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The Wraith (1986)

R  |   |  Action, Horror, Romance  |  21 November 1986 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 9,325 users  
Reviews: 94 user | 67 critic

Jamie, killed by neighborhood thugs, returns as a mystical figure named Jake (The Wraith) to gain revenge.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Griffin O'Neal ...
Chris Nash ...
Vickie Benson ...
Peder Melhuse ...
Jeffrey Sudzin ...
Michael Hungerford ...
George in Daytona


Packard Walsh and his motorized gang control and terrorize an Arizona desert town where they force drivers to drag-race so they can 'win' their vehicles. After Walsh stabs the decent teenager Jamie Hankins to death for being intimate with a girl whom Walsh wants for himself, the mysterious Jake Kesey arrives, an extremely cool motor-biker with an invincible car. Jake befriends Jamie's girlfriend Keri Johnson, takes Jamie's sweet brother Billy under his wing and manages what Sheriff Loomis can not - the methodical and otherworldly elimination of Packard's criminal gang. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

gang | police | death | sheriff | arizona | See All (66) »


He's heaven-sent and hell on wheels! See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

21 November 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Aparição  »

Box Office


$2,700,000 (estimated)


$3,500,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The "futuristic" weapon wielded by The Wraith is a Franchi SPAS-12 shotgun, with a folding stock. It's a 12-gauge tactical shotgun made in Italy, and has the unusual property of functioning in both pump and semi-automatic modes. The odd hook on the weapon is for firing the weapon one-handed with the stock extended, as it wraps around the forearm. See more »


When the custom Dodge first shows up at Big Kays burger stand there is repaired damage seen on Packard's Corvette and Minty's yellow Trans Am (the damage is caused by shotgun blasts later on in the movie). Then when they get to road to race after this scene, the damage is gone. See more »


Keri Johnson: [after kissing Jake] Nice.
Jake: I thought so, too.
Keri Johnson: Look, Jake, if Packard knew I was here with you... I mean, people are afriad of him for a reason.
Jake: People are afraid because guys like Packard prey on fear and weakness.
Keri Johnson: Well, I just think he's crazy. Try and be brave against Packard and he might kill you.
Jake: Or he might let you go. Courage isn't easy to come by. That's how he keeps those goons with him all the time. They're just scared.
Keri Johnson: So am I.
Jake: Keri, listen. There's gonna come a time when you'll have ...
See more »


References High Plains Drifter (1973) See more »


Written and Performed by Tim Feehan
Courtesy of Scotti Brothers Records
See more »

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User Reviews

You've just gotta love the spirit of the 80s.
8 June 2009 | by (Hampshire, England) – See all my reviews

Back in 1986, The Wraith just about qualified as a moderately entertaining alternative should the video rental shop be all out of copies of Aliens or Top Gun; however, when watched twenty three years later from a nostalgic point of view, this silly supernatural revenge flick actually proves to be a whole heap of fun. Charlie Sheen's lifeless performance; the sheer naffness of the race scenes; an ever-present pop/rock soundtrack; Nick Cassavetes' ridiculously nasty boo-hiss bad guy; a collection of annoying comic-book punks with idiotic names and silly mannerisms: The Wraith is perfect for anyone looking for some mindless popcorn action and a bit of a laugh at the expense of the decade that taste forgot.

Sheen plays a restless spirit who returns from the afterlife in a turbo charged ghost car to seek revenge on the reprehensible road pirates responsible for his death, rescue roller waitress Keri (the scorching Sherilyn Fenn) from the clutches of psychotic killer Packard Walsh (Cassavetes), and say goodbye to his younger brother Billy (Matthew Barry).

Although the film's star isn't really given that much to do (for much of the time, Sheen's character is hidden behind he wheel of his otherworldly car or in a silly cyberpunk suit and black full-face helmet), the excellent supporting cast more than make up for his absence: Randy Quaid is great as a desert cop trying to make sense of the carnage; Clint Howard gives another memorable performance as a mechanic with crazy hair; and Fenn is effortlessly sexy, and gets her top off once or twice during proceedings.

With more cheese than one of the burgers served up by Keri at the Big K bar, The Wraith is a great time-waster and recommended to all fans of 80s cult cinema.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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