Box art for Midnight Express

Midnight Express

drama, thrillers

The true story of an American college student's (Brad Davis) nightmarish experience in a Turkish prison. 20th Anniversary Special Edition.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 10
    see all Midnight Express reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: All modern-day jail flicks owe it a debt.

- Christopher Null,, Monday, May 14, 2007

Fresh: Searing and unforgettable. A harrowing descent into a real-life hell that's so relentlessly intense it will leave you feeling drained.

- Chuck O'Leary, Fantastica Daily, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fresh: Despite the negative hullabaloo "Midnight Express" provoked for its brutal characterization of Turkish prison officials, director Alan Parker's rendering of Oliver Stone's exploitation screenplay is a stick of pure cinematic dynamite.

- Cole Smithey,, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Audience Reviews

3 stars

Midnight Express is the true story of a young American who is caught trying to smuggle drugs out of Turkey and is made an example of by the courts and left to rot in a Turkish prison. Alan Parker's extremely bleak prison drama is probably a little light on historical accuracy (it was adapted by Oliver Stone from a book written by the prisoner himself, hardly the most objective viewpoints) but strong on atmosphere and tone. It's one of those films where you start thinking "this isn't so bad", but whenever hope is presented, the rug is yanked from under them resulting in a spiralling sense of hopelessness and degradation. Parker's direction has a great use of location and composition and the central performances believable, but it does have a few weaknesses; the soundtrack is clumsy and intrusive and the "forbidden love" montage that probably seemed so daring at the time now seems very, very lame. It has also been accused of racism as the Turkish guards are shown as such sadists, but then again, this is a prison drama so you're not exactly going to see the best a society has to offer. A grimly solid prison drama that can be a little heavy on the melodrama, but it works.

- garyX, Wednesday, July 28, 2010

3 stars

Pure hell, which was to be expected. I didn't want to see this at first, but once it was on the screen I really became engulfed in Billy's ordeal and life. I think everyone should see this classic at least once in their life.

- dreamfaeries, Tuesday, June 1, 2010

2 stars

It's what you'd expect. Turkish prisons suck. Entertaining because i'm a sucker for prison movies. This is one of the first prison movie I've seen where instead of getting raped in the shower first, he just becomes bi all by himself. There's just something wrong about a young Randy Quaid too.

- puffchunk, Wednesday, December 9, 2009