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Midnight Express

1978

R CC

The true story of an American college student's (Brad Davis) nightmarish experience in a Turkish prison. 20th Anniversary Special Edition.

Starring:
Brad Davis, Irene Miracle
Runtime:
2 hours, 0 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Thriller
Director Alan Parker
Starring Brad Davis, Irene Miracle
Supporting actors 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
Studio Columbia Pictures
MPAA rating R (Restricted)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By [KNDY] Dennis A. Amith TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 21, 2009
Format: Blu-ray
It's about never giving up hope.

The 1978 film "MIDNIGHT EXPRESS" was a film that was known for its controversial story but also seen as a film masterpiece as it was the first major film to depict foreigners inhumane treatment in prison and it was brought alive due to the awesome performance by actor Brad Davis ("Chariots of Fire", "Roots") and a film directed by Alan Parker ("Bugsy Malone", "Pink Floyd the Wall", "Fame", "Evita" and "Angela's Ashes") and a screenplay by Oliver Stone ("Platoon", "JFK", "Natural Born Killers", "The Doors" and "Alexander"). The film would also feature the talents of composer Giorgio Moroder ("Flashdance", "Scarface" and "Over the Top") and cinematography by Michael Seresin ("Fame", "Angela's Ashes", "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" and "Step Up").

"MIDNIGHT EXPRESS" would be nominated for seven Academy Awards and won an Academy Award for "Best Music", "Original Score", "Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium".

But what caught attention was that the film was based on a true story of Billy Hayes who was convicted for smuggling hash and sentenced to four years in a Turk prison where he and many people were tortured. To make matters worse, he became a scapegoat to prevent foreigners from even thinking of smuggling drugs in the country by having his sentenced overturned and giving him a life sentence.

Hayes book "Midnight Express" details his life behind bars and the inhumane treatment that he and others received in prison and eventually how he escaped from the prison.
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Format: DVD
Many reviewers ridicule the method used to try and smuggle the drugs in this movie, but back in the early 1970's (when the film was based) these kind of methods actually took place. Yes, people are stupid for doing these things ... but it's hard not to have compassion for them when they are served lifetime sentences.
"Midnight Express" explores one man's time in a hellish Turkish prison. The tension of being caught and then beaten in prison are so well captured that you almost don't want to look. One scene that comes to mind is when Davis is hung upside down and beaten so bad, you can almost feel it.
Davis performance is exceptional, yet did not give him the career you'd expect. An excellent actor, who died at the age of 41.
The DVD itself is excellent too. An impressive widescreen transfer, plus a full screen option thrown in for people who dont know the value of widescreen (ie. a pointless inclusion in my opinion). The DVD also boasts a 1978 documentary of the film, and a trailer.
A must own! One of the best prison films to date, along with "Shawshank Redemption".
1 Comment 52 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
I feel the movie does some good. It doesn't deny that the main charector was wrong for what he did. Remember, back in 1970, there was a more cavilier attitude towards drugs and he was dealing with the original 4 year prison sentence appropriately. But being beaten, tortured and imprisoned in a foriegn country, with limited contact with family and freinds is going to be traumatic for anyone, and the movie dispays that well.

With that said, however, I think the movie deviates WAY too much from the book. The escape first-handedly described in the book is much more fascinating and would have been better to see than the movies deviation. The ommision of some the amnesties to prisoners makes the movie fall short as well.

The movie gets the basic point of the book across, but the impact could have been stronger if it just followed the story as laid out by the first hand recollection of it.
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Format: VHS Tape
This movie brings us into the terror that William Hayes experienced in a Turkish prison in the early seventies after attempting to smuggle hash from that country. I know after the book was published, it caused radical changes in the Turkish prison system and Turkey released many foreign nationals from incarceration. We cannot compare the Turkey of the early 1970's to the Turkey of today, which is a modern cosmopolitan environment.
I think the movie wouldn't have the same affect with a lesser actor than the enormously talented, under-appreciated and late Brad Davis as William Hayes. I found that he had a boy-like innocence, and I was compelled to feel very protective of him, despite his drug smuggling. He has some Oscar caliber performances, in particular one where he goes into a pathological rage and bites the tongue off of another inmate. I have never seen such monumental fury like that on film. Another scene that gripped me was his bitter statement before the Turkish court as he is being sentenced to 30 years. Through Brad Davis, you feel this young man’s hopes, fears, anguish, terror, and rage – the entire spectrum of emotion. You know an actor is powerful, when it only takes the look in his eyes to affect your senses. After this film came out, I was waiting for Davis to get bigger and better roles, why he didn't is baffling to me. John Hurt was actually nominated for an Oscar for this film, although he was very good, his performance could not touch that of Davis.
Alan Parker deserves much credit to for his direction. The scenes in this film range from beautiful with the glorious mosques of the Ottoman Empire against the Turkish sky in the opening scene, to dark and grey as pathos sets in on our main character. Oliver Stone has a screenplay which sets the tone.
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