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Ruthless People (1986)

R  |   |  Comedy, Crime  |  27 June 1986 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 20,540 users  
Reviews: 71 user | 23 critic

A couple, cheated by a vile businessman, kidnap his wife in retaliation, without knowing that their enemy is delighted they did.


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Title: Ruthless People (1986)

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
William G. Schilling ...
Phyllis Applegate ...
Hooker in Car
J.P. Bumstead ...
Jon Cutler ...


Sam Stone is a clothing manufacturer, who married his wife Barbara, for the money that she was supposed to inherit from her dying father, but her father didn't die for another fifteen years. He is now planning to kill her and he tells his girlfriend Carol what he is going to do. He then on his way home to do just that but when he gets there, she's not there. He then receives a call from someone claiming to have kidnapped Barbara and threatening to kill her if he informs the police, which he does hoping that they do. What Stone doesn't know is that the kidnappers, Ken and Sandy are a couple whose idea for a garment he stole and made fortune off, are not that lethal, as a matter of fact Barbara's more lethal. And what Stone doesn't know is that Carol, has another boyfriend and they plan to blackmail Sam, by videotaping him disposing of Barbara's body. When her boyfriend, Earl goes there to do that, the person who goes there was not Sam but a guy with a hooker, and the guy instructs the ... Written by <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Sam Stone's wife has just been kidnapped... And he doesn't want her back! See more »


Comedy | Crime


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

27 June 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Y a-t-il quelqu'un pour tuer ma femme?  »

Box Office


$71,624,879 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Shares similarities with the O. Henry story, "The Ransom of Red Chief," a turn-of-the century fable about two con men who kidnap the rambunctious 10-year-old son of a widowed businessman for ransom. The businessman refuses to pay the ransom, happy to have his unruly son gone, and the son proves to be a difficult captive. The criminals decide to return the boy to his father, rather then collect the ransom. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, writer Dale Launer stated: "I certainly read O. Henry as a kid, and I don't remember consciously lifting it." See more »


When Carol and Earl arrive to video store to watch tape, Carol inserts it into VCR, and police chief Benton's antics appear on all the screens in store. But the VCR's back is facing the camera, and all the output jacks are empty, meaning the VCR isn't connected to anything but the power outlet. See more »


[first lines]
Sam Stone: Carol, did I ever tell you why I married her?
Carol: Yes, Sam, you told me many, many...
Sam Stone: Her father was very, very rich, and very, very sick. The doctors assured me he'd be dead any minute. There wasn't a second to lose! I rushed right out and married the boss's daughter. He was so sick, it was like the Angel of Death was sitting in the room with him, watching the clock. They pulled the plug on him... he wheezed and shook for about an hour... and then... he stabilized. The son-of-a-bitch ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Near the end of the credits is the line "I Love Wrong Numbers", referring to a scene earlier in the movie where Sam Stone gets a wrong number on the phone and does a vulgar prank to it. See more »


Referenced in The Making of 'Lake Placid' (2014) See more »


Ruthless People Theme
Performed by Mick Jagger
Written by Daryl Hall, David A. Stewart (as Dave Stewart) and Mick Jagger
See more »

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User Reviews

25+ years later, it still delivers
8 January 2014 | by (Japan) – See all my reviews

It's a tight script for Touchstone, a comedy of errors where three plots and serial killer meet in a happy end.

I saw this during its original release and loved it. I still love it. It's nice to see a movie without a lot of toilet humour and f-bombs. The dialog is filled with memorable lines but the humour is in knowing what the characters don't and the on screen charisma of Di Vito and Middler.

Pay attention and you'll see the L.A. cityscape during the 80's along with all that was bad in 80's design along with Santa Monica Pier before the redesign in the 90's.

Great film for a rain day or a bad mood.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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