watching the movie in sheer horror and at the edge of your seat wondering what's going to happen next. As with all Oliver Stone movies such as Salvador, Born On The Fourth Of July and Platoon, Midnight Express is brutal and merciless. Oliver Stone it seems, has made a habit of making money and getting Oscars from controversial and/or little known events in history and dramatizing on it to a point of making the story haunting. The only downside is, for the sake of awards and "art", a culture was demonized beyond redemption and any limits over a fictional story (Oliver Stone himself wrote the story for the movie). *The following is not a spoiler from the movie but points out an event from the plot* In reality, William Hayes it turns out, was arrested at the Turkish airport for trying to smuggle packs of drugs attached on his body into the U.S., and he was held for a time before being given to the American authorities for deportation. William Hayes and Oliver Stone themselves it turns out, have already apologized to the Turkish people for the overly dramatized and fictional parts of the movie and the book. It's funny actually how a movie can create so much on a true moment in life to a point of fiction and still call it a true story. The Turks don't get any breaks in the movie. All their people, cops, judges, lawyers and inmates are shown in such extreme way as ugly, merciless, demonic and sadistic people that one who knows nothing about Turkey would think that its population consists of demons and ugly merciless sadists. Actually this can be compared to movies which have been made about the Russians in the past which always seem to show the Russian women as ugly people with facial hair and nothing attractive while in reality, Beautiful Russian women dominated the modeling business in the world. While apologies have been made, the damage has already been done on the image of the Turkish people. People who are anti-Turkish love praising this movie and insisting that it's a true story all the way while the Turks keep getting rightfully offended. Be aware however, that %80 or some more of this movie is purely fictional. Even just logic would tell you that at a time where the U.S. and Turkey had such strong relations during the cold war, something like what is shown in the movie would have been unthinkable by the Turkish authorities. For a person who just wants to watch a good thriller movie and doesn't care nor wants to get involved in any dramatic flame wars or political discussions on this board or any other, it's worth watching at least once. If you don't like the movie, at least you'll see what all this fuss has been about over the years since the movie was shown in the theaters.
Keep the pop-corns popping' and the good movies rolling' :D
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