John Schlesinger the director of Midnight Cowboy uses the consumption of unconventional editing strategies to tell the story about the friendship and romantic relationship of "wanna-be" hustler Joe Buck and schemer Ratso Rizzo. Schlesinger breaks the countless rules of continuity through the use of nondiegetic inserts, intercutting subjective flashbacks with "real world" footage, mixing of color and black and white footage, and the combining of footage shot by a film camera and "true" footage. The function of discontinuity editing in the film enables Schlesinger to "construct intricate patterns of pictures calculated to stimulate the viewer’s senses, feelings, and thinking" (Bordwell, 262). The stimulation that the visitors go through helps them discover the friendship, identity, and desire to have intimacy of the people in the movie.

Nondiegetic inserts involve slicing away from the picture to a metaphorical or symbolic shot that is not part of the space and period of the narrative" (Bordwell, 259). Schlesinger’s utilization of nondiegetic inserts are proven in the film as Joe Buck’s flashbacks which are triggered by different real world situations. The flashbacks are proven in fractured clips that tell little facts to the viewer that makes it problematic for the viewer to place information mutually. Joe’s lonely youth is reflected in many series of fragmented flashbacks about his former during his trip from Texas to NEW YORK. Once on the bus and the quest east has begun the voice of Joe’s grandmother can be heard and scenes are displayed revealing that she quite often looked after him as a Joe and possibly had a few intimate occasions with the youthful boy. The quick flashbacks provide insight into Joe Buck’s backdrop; he was raised by ladies throughout his lifestyle because no male body apart from his grandmothers many boyfriends are apparent which may have some contributing element to his homosexual leanings in the film. A subjective point in time on Joe’s bus is when it passes a water tower showing for the first time a flashback which has Annie. The water tower shows that it says "Crazy Annie Enjoys Joe Buck" and at the same time Annie’s tone of voice is heard declaring "do you like me" and "you’re the only one".

When Joe arrives in NY and after failing to receive any money in his first-time as a hustler he fulfills up with Ratso who says that he has got someone who can help him out in his pursuit in being a great hustler in NY. Once at the house Joe is being talk to by O’Daniel thinking that he is talking to him about being him learning to be a hustler and is pressured to kneel down and pray next to a Jesus which triggers another flashback and the picture is definitely intercut with flashbacks of Joe remembering his boyhood connection with being baptized in a river with his grandmother. When leaving the flat he flees the picture and runs through New York with images of legitimate footage of the town and also vengeful images of his pursuit and attack of Ratso. Joe comes after Ratso through the entire subway vehicles and trains but never seems to capture up to him. When running around the subway Schlesinger uses both color and dark and white film stock to make an unstable sequence of scenes as if Joe is frantically remembering and thinking about many things throughout the scene. Another flashback of Joe and Annie comes about if they are pulled from the car by several males that seem to know Joe and a violent series of events seem to happen and lead to the rape of both Annie and Joe.

Another way that Schlesinger breaks the guidelines of continuity is definitely by combining footage from the film with "serious" footage shot by a surveillance camera. This sort of discontinuity is demonstrated at the Warhol party that Joe Buck and Ratso go to one night in New York. At the get together they use of a handheld camera is utilized to film what different persons at the party are considering the world and life. The images are blended in with film footage of the psychedelic get together and also the use of sexuality in the "real" footage permits Joe Buck to query his sexuality to himself and really think of what he desires the just about all in his life at the moment.

Throughout the film Midnight Cowboy by John Schlesinger the application of nondiegetic inserts, intercutting subjective flashbacks with "real life" footage, blending of color and black and bright white footage, and the mixing of footage shot by a video camera and "real" footage allow the story to be told in unconventional way which was new for its period. The nondiegetic inserts and "real" footage which happen to be proven in the subjective flashbacks permit the viewer to find out more information about the type but also allows a character like Joe Buck to realize how things that happened in his recent have damaged him in a certain way and how it plays a role in his desires of friendship and intimacy.