The Hitcher (1986)

R  |   |  Thriller  |  21 February 1986 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 32,608 users  
Reviews: 234 user | 85 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


Out on the desert highway, the rule of thumb has a different meaning... 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?


For the role of Jim Halsey, the producers mentioned Matthew Modine, Tom Cruise and Emilio Estevez. 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 »


Interrogation Sergeant: What's your name? Come on. What's your name? Do you have a name? Do you have a police record? Where are you from?
John Ryder: Disneyland.
See more »


Referenced in Breakdown (1997) See more »


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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A classic in my view!
3 January 2002 | by (Marlow, England) – See all my reviews

Starring everybody's favourite Dutchman, Rutger Hauer, this superb road movie thriller is tense, thrilling and superbly atmospheric.

The first scene between the Hitcher and Jim Holsey was superb, Rutger puts in a chilling performance. Mr Hauer has a reputation for pulling off some memorable bad guy performances, namely this, Blade runner and Nighthawks, but this is my favourite of his performances. The lines he has were brilliant. The pacing of the film was very good and apart from Rutger stealing the show the other actors were good. Jennifer Jason Leigh was good in her small role and of course C Thomas Howell in the lead does a good job. Overall this gets a 9/10 from me.

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