The Hitcher (1986)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

The Hitcher tells a story that dates back to Orson Welles's Mercury Theater radio broadcasts, only with an added layer of gore and cynicism. Rutger Hauer is John Ryder, an itinerant serial killer who murders without reason. He comes upon Jim Halsey (C. Thomas Howell), whom he spares, but John succeeds in framing Jim as a murderer, trapping him in a labyrinthine maze of circumstantial evidence. Taking it on the lam, Jim is befriended by Nash (Jennifer Jason Leigh). But John Ryder is always … More

Rating: R (adult situations/language, violence)
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Horror, Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By: Eric Red
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jun 8, 1999
Home Box Office (HBO)

Watch it now


as Jim Halsey

as John Ryder

as Capt. Esteridge

as Sgt. Starr

as Trooper Donner

as Trooper Prestone

as Interrogation Sergea...

as Trooper Hapscomb

as Trooper Hancock

as Trooper Conners

as Proprietor

as Stunt Sheriff #2

as Stunt Nash

as Construction Man
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Hitcher

Friend Ratings

No Friends? Inconceivable! Log in to see what your friends have to say.


Critic Reviews for The Hitcher

All Critics (35) | Top Critics (4)

A highly unimaginative slasher that keeps the tension going with a massacre about every 15 minutes.

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

It's a highly competent sick-fright version of the evergreen chase formula.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Mr. Hauer, who has reportedly vowed not to play any more villains or crackpots, is probably making the right decision, if this is any measure of the sort of role that comes his way.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

I would have admired it more if it had found the courage to acknowledge the real relationship it was portraying between Howell and Rutger, but no: It prefers to disguise itself as a violent thriller, and on that level it is reprehensible.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

A cosmic horror film drawn out of a psychological thriller.

Full Review… | August 2, 2014
Antagony & Ecstasy

Spare and engrossing original road slaughterfest.

Full Review… | December 15, 2010
Common Sense Media

Audience Reviews for The Hitcher

Jennifer Jason Lee is the actress I dislike the most. No wait, that would be Reese Witherspoon.

Rutger Hauer is cool but he's wasted in this lame thriller. Slight upside: Jennifer Jason Lee gets torn in half. Hmmm, maybe there's a movie where Reese Witherspoon gets ripped in half...

Bob Stinson

Super Reviewer

This was an amazing thrill ride one of the best ive ever seen. Rutger Hauer is awesome in this role.

John Manard

Super Reviewer

four stars

MisterYoda ?

Super Reviewer

The Hitcher Quotes

– Submitted by Rocky F (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Creep F (4 years ago)
– Submitted by Creep F (4 years ago)
– Submitted by Creep F (4 years ago)

Discussion Forum

Discuss The Hitcher on our Movie forum!