Customer Reviews


84 Reviews
5 star:
 (60)
4 star:
 (16)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:
 (3)
1 star:
 (3)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Haunting and harrowing!
"Midnight Express" is very well made: It's haunting, harrowing and brutal.

It's in the Sony Collectors series, which are the ones that are supposed to be deemed relevant as classics. "Midnight Express" has a vey adult theme and some scenes are shocking to watch, with the nasty prison guard taking out horrific acts of violence on the convicted. It's a strong...
Published 12 months ago by John Picard

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars not how i remember it
Enjoyed the film but didnt feel in had the same hold as the original may be its just a sign of the times as violence and depravity are the norm now with todays films,but it was worth a watch.
Published 17 months ago by g hobson


‹ Previous | 1 29 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Haunting and harrowing!, 27 Jun 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
"Midnight Express" is very well made: It's haunting, harrowing and brutal.

It's in the Sony Collectors series, which are the ones that are supposed to be deemed relevant as classics. "Midnight Express" has a vey adult theme and some scenes are shocking to watch, with the nasty prison guard taking out horrific acts of violence on the convicted. It's a strong prison drama, intelligently made. If you like films like "The Shawshank Redemption" about escaping from prisons, then you are sure to like this. This is a true story though, so the main bulk of events actually took place in real life.

The actors are fantastic in this film as well, making it all the more brilliant. The main man plays his role perfectly, showing us how Billy Hayes slowly descended into madness, from an unruly decision. It's a powerful film, every aspect of it was delivered with style and it was thought-provoking. The power of the film was derived from the horror of something that could happen in real life, as this did.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent movie and blu ray, 3 Nov 2011
By 
Terence Tan Co "tetsuo79" (Vancouver) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
First off, the movie is a classic. Great movie, acting etc.

The Blu Ray too has a great audio commentary which Alan Parker the director goes into great detail on the making of the movie. Excellent stuff.

The video and audio on the Blu Ray is top notch for 30 year old movie.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not an accurate account of the story but very good film., 21 Sep 2003
By 
Brendan Hole (Exeter, Devon United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Midnight Express [DVD] (DVD)
I love prison escape films like shawshank redemption and especially true prison escapes like Escape from Alcatraz and Midnight Express. This film isn't an accurate account of the story but still a very good film. I would definately reccommend it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not an accurate adaptation of the book, but still EXCELLENT, 21 Sep 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Midnight Express [DVD] (DVD)
This movie will have you gripped in suspense from start to finish: A (fairly) true story of an American college kid, William 'Billy' Hayes, trying to smuggle hashish out of Turkey, but getting caught and sentenced to life in a Turkish prison, serving a few (very tough) years before making a miraculous escape all the way back to the (good ole) USA.
Without a doubt, the director achieves a great feat of film making with this movie; you feel like you are right 'there', in Billy's shoes, as he tries to pass customs & security to get on the plane with his undeclared goods, and right there in Turkey - you can almost smell the place. With godfathers of acting, such as John Hurt & Randy Quaid, staring in this movie, it delivers all that's promised, and more, and you will feel proud having this one among your 'classic' collection any day.
The only downside to the movie is that it is a bit hypocritical of the book e.g. In the film we see homosexuality rife in the Turkish Prison, which it is, but we see Billy tempted with it, then his strong (American) morals kick-in and he walks away from it. But the truth is much more moving & meaningful...
But, the blatant hypocrisy of the storyline isn't enough to mar the excellence of the movie. Enjoy...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars raw emotion, 13 Feb 2011
My recollection of this film from seeing it on first release in uk was a little
remote a few years(33) have passed but this film stands the time well, not just great location atmospheric shots but mainly it was how powerfull the cast were in the portrayal of this story. Not for the squemish, fashion changes but a quality performance all round.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Midnight Express [Limited Edition DigiBook] [Blu-ray] [US Import], 24 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Midnight Express [Limited Edition DigiBook] [Blu-ray] [US Import] WINNER OF 2 ACADEMY AWARDS [1978] INCLUDING BEST SCREENPLAY

MIDNIGHT EXPRESS is the harrowing story of Billy Hayes [Brad Davis], a young American tourist condemned to a Turkish prison for his futile attempt to smuggle hashish out of the country. A victim of ineffectual diplomacy, where Billy Hayes is made an example by a corrupt legal system. Sentenced to 30 years and must overcome some ruthless brutality and his own descent into madness in order to survive and hopefully escape.

Nominated for Six Academy Awards and winner for best Adapted Screenplay and Best Score. MIDNIGHT EXPRESS is powerfully directed by Alan Parker, who inspires searing performances from Brad Davis, John Hurt and Randy Quaid. It is an unforgettable look at one of the most dangerous prisons in the world, and one man's fight to get home.

Cast: Brad Davis, Mike Kellin, Randy Quaid, Bo Hopkins, John Hurt, Irene Miracle, Norbert Weisser, Paolo Bonacelli, Franco Diogene, Michael Ensign, Kevork Malikyan and Peter Jeffrey

Director: Alan Parker

Producers: Alan Marshalls, David Puttnam and Peter Guber

Screenplay: Billy Hayes, Oliver Stone and William Hoffer

Cinematography: Michael Seresin

Composer: Giorgio Moroder

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Audio: English: 5.1 Dolby TrueHD, English: Dolby Digital Mono, French: 5.1 Dolby TrueHD, Portuguese: 5.1 Dolby TrueHD and Spanish: 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Portuguese and Spanish

Running Time: 121 minutes

Region: Region Free

Number of discs: 1

Studio: Columbia Pictures [SONY Pictures]

Andrew's Blu-ray Review - Alan Parker's Midnight Express is a tough, troubling, difficult picture. It's thoroughly unpleasant to watch, loaded as it is with brutal assaults and grisly torture and people losing their minds; it also includes some cringe-inducing xenophobic attitudes and dialogue (which screenwriter Oliver Stone later apologised for). It's structurally wobbly, and full of odd interludes. But you can't deny director Parker's ability to work over an audience; his direction is tight and sometimes unbearably tense, and he manages to draw us in to a story with a serious shortage of sympathetic characters, primarily through the sheer brute force of his imagery.

The film is based on the true story (reportedly much exaggerated, however) of Billy Hays [Brad Davis]. An American on vacation in Istanbul with his girlfriend in 1970, Hays tries to smuggle a couple of kilos of hash back to the States, only to get busted and sent, indefinitely, into a Turkish prison (the movie single-handedly made "Turkish prison" synonymous with "living hell"). With the help of his father [Mike Kellin], in a fine performance of deeply felt frustration and an expensive lawyer, he gets a three-year sentence for possession, but fifty-three days from the conclusion of that term, a higher court overturns the sentence and instead finds him guilty of smuggling - a thirty-year bit. This is around the time he starts looking to escape, and by the time that fails, he has gone a little bit crazy.

The strength of Stone's screenplay and Parker's direction is in its portrayal of Hayes' slow, steady descent into real madness; it's that old saw about how, if you treat a man like an animal, he'll turn into one. When Hayes makes the switch, Parker is ready with a full arsenal of stylistic tricks: slow-motion photography, scary music, abstract sound, and plenty of blood and gore. But it's a slippery slope to get him there; the primary difficulty with telling this particular story is that you're asking an audience to sympathize and identify with a protagonist who is, semantics and connotations aside, a drug smuggler. And at the time he commits that crime that is literally all we know about him, Parker and Stone parachute into the action at the last possible moment, beginning the film with Hayes strapping the hash to his body and heading to the airport. There's no denying how unnerving the customs sequence is to watch; it's scored with heartbeat percussion and builds up some genuine tension (in spite of the fact that we know he's not going to get away with it, if he did, there'd be no movie). But that speaks to the skill of Parker's filmmaking; since we know nothing about this guy, we've got no good reason to want him to get away with it. In the scenes that follow, Stone's best notion for getting us on the protagonist's side seems to be making Hayes into a dumb, nave kid, and letting us see how he is ruined by this corrupt, foreign, evil system (never mind that the good ol' U.S. of A is not exactly renowned for the common sense proportionality of our drug sentencing).

Not long after that, Hayes finds himself in court, having his sentence upped. This is one of the more troublesome scenes in the picture; his big courtroom speech, which includes some of the most obviously anti-Turkish sentiments of the film, is full of the less-than-subtle dialogue and reckless hyperbole that have been a thorn in the side of Stone's critics in the years to come. For all of its problems, however, Midnight Express is unquestionably effective. Parker seems to see it, first and foremost, as an antsy, jittery mood piece, he doesn't let a lot of sunshine in to his frames, and his handling of the story's violence is demanding and relentless. The direction is particularly compact during a nervy escape attempt; he shoots and cuts the sequence with razor sharpness, made stronger by the choice to go without music. The score itself, by Giorgio Moroder, is a mixed bag; renowned at the time for its innovative use of synthesizers (it was the first all-synth score to win an Oscar), the dread-filled music works beautifully in the first act, but is alternately bombastic, syrupy, and button-pushy through the rest of the film. We've seen before how nothing can date a film quicker than an inappropriate score, and that's often the case here. But as you will hear from the Extras, that Vangelis was Alan Parkers preferred choice and I feel it would have been a far more superior music score and I think Alan Parker was rather miffed at being over ruled by the Studio Executives.

The performances are interesting, if not altogether successful. A young, thin Randy Quaid is a little over the top, but Paul Smith (later to play Bluto in Altman's Popeye) is a terrifying presence, and John Hurt turns in a quiet, skilful performance (he nabbed a deserved Supporting Actor nomination). Brad Davis' performance mostly works and he does the turn from in-too-deep bonehead to slobbering, masturbating mess believably and smoothly. His only real fumble comes in the scene where he finds out about the change in his sentence and loses his cool; Brad Davis, at least in this film, is better in reactive mode, and he can't quite land this scene where he blusters and yells and must command the screen. But for the most part, he is a fine anchor for this graphic, vivid, forceful film.

Blu-ray Video Quality - Midnight Express makes its high-definition debut with a very solid 1080p image presentation. It looks quite good, especially for a film that's thirty-plus years old; skin tones are natural, fine grain is present but not distracting, and the clean 1.85:1 image shows no scratches, dirt, or other age artefacts. Alan Parker and Cinematographer Michael Seresin work mostly in an earth colour palate, heavy on the browns, and some of the wide shots (particularly in the opening sequence) are almost sepia-toned. But within its limited saturation, the colours are rich and full and the same goes for the black levels, a considerable feat in a film this dark (a closing shot, in which Hayes emerges from a dense swath of darkness, is particularly notable, as is a wonderful silhouette shot of Hurt smoking and calling out for his cat). The attention to detail is also marvellous, particularly the grime and muck of the prison walls. With no compression artefacts, edge enhancement, this is about as good a presentation as we could hope for.

Blu-ray Audio Quality - The English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD surround mix isn't quite as impressive, primarily because the picture's claustrophobic sound design doesn't present many opportunities to spread the audio throughout the soundstage. Most of the noteworthy environmental sound work comes early in the film, during an Istanbul street scene and subsequent chase. The rest of the audio is mostly geared towards the front channels, with the exception of some distributed music cues. Dialogue is mostly audible and clear; though the entire track is mixed a bit too low (I had to crank my system up much higher than usual). The disc also includes the original mono English mix, as well as a Spanish 2.0 track and French and Portuguese 5.1 Dolby TrueHD surround mixes. English, English SDH, French, Portuguese, and Spanish subtitles are also offered.

Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:

Booklet Essay - Part of the fancy packaging is a 32-page booklet with many glossy photos, storyboard sketches, and an in-depth essay by director Alan Parker about his experiences making the movie. The essay is so thorough, in fact, that it covers pretty much all of the information repeated in the documentary on the disc.

Audio Commentary - In addition to the essay, Parker delivers a cogent talk in which he reminisces about the production. There is some repetition of content with the booklet essay, but he attempts to focus here more on the production logistics, his directorial choices, and his desire for "authenticity." In both the essay and the commentary, Parker is very frank about his difficult working relationship with Oliver Stone.

The Producers [26:00] Part 1 of the documentary features interviews with producers Peter Guber and David Puttnam. They cover the genesis of the project, the hiring of Stone, the casting (the studio wanted Richard Gere; Dennis Quaid was also in the running), and working off the studio radar with a low budget.

The Production [25:00] Oliver Stone describes writing with a sense of anger and urgency. Alan Parker explains how he got attached to the project, scouting locations, shooting in Malta, and working with John Hurt.

The Finished Film [24:00] More stories about Brad Davis's eccentricity, the decision to avoid subtitling the foreign dialogue, the photography, the score, and the movie's controversial reception at Cannes.

The Making of Midnight Express [7:27] A grainy, wonderful vintage full-frame behind-the-scenes piece (its on-screen title is "I'm Healthy, I'm Alive, and I'm Free"). The heavy-handed voice-over introduces us to the real Billy Hayes as he strolls the streets of New York, before showing us clips from the film and on-set interviews with Hayes and Guber, plus a New York interview with Hayes' father.

Photo Gallery [13:00] It includes a few shots from the set, but mostly presents images from the film.

Trailers: Several Sony Blu-ray titles, we get clips for The Da Vinci Code, A River Runs Through It, Not Easily Broken, Obsessed, Casino Royale, and Damages Season One (though, unfortunately, the Trailer for Midnight Express isn't one of them) round out the bonus features.

Finally, superbly crafted and emotionally involving, Midnight Express often defeats the moral quagmire as presented in the film and the controversial aspects of its script through sheer movie making brilliance. Managing to turn a drug-smuggling character into a sympathetic figure due to his disdainful treatment in a hellish foreign prison and taking liberties with a true story for dramatic and artistic. Midnight Express certainly deserves the accolades bestowed upon it by its Academy Awards, though the subject matter and controversial depiction thereof makes it a rather unique film in the annals of cinema. No matter one's take on this representation of Billy Hayes' story, there is no denying the artistic merits Midnight Express brings to the table, its superb technical achievements reason alone to watch. Sony's Blu-ray release of Midnight Express befits the film and there are plenty of bonus materials information with this brilliant beautiful "DigiBook" and that is why it has gone pride of place in my Blu-ray Collection. 30 years after its release, Midnight Express continues to impress. Harrowing and unpleasant, the film delivers a strong sense of verisimilitude and creates a good look at a miserable situation. The Blu-ray offers better than expected picture, acceptable but dated audio, and a few nice extras; the audio commentary proves particularly enjoyable. Highly Recommended!

Andrew C. Miller - Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good product., 24 Aug 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Excellent product.Like this anniversary special edition though technically speaking there is nothing special about it.Hardly any new extra feature.The remastering is great though.Good buy end of the day.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Blast for the past, 26 Jun 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Been looking for this film for some time, I consider it to be one of the most harrowing and best films of the 70s.
Classic Alan Parker, and John Hurt is just sublime.
Forget video and DVD, the picture quality of this blue ray makes this movie one to watch.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Powerful and memorable movie but below average BD transfer, 25 May 2012
By 
Cartimand (Hampshire, UK.) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Midnight Express tells (with a few liberties and exaggerations) the horrific tale of Billy Hayes, condemned to four years in a hell-hole of a Turkish gaol for attempting to smuggle marijuana, only to hear, shortly before his scheduled release that he was to be made an example of and his sentence increased to a 30-year life stretch. It's a remarkably powerful film, with the hopelessness of Hayes' situation, the constant menace of the guards and the sheer squalour of the gaol being very convincingly depicted. There are excellent performances from Brad Davis (who died tragically at the age of just 41, some 13 years after this movie) in the main role and oscar-worthy support from John Hurt, not to mention chillingly convincing turns from the boo-hiss Turkish officials. The stunning Moroder soundtrack is certainly one of his best, which will be stuck in your head for days afterwards. To summarise, Midnight Express is a visceral experience, often horrific, sometimes blackly comic and occasionally poignant, and which will stay with you for a long time. The film is certainly meritous of 5 stars.

The Blu-ray transfer however leaves a lot to be desired. The image quality looks like a straight port-over from DVD (or even VHS) and the audio seems little better than bog-standard stereo, with nothing apart from a few ambient sounds coming out of the surround speakers. When you consider the excellent HD remastering of many films a lot older than this, the Blu-ray of Midnight Express is somewhat disappointing. You may as well save yourself a few quid and buy the DVD version, as the extras (commentary and making-of featurette) look to be the same. So, one star deducted from this otherwise excellent movie, for the lack-lustre Blu-ray presentation.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Midnight Express DVD, 26 Oct 2010
Great movie based on a true story......anyone thinking of smuggerling drugs should see this film......it will definitely change your mind....
Jenny oliver
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 29 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Midnight Express [DVD]
Midnight Express [DVD] by Alan Parker (DVD - 2007)
8.34
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews