Midnight Cowboy (DVD)

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Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight star in John Schlesinger's Oscar-winning drama based on the novel by James Leo Herlihy. Texan dishwasher Joe Buck (Voight) dreams of making it big in New York. Convinced that he can make his fortune providing sexual favours for wealthy women, he makes the move to the Big Apple. Unfortunately, the first woman he beds down with, Cass (Sylvia Miles), doesn't have any money to speak of, and borrows some of his. At this point, sleazy street-hustler Enrico 'Ratso' Rizzo (Hoffman) enters the frame, offering to become Joe's 'manager'. The only engagement he can arrange is with a gay Christian (John McGiver), but Joe and Ratso soon become close friends, fantasizsng to each other about the millions they are going to make. The film won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay, while both Hoffman and Voight were nominated for Best Actor.

Product Details

Movies & TV
1 Feb 2000
Modern Classic
Region 2
Secondary Languages
German, Spanish, French, Italian
Subtitle 2
Subtitle 3
Sound Format
Twentieth Century Fox
  • Interactive Menus
  • Scene Access
  • Enhanced WS tv
  • Bonus Footage
  • Trailers
108 min
Age Restriction
Supply Source


Midnight Cowboy
Release Year
Running Time
113 min
Dramas / Big City / Buddies / Character Study / Classic / Disturbing / Essential Cinema / Friends / Gay/Lesbian / Illness / Lowlife / Prostitution / Recommended / Scams And Cons / Theatrical Release
Joe Buck (Jon Voight), an aspiring male prostitute from Texas, heads to Manhattan where he hopes to find plenty of wealthy women willing to pay for the services of a handsome man. When he arrives, the naive country boy befriends Ratso Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman), a tubercular homeless con artist who dreams of moving to Florida. As they go about trying to get the money Ratso needs, the two men confront the seediness, corruption, and cruelty that flourish in the big city.

Based on the novel by James Leo Herlihy, this Oscar-winning film (Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay) features brilliant performances by Voight and Hoffman, and brings to the screen an unusually gritty realism in its portrayal of the streets of New York City.
Theatrical release: 1969.

Shot in Technicolor.

MIDNIGHT COWBOY was added to the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 1994.

Director John Schlesinger originally wanted actor Michael Sarrazin for the Joe Buck role, but he was already committed to THEY SHOOT HORSES, DON'T THEY?

MIDNIGHT COWBOY was Dustin Hoffman's first film after his star-making turn in THE GRADUATE. To achieve that distinctive Ratso Rizzo limp, Hoffman placed pebbles in his shoes.

"Everybody's Talkin'" was featured on Harry Nilsson's 1968 album AERIAL BALLET. Nilsson's intended theme for COWBOY was "I Guess the Lord Must Be in New York City," written by Nilsson specifically for the film.

The film was named one of the year's 10 Best English-language films by the National Board of Review, one of the year's 10 best foreign films by Japan's Kinema Jumpo, and the best non-European film of 1970 by Denmark's Bodil awards.

Schlesinger received best foreign director of 1969-70 from two Italian awards, the Davids and the Silver Ribbons.

Hoffman was named best actor of 1969-70 by Italy's David Awards.

Voight was named Best Actor by the New York Film Critics and the National Society of Film Critics.

A restored print of MIDNIGHT COWBOY was re-released to theaters in late February 1994 to commemorate the film's 25th anniversary.

COWBOY was the first major studio release to sport an X rating and was the first X-rated film to win the Best Picture Academy Award. It was re-rated R by the MPAA in 1971.
Cast & Crew
John Schlesinger
Dustin Hoffman / Bob Balaban / Barnard Hughes / John McGiver / Sylvia Miles / Paul Morrissey / Brenda Vaccaro / Viva / Jon Voight / Ruth White
John Barry
Jerome Hellman
Special Effects
Dick Smith
Hugh A. Robertson
Production Designer
John Robert Lloyd
James Leo Herlihy
Movie Critics
Entertainment Weekly
"...[The performances] have lost none of their magic....[They show us] characters who have nothing to offer the audience but their own lost souls." -- Rating: A-
Owen Gleiberman (11 Mar 1994, p.42)
Los Angeles Times
"...What knocked people out 25 years ago, the parallel performances of Voight and Hoffman, still have the power today..."
Kenneth Turan (20 Feb 1994, p.F3)
"[T]his is a story of dreams unfulfilled, and Hoffman' pathetic street rat, both hilarious and heartbreakingly sad, becomes a kind of tragic hero."
Premiere Staff (1 Apr 2004, p.66)
Rolling Stone
"[A] haunting 1969 classic about a conflicted connection between a naïve Texan hustler and a sickly Bronx-born scammer."
Barry Walters (23 Feb 2006, p.74)
Total Film
5 stars out of 5 -- "The elegiac ending offers one of the most tender, understated goodbyes in American cinema."
Total Film Staff (1 Jun 2011, )
USA Today
"...The '69 Oscar-winner seems fresher than ever..."
Mike Clark (6 Mar 1992, p.3D)


Academy Awards
Best Picture
Winner: 1969
Best Director
Winner: 1969 - John Schlesinger
Best Adapted Screenplay
Winner: 1969 - Waldo Salt