Ruthless People

June 27th, 1986


Ruthless People

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A couple, cheated by a vile businessman, kidnap his wife in retaliation, without knowing that their enemy is delighted they did.

Release Year: 1986

Rating: 6.8/10 (12,320 voted)

Director: Jim Abrahams

Stars: Bette Midler, Danny DeVito, Judge Reinhold

Sam Stone is a clothing manufacturer, who married his wife Barbara, 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 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 and Sandy 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 and they plan to blackmail Sam, by videotaping him disposing of Barbara's body. When her boyfriend...

Writers: Dale Launer, O. Henry

Danny DeVito - Sam Stone
Bette Midler - Barbara Stone
Judge Reinhold - Ken Kessler
Helen Slater - Sandy Kessler
Anita Morris - Carol Dodsworth
Bill Pullman - Earl Mott
William G. Schilling - Chief Henry Benton
Art Evans - Lt. Bender
Clarence Felder - Lt. Walters
J.E. Freeman - Bedroom Killer
Gary Riley - Heavy Metal Kid
Phyllis Applegate - Loan Officer
Jeannine Bisignano - Hooker in Car
J.P. Bumstead - Technician
Jon Cutler - Stereo Store Customer

Taglines: Barbara Stone has just been kidnapped by K-Mart, and what she doesn't know won't hurt her.

Release Date: 27 June 1986

Filming Locations: Bel Air, Los Angeles, California, USA

Opening Weekend: $5,274,306 (USA) (29 June 1986)

Gross: $71,624,879 (USA)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

The film was released under Disney's Touchstone Pictures label, which was created so the studio could release more adult-oriented fare.

Audio/visual unsynchronized: When Sam Stone pulls his gun on Ken Kessler, the sound of the hammer being pulled back is heard. In the next shot, the hammer has not been engaged.

[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 just got older and sicker. And older, and sicker, and older and sicker...!

User Review

one of my all-time favorites

Rating: 10/10

This is one of my favorite movies. I laughed hysterically at every joke, every joke hit its target. But that's not what's so great about this movie. This movie has an all-star cast (Devito, Midler, Reinhold, Pullman) and they do a great job with the script. But that's not what's so great about this movie. The best thing about this movie is the intricately woven plot, which keeps your attention and comes to a hilarious finale. This is one of the funniest movies ever. See this and you won't regret it.


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