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Ruthless People (1986)

R  |   |  Comedy, Crime  |  27 June 1986 (USA)
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 19,935 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

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

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 <rcs0411@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Barbara Stone has just been kidnapped by K-Mart, and what she doesn't know won't hurt her. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 June 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

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

Box Office

Gross:

$71,624,879 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First of two films [to date, August 2013] that director Jim Abrahams has made with actress-comedian Bette Midler. The second would be Big Business (1988)which was made and first released about a couple of years after this film. See more »

Goofs

When Barbra tries to escape, she throws a coffee mug at Ken, hitting his nose. You can see the plexiglass in front of Ken reflecting light on his shirt. Also, slowing down the frames, before the mug hits Ken, you can clearly see the cut mark already painted on his nose before the mug hits him. See more »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

Referenced in The Golden Girls: Big Daddy's Little Lady (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

Modern Woman
Written and Performed by Billy Joel
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Be Ruthless -- It's Good for You
30 April 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Ruthless People" has one of the best premises in film comedy history.

Spandex miniskirt millionaire Sam Stone (Danny DeVito) plans to kill his battle axe wife (Bette Midler) for her inheritance. However, his plan is put on hold when she is kidnapped and held for ransom. The kidnappers threaten to kill her if Sam doesn't pay, which is a-o.k. with Sam, and means he doesn't have to do his own dirty work. But the kidnappers (Judge Reinhold and Helen Slater) are too kind hearted to follow through with what they start. Meanwhile, Sam's floozy mistress (a smokin' Anita Morris) knows about Sam's plans, and sends her doofus boyfriend (Bill Pullman) out to videotape what he thinks is Sam killing his wife so that they can blackmail him.

This is a lot of plot to cram into a brisk 90 minutes, but this well written film never feels forced or rushed. Every scene conveys something important either for the story or about one of the characters, and not a moment feels wasted. The ensemble is terrific, each actor landing his/her jokes without fail. The standouts, though, are Bette Midler, who gives an outrageously vulgar performance pitched to the third balcony; and Judge Reinhold, who gives the film its heart.

One of the most quotable movies ever, the film also boasts a great opening credits sequence, one more reason to lament the fact that movies hardly ever have opening credits anymore.

Grade: A+


5 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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