'I'm Walkin' Here!:' Dustin Hoffman's 'Midnight Cowboy' Ad-Lib

By Jacob Shelton


Source: United Artists

It's an involuntary reaction for many of us -- when a car pulls into the crosswalk we're about to use, we just blurt out "I'm walkin' here!" And thus Midnight Cowboy's Ratso Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman) lives on.

Film was changing at the tail end of the 1960s. Straight forward stories about good-guy heroes and dastardly villains were falling out of fashion and being replaced by films about rebels and people on the wrong side of the law. Many moviegoers felt like they knew the flawed people on the screen, perhaps for the first time. 1969’s Midnight Cowboy was the first in a long line of grimy movies, and it’s the only film with an X rating to win an Academy Award for best picture.

At the time Midnight Cowboy was a lightning rod for controversy despite making $40 million on a $3 million budget, but as time rolled on the thing that everyone remembers from the movie is Dustin Hoffman’s immortal line.

Midnight Cowboy follows Joe Buck, a wide-eyed male prostitute played by John Voight as he attempts to navigate the mean streets of New York City. He gets a little help from a street hustler named “Ratso” Rizzo played by Dustin Hoffman. In the most famous scene in the film Voight and Hoffman walk across the street when they’re almost hit by a cab, Hoffman slams his hands on the front of the car and shouts, “Hey! I'm walkin' here!” From that moment the line was cemented in film history. 

X