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Midnight Express (1978)

Billy Hayes, an American college student, is caught smuggling drugs out of Turkey and thrown into prison.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (book) (as William Hayes) | 1 more credit »
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ON DISC
Won 2 Oscars. Another 14 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Tex
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Hamidou (as Paul Smith)
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Max
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Franco Diogene ...
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Gigi Ballista ...
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Storyline

On October 6, 1970 while boarding an international flight out of Istanbul Airport, American Billy Hayes is caught attempting to smuggle 2 kilos of hashish out of the country, the drugs strapped to his body. He is told that he will be released if he cooperates with the authorities in identifying the person who actually sold him the hash. Billy's troubles really begin when after that assistance, he makes a run for it and is recaptured. He is initially sentenced to just over four years for possession, with no time for the more harsh crime of smuggling. The prison environment is inhospitable in every sense, with a sadistic prison guard named Hamidou ruling the prison, he who relishes the mental and physical torture he inflicts on the prisoners for whatever reason. Told to trust no one, Billy does befriend a few of the other inmates, namely fellow American Jimmy Booth (in for stealing two candlesticks from a mosque), a Swede named Erich, and one of the senior prisoners having already ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

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


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

6 October 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Expreso de medianoche  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,800,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$35,000,000 (USA)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(still photographs)| (Eastmancolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Publicity for this picture told of the start of the letter that Billy Hayes wrote to his parents in 1970. It read: "Dear Mum and Dad, This is the hardest letter I've ever had to write. I know the confusion and the pain it will cause you, and the disappointment. I was arrested at Istanbul Airport yesterday, attempting to board an airplane with a small amount of hashish." This letter was written in 1970 by Billy Hayes, a clean-cut American kid who had only twenty-three hours to go before he would graduate from Marquette University. It revealed the start of a chain of bizarre events, which brought Hayes close to being sentenced to life imprisonment in Turkey. See more »

Goofs

The amount of hash strapped to Billy's body differs from when he was first frisked in the airport and later when he was in the police interrogation room. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[Susan makes her way through a line at an airline checkpoint]
Susan: Excuse me... Excuse me... Excuse me... Excuse me.
[she reaches Billy in line]
Susan: Nervous?
Billy Hayes: No.
Susan: Geez, I hate flying.
Billy Hayes: It's something I ate. I think I've been poisoned.
Susan: Or you're just excited about getting home.
Billy Hayes: No, I think it's the baklavas.
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in Doublecrossed (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

Istanbul Blues
Vocals by David Castle
Written By Oliver Stone, Billy Hayes (as William Hayes)
Arrangement and lyrics by David Castle
Acoustic / Electric Guitars by Patrick McClure
Drums, Percussion: Jerry Summers
Strings: Fritz Sonnleitner, Sid Sharp
Bass: Rick Tierney
Piano, Electric Piano, Clavinet: David Castle
Published by Rick's Music, Inc./Gold Horizon Music Corp. (BMI)
(p) 1978 Casablanca Record and FilmWorks, Inc.
© 1978 Columbia Pictures
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User Reviews

 
Alan Parker's Turkey!
2 October 2016 | by (London, United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

"Midnight Express"; means the way of the escape from a prison. Many Turkish people dislike this movie, except I. There is no doubt Turkey was shown barbaric; in this movie, Turkish people characterised as foolish and cruel. Actually both Alan Parker and Oliver Stone agreed that the movie criticised Turkish people unfairly. Anyway I can confirm that the movie is one of the best prison- themed movie I have ever seen. Especially Paolo Benacelli acts terrific as "Rifki". His fluent Turkish inspired me a lot despite he holds Italian passport. Also the Turkish folk themes which were sang by Asik Reyhani who is the father of the Turkish lament content songs were extraordinary. If you like and seek a prison-themed drama, do not hesitate to watch this amazing film.


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