7.2/10
42,800
271 user 110 critic

The Hitcher (1986)

A young man who escapes the clutches of a murderous hitchhiker is subsequently stalked by the hitcher and framed for his crimes.

Director:

Robert Harmon

Writer:

Eric Red
3 wins. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Rutger Hauer ... John Ryder
C. Thomas Howell ... Jim Halsey
Jennifer Jason Leigh ... Nash
Jeffrey DeMunn ... Captain Esteridge
John M. Jackson ... Sergeant Starr (as John Jackson)
Billy Green Bush ... Trooper Donner (as Billy Greenbush)
Jack Thibeau ... Trooper Prestone
Armin Shimerman ... Interrogation Sergeant
Gene Davis ... Trooper Dodge (as Eugene Davis)
Jon Van Ness ... Trooper Hapscomb
Henry Darrow ... Trooper Hancock
Tony Epper Tony Epper ... Trooper Conners
Tom Spratley ... Proprietor
Colin Campbell Colin Campbell ... Construction Man

Remembering Rutger Hauer (1944-2019)

We celebrate the life and legacy of Rutger Hauer, the award-winning actor best known for Blade Runner and The Hitcher.

Watch the video

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Storyline

A young man transporting a car to another state is stalked along the road by a cunning and relentless serial killer who eventually frames the driver for a string of murders. Chased by Police and shadowed by the killer, the driver's only help comes from a truck stop waitress. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Out on the desert highway, the rule of thumb has a different meaning... See more »

Genres:

Action | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In early drafts of the script, John Ryder had been described as skeletal in nature and so actors like David Bowie, Sting, Sam Shepard, Harry Dean Stanton, and Terence Stamp were mentioned. See more »

Goofs

When Jim enters the abandoned garage, birds fly in front of the camera for dramatic effect. Though the hole in the floor seems to be intentional, the person visible pushing the birds out from said hole was probably not. See more »

Quotes

[Jim watches John Ryder being interrogated]
Jim Halsey: [whispering] John Ryder.
Captain Esteridge: What'd you say?
Jim Halsey: His name is John Ryder.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Gangster Squad (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

DON'T STOP LOVIN' ME
Performed by Mickey Jones
Published by Mickey Jones Music (ASCAP)
See more »

User Reviews

 
an intense, nihilistic take on the 'predator/prey' theme
16 January 2003 | by Jonny_NumbSee all my reviews

A cat spends the day chasing a mouse. When he finally corners the mouse, he takes sadistic delight in batting it around, playing with it before it goes in for the kill. The cat wishes to savor the look of fear on its prey, instead of merely indulging the reward it's worked so hard to catch. This is the predator/prey relationship evidenced in "The Hitcher," one of the most relentlessly intense and mean-spirited horror films ever made.

Since the setting is the desert, I suppose it would make more sense to call John Ryder (played by Rutger Hauer) a vicious coyote, who is picked up one rainy night by a stray lamb named Jim Halsey (C. Thomas Howell). Ryder, who's apparently been murdering people all over the desert, is looking to do the same with Halsey, who cheats death only to be tormented for the rest of the film by this savage predator. The coyote craves a challenge--in fact, he seems to live for it.

Nothing else needs to be said. "The Hitcher" relies so heavily on a plot that weaves in and out of 'the expected' that any further description would spoil the fun. The two leads are excellent--Rutger Hauer has created one of the great villains of modern cinema, and C. Thomas Howell is a sympathetic and believable victim driven to madness. While the film isn't necessarily deep, the high-energy cast, moody desert settings and twisty script fuel this effort for 98 intense minutes. 3.5 stars out of 5.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

21 February 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Hitcher See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,134,214, 23 February 1986

Gross USA:

$5,844,868

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$5,844,868
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo (4 channels)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

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