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Midnight Express

Midnight Express
Midnight Express
Midnight Express
  • R
  • 2h 1m
  • 1978
Common Sense Media Iconage 16+
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Brad Davis (The Player, Chariots of Fire) and John Hurt (Contact, Alien) star in this riveting true story of a young American's nightmarish experiences in a Turkish prison and his unforgettable journey to freedom. Busted for attempting to smuggle hashish out of Istanbul, American college student Billy Hayes (Davis) is thrown into the city's most brutal jail. After suffering through four years of sadistic torture and inhuman conditions, Billy is about to be released when his parole is denied. Only his inner courage and the support of a fellow inmate (Hurt) give him the strength to catch the Midnight Express... and escape his living hell.
© 1978 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Rotten Tomatoes® Score

Critics Consensus: Raw and unrelenting, Midnight Express is riveting in its realistic depiction of incarceration -- mining pathos from the simple act of enduring hardship.
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Common Sense Media

Common Sense Media Iconage 16+
Common Sense Says
Brutal, dated prison drama has drugs, language, stereotypes.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Midnight Express is a prison drama with strong violence, drugs, and bad language. The movie is loosely based on the true story of Billy Hayes (Brad Davis), an American student who was caught attempting to smuggle hashish out of Turkey in 1970. There are few positive messages but characters do show endurance after receiving lengthy prison sentences. But they show little or no remorse for their wrongdoing. Violence features throughout, with several incidences of prison guards beating prisoners. The most graphic incidents include a prisoner biting out another inmate's tongue and a guard's skull being accidentally impaled on a clothing rack. Kids are also beaten by an adult with a bat, although the strikes he inflicts are off-camera. Rape is referenced and suggested on numerous occasions. There is some male nudity and Billy's girlfriend, Susan (Irene Miracle), exposes her breasts during a prison visit, with Billy reacting by masturbating and trying to touch them through the security glass. Some of the prisoners have sexual relationships -- a shower scene depicts two prisoners kissing. Swearing is strong and frequent and is often used when issuing threats. There is also racist and derogatory language used toward the Turkish characters who are genuinely portrayed as sadistic and corrupt. There is smoking throughout, both of cigarettes and hashish.

A Lot or A Little?

The parents’ guide to what’s in this movie.
Positive Messages
Positive Role Models
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
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Additional Info

  • Genre:Drama
  • Release Date:October 27, 1978
  • Languages:English
  • Captions:English
  • Audio Format:
  • Screen Pass Eligible:Yes
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