Ruthless People (1986)

R  |   |  Comedy, Crime  |  27 June 1986 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 20,732 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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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?


Madonna was originally cast as Barbara Stone. The role later went to Bette Midler because of artistic differences between Madonna and the director. See more »


When Sam Stone pulls his gun on Ken Kessler, the sound of the hammer being pulled back is heard. In the next shot, the hammer has not been engaged. 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 There's Nothing Out There (1991) See more »


Wherever I Lay My Hat (That's My Home)
Performed by Paul Young
Written by Marvin Gaye, Barrett Strong and Norman Whitfield
See more »

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User Reviews

Quite possibly one of the funniest movies EVER!!!!
19 March 2002 | by (Jersey City, NJ) – See all my reviews

"Ruthless People" is a genuinely original farce that kept me laughing to the point of exhaustion. It's masterful how all these characters interweave, creating more and more hilarious subplots. The cast is a tour de force. Danny DeVito gives quite possibly the best comic performance of his career! Bette Midler is also great as his whiny, obnoxious wife. It's good to see Judge Reinhold, who practically disappeared after finishing the "Beverly Hills Cop" flicks. An early performance by Bill Pullman is also worth checking out. I think he's a real cool actor, but he usually plays the same yuppie roles. Here, he plays a dim-witted, trailer-trash airhead and is a delight to watch. There are so many funny moments that will stick in my mind forever, like when the serial killer invades the house. "You look like my mother, I hate my mother." And the confusion that was created with the sex video was absolutely classic. I haven't seen a good comedy in a while, nor have laughed this hard in a while. That's why I was glad to catch this movie on the Starz Network, because it is one of the funniest comedies I've ever seen and nowadays, you ain't gonna see too many good comedies, nor great ones like this. A MUST-SEE!!!

My score: 9 (out of 10)

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