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The Dartmouth
May 28, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

'Cowboy' is one of best films ever

Have you ever had a dream that was simply too big and too important? A dream that you just had to follow? Joe Buck, played by Jon Voight, has a dream like that. He wants to be a big-time gigolo in New York City. More than anything in life, Joe Buck is good at one thing, and that thing is screwing and he figures he's good enough at it to get paid for it in the classic film, "Midnight Cowboy."

So Joe packs his things into a little suitcase, spends his life savings on a bus ticket to New York and heads out of his small Texas town forever. Unfortunately, finding high class pickups proves to be more difficult than he had originally thought. Joe Buck soon finds himself down and out with barely ten dollars to his name.

Instead of hustling uptown, he's working the streets of Times Square. What's more, he finds that his cowboy dress and talk are an overused gimmick rather than the fresh breath of country air he wanted them to be.

During his struggle to survive and maybe even succeed in a difficult lifestyle, Joe meets many colorful and sleazy characters. Most of them just drift quickly in and out of his life, but Ratzo Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman), a small time hustler, takes Joe under his wing. Over time, their professional relationship grows to be something more.

"Midnight Cowboy" is one of the best movies ever made. When it came out just about everyone in it was nominated for the Oscars, and the movie itself won Best Picture.

This is one of those early Dustin Hoffman movies that made him the legend of cinema he is today. The character of Ratzo is a touching and human portrayal of a small-timer who just wants to get out. His big dream is to move to Florida where it's warm.

Hoffman even created pop culture in this movie by improvising the famous line, "I'm walkin' here!" People might think this is just something that New Yorkers say all the time, but it started in this movie.

Both Hoffman and Voight are great in their roles, making the audience really feel for the characters. What's more, the sentiments displayed range from joy to abject misery and always include a liberal dose of disgust.

The supporting cast is good too, though it doesn't include any other names worth mentioning. Most of the other parts are very short but believable and just add to the reality of the performances by the two stars.

But all that acting wouldn't be worth anything if the script weren't the masterpiece it is. The plot flows smoothly and definitely contains twists that are not apparent in the least from the outset.

"Midnight Cowboy" is not a happy movie. It is, however, a fantastic film and a work of art. Go see it. It's an American classic and a must for anyone who wants to be cinematically informed.