Sammy Hartwell

Sammy Hartwell

Modified & Updated: 08 Sep 2023


Welcome to the fascinating world of Midnight Cowboy, a movie that has captivated audiences since its release in 1969. Directed by John Schlesinger and starring Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman, Midnight Cowboy is an iconic film that explores the gritty realities of urban life, friendship, and dreams in New York City. Set against the backdrop of the late 1960s, the movie follows the unconventional relationship between Joe Buck, a naive and aspiring male prostitute from Texas, and Ratso Rizzo, a small-time hustler with big dreams. Midnight Cowboy garnered critical acclaim and made history by becoming the first X-rated film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. In this article, we will delve into 36 fascinating facts about Midnight Cowboy that shed light on the making, impact, and legacy of this cinematic masterpiece.

Table of Contents

Fact #1

The movie Midnight Cowboy was released in 1969.

Fact #2

Midnight Cowboy was directed by John Schlesinger.

Fact #3

It is based on the novel of the same name written by James Leo Herlihy.

Fact #4

Midnight Cowboy won three Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

Fact #5

This film was the first X-rated film to ever win Best Picture at the Academy Awards.

Fact #6

Dustin Hoffman played the role of Ratso Rizzo, a con artist, in Midnight Cowboy.

Fact #7

Jon Voight portrayed the character of Joe Buck, a Texan hustler, in the movie.

Fact #8

Midnight Cowboy was shot on location in New York City.

Fact #9

The film explores themes of friendship, loneliness, and the harsh realities of urban life.

Fact #10

Midnight Cowboy has been praised for its gritty and realistic portrayal of city life during the late 1960s.

Fact #11

The song “Everybody’s Talkin'” by Harry Nilsson was featured in the movie and became a hit single.

Fact #12

Midnight Cowboy was deemed culturally significant and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

Fact #13

The film’s screenplay was written by Waldo Salt.

Fact #14

Midnight Cowboy was initially given an X-rating due to its adult themes and explicit content.

Fact #15

The movie’s famous line “I’m walkin’ here!” was improvised by Dustin Hoffman during a scene where a cab almost ran over him.

Fact #16

Despite its critical acclaim, Midnight Cowboy was banned in some countries due to its controversial content.

Fact #17

At the time of its release, Midnight Cowboy was considered groundbreaking for its portrayal of homosexuality.

Fact #18

The film’s title, Midnight Cowboy, refers to Joe Buck’s ambition of becoming a successful hustler in New York City.

Fact #19

Midnight Cowboy was a commercial success, grossing over $44 million worldwide.

Fact #20

John Barry composed the film’s score, which added to its atmospheric and emotional impact.

Fact #21

The movie’s cinematography by Adam Holender captures the gritty and neon-lit streets of New York City.

Fact #22

Midnight Cowboy is often regarded as one of the greatest films of all time.

Fact #23

The film’s original script was deemed too long and was heavily edited before production.

Fact #24

Midnight Cowboy showcases the clash between the American Dream and the harsh reality of life in a big city.

Fact #25

The film’s iconic poster features Joe Buck and Ratso Rizzo walking down a bustling street in New York City.

Fact #26

Midnight Cowboy received an R-rating when the X-rating was replaced in 1970.

Fact #27

The movie explores themes of identity and self-discovery as Joe Buck struggles to find his place in the world.

Fact #28

Midnight Cowboy has been praised for its raw and emotionally charged performances by Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight.

Fact #29

The film’s editing by Hugh A. Robertson creates a compelling narrative structure.

Fact #30

Midnight Cowboy was deemed controversial for its explicit sexual content and portrayal of prostitution.

Fact #31

The film was released during a time of great social and political upheaval in the United States.

Fact #32

Midnight Cowboy is often cited as a prime example of the New Hollywood era of filmmaking.

Fact #33

The movie’s soundtrack features a mix of popular songs from the era, enhancing the film’s sense of time and place.

Fact #34

Midnight Cowboy was a critical darling, receiving numerous accolades and nominations.

Fact #35

The film’s portrayal of the relationship between Joe Buck and Ratso Rizzo has been widely analyzed and praised for its complexity.

Fact #36

Midnight Cowboy remains a cult classic and continues to resonate with audiences today.


Midnight Cowboy is an iconic and groundbreaking film that captivated audiences upon its release in 1969. With its raw portrayal of urban life and unconventional storytelling, the movie pushed boundaries and challenged audience expectations. The film’s bold exploration of themes such as friendship, loneliness, and the quest for identity continues to resonate with viewers today.

Starring Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman in career-defining performances, Midnight Cowboy drew critical acclaim, earning three Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Its compelling narrative and unforgettable characters have solidified its place in cinematic history.

Whether you’re a long-time fan or discovering the film for the first time, Midnight Cowboy’s impact on cinema cannot be overstated. Its enduring legacy is a testament to its artistry and the boundary-pushing nature of its storytelling.


1. What is Midnight Cowboy about?

Midnight Cowboy follows the story of Joe Buck, a young Texan who moves to New York City with dreams of becoming a gigolo. He befriends Ratso Rizzo, a small-time con artist, and the film explores their unlikely friendship and the challenges they face in the bustling city.

2. Who stars in Midnight Cowboy?

Midnight Cowboy stars Jon Voight as Joe Buck and Dustin Hoffman as Ratso Rizzo. Both actors deliver powerful performances that garnered critical acclaim and cemented their status as talented actors in the industry.

3. What awards did Midnight Cowboy win?

Midnight Cowboy received critical acclaim upon its release and won three Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director for John Schlesinger, and Best Adapted Screenplay. The film’s success solidified its place in cinematic history.

4. What makes Midnight Cowboy a groundbreaking film?

Midnight Cowboy challenged societal norms and pushed the boundaries of filmmaking. It portrayed taboo subjects such as homosexuality and urban decay with authenticity, paving the way for more diverse and daring storytelling in cinema.

5. Is Midnight Cowboy suitable for all audiences?

Midnight Cowboy is rated R for its adult themes, nudity, and language. It addresses mature subjects and may not be suitable for younger viewers.

6. What is the significance of Midnight Cowboy in film history?

Midnight Cowboy is often regarded as a classic in American cinema. Its unflinching portrayal of urban life and poignant exploration of friendship and identity have had a significant impact on subsequent films and filmmakers, influencing the way stories are told on screen.