75. Midnight Cowboy

Jon Voight stars in Midnight Cowboy as Joe Buck, a young Texan who quits his job as a dishwasher and moves to New York City with dreams of becoming a high priced male whore picking up older wealthy women.  As Joe arrives to the Big Apple, he is completely naïve and lacks any street smarts whatsoever, and as he disastrously turns his first trick he ends up actually paying the woman $20.00!  After another  failed attempt to get any money (this time from a young male in a movie theatre) he meets Rico “Ratso” Salvatore Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman), a bottom feeding, nearly crippled con man who gets by through shoplifting and pick-pocketing.  After Ratso rips off Joe for $20.00, Joe eventually finds him and threatens to beat him to death unless he gives him all his money… which ends up being 64 cents.

As Joe is kicked out of his hotel and loses all of his possessions (except for his nearly ridiculous cowboy attire) he has no choice but to crash with Ratso, who lives (or squats?) in a condemned apartment with no heat.  As Ratso fruitlessly attempts to help find Joe possible clients, they get by through scamming others and stealing whatever they possibly can while still barely scraping by.  As Joe and Ratso’s friendship grows, they each become more desperate by the day with Ratso’s quickly declining health and Joe’s continued struggle with his tumultuous past, which is explored via vicious flashbacks.

Midnight Cowboy is intriguing on many levels.  It mixes hilarious moments, stunning performances by Voight and Hoffman,  some psychedelic experimentation, and outlandish scenarios to tell a story of friendship.  Perhaps Joe and Ratso know they need each other and just don’t want to be alone in their dire circumstances, but they ultimately end up building a trusting and loyal bond to the bitter end.   You absolutely have to see this classic if you haven’t already.

5 stars out of 5


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Categories: 100 Films

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One Comment on “75. Midnight Cowboy”

  1. October 12, 2011 at 2:22 pm #

    This movie is in my top 20.

    Have a SUPER week, Brad!


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