Academy Awards 1978 -
Best Adapted Screenplay: Oliver Stone
Academy Awards 1978 -
Best Original Score: Giorgio Moroder
Variety - 05/24/1978
"...[The] cast, direction and production are all very good..."
Premiere - 04/01/2006
"[A] harrowing depiction of the torment of an American serving time in Turkey..."
Empire - 03/01/2008 4 stars out of 5 -- "The performances are good, especially John Hurt as Hayes' prison confidant..."
Total Film - 04/01/2008 3 stars out of 5 -- "Parker's film is powerful and harrowing, with fine performances from Brad Davis as Hayes and John Hurt as his frail Brit fellow-prisoner."
Uncut - 04/01/2008 3 stars out of 5 -- "[G]rippingly well-made stuff."
Based on William Hayes's autobiography, MIDNIGHT EXPRESS tells the harrowing story of a young American tourist arrested and sentenced to 30 years in prison by Turkish authorities for trying to smuggle two kilos of hashish out of the country. Billy (Brad Davis), suffering through the harsh realities of the Turkish penal system, sees a glimmer of hope when his father (Billy Kellin) arrives from the States with the intention of securing his son's release. But when that effort fails and the prison's savage environment becomes too much to bear, Billy opts for the only possible solution: breaking out of jail and riding the "midnight express"--prison slang for escape--to freedom.
Director Alan Parker (MISSISSIPPI BURNING), aided by Oliver Stone's Oscar-winning script, fastens an unflinching gaze into the darkest recesses of physical and emotional cruelty. Supporting cast members Randy Quaid, John Hurt, and Bo Hopkins give stellar performances, and Giorgio Moroder supplies a jagged yet entrancing soundtrack for a film that is at one and the same time a Kafkaesque nightmare, a riveting exposť, and a testament to the dogged human thirst for dignity.
Description by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment:
Brad Davis (The Player, Chariots of Fire) and John Hurt (Contact, Alien) star in this riveting truestory of a young American's nightmarish experiences in a Turkish prison and his unforgettable journey to freedom. Busted for attempting to smuggle hashish out of Istanbul, American college student Billy Hayes (Davis) is thrown into the city's most brutal jail. After suffering through four years of sadistic torture and inhuman conditions, Billy is about to be released when his parole is denied. Only his inner courage and the support of a fellow inmate (Hurt) give him the strength to catch the MIDNIGHT EXPRESS ... and escape his living hell.
The true story of Billy Hayes is revealed in this drama about a young man who is sentenced to 30 years in a Turkish prison for a minor drug offense.