Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight, Sylvia Miles, John McGiver, Brenda Vaccaro
Rating: R (Restricted)
Runtime: 113 minutes
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
Why are you stealing food?
I was just, uh, noticing that you're out of salami. I think you oughtta have somebody go over to the delicatessen, you know, bring some more back.
Gee, well, you know, it's free. You don't have to steal it.
Well, if it's free, then I ain't stealin'.
I like the way I look. Makes me feel good, it does. And women like me, goddammit. Hell, the only one thing I ever been good for is lovin'. Women go crazy for me, that's a really true fact! Ratso, hell! Crazy Annie they had to send her away!
Then, how come you ain't scored once the whole time you been in New York?
Here I am, goin' to Florida, my leg hurts, my butt hurts, my chest hurts, my face hurts, and like that ain't enough, I gotta pee all over myself.
That's funny? I'm fallin' apart here!
It's just - Know what happened? You just took a little rest stop that wasn't on the schedule!