75 user 23 critic

Ruthless People (1986)

R | | Comedy, Crime | 27 June 1986 (USA)
A couple, cheated by a vile businessman, kidnap his wife in retaliation, without knowing that their enemy is delighted they did.


, (story "The Ransom of Red Chief")

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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 (Danny DeVito) is a clothing manufacturer, who married his wife Barbara (Bette Midler), 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 Dodsworth (Anita Morris) 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 (Judge Reinhold) and Sandy (Helen Slater) Kessler 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 named Earl Mott (Bill Pullman), and they plan to blackmail Sam, by videotaping him disposing of Barbara's body. When Earl ... Written by <rcs0411@yahoo.com>

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?


Debut produced screenplay of screenwriter Dale Launer. See more »


When the newspaper headline "Kidnapping A Hoax - Husband Has Mistress" is seen, the underlying story is unrelated. 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

Dwight Gooden, the well-known major league baseball pitcher, is listed in the end credits as "Best Pitcher." Gooden won the 1985 National League Cy Young Award, which is given annually to the best pitcher in each league. See more »


Referenced in 100 höjdare: Världens roligaste ögonblick 50-41 (2005) See more »


Don't You Want My Love
Performed by Nicole J McCloud
Written by A. Nova
See more »

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User Reviews

A scream!
31 March 2000 | by (Northern CA, U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

This may well be the funniest American film of the 1980's, with nonstop laughs from beginning to end. The pace of the film is almost exhausting, your throat will be sore from laughing yourself silly. It's closer in style to British farce than probably any other American film I can think of. It also sports a great ensemble cast. This was Bette Midler's *real* comeback. And Danny DeVito is delightfully nasty. Probably of best note is an early role for Bill Pullman, who is the brain-dead boy-toy lover of Anita Morris' character. Not to be missed by comedy fans, but make sure you see the uncut version (on cable or video).

20 of 27 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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