Ruthless People (1986)

R  |   |  Comedy, Crime  |  27 June 1986 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 20,726 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


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


The film was made and released about seventy-six years after its source short-story "The Ransom of Red Chief" by O. Henry had been first published in 1910. See more »


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 »


[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 Golden Girls: Big Daddy's Little Lady (1986) See more »


Give Me The Reason
Performed by Luther Vandross
Written by Luther Vandross and Nat Adderley Jr.
See more »

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User Reviews

A comedy of miscommunication

I thought this movie was hilarious. Almost everything anyone says has a double meaning. (The police chief and the hooker, the big dog, etc) This movie will keep you laughing from beginning to end. Bette Midler is terrific as the kidnapped rich man's wife, and Danny DeVito is also fabulous as the scheming rich man himself. There are thousands of great one-liners that you will keep quoting for years after you see this movie (I know I have) like the unforgettable "I've been kidnapped by K-Mart!" and "You lying @#$*%^!!! Oh, honey, they made me say that!" This is a must see! So go see it! Now! What are you still reading this for, you should be out renting the movie!!

24 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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