6.9/10
23,590
79 user 27 critic

Ruthless People (1986)

R | | Comedy, Crime | 27 June 1986 (USA)
A couple, cheated by a vile businessman, kidnap his wife in retaliation, without knowing that their enemy is delighted they did.

Writer:

Dale Launer

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Danny DeVito ... Sam Stone
Bette Midler ... Barbara Stone
Judge Reinhold ... Ken Kessler
Helen Slater ... Sandy Kessler
Anita Morris ... Carol
Bill Pullman ... Earl
William G. Schilling ... Police Commissioner
Art Evans ... Lt. Bender
Clarence Felder ... Lt. Walters
J.E. Freeman ... Bedroom Killer
Gary Riley ... Heavy Metal Kid
Phyllis Applegate ... Loan Officer
Jeannine Bisignano Jeannine Bisignano ... Hooker in Car
J.P. Bumstead J.P. Bumstead ... Technician
Jon Cutler Jon Cutler ... Stereo Store Customer
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Storyline

Sam Stone (Danny DeVito) is a clothing manufacturer, who married his wife Barbara (Bette Midler), for the money that she was supposed to inherit from her dying father, but her father didn't die for another fifteen years. He is now planning to kill her and he tells his girlfriend Carol Dodsworth (Anita Morris) what he is going to do. He then on his way home to do just that but when he gets there, she's not there. He then receives a call from someone claiming to have kidnapped Barbara and threatening to kill her if he informs the police, which he does hoping that they do. What Stone doesn't know is that the kidnappers, Ken (Judge Reinhold) and Sandy (Helen Slater) Kessler are a couple whose idea for a garment he stole and made fortune off, are not that lethal, as a matter of fact Barbara's more lethal. And what Stone doesn't know is that Carol, has another boyfriend named Earl Mott (Bill Pullman), and they plan to blackmail Sam, by videotaping him disposing of Barbara's body. When Earl ... Written by <rcs0411@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

"The Big Screw" See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 June 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Por fin me la quité de encima See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$13,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,274,306, 29 June 1986

Gross USA:

$71,624,879
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Final film [to date, August 2013] directed by the directing team trio of Jim Abrahams, Jerry Zucker and David Zucker. See more »

Goofs

During the Hope Street Plaza establishing shot, there is a bug or other small obstruction on the right side of the camera lens. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Sam Stone: Carol, did I ever tell you why I married her?
Carol: Yes, Sam, you told me many, many...
Sam Stone: Her father was very, very rich, and very, very sick. The doctors assured me he'd be dead any minute. There wasn't a second to lose! I rushed right out and married the boss's daughter. He was so sick, it was like the Angel of Death was sitting in the room with him, watching the clock. They pulled the plug on him... he wheezed and shook for about an hour... and then... he stabilized. The son-of-a-bitch ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Near the end of the credits is the line "I Love Wrong Numbers", referring to a scene earlier in the movie where Sam Stone gets a wrong number on the phone and does a vulgar prank to it. See more »

Connections

Referenced in A Planet Comicon Panel with Helen Slater (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

No Say In It
Written and Performed by The Machinations
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Be Ruthless -- It's Good for You
30 April 2008 | by evanston_dadSee all my reviews

"Ruthless People" has one of the best premises in film comedy history.

Spandex miniskirt millionaire Sam Stone (Danny DeVito) plans to kill his battle axe wife (Bette Midler) for her inheritance. However, his plan is put on hold when she is kidnapped and held for ransom. The kidnappers threaten to kill her if Sam doesn't pay, which is a-o.k. with Sam, and means he doesn't have to do his own dirty work. But the kidnappers (Judge Reinhold and Helen Slater) are too kind hearted to follow through with what they start. Meanwhile, Sam's floozy mistress (a smokin' Anita Morris) knows about Sam's plans, and sends her doofus boyfriend (Bill Pullman) out to videotape what he thinks is Sam killing his wife so that they can blackmail him.

This is a lot of plot to cram into a brisk 90 minutes, but this well written film never feels forced or rushed. Every scene conveys something important either for the story or about one of the characters, and not a moment feels wasted. The ensemble is terrific, each actor landing his/her jokes without fail. The standouts, though, are Bette Midler, who gives an outrageously vulgar performance pitched to the third balcony; and Judge Reinhold, who gives the film its heart.

One of the most quotable movies ever, the film also boasts a great opening credits sequence, one more reason to lament the fact that movies hardly ever have opening credits anymore.

Grade: A+


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