September 22, 2023 | Rome, Italy

Midnight Cowboy

By |2018-03-21T18:38:31+01:00October 21st, 2009|Reviews|


Date: 1969

Director: John Schlesinger

Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight, Sylvia Miles, John McCiver, Brenda Vaccaro, Bernard Hughes


hopeful Texas drifter bumbles into New York City looking to make it big, along the way befriending a garrulous hobo. That, in a nutshell, is what director John Schlesinger has to work with. But he also has an exceptionally odd couple: Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffmann. Their often funny and occasionally moving friendship is at the core of the movie.

Voight brings credulity and sincerity to Joe Buck, a drawling loser who makes his Manhattan money as a gigolo. Gnome-like Hoffmann’s Ratso Rizzo is a nattering shrew. Together, they’re an “Of Mice and Men” duo for the mid-20th century, set-aside lowlifes trawling for respect. In its absence, they have each other. The wealthy are superficial and alienated; the city is an enemy; and the vision Ratso has of Florida as the Promised Land is illusory.

As muddy and maudlin as all this can get, particularly toward the ballad-snarled climax (Harry Nilsson’s “Everybody’s Talkin”), Voight and Hoffmann are together bigger and better than the urban-decay story they inhabit, their affection amid the vileness something of deep worth.

About the Author:

A military brat, Marcia Yarrow was born in Hamburg, Germany but grew up in Germany, Spain, and Provo, Utah. She's been writing for the magazine since its creation in 2004.