The Hitcher

1986 R 1h 38m DVD

The Hitcher

1986 R 1h 38m DVD
  • Overview
  • Details
Never pick up strangers: That's a lesson Jim Halsey (C. Thomas Howell) will wish he'd learned. While driving from Chicago to San Diego, he picks up hitchhiker John Ryder (Rutger Hauer) but regrets it when he begins to suspect Ryder may be a serial killer. Before Halsey can say, "Get out of my car," Ryder kills again -- and frames him for the murders. With the odds against him, Jim's only ally is truck-stop waitress Nash (Jennifer Jason Leigh).
Rutger Hauer, C. Thomas Howell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jeffrey DeMunn, John M. Jackson, Billy Green Bush, Jack Thibeau, Armin Shimerman, Gene Davis, Jon Van Ness
Robert Harmon
Widescreen 1.85:1
English, French, Spanish (Neutral)
English: Dolby Digital 5.1, English: Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround
R - Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. Contains some adult material. Parents are urged to learn more about the film before taking their young children with them.
age 17+
Common Sense rating OK for kids 17+
age 17+

Common Sense Note

Parents need to know that there are a number of vicious killings in this film, frequently by gunshot, and there's even a hint that a whole family with children has been massacred -- although viewers don't see it happen. In fact, a lot of the very worst gore (and, given the opportunities, it could have been much worse) is left off-screen and to viewers' jangled imagination. That said, a scene in which a character is chained to an 18-wheeler truck, ready to be torn apart when the vehicle moves, is infamous.

Sexual Content

Not applicable


Bloody shootings at close range. A dog is seen chewing on a dead body. A man is hit/thrown from a car. Vehicles crash, and a gas station blows up, almost taking one character with it. In a notorious outrage, a person is chained to a huge truck and torn in half -- although viewers don't see the actual atrocity take place, just the awful suggestion. Closeup of a severed finger.


Some uses of "f--k" and "s--t" (but actually pretty mild under the circumstances).

Social Behavior

While the nominal hero of the piece, Jim Halsey, constantly strives to prove he's innocent and tells everyone "I'm no killer," there's a suggestion of a weird mentor-disciple relationship evolving between boyishly innocent Jim and the psychopathic John Ryder. By the end, it's not clear whether Jim has turned killer or not. Most of the police officer authority figures shown are shortsighted brutes, ready to shoot down innocent people.


None, unless you're good at spotting vehicle makes.

Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol

Nothing much stronger than beer or coffee.

  • Age appropriate
  • Not an issue
  • Depends on your child and your family
  • Parents strongly cautioned
  • Not appropriate for kids of the age

This information for parents is provided by Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving kids' media lives.

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