is a 1965 novel by James Leo Herlihy, adapted into a 1969 film directed by John Schlesinger and starring Jon Voight
and Dustin Hoffman
. This article deals primarily with the movie.
Joe Buck (Voight) is a dishwasher in a rural Texas diner. He's not the sharpest knife in the drawer
. One day, he decides to dress like a rodeo cowboy and move to New York, hoping to prostitute himself to wealthy women. He burns through his savings very quickly, unable to hustle, and is taken in by Enrico "Ratso" Rizzo (Hoffman), a small-time con man with a bad leg and pneumonia. They scrape by as best they can, hoping to escape to Florida one day...
The movie garnered quite a bit of controversy upon its release, being given an "X" rating
by the MPAA
(though this was reduced to an "R" the following year). However, it won Academy Awards
for Best Picture and Director and for Waldo Salt's adapted screenplay, and is now seen as one of the defining movies of its era.
Midnight Cowboy contains examples of:
- Big Applesauce
- The Big Rotten Apple
- Camp Gay
- Coolest Club Ever
- Dies Wide Open
- Disability as an Excuse for Jerkassery
- Don't You Dare Pity Me!
- Downer Ending: Buck and Rizzo take a bus from New York to Miami to fulfill Rizzo's dream of living there. Not far outside Miami, Buck realizes that Rizzo has quietly died in the seat next to him. Movie ends with Buck hugging his dead friend as bus continues towards Miami.
- Drive-In Theater: The film opens with a shot of the "Big Tex Drive-In".
- Everybody Must Get Stoned
- Gay Cowboy: Much to Joe's embarrassment, his studly cowboy persona utterly fails to win over any New York women, and only attracts men. Rizzo even flat-out tells him that only gay men like cowboys, but Joe still insists on the outfit because it makes him feel good.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Rizzo and Joe. Though not without a fair bit of hoyay, as Rizzo has a few fantasy dream sequences of the two of them running along a sunny beach together.
- Hooker with a Heart of Gold
- Imagine Spot
- Incurable Cough of Death
- Ironic Nursery Tune
- Jerkass: Rizzo, a good deal of the time.
- Large Ham: O'Daniel.
- Leitmotif: ''Everybody's Talkin'", used for Joe Buck.
- The Loins Sleep Tonight: Joe experiences this with Shirley.
- Mind Screw: The flashbacks to Joe Buck's past in Texas make a lot more sense if you've read the book, where the situations are described in depth.
- Naked in Mink
- New-Age Retro Hippie
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: In the "I'm walkin' here" scene. Hoffman yells it in his real accent, before resuming his character's accent. He also stops limping briefly, despite his character having a crippled leg.
- According to Hoffman, the line was his natural reaction when a car unexpectedly ran a red light and nearly hit him while crossing the street; Hoffman said the close call prompted him to ad-lib the line in genuine surprise, but that he resumed character thereafter in an effort not to ruin the take.
- One Head Taller: Rizzo and Joe Buck.
- Rape as Drama: The flashbacks of "Crazy Annie" and Joe Buck getting gang raped.
- Real Song Theme Tune: Harry Nilsson's "Everybody's Talkin'".
- Red Light District: 42nd Street.
- Shout-Out: Joe Buck keeps a poster of Paul Newman as Hud in his Times Square hotel room.
- During the opening credits Joe walks past a defunct movie theater advertising the John Wayne flick The Alamo on its dilapidated marquee.
- Signature Line: "I'm walkin' here! I'm walkin' here!"
- Slippery Soap: Dropped by Joe in the very first scene.
- Smoking Hot Sex: Subverted. Joe Buck and Shirley smoke out of frustration, after he is hit with erectile dysfunction.
- Something Else Also Rises
- Too Dumb to Live: Joe Buck sure loves handing out money to people who ask.
- Wrong Side of the Tracks