7.2/10
43,501
277 user 114 critic

The Hitcher (1986)

Trailer
2:30 | Trailer
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 »

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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.

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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

Rutger Hauer did a lot of the stunt driving throughout the movie which amazed the crew and even the real stunt drivers. See more »

Goofs

During the shotgun chase, one deputy shoots the left tail-light. However when the deputy is aiming, the left tail-light is already broken. See more »

Quotes

Proprietor: Well, what happened to you?
Jim Halsey: Nothing.
Proprietor: Nothing?
Jim Halsey: Nothing happened.
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Connections

Referenced in Dead Meat Podcast: The Asylum Movie Title Game (2019) See more »

Soundtracks

DON'T STOP LOVIN' ME
Performed by Mickey Jones
Published by Mickey Jones Music (ASCAP)
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User Reviews

 
Deserves to hold it's place as a cult classic
10 October 2007 | by davideo-2See all my reviews

STAR RATING: ***** Saturday Night **** Friday Night *** Friday Morning ** Sunday Night * Monday Morning

Jim Halsey (C Thomas Howell) is a young man driving his car down a freeway one night who suddenly decides to stop for a man who is hitching a ride. That man is John Ryder (Rutger Hauer.) From the off-set, he doesn't make himself out to be a nice guy and he doesn't let up from there- threatening to kill Jim for no reason and making him sweat for his life. Jim manages to get rid of his twisted assailant- only to be thrown headlong into a maze of murderous mayhem as 'The Hitcher' goes on a killing spree (involving a lot of cops) with Jim getting taken as the scape-goat.

The film opens with a masterful bolt of suspense- in a thunderous rain-shower, The Hitcher holds out his thumb as a crack of thunder erupts over-head, setting the scene for the suspenseful, scary ride that's about to follow.

Hauer lives and breathes the role. In a career that sadly (because I really like the guy) declined into an endless sludge of direct to video hell shortly afterwards, this is quite possibly the role he'll best be remembered for (after all, he was only the co-star in Blade Runner.) Ryder is a cold, mean psycho whose only motivation seems to be to cause as much terror as he can. In his opening scene, he masterfully transforms very quickly from a bit of an arsehole into a threatening madman, as he explains to his charge why the last guy who gave him a ride won't get out to call for help. No clear explanation is ever discovered as to why he does what he does, the closest we get to this being a chat across a table in a diner, in which he offers "you're a smart boy...figure it out."

In the main supporting role Howell also shines (though nowhere near as much as Hauer), as the beleaguered, petrified young man whose endurance and sanity is pushed to breaking point. In an early role, Jennifer Jason Leigh makes a bit of an impression as the cafe owner's daughter love interest.

Spielberg's Duel first dealt with a man being hounded on an American highway for no reason...you are only left to guess 'The Hitcher' is meant to be the mad truck driver's brother. ****


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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

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo (4 channels)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

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