Midnight Cowboy


“I ain’t a for-real cowboy, but I am one hell of a stud!” – Joe Buck

Onstage discussion moderated by David V. Picker, the executive-in-charge at United Artists during the film’s development. Scheduled guests: producer Jerome Hellman, actress Sylvia Miles, cinematographer Adam Holender, composer John Barry and costume designer Ann Roth.

Adapted by Waldo Salt from James Leo Herlihy’s novel, directed by John Schlesinger and produced by Jerome Hellman, “Midnight Cowboy” stars Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman as two mainstream society outcasts who forge an unlikely friendship on the lonely and unforgiving streets of New York City.

In 1969 the film’s frank and unsparing portrayal of its characters’ bleak lives was considered suitable only for mature audiences, and the Motion Picture Association of America, which had recently introduced its ratings system, gave it an X rating.  Although the violence and sexual situations in the film may seem tame by today’s standards, “Midnight Cowboy” holds the distinction of being the only X-rated film to win the Best Picture Oscar (it was re-rated R in 1971).  A critical and popular success at the time of its release, “Midnight Cowboy” endures as a powerful story of friendship, compassion and redemption.

This special 40th anniversary screening of “Midnight Cowboy” was followed by an onstage cast-and-crew discussion. 

Print provided by the Academy Film Archive, courtesy of MGM.  Jerome Hellman-John Schlesinger Production.  United Artists.  1969.  35mm.  113 minutes.

Event Information

Monday, March 16, at 7:30 p.m.
Directors Guild of America New York
110 West 57th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenue

Academy Awards Facts

Academy Award® winner:
Directing (John Schlesinger), Best Picture (Jerome Hellman, producer), Writing – Screenplay based on material from another medium (Waldo Salt)
Academy Award nominee:
Actor (Dustin Hoffman), Actor (Jon Voight), Actress in a Supporting Role (Sylvia Miles), Film Editing (Hugh A. Robertson)
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