A mysterious figure suddenly appears to challenge a gang of motorhead thugs.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
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 (67) »


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?


Bears a lot of similarity in plot to a TV movie Charlie's father made in 1974 "The California Kid". 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 »


[the gang is looking for The Wraith after he trashes their chop shop]
Packard Walsh: So where is he, tuna can?
Skank: Dude, we couldn't find the slimeball anywhere!
Gutterboy: Yeah, we went 'cross town, down to Crawford's Gully. We stopped for a... a box of Goobers...
Packard Walsh: You guys are pissin' me off! I want that faggot!
Minty: Yeah! This freak's into us for about 13,000 bucks!
Gutterboy: We spent all last night banging on the two bodies! I got scabs on my knuckles and everything like that!
Minty: It's your damn job, Gutterboy.
Rughead: [referring to the Wraith] ...
See more »


Referenced in Ben 10: Ben 4 Good Buddy (2007) See more »


By Randall Nicklaus
Performed by Jill Michaels
Courtesy of Scotti Brothers Records
See more »

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User Reviews

so many things rolled into one cool movie
17 November 2007 | by (Portland, Oregon, USA) – See all my reviews

Maybe if you've seen one 1980s horror/sci-fi/romance, you've seen them all. But you still need to see "The Wraith". It portrays a young guy (Charlie Sheen) riding into a small Arizona town which seems to be nearly run by a gang of hoodlums. The gang leader (Nick Cassavetes) is very jealous of one of the teenage girls (Sherilyn Fenn) and gets nasty if it looks like anyone else is approaching her. But things start to change for everyone once a strange black car starts driving through town.

Think about what all this movie portrays. First off, it stars Martin Sheen's son, John Cassavetes's son, Ron Howard's brother (Clint Howard sports a crazy hairdo and plays the only intelligent member of the gang), and Dennis Quaid's brother (Randy Quaid plays the sheriff and was noticeably leaner back then). Speaking of weight, women in movies were meatier back then; check out Sherilyn Fenn in her waitress outfit (or in another scene)! But another thing is about the definition of the title. A wraith is an apparition, often portending someone's doom (the word comes from Scottish, but I don't know the full origin).

Are the car races the highlight? That's debatable. The road looked very much like the same road that they used for the desert scenes in "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World", which of course starred another hot babe (I mean Dorothy Provine, hubba hubba).

Anyway, this is one that you're sure to love. And just keep watching the skies.

Back when Martin Sheen's father immigrated to the US from Spain and John Cassavetes's father immigrated to the US from Greece, they probably never guessed that their grandchildren would co-star in this sort of movie. Hell, back in the days when Ron Howard played Opie on "The Andy Griffith Show", people probably never guessed that his brother would star in this sort of movie. I don't know what people would have thought when Randy Quaid debuted in "The Last Picture Show".

9 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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