John Schlesinger's gritty, unrelentingly bleak look at the seedy underbelly of urban American life is undeniably disturbing, but Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight's performances make it difficult to turn away.
New York Daily News
Even with every foot of grim realism and some humor, Midnight Cowboy is rather a sad picture.
Midnight Cowboy's peep-show vision of Manhattan lowlife may no longer be shocking, but what is shocking, in 1994, is to see a major studio film linger this lovingly on characters who have nothing to offer the audience but their own lost souls.
Midnight Cowboy moves beyond realism into an archetypal tale of the Big City destroying dreamers. Joe and Ratso, like Of Mice and Men's George and Lenny, are quintessential failed, lower-class, buddy-dreamers.