The Hitcher (1986)

R  |   |  Thriller  |  21 February 1986 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 32,580 users  
Reviews: 234 user | 83 critic

A young man who escaped the clutches of a murderous hitch-hiker is subsequently stalked, framed for the hitcher's crimes, and has his life made into hell by the same man he escaped.



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Complete credited cast:
Sergeant Starr (as John Jackson)
Trooper Donner (as Billy Greenbush)
Jack Thibeau ...
Trooper Dodge (as Eugene Davis)
Tony Epper ...
Tom Spratley ...
Colin Campbell ...


A young man transporting a car to another state is stalked along the road by a cunning and relentless serial killer who eventually frames the driver for a string of murders. Chased by police and shadowed by the killer, the driver's only help comes from a truck stop waitress. Written by Keith Loh <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Never Pick Up A Stranger. See more »




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

21 February 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Liftaren  »

Box Office


$6,000,000 (estimated)


$5,844,868 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(4 channels)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Rutger Hauer did a lot of the stunt driving throughout the movie which amazed the film crew and even the real stunt drivers. See more »


During the shotgun chase, one deputy shoots the left tail-light. However when the deputy is aiming, the left tail-light is already broken. See more »


John Ryder: Gas stations have cigarettes.
Jim Halsey: What about gas?
John Ryder: I don't need gas.
Jim Halsey: What do you want?
[John starts laughing]
Jim Halsey: What's so funny?
John Ryder: That's what the other guy said.
Jim Halsey: What other guy?
John Ryder: That guy back there, the one we just passed. The guy who picked me up before you did.
Jim Halsey: That was him in there?
See more »


Referenced in Wolf Creek (2005) See more »


Performed by Mickey Jones
Published by Mickey Jones Music (ASCAP)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Why did they even remake this, no one can do what Hauer did.
7 July 2009 | by See all my reviews

Yes, this movie would be remade years later with Sean Bean cast as the hitchhiker that likes to play some rather brutal games and one has to wonder why. Rutger Hauer was perfectly cast here as the psycho and his performance could not have been topped. Maybe they felt the need for a female lead rather than the male one because you know how females never get the chance to be the main character who survives in a horror movie (heavy sarcasm here). This is basically a story of a young man driving in the middle of nowhere who looks to have been very bored and in the need of some company. He finds some in the form of a hitchhiker and suffice to say he should have listened to all the warnings he got of hitchhikers, but on the plus side his travels in the middle of nowhere are about to be a lot less dull. You get a great scene as the two opponents as it were square off for the first time with the young man seemingly getting the better of the hitcher in round one. Unfortunately, everyone in this desert seems to be to kind for their own good as the guy sees the psycho in a car with a family. So other face-offs with this hitcher are coming up and some will be very violent indeed. A rather good thriller/horror type movie with my main complaint coming towards the end as how was he not handled better than that? Other than that you get a very good and chilling game of cat and mouse and you get a performance by Hauer that could not have possibly been beat.

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thanks for nothing. bonerthebarbarian
Why he is doing all that to him? ivanchocron
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Why is this a classic? I don't get it MrsStarbuck
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What if the remake... DonutMassacre64
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