Midnight Cowboy script
Synopsis: Convinced of his irresistible appeal to women, Texas dishwasher Joe Buck (Jon Voight) quits his job and heads for New York City, thinking he'll latch on to some rich dowager. New York, however, is not as hospitable as he imagined, and Joe soon finds himself living in an abandoned building with a Dickensian layabout named Enrico "Ratso" Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman). The two form a rough alliance, and together they kick-start Joe's hustling career just as Ratso's health begins to deteriorate.

INT. TV STUDIO - DAY

A Susskind-type MODERATOR is speaking into camera:

MODERATOR:

Tonight we'll discuss a subject

most of us seem to consider either

bad taste or frivolous or funny.

But if our experts are right, we

face what might be called a

masculinity crisis. Every fourth

American man uptight, threatened by

the increasing sexual demands of

American women...

EXT. SIDEWALK INTERVIEW - DAY

An IRATE WOMAN speaks into camera:

IRATE WOMAN:

They always put it that way, but

well, all it means, you know, is

every fourth American woman's never

satisfied. That's it. I never am --

have been, you know...

EXT. SIDEWALK INTERVIEW - DAY

A COOL WOMAN speaks into camera:

COOL WOMAN:

This, this image of the, the man

eating woman. It isn't our

increasing demands. I think it's

the shrinking American male...

EXT. SIDEWALK INTERVIEW - DAY

A SAD WOMAN speaks into camera:

SAD WOMAN:

No, I never had, well, whatever it

is you call it. But the hours he

works, I can't blame him...

INT. CAFETERIA SCULLERY (TEXAS) - DAY

Full frame -- a scandal sheet picture of a sex-starved wife,

naked while her husband sleeps, captioned I BUY WHAT MY

HUSBAND CAN'T GIVE.

SAD WOMAN'S VOICE

... but it's a problem. A big

problem. With so many women I

know...

Camera pulls back to show the picture among other pinups of

women -- rich, beautiful or naked, but all blonde -- steam

wilted on the wall over a dishwashing machine. JOE BUCK grins

at the wall as he scrapes garbage.

JOB:

Just keep your pants on, ladies...

MULTIPLE SPLIT SCREEN

A LADY COMMENTATOR, gradually surrounded by lonely women...

BEAUTY PARLOR:

FASHION SHOW:

PSYCHIATRIST'S COUCH

COCKTAIL BAR:

GYMNASIUM:

STATUE OF LIBERTY

LADY COMMENTATOR

Before World War One -- American

men outnumbered women by over six

percent. Today American women not

only outnumber men, but live five

years longer -- leaving them in

control of vast corporate wealth

and seventy-five percent of

America's purchasing power...

The Lady Commentator is replaced by Joe, stacking dishes,

surrounded by frustrated ladies. He laughs tolerantly.

JOE:

Y'all,line up and take your turn...

INT. TV STUDIO - DAY

The Moderator smiles into camera.

MODERATOR:

My question is this -- will

American know-how come up with a

marketable male to replace all the

men who are worrying themselves

into an early grave over women's

increasing sexual demands?

INT. STALL SHOWER - DAY

Joe sings as he soaps himself, "Whoopee ti yi yo, git along

little dogies, for you know New York will be your new home!"

Sound and image freeze on Joe's open mouth.

SUPERIMPOSED MAIN TITLE AND CREDITS

TITLES follow as indicated, sound and action continuing after

each credit.

INT. SUNSHINE CAFETERIA - DAY

Joe's song continues over a sweating WAITRESS, glancing up.

WAITRESS:

Where's that Joe Buck?

INT. HOTEL ROOM - DAY

Wrapped in a towel, singing in front of his dresser mirror,

Joe sprays himself with deodorant, aiming a last playful

blast at the unseen crotch -- freezing song and image as

CREDITS continue over...

... a calendar girl on the wall blushing orange, mouth frozen

in a tiny O, staring wide-eyed. Joe's song continues as...

... Joe rips the wrapping from a new Stetson and sets it on

his head, freezing song and image as CREDITS continue.

INT. CAFETERIA SCULLERY - DAY

RALPH, an aging black man, faces a mountain of dirty dishes.

RALPH:

Where's that Joe Buck?

INT. HOTEL ROOM - DAY

Singing as he buttons his new cowboy shirt, Joe interrupts

himself to answer Ralph...

JOE:

Yeah, where's that Joe Buck?

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Waldo Salt

Waldo Miller Salt was an American screenwriter who was blacklisted by the Hollywood movie studio bosses during the era of McCarthyism. He later won Academy Awards for Midnight Cowboy and Coming Home. more…

All Waldo Salt scripts | Waldo Salt Books

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"Midnight Cowboy" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2017. Web. 17 Dec. 2017. <http://www.scripts.com/script/midnight_cowboy_327>.

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