Jonathan Melville’s review:
Released in 1969, during one of the most exciting periods of American filmmaking which saw Bonnie and Clyde and Easy Rider take cinema audiences by surprise with their rawness, Midnight Cowboy still has the power to shock and impress.
Jon Voight plays wannabe cowboy Joe Buck who gives up his job washing dishes and heads to the bright lights of New York, where he discovers that making it rich will take more than good looks and luck.
English director John Schlesinger’s capturing of America’s seamier side, complete with male prostitution and the appearance of archetypal New York hustler in the shape of Dustin Hoffman’s Ratso Rizzo, is inspired, Waldo Salt’s script touching on some tough themes which helped the film receive an X certificate from the US censors.
This didn’t stop the film winning Best Picture at the Oscars, something it’s hard to argue with. Add to the impressive performances a gorgeous score by John Barry and in Midnight Cowboy you’ve got a film that helped set the standards of the 1970s and beyond.