Based on William Hayes’s autobiography, MIDNIGHT EXPRESS tells the harrowing story of a young American tourist arrested and sentenced to 30 years in prison by Turkish authorities for trying to smuggle two kilos of hashish out of the country. Billy (Brad Davis), suffering through the harsh realities of the Turkish penal system, sees a glimmer of hope when his father (Billy Kellin) arrives from the States with the intention of securing his son’s release. But when that effort fails and the prison’s savage environment becomes too much to bear, Billy opts for the only possible solution: breaking out of jail and riding the midnight express–prison slang for escape–to freedom.
Director Alan Parker (MISSISSIPPI BURNING), aided by Oliver Stone’s Oscar-winning script, fastens an unflinching gaze into the darkest recesses of physical and emotional cruelty. Supporting cast members Randy Quaid, John Hurt, and Bo Hopkins give stellar performances, and Giorgio Moroder supplies a jagged yet entrancing soundtrack for a film that is at one and the same time a Kafkaesque nightmare, a riveting expose, and a testament to the dogged human thirst for dignity.