Midnight Express (1978) (2024)

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1978

Directed by Alan Parker

Synopsis

Walk into the incredible true experience of Billy Hayes, and bring all the courage you can!

Billy Hayes is caught attempting to smuggle drugs out of Turkey. The Turkish courts decide to make an example of him, sentencing him to more than 30 years in prison. Hayes has two opportunities for release: the appeals made by his lawyer, his family, and the American government, or the "Midnight Express".

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  • Cast
  • Crew
  • Details
  • Genres
  • Releases

Cast

Brad Davis Irene Miracle Bo Hopkins Paolo Bonacelli Paul L. Smith Randy Quaid Norbert Weisser John Hurt Mike Kellin Franco Diogene Michael Ensign Gigi Ballista Kevork Malikyan Peter Jeffrey Joe Zammit Cordina Yashaw Adem Raad Rawi Tony Boyd Zannino Mihalis Giannatos Vic Tablian Ahmed El Shenawi

DirectorDirector

Alan Parker

ProducersProducers

Alan Marshall David Puttnam Garth Thomas

WritersWriters

Oliver Stone Billy Hayes William Hoffer

Original WritersOriginal Writers

Billy Hayes William Hoffer

EditorEditor

Gerry Hambling

CinematographyCinematography

Michael Seresin

Executive ProducerExec. Producer

Peter Guber

Production DesignProduction Design

Geoffrey Kirkland

Art DirectionArt Direction

Evan Hercules

ComposerComposer

Giorgio Moroder

Costume DesignCostume Design

Milena Canonero

MakeupMakeup

Penny Steyne Mary Hillman

HairstylingHairstyling

Sarah Monzani Pat Hay

Studios

Columbia Pictures Casablanca Filmworks

Countries

UK USA

Primary Language

English

Spoken Languages

English French Maltese Turkish

Alternative Titles

Fuga di mezzanotte, O Expresso da Meia-Noite, El expreso de Medianoche, Полуночный экспресс, Expresso da Meia-Noite, El Expreso De Medianoche, 12 Uhr nachts - Midnight Express, 午夜快车, มิดไนท์ เอ็กซ์เพรส, El expreso de medianoche, Éjféli expressz, Geceyarısı Ekspresi, Το Εξπρές του Μεσονυχτίου, Půlnoční expres, אקספרס של חצות, 미드나잇 익스프레스, Опівнічний експрес, Expreso de medianoche, Среднощен експрес, ミッドナイト・エクスプレス, Vidurnakčio ekspresas, Expresul de la miezul nopții, L'Exprés de Mitjanit, Tàu Tốc Hành Nửa Đêm, Keskiyön pikajuna

Genres

Drama Crime

Themes

Crime, drugs and gangsters Politics and human rights Intense violence and sexual transgression Brutal, violent prison drama Violent crime and drugs Racism and the powerful fight for justice Graphic violence and brutal revenge Intense political and terrorist thrillers Show All…

Releases by Date

Sort by

  • Date
  • Country

Premiere

18 May 1978
  • Midnight Express (1978) (3)FranceCannes FilmFestival

20 Sep 1978
  • Midnight Express (1978) (4)Canada18AToronto International FilmFestival

Theatrical limited

12 Sep 1978
  • Midnight Express (1978) (5)Spain

Theatrical

31 Aug 1978
  • Midnight Express (1978) (6)Netherlands16

01 Sep 1978
  • Midnight Express (1978) (7)FinlandK-18

13 Sep 1978
  • Midnight Express (1978) (8)France16

16 Sep 1978
  • Midnight Express (1978) (9)Sweden15

20 Sep 1978
  • Midnight Express (1978) (10)Greece

22 Sep 1978

28 Sep 1978
  • Midnight Express (1978) (12)Belgium

06 Oct 1978
  • Midnight Express (1978) (13)Brazil18
  • Midnight Express (1978) (14)UK18
  • Midnight Express (1978) (15)USAR

21 Oct 1978

27 Oct 1978
  • Midnight Express (1978) (17)Denmark15

28 Oct 1978
  • Midnight Express (1978) (18)ItalyVM18

07 Dec 1978

18 Dec 1978
  • Midnight Express (1978) (20)Spain18

10 May 1979
  • Midnight Express (1978) (21)Colombia15

29 Sep 1979
  • Midnight Express (1978) (22)Germany16

03 Apr 1980
  • Midnight Express (1978) (23)Argentina18

19 Jun 1980
  • Midnight Express (1978) (24)Mexico

31 Aug 1996
  • Midnight Express (1978) (25)South Korea19

Digital

10 Dec 2016
  • Midnight Express (1978) (26)France

01 Jun 2021
  • Midnight Express (1978) (27)France16

Physical

20 Apr 1999
  • Midnight Express (1978) (28)FranceTP

02 Oct 2008
  • Midnight Express (1978) (29)Netherlands16

09 Sep 2009
  • Midnight Express (1978) (30)FranceTP

18 Apr 2012
  • Midnight Express (1978) (31)Netherlands16

TV

30 Mar 2002
  • Midnight Express (1978) (32)Netherlands16

Releases by Country

Sort by

  • Date
  • Country
Midnight Express (1978) (33)Argentina
03 Apr 1980
  • Theatrical18
Midnight Express (1978) (34)Australia
07 Dec 1978
  • TheatricalR 18+
Midnight Express (1978) (35)Belgium
28 Sep 1978
  • Theatrical(Gent)
Midnight Express (1978) (36)Brazil
06 Oct 1978
  • Theatrical18
Midnight Express (1978) (37)Canada
20 Sep 1978
  • Premiere18AToronto International FilmFestival
Midnight Express (1978) (38)Colombia
10 May 1979
  • Theatrical15
Midnight Express (1978) (39)Denmark
27 Oct 1978
  • Theatrical15
Midnight Express (1978) (40)Finland
01 Sep 1978
  • TheatricalK-18(cut)
Midnight Express (1978) (41)France
18 May 1978
  • PremiereCannes FilmFestival
13 Sep 1978
  • Theatrical16Visa CNC49535
20 Apr 1999
  • PhysicalTPDVD
09 Sep 2009
  • PhysicalTPBlu-Ray
10 Dec 2016
  • DigitalVOD
01 Jun 2021
  • Digital16Netflix
Midnight Express (1978) (42)Germany
29 Sep 1979
  • Theatrical16
Midnight Express (1978) (43)Greece
20 Sep 1978
  • Theatrical
Midnight Express (1978) (44)Ireland
22 Sep 1978
  • Theatrical18
Midnight Express (1978) (45)Italy
28 Oct 1978
  • TheatricalVM18
Midnight Express (1978) (46)Japan
21 Oct 1978
  • TheatricalR-15
Midnight Express (1978) (47)Mexico
19 Jun 1980
  • Theatrical
Midnight Express (1978) (48)Netherlands
31 Aug 1978
  • Theatrical16
30 Mar 2002
  • TV16Net5
02 Oct 2008
  • Physical16DVD
18 Apr 2012
  • Physical16Bluray
Midnight Express (1978) (49)South Korea
31 Aug 1996
  • Theatrical19
Midnight Express (1978) (50)Spain
12 Sep 1978
  • Theatrical limited
18 Dec 1978
  • Theatrical18
Midnight Express (1978) (51)Sweden
16 Sep 1978
  • Theatrical15
Midnight Express (1978) (52)UK
06 Oct 1978
  • Theatrical18
Midnight Express (1978) (53)USA
06 Oct 1978
  • TheatricalR

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Popular reviews

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  • Review by Tom Spearing ★★ 36

    So here’s another widely respected classic that seems more than a little problematic to me. There’s much here that I really liked—the intro airport sequence is brilliantly put together: following our protagonist Billy Hayes as he attempts to smuggle 2kg of hashish out of Turkey; sweat beading down his forehead, heartbeat audibly thudding in his chest, trying his best to allay suspicion as he makes his way tentatively through customs. It’s a super tense and slickly orchestrated sequence that hooks the viewer’s attention and sets the scene really well. The film’s score is also fantastic—a pulsating series of synthesised compositions from Italian virtuoso Giorgio Moroder, who already by this point in 1978 was pioneering the “high energy” EDM sounds that…

  • Review by chavel ★★★★ 15

    Midnight Express has been perceived through the years as either a 70’s prison movie classic or as an overcooked melodrama of injustice. Pleeeassse, it's the former. The film, directed by Alan Parker and penned by first-time screenwriter Oliver Stone, caused quite a stir at its 1978 Cannes Film Festival premiere but divided critics. The studio continued to lack faith in its box office potential due to its harsh themes and almost demanded a very commercialized adventure ending (that was discarded), but audiences found it a sensation anyway. The film was nominated for several Academy Awards including Best Picture and for Director Parker, and won for Best Screenplay by Stone and Best Original Score by Giorgio Moroder.

    Parker and Stone have…

  • Review by Cole Duffy ★★ 2

    So let me get this straight: a callow American student was caught smuggling drugs out of Turkey, was arrested, imprisoned, and later escaped. After all this, he wrote a book about his experiences which was then turned into a movie that made up a lot of bullsh*t and vilified the Turks beyond any levels of believable credibility?

    Billy Hayes (the student) and Oliver Stone (the writer) have both apologized for the hateful and downright reckless portrayals of all the Turkish people in the film, but that combined with a deeply uninteresting and unlikable “hero” makesMidnight Expressa lame duck of a film with nothing much going for it.

  • Review by ChandraKanth❄ ★★★★

    It is striking and painful to watch the ordeal of Billy Hayes.

  • Review by Sam Meltzer ★★★ 8

    Midnight Express is a perfectly fine movie elevated by some terrific chasing sequences and ferociously perfect editing. I can definitely see why this movie was a hit and a Best Picture nominee back in 1978. Not only is this movie a crowd-pleaser, but it also resembles the 70s and what they had to offer with cinema really well. Even though it is pretty depressing, it has a lot of mainstream appeal to it. It’s a product of its time but I don’t mean that in a negative way. The grainy look, the music, the lead performance, and the style all feel very 70s. It’s one that definitely holds your attention well when it has its moments of excitement. The storyline…

  • Review by Quintin ★★★ 1

    I love how I thought this movie was going to be about trains because of the title and then 30 minutes into the film they say idiots think Midnight Express means a train.

    Wasn't expected to get absolutely roasted by a film.

  • Review by bearwalkr ひ ★★★ 3

    bro fr got a half life sentence over sum zaza 😭😭😭😭 (snokin a blunt for u right now billy i got u)

    (its currently 7:58AM and I've been up for like 36 hours 💔 (since watching the house that jack built 😳) and I do not have the energy or brain compacity to come up with my own thoughts 🫡 so ima give my homie chatgpt a try at writing it 🫡)

    here's the prompt I gave da homie chatgpt: "𝙬𝙧𝙞𝙩𝙚 𝙖 𝙧𝙚𝙫𝙞𝙚𝙬 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙞𝙨 3 𝙨𝙩𝙖𝙧𝙨 𝙤𝙣 𝙡𝙚𝙩𝙩𝙚𝙧𝙗𝙤𝙭𝙙 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙛𝙞𝙡𝙢 "𝙈𝙞𝙙𝙣𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩 𝙚𝙭𝙥𝙧𝙚𝙨𝙨 (1978)" 𝙢𝙖𝙠𝙚 𝙞𝙩 𝙛𝙪𝙣𝙣𝙮 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙨𝙝𝙤𝙧𝙩." (ong dont judge me im not good at writing prompts yet 🤓🤓🤓🤓)

    and heres what bro bro came up with:…

  • Review by Josh Gillam ★★★

    After being caught trying to smuggle hashish while on holiday, American student Billy Hayes (Brad Davis) has to face life in a notoriously harsh Turkish prison, planning his escape every step of the way, in Alan Parker’s prison drama adapted by Oliver Stone from Hayes’ memoir and co-starring John Hurt, Randy Quaid and Irene Miracle.

    Though the film is incredibly bleak, it’s a powerful look at never giving up despite the odds, with Hayes attempting to keep strong despite his increasingly dire circ*mstances. Davis is able to make this struggle come to life, bringing a brooding yet naive quality that makes the character’s gradual decline into haunted inmate all the more affecting, even if it’s hard to really connect to…

  • Review by Steven Sheehan ★★★ 7

    The more interesting part of Midnight Express is the actual true story of Billy Hayes, a naive student who took the risk of his life and lost. On a rewatch some years after first seeing it, the power of his story remains the same, what has changed are feelings about how it is told. What at first felt like a convincing tortured performance, now looks far too melodramatic.

    It should have been the springboard of success for Brad Davis, who played Hayes in the film, yet his next notable role was in Chariots of Fire three years later. He overacts many of the films key moments which are not structured around much of an insight into his friendships or overall…

  • Review by 20oldboy03 ★★★½

    English Version below🟠🟢🔵


    Eine Ankündigung wie ein Vorbote –
    der die Ohren spitzt gelauschter Aussprache –
    Sie bestätigend die Zeilen –
    der TV-Media mit den niedergeschriebenen Zeilen:

    - gleich nach der Veröffentlichung wurde besagter Film in der Türkei verboten und erst im Jahre 1993 auf den Privatsender HBO ausgestrahlt –

    die Kinderaugen gierend danach –
    und sie endlich befriedigend rasenden Pulses –
    Die ausgesprochenen Worte des Papas währenddessen hallend im Kopf:

    - Verboten in der Türkei!
    - Aufschrei!
    - Skandal!

    mit den heute untermauernden:

    - bei meinem damaligen Kinobesuch 78 musste die Polizei anrücken die wütende, die Vorstellung stoppen wollende Meute, aufzulösen.

    und meinen eigenen abschließenden:

    Der damalige Impact als ein schauerndes Kribbeln mit auf dem Weg bekommender Vorboten für…

  • Review by shookone ★★½

    surprised to read this grim piece actually won two Oscars back in the late 70s, read somewhere this is even considered oscar-bait material. how so? this isn't particularly good vibes cinema, also the social commentary is rather abstract, playing out in a exotic, distant world.

    it's a weird film, carried by a superior Giorgio Moroder score while obviously being unreflective and blind about the depiction of the places and people it's situated in. called out as racist nowadays I'd say with some smarter decisions this could have probably went somewhere substantial.

    good example of how the power of the "based on a true story" tag always was way too strong in generating commercial traffic.

  • Review by Daniel Malpica Santander ★★★★½ 1

    Representa a escala el comportamiento humano y la transformación psicológica generada por la violencia, la tortura y la reclusión en un prisionero que pese a ser culpable, y aunque no no fuera, nadie merece un trato igual o similar a ese.

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