Based on William Hayes's autobiography, MIDNIGHT EXPRESS tells the harrowing story of a young American tourist arrested and sentenced to 30 years in prison by Turkish authorities for trying to smuggle two kilos of hashish out of the country. Billy (Brad Davis), suffering through the harsh realities of the Turkish penal system, sees a glimmer of hope when his father (Billy Kellin) arrives from the States with the intention of securing his son's release. But when that effort fails and the prison's savage environment becomes too much to bear, Billy opts for the only possible solution: breaking out of jail and riding the "midnight express"--prison slang for escape--to freedom.
Director Alan Parker (MISSISSIPPI BURNING), aided by Oliver Stone's Oscar-winning script, fastens an unflinching gaze into the darkest recesses of physical and emotional cruelty. Supporting cast members Randy Quaid, John Hurt, and Bo Hopkins give stellar performances, and Giorgio Moroder supplies a jagged yet entrancing soundtrack for a film that is at one and the same time a Kafkaesque nightmare, a riveting exposé, and a testament to the dogged human thirst for dignity.
1978 - Academy Awards - Best Adapted Screenplay Winner
1978 - Academy Awards - Best Original Score Winner
Bo Hopkins - American Supporting Actor
Mike Kellin - American Character Actor
William Hayes - Writer
Gerry Hambling - American Editor
Gerald Hambling - American Editor
Alan Marshall - Producer
Michael Seresin - American Director Of Photography
Giorgio Moroder - Music producer/composer
Oliver Stone - Director/Screenwriter/Prod.
Randy Quaid - American Actor, THE LAST DETAIL
David Puttnam - British Producer/Executive
John Hurt - British Actor
Alan Parker - British Director/Screenwriter/Producer, EVITA
Brad Davis - American Actor
The true story of Billy Hayes is revealed in this drama about a young man who is sentenced to 30 years in a Turkish prison for a minor drug offense.
Theatrical Release: November 6, 1978.
"...[The] cast, direction and production are all very good..." - 05/24/1978 Variety
"[A] harrowing depiction of the torment of an American serving time in Turkey..." - 04/01/2006 Premiere, p.104
4 stars out of 5 -- "The performances are good, especially John Hurt as Hayes' prison confidant..." - 03/01/2008 Empire, p.142
3 stars out of 5 -- "Parker's film is powerful and harrowing, with fine performances from Brad Davis as Hayes and John Hurt as his frail Brit fellow-prisoner." - 04/01/2008 Total Film, p.154
3 stars out of 5 -- "[G]rippingly well-made stuff." - 04/01/2008 Uncut, p.127