Midnight Cowboy

Friday, February 23 - Sunday, February 25, 2018

DCP projection

“‘I’m no cowboy but I’m a real stud,’ Joe keeps telling us. Joe Buck (Jon Voight) is tall, tanned and beautiful but he’s a man with no one, passing through the script of a wretched life. Leaving behind more than one person’s quota of dreadful luck in small-town Texas – abandoned by a mother, raised by a grandmother and her creepy partner – memories float through his mind, with flashbacks of a horrific rape of himself and his girlfriend at the hands of a local gang. Joe’s promiscuity, a calling card for sexual abuse, is also his escape. He plans to milk those rich ladies of New York, and turn the tables on his sexual exploitation.

However, a few months in the city leave him sharp-cheekboned and pale. You wonder how many people it will take to screw him over before he realises that the only way to survive the urban jungle is to become a monstrous version of himself. Despite the bravado, Joe remains a man-boy, kind to the core and incapable of hurting others. As he admits at the end: “I’m not much of a hustler.” Bad luck follows him like a cloud. You want to shake him by those broad shoulders.

His unconventional relationship with Ratso (Enrico Salvatore Rizzo, played by Dustin Hoffman) is the closest thing to love that Joe has had in his life – it is no irony that this partnership is never sexual. Offering Joe food and shelter and cleaning his clothes (even if it is to earn money as his pimp), Ratso is the only one who places Joe’s needs above his own sexual gratification.” — The Guardian

Screening as part of the Weekend Classics series Uneasy Riders: 60s Hollywood, part of Carnegie Hall’s The ’60s: The Years that Changed America festival.

  • Country USA
  • Year 1969
  • Running Time 113 minutes
  • Director John Schlesinger
  • Writer Waldo Salt (screenplay), James Leo Herlihy (novel)
  • Editor Hugh A. Robertson
  • Cinematographer Adam Holender
  • Cast Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight, Sylvia Miles

IFC Center does not generally provide advisories about subject matter or potentially triggering content in films, as sensitivities vary from person to person. In addition to the synopses, trailers and other links on our website, further information about content and age-appropriateness for specific films can be found on Common Sense Media, IMDb and DoesTheDogDie.com as well as through general internet searches.