Midnight Express

Midnight Express

Alan Parker (1978)

18 Certificate


Our Score
It's hard to counter some of the criticisms about the sympathetic depiction of drug traffickers, the pitiless violence, the stereotypical representation of the Turkish jailers and the oversimplistic approach to the key issues raised that greeted this film on its release. Yet it is still a superbly staged drama, which exploits its excesses to force the viewer into considering the broader moral and humanitarian themes, as well as the harrowing events on the screen. Scripted by the Oscar-winning Oliver Stone from the memoirs of Billy Hayes, it is directed with power and intelligence by Alan Parker and expertly played. Brad Davis is outstanding in the lead as the American student who is sent to a Turkish jail after being convicted of drug trafficking, and also excellent are Randy Quaid and an Oscar-nominated John Hurt as fellow prisoners. Giorgio Moroder's electronic score won the film's second Oscar, though it now seems a touch strident at times.


An American student is arrested for drug smuggling while on holiday in Turkey, and thrown into a brutal prison ruled by a sadistic warder. His family and the US government plan an appeal, but he begins to realise that diplomatic efforts are fruitless, and his only hope is to plot a desperate escape. Alan Parker's fact-based drama, starring Brad Davis, John Hurt and Randy Quaid.

Cast & Crew

Billy Hayes Brad Davis
Max John Hurt
Jimmy Booth Randy Quaid
Susan Irene Miracle
Tex Bo Hopkins
Rifki Paolo Bonacelli
Hamidou Paul Smith
Erich Norbert Weisser
Director Alan Parker
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourGuidance: Violence, swearing, drug abuse, sex scenes and nudity. Available on: video, DVD and Blu-ray