The Hitcher | 1986

Directed by: Robert Harmon

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Main Plot

A young man who escapes the clutches of a murderous hitchhiker is subsequently stalked by the hitcher and framed for his crimes.


  • Rutger Hauer's character is named John Ryder in The Hitcher, an enigmatic and deadly hitchhiker who terrorizes the protagonist.
  • C. Thomas Howell's character in The Hitcher is Jim Halsey, a young man who becomes the target of a sadistic hitchhiker.
  • Jennifer Jason Leigh's character in The Hitcher is named Nash and she plays the role of a waitress who becomes a target of the film's antagonist.


In the ending of "The Hitcher," Jim and Nash escape from the clutches of the psychopathic hitchhiker, John Ryder. However, their relief is short-lived as John reappears and murders Nash. Jim manages to overpower John and leaves him stranded in the desert. Later, Jim encounters a family traveling in a car, but as he approaches them, they mistake him for a threat and accidentally run him over. The film ends with Jim's fate left unknown, leaving the audience with a sense of uncertainty and the lingering question of whether he survived or not.

Robert Harmon