Dreaming of easy money, Joe Buck (Jon Voight) leaves his Texas home and heads for New York where he plans to sell his stud services to wealthy ladies. First fleeced, then befriended, by the diseased and down-and-out Ratso Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman), Buck finds the going rougher than he expected. He takes to the 42nd Street movie balconies and their homosexual clientele where he remembers his hometown girl friend and a gang-rape of both of them by a pack of toughs. Ratso dreams of recovering his health in Florida and the two men share a mutual understanding and need that goes deeper than they know of. After running with assorted New York types, including socialite Brenda Vaccaro, Buck sadistically beats up a pathetic old homosexual to get money for the trip to the South. On the bus, shortly after the Florida border is passed, Ratso dies, and Joe Buck is left holding the body of his friend and facing an empty future.
With the story and treatment, the appearance of Dustin Hoffman and the debut of a new star (Jon Voight) this picture has more than enough going for it. Word-of-mouth should be sensational, and review quotes more than adequate to arouse interest. Music in the film has real selling potential.
Dustin Hoffman is Ratso Rizzo... Jon Voight is the cowboy. He sold himself to the highest bidder! United Artists 119 mins.