Midnight Express Poster

Release Date: February 8th, 2004

DVD Release Date: October 27th, 1998

R|2 hr 1 min

Plot Summary
Billy Hayes (Brad Davis) is a young American caught by Turkish police while attempting to smuggle hash out of Istanbul. He's tried and sent to prison for four years, where he endures all manner of privation and abuse. As he finishes up his time, he's shocked to learn that the Turkish High Court has added a further 30 years to his sentence. He is now thoroughly demoralized, and his life in prison grows increasingly unbearable until he concludes that escape is his only option.

Cast: Brad Davis, Randy Quaid, John Hurt, Bo Hopkins, Paul L. Smith, Mike Kellin, Norbert Weisser, Irene Miracle

Director: Alan Parker

Genres: Drama, Biography

Production Co: Columbia Pictures

Keywords: Girlfriend, Judge, Escape, Police officer, 1970s, Transformation, Prison

Ratings & Reviews

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  • Alan Parker has directed the film as if he were a sniper: you never know when you're going to get hit next, but from the first moments you know you're being aimed at. The opening, with Hayes taping hash to his chest only to be apprehended at the airport, must have looked like standard stuff in Oliver Stone's script, but on screen it's unadulterated adrenalin, filmed with fast cuts timed in counterpoint to the sound of Hayes' pounding heart. [25 Oct 1978]

  • Parker succeeds in making the prison into a full, real, rounded world, a microcosm of human behavior; I was reminded of e.e. cummings' novel The Enormous Room. The movie's art direction is especially good at recreating that world, as in a scene where Hayes and his friends try to escape down an old cistern. And there are visions into the inferno, as in a scene in the madhouse where the inmates circle forever around a stone pillar. The movie creates spellbinding terror, all right; my only objection is that it's so eager to have us sympathize with Billy Hayes. show more

  • Hard to call something this gratuitous entertainment but certainly lingers in the memory, thanks mainly to the bombast of Stone's script. show more

See all critic reviews on metacritic.com


Nominated Film Editing
Winner Music (Original Score)
Nominated Best Director - Motion Picture
Winner Best Original Score - Motion Picture
Nominated Film
British Academy of Film & Television Arts (1978)
Winner Best Screenplay - Motion Picture
Winner Direction
British Academy of Film & Television Arts (1978)
Winner Writing (Screenplay - Based on Material From Another Medium)
Nominated Best Picture
Winner Best Motion Picture - Drama
Winner Film Editing
British Academy of Film & Television Arts (1978)
Nominated Directing