Joe Buck (John Voight) is an inexperienced, but ambitious dishwasher who decides to quit his job and pursue a more suitable and fruitful career in Midnight Cowboy. After putting on a brand-new cowboy costume, the young man packs up his bags and heads to New York. There, he wants to work as a male prostitute and hopes to become rich and renowned. After paying off a call girl, Cass (Sylvia Miles), due to a misunderstanding, Joe’s big dreams seem to be threatened by the lack of success in the city. After struggling to make enough money to get by in the industry, the rookie hustler meets Enrico Salvatore “Ratso” Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman), a crippled con artist. The crook asks Joe for money and promises to introduce him to a reputable pimp, Mr. O’Daniel (John McGiver).
Naïve and untried, the young gigolo cannot make a living through his new-found career and soon has all of his goods confiscated after being locked out of his hotel room. In an attempt to make some spare change, Joe allows a young student (Bob Balaban) to perform oral sex on him. However, he eventually finds out that the man has no money and desperately tries to find other clients to get by. After running into Ratso, the latter invites him to live in his dingy apartment and takes him under his wing. As the two work together in the sex industry and develop a friendship relationship, Ratso’s health begins to deteriorate.
“Superb performances and a compelling script have made this film a strange mix of Oscar-winner and Cult Classic.”
“In this film the scenery is lovely and only the human race is vile.”
Did You Know?
In order to get cast in Midnight Cowboy, Dustin Hoffman approached the film’s executive in Manhattan, dressed in rags. John Schlesinger stated that he decided to shoot the motion picture after an American friend of his asked him to read James Leo Herlihy’s novel and claims he was also inspired by the 1967 Yugoslav movie, When I Am Dead and Gone. Review our Gay Themed Films Here