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Midnight Express (1978)

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Midnight Express (1978)


Brad Davis
Randy Quaid
John Hurt

Directed by Alan Parker

Well, I have to say that this movie did keep my attention from the very get go, it is one of those movies that while watching you keep wishing the suffering will just end. The movie faced heavy criticism with its portrayal of Turks which was different from the actual experience.
It is based on Billy Hayes' 1977 book Midnight Express and was adapted into the screenplay by Oliver Stone. It starred Brad Davis, Randy Quaid and John Hurt.

The movie is a true life account of Billy Hayes, a young American student who was sent to a Turkish prison for trying to smuggle hashish out of Turkey. The film's title is prison lingo for an inmate's escape attempt.

The movie’s portrayal of Turks is one of concern, because while watching I kept thinking, if this is how these guys treat prisoners or people in general, I rather stay away from Turkey. But I guess there is no prison that is inviting, movies may make prison look like a place to meet interesting people and reinvent oneself, but I don’t think such. I have never been to prison myself (thank God), but I don’t think Hollywood is being real.

Many differences were apparent between the book and the movie, like his girlfriend being around when he was arrested, whereas in the book he was alone.
Then there is the reason for him sent to the psychiatric hospital in 1972, the movie depicts it to be as a result of Hayes biting off someone’s tongue, which never happened.
The scene where Billy attempts to escape from the Turkish police and is recaptured by Tex did not happen also.

(Spoiler Alert)
In the end Hayes successful escape was when he was moved to another prison on an island from which he eventually escaped, by swimming across the lake and then traveling by foot as well as on a bus to Istanbul and then crossing the border into Greece. This very different from what happened in the movie.

Well the movie was a critical and commercial success, and it received Academy Awards for Best Music, Original Score and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium (Oliver Stone). It also earned nominations for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (John Hurt), Best Director (Alan Parker), Best Film Editing and Best Picture.

My final take on this movie is that it is truly worth seeing and I enjoyed it, believing that you will too. Mind you it has an R rating.


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