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      Ruthless People

      1986, Comedy, 1h 35m

      43 Reviews 10,000+ Ratings

      What to know

      Critics Consensus

      It's sometimes crude and tasteless, but Ruthless People wrings acid-soaked laughs out of its dark premise and gleefully misanthropic characters. Read critic reviews

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      Ruthless People  Photos

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      Movie Info

      Sam Stone (Danny DeVito) hates his wife, Barbara (Bette Midler), so much that he wants her dead. He's ecstatic when she's taken by a duo of kidnappers who want $500,000 ransom in exchange for her life. Fully intending to ignore every one of the kidnappers' demands in the hopes that they do him a favor and murder her for him, the two confused kidnappers (Judge Reinhold, Helen Slater) have to figure out how they're going get their money, and what they're going to do with the overbearing Barbara.

      • Rating: R

      • Genre: Comedy

      • Original Language: English

      • Director: Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker

      • Producer: Michael Peyser

      • Writer: O. Henry, Dale Launer

      • Release Date (Theaters):  original

      • Release Date (Streaming):

      • Box Office (Gross USA): $70.9M

      • Runtime:

      • Distributor: Buena Vista Pictures

      • Production Co: Touchstone Pictures

      • Sound Mix: Surround

      Cast & Crew

      Bette Midler
      Helen Slater
      Anita Morris
      Art Evans
      Joanna Lancaster
      Walter Yetnikoff
      Michel Colombier
      Billy Joel
      Luther Vandross
      Jan de Bont
      Gib Jaffe
      Arthur Schmidt
      Anne D. McCulley
      Rosanna Norton
      Richard Wagner

      News & Interviews for Ruthless People

      Critic Reviews for Ruthless People

      Audience Reviews for Ruthless People

      • Dec 10, 2012

        Ruthless People is a fun, entertaining comedy film that has good gags going for it. I enjoyed the film, but it did lack in some areas, and it could have been a bit better. However this is a good little comedy that was directed by the guys who made Airplane! However this isn't their best work. Bette Midler is very good here, and she makes the film worth seeing. I, on the other hand, never did enjoy Devitto's work, but I like him here, and he is pretty funny in his part. The film manages to be good enough to be a worthwhile comedy to watch, and if you're looking for a pleasant time waster, then give this one a shot. Although not the greatest comedy, there are enough effective elements to make this one a memorable flick to watch. I even if at times the film's material lacks, the cast do affine job to elevate this film into very humorous moments that works throughout. Everything you'd expect from the directors is present and there's enough zany humor to make this one worth seeing despite its flaws. I liked the film, and it's smartly constructed and it manages to rely more on its great cast, which are just funny on-screen to really make it standout above its flaws. Enjoy this crazy ride. Middler is great here, and she is one of the film's biggest strengths with a well written script that has more good things going for it than bad, directors, Jim Abrahams, David and Jerry Zucker craft a fine little comedy that is sure to please comedy lovers.

        Super Reviewer
      • Jul 06, 2012

        Without all the madness of Airplane, The Naked Gun or Top Secret, the trio: Jim Abrahams and David and Jerry Zucker made a terrific intelligent comedy, with the misunderstandings between the characters, the complex plot, a funny cast (with the best of Danny DeVito) make Ruthless People one of the greatest comedy film of the 80's and of the Touchstone Pictures. Fresh.

        Super Reviewer
      • Jan 22, 2012

        This is THE ultimate film of misunderstandings. Every plan in this film goes wrong, and in an absolutely spectacular fashion. The plot for this one is dark and hilarious, making Danny DeVito one of the most loathsome (but funny) characters in film history. What makes this so surprising is that it's a Touchstone film, which means it was funded by Disney. What's unsurprising is why it's funny. It was made by the "Airplane" team, Jim Abraham, David Zucker, and Jerry Zucker, which means it's going to be decently funny no matter what. This is absolutely awesome instead of just decently funny. It's very crude at certain points, but I was too busy laughing to care. One of the best con comedies of the 80s.

        Super Reviewer
      • Jul 21, 2011

        Lighthearted 80's romp about the small mean places in some versus the great wide open of others, and how each side secretly, insanely envies the other. Zany fun.

        kevin w Super Reviewer

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