7.3/10
38,208
243 user 91 critic

The Hitcher (1986)

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

Director:

Robert Harmon

Writer:

Eric Red

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3 wins. See more awards »

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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 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 Tom Spratley ... Proprietor
Colin Campbell Colin Campbell ... Construction Man
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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:

The terror starts the moment he stops. See more »

Genres:

Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

21 February 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Liftaren See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,134,214, 23 February 1986, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$5,844,868
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo (4 channels)

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In Rutger Hauer's book "All Those Moments," Hauer discusses how producer Ed Feldman settled on Sam Elliott for the role of John Ryder. Hauer states that "Apparently, Elliott was so scary when he came in to audition that Edward S. Feldman was afraid to go out to his car afterward." Sam Elliott had a scheduling conflict and had to back out the role. See more »

Goofs

When the dog is licking the dead officer, his mouth is closed. In the next shot, his mouth is open. See more »

Quotes

Sergeant Starr: [to Donner] That kid ain't a killer. Any fool can see that.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Noir total (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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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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