The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Midnight Cowboy

Midnight Cowboy is a 1969 John Schlesinger film, based on a novel by James Leo Herlihy, in which a na´ve young Texas cowboy named Joe Buck (Jon Voight) comes to New York City to be a male hustler (a "midnight cowboy"). There he meets the scraggly Rico (Enrico) Salvatore "Ratso" Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman). In their first meeting, Rizzo seizes the opportunity to scam $20 out of Joe Buck; but before long, Rizzo finds himself working as Joe Buck's manager. Over the course of the film the two outcasts from society build a surprising friendship, despite their lack of success in the hustling business.

The film is the only X-Rated film to win the Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Director. As of 2005, the only other X-rated pictures that have been the subject of Academy Award nominations were A Clockwork Orange, which lost the 1972 Best Picture award to The French Connection and Last Tango in Paris, a 1973 nominee for Best Actor and Best Director. Both Hoffman and Voight were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor, but the winner that year was John Wayne, who received his only Oscar for his role in True Grit.

In 1971 the film was re-submitted to the MPAA ratings board in anticipation of a re-release. This time the board granted it an "R" rating. The re-released version of the film, although identical to the original, was jocularly referred to as "11:35 Cowboy". The version of the film as edited for television broadcasts was dubbed "8:35 Cowboy".

The film has been deemed "culturally significant" by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.

The film also featured the song "Everybody's Talkin'", sung by Harry Nilsson.


  • The Muppets character Rizzo the Rat is a street-wise but pesky rat modeled after Hoffman's character.

External link

Last updated: 07-31-2005 16:02:32
Last updated: 08-18-2005 13:38:06