Directed by John Schlesinger • 1969 • United States
Starring Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight, Sylvia Miles
One of the British New Wave’s most versatile directors, John Schlesinger came to New York in the late 1960s to make MIDNIGHT COWBOY, a picaresque story of friendship that captured a city in crisis and sparked a new era of Hollywood movies. Jon Voight delivers a career-making performance as Joe Buck, a wide-eyed hustler from Texas hoping to score big with wealthy city women; he finds a companion in Enrico “Ratso” Rizzo, an ailing swindler with a bum leg and a quixotic fantasy of escaping to Florida, played by Dustin Hoffman in a radical departure from his breakthrough in THE GRADUATE. A critical and commercial success despite controversy over what the MPAA termed its “homosexual frame of reference,” MIDNIGHT COWBOY became the first X-rated film to receive the best picture Oscar, and decades on, its influence still reverberates through cinema.