IMDb > Ruthless People (1986)
Ruthless People
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Ruthless People (1986) More at IMDbPro »

Ruthless People -- Hoping to collect a huge ransom, a pair of inept kidnappers abduct the wife of a loathsome millionaire.  But there's a slight complication -- he's thrilled to be rid of her!


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6.9/10   21,431 votes »
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Popularity: ?
Down 7% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Dale Launer (written by) and
O. Henry (story)
View company contact information for Ruthless People on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
27 June 1986 (USA) See more »
Barbara Stone has just been kidnapped by K-Mart, and what she doesn't know won't hurt her. See more »
A couple, cheated by a vile businessman, kidnap his wife in retaliation, without knowing that their enemy is delighted they did. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 2 nominations See more »
(58 articles)
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User Reviews:
one of my all-time favorites See more (75 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Danny DeVito ... Sam Stone

Bette Midler ... Barbara Stone

Judge Reinhold ... Ken Kessler

Helen Slater ... Sandy Kessler

Anita Morris ... Carol Dodsworth

Bill Pullman ... Earl Mott
William G. Schilling ... Chief Henry Benton

Art Evans ... Lt. Bender

Clarence Felder ... Lt. Walters

J.E. Freeman ... Bedroom Killer

Gary Riley ... Heavy Metal Kid
Phyllis Applegate ... Loan Officer

Jeannine Bisignano ... Hooker in Car
J.P. Bumstead ... Technician
Jon Cutler ... Stereo Store Customer

Susan Marie Snyder ... Katie, Stereo Store Customer
Jim Doughan ... Cop at Sam's House
Christopher J. Keene ... Cop at Jail
Henry Noguchi ... Coroner

Frank Sivero ... The Mugger
Arnold F. Turner ... Cop with Killer Picture (as Arnold Turner)
Bob Tzudiker ... Sam's Attorney
Charles A. Vanegas ... Arresting Cop
Louise Yaffe ... Social Worker

Janet Rotblatt ... Secretary to Chief of Police
Charlotte Zucker ... Judge

Art Bonilla ... Waiter (as Arturo Bonilla)
Rick DeReyes ... Newscaster
Mie Hunt ... Newscaster
Ron Tank ... Newscaster

Hanala Sagal ... Aerobic Instructor (as Susan Stadner)
Beth R. Johnson ... Aerobic Instructor
Richard Wilson ... Aerobic Instructor
Twyla Littleton ... Model (as Twyla S. Littleton)
Mary Elizabeth Thompson ... Elderly Woman
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Susan Breslau ... Woman passing Phonebooth (uncredited)
Gil Janklowicz ... Fitness Instructor (uncredited)

Vince McMahon ... Wrestling Anouncer on TV (voice) (uncredited)
George 'The Animal' Steele ... Wrestler on TV (uncredited)
William Winckler ... Paper Boy (uncredited)

Directed by
Jim Abrahams 
David Zucker 
Jerry Zucker 
Writing credits
Dale Launer (written by)

O. Henry  story "The Ransom of Red Chief"

Produced by
Joanna Lancaster .... executive producer
Michael Peyser .... producer
Richard Wagner .... executive producer
Walter Yetnikoff .... executive producer
Original Music by
Michel Colombier 
Cinematography by
Jan de Bont 
Film Editing by
Gib Jaffe 
Arthur Schmidt 
Casting by
Ellen Chenoweth 
Art Direction by
Donald B. Woodruff  (as Donald Woodruff)
Set Decoration by
Anne D. McCulley 
Costume Design by
Rosanna Norton 
Makeup Department
Barbara Lorenz .... hair stylist
Brad Wilder .... makeup artist
Production Management
Jeffrey Chernov .... unit production manager
David Hoberman .... executive in charge of production: Walt Disney Studios (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
William S. Beasley .... first assistant director (as Bill Beasley)
Joel Chernoff .... second unit director
Bruce Humphrey .... second assistant director
Dannielle J. Weiss .... second second assistant director
Art Department
Barbara Adamski .... property master
Rubin Andreatta .... greensman
Walt Hadfield .... construction coordinator (as Walton D. Hadfield)
Mark Hite .... lead man
Jon Hutman .... visual consultant
Lilly Kilvert .... visual consultant
Tony Leonardi .... stand-by painter (as Anthony Leonardi)
David P. Newell .... assistant property master
William James Teegarden .... set designer (as William Teegarden)
John Tyrrell .... painter
James F. Walker .... construction foreman
Victor M. Shannon .... plasterer (uncredited)
Sound Department
Joseph F. Brennan .... boom operator
Charles L. Campbell .... supervising sound editor
Larry Carow .... sound editor
Thomas Causey .... sound mixer
Craig Clark .... assistant sound editor
Samuel C. Crutcher .... sound editor
Mike Dobie .... sound editor
Louis L. Edemann .... supervising sound editor
David W. Gray .... stereo sound consultant: Dolby
Rick Kline .... sound re-recording mixer
Donald O. Mitchell .... sound re-recording mixer
Chuck Neely .... sound editor
Alan L. Nineberg .... adr editor
Kim Nolan .... apprentice sound editor
Kevin O'Connell .... sound re-recording mixer
Rod Rogers .... assistant adr editor
Larry Singer .... supervising adr editor
Darcy Vebber .... utility sound
Greg Orloff .... foley mixer (uncredited)
John Roesch .... foley artist (uncredited)
Special Effects by
John Frazier .... special effects coordinator
Rocky Gehr .... special effects
Scott Forbes .... special effects foreman (uncredited)
Visual Effects by
Don Waller .... animator (uncredited)
Phil Adams .... stunts
Gregory J. Barnett .... stunts
Ray Bickel .... stunts
Brad Bovee .... stunts (as Bradley James Bovee)
Danny Costa .... stunts
Charles Croughwell .... stunts
Vince Deadrick Sr. .... stunts
Richard Drown .... stunts
Diamond Farnsworth .... stunts
Ralph Garrett .... stunts
Gene Hartline .... stunts
Loren Janes .... stunts
Sasha Jenson .... stunts
Tracy Keehn-Dashnaw .... stunts (as Tracy Lyn Keehn)
Wayne King .... stunts (as Wayne A. King)
Max Kleven .... stunts
Faith Minton .... stunts
Carol Neilson .... stunts
Kathleen O'Haco .... stunts
Carol Rees .... stunts
Pat Romano .... stunts (as Patrick Romano)
Ben Scott .... stunts (as Ben R. Scott)
John-Clay Scott .... stunts
Walter Scott .... stunt coordinator
Walter Scott .... stunts
Brian Smrz .... stunts
Mike Watson .... stunts
Ted White .... stunts
Vince Deadrick Jr. .... stunts (uncredited)
C. Ransom Walrod .... stunts (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Ed Ayer .... gaffer (as Edward A. Ayer)
William Coss .... second assistant camera
Bill Decker .... key grip
William Kenney .... dolly grip
Laurel Moore .... still photographer (as Laurel Davis Moore)
Robert O. Moore .... best boy grip
Víctor Pérez .... best boy
Michael Scott .... camera operator
William Waldman .... first assistant camera
Wayne Baker .... steadycam assistant (uncredited)
Thomas Enright .... electrician (uncredited)
Animation Department
Sally Cruikshank .... animation sequence
Casting Department
Lisa Clarkson .... casting assistant
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Bella Brookalyna .... wardrobe
Eric H. Sandberg .... costume supervisor
Fran Vega-Buck .... costumer (as Frances Vega)
Editorial Department
Jeffrey James Bell .... second assistant editor
Gary Burritt .... negative cutter
Neil Kirk .... apprentice film editor
Peter Lonsdale .... first assistant editor
Lynne Bailey Smith .... apprentice film editor
Location Management
Richard Davis Jr. .... location manager (as Richard Davis)
Music Department
David Moritz .... assistant music editor
Tommy Mottola .... music supervisor
Michael Tronick .... music editor
Frank Wolf .... music mixer
Robin Garb .... executive music producer (uncredited)
Transportation Department
Steve Hellerstein .... transportation captain
James R. White .... transportation coordinator
Randy White .... transportation coordinator (uncredited)
Other crew
Caroline Blair .... production assistant
Joni Chadkin .... production assistant
Dwight Gooden .... pitcher
Doris Grau .... script supervisor
Don Levy .... unit publicist (as Donald Levy)
Rodney Liber .... production assistant
Félix Mantilla .... utility infielder
Rich Markey .... fairway
Carl Mazzocone .... special projects
Karen Penhale .... production coordinator
Louis Phillips .... production assistant
Heidi Schulte .... production assistant
Paul 'Numbers' Steinke .... production auditor (as Paul Steinke)
Jill Vandermeer .... production assistant
Eugenia Weston .... assistant: Mrs. Midler
Paul Rahmes .... personal assistant to director (uncredited)
Joseph Abrahams .... thanks
Nancy Abrahams .... thanks
Susan Breslau .... thanks
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
93 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Argentina:16 (video rating) | Australia:M | Canada:AA (Ontario) | Iceland:12 | Netherlands:6 | Norway:16 | Portugal:M/12 | Singapore:NC-16 | UK:18 (original rating) | UK:15 (video rating) (2002) | USA:R | USA:PG-13 (re-rating) | USA:TV-14 (uncut) | West Germany:16

Did You Know?

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 »
Revealing mistakes: 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 just got older and sicker. And older, and sicker, and older and sicker...!
See more »
Movie Connections:
References Deliverance (1972)See more »
Waiting To See YouSee more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
35 out of 36 people found the following review useful.
one of my all-time favorites, 9 June 2001
Author: (ajdagreat) from USA

This is one of my favorite movies. I laughed hysterically at every joke, every joke hit its target. But that's not what's so great about this movie. This movie has an all-star cast (Devito, Midler, Reinhold, Pullman) and they do a great job with the script. But that's not what's so great about this movie. The best thing about this movie is the intricately woven plot, which keeps your attention and comes to a hilarious finale. This is one of the funniest movies ever. See this and you won't regret it.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (75 total) »

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Favourite 80's Comedy Movies triassicdan
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furniture, decorations, costumes Dylan_Gilliam
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