Dingy and foreboding but nonetheless full of life, this movie was one of the year's top hits and won three Oscars, for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay (Waldo Salt). Actors Jon Voight, Dustin Hoffman, and Sylvia Miles all were nominated. Harry Nilsson's warm, sad theme song "Everybody's Talkin'" also was a hit, and Hoffman's line, "I'm walkin' here!" became one of the all-time classic movie quotes.
In 1969, times were changing, and movies were changing, too. MIDNIGHT COWBOY was an unabashedly adult movie with adult themes and experimental touches, and it took Englishman John Schlesinger to bring this approach to an otherwise gritty New York story. Schlesinger turns in a film of constant visual conflict, centered on the tall, blonde, handsome Joe and the short, dark, scraggy, greasy Ratso. Joe's sunny optimism about the life that awaits him, and what he actually gets, are at odds. Realism also conflicts sharply with the psychedelic party scene.