Amberly Schubert

Written by Amberly Schubert

Modified & Updated: 19 May 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett


Key Takeaways:

  • “Ruthless People” is a 1986 comedy film with a captivating story, brilliant performances, and iconic quotes, making it a timeless and entertaining classic for comedy enthusiasts and casual viewers alike.
  • The movie’s clever screenplay, memorable soundtrack, and 1980s aesthetic create a thrilling and laughter-filled viewing experience, showcasing the power of resilience and resourcefulness in the face of adversity.
Table of Contents

Fact 1

Ruthless People is a 1986 comedy film directed by the duo of Jim Abrahams and David Zucker, famous for their work on films like Airplane! and The Naked Gun series.

Fact 2

The movie stars Danny DeVito, Bette Midler, and Judge Reinhold in the leading roles and features a hilarious and captivating story.

Fact 3

Ruthless People tells the story of Sam Stone, a wealthy and self-absorbed businessman, whose wife, Barbara, is kidnapped by two inept criminals. Their plan is to demand a hefty ransom from Sam.

Fact 4

This comedy masterpiece showcases the brilliant comedic performances of the cast, with Danny DeVito shining as the ruthless and unlikable Sam Stone.

Fact 5

Bette Midler delivers a stellar performance as Barbara Stone, the kidnapped wife who turns the tables on her captors and teaches Sam a lesson in the process.

Fact 6

Judge Reinhold portrays the character of Ken Kessler, Sam’s dimwitted and clueless lover, who unwittingly becomes a crucial part of the kidnapping plot.

Fact 7

The movie is known for its clever and witty screenplay, written by Dale Launer, which keeps the viewers engaged and entertained throughout.

Fact 8

Ruthless People received critical acclaim upon its release and was a box office success, grossing over $71 million worldwide.

Fact 9

The film was nominated for multiple awards, including a Golden Globe nomination for Bette Midler for her outstanding performance.

Fact 10

Ruthless People has become a cult classic over the years and is considered one of the best comedies of the 1980s.

Fact 11

The movie’s soundtrack features catchy and memorable songs, adding to its overall charm and entertainment value.

Fact 12

Ruthless People is filled with dark humor and ironic twists, making it a unique and refreshing comedy film.

Fact 13

Despite its dark humor, the movie also has heartwarming moments that add depth to the characters and their relationships.

Fact 14

The film showcases the themes of greed, revenge, and the unexpected consequences of one’s actions, providing a thought-provoking storyline.

Fact 15

Ruthless People is known for its fast-paced and energetic narrative, keeping the viewers engaged from start to finish.

Fact 16

The chemistry between the cast members is undeniable, leading to memorable and hilarious on-screen moments.

Fact 17

The movie’s script is filled with memorable quotes that have become legendary in the world of comedy.

Fact 18

The film’s costume design and set pieces perfectly capture the 1980s aesthetic, adding to its nostalgic appeal.

Fact 19

Ruthless People maintains a perfect balance between comedy and suspense, creating a thrilling and laughter-filled viewing experience.

Fact 20

The movie’s success led to a spin-off television series called “Ruthless People,” which aired for one season in 1992.

Fact 21

Ruthless People has stood the test of time and continues to be enjoyed by audiences worldwide, proving its enduring appeal.

Fact 22

The film expertly satirizes the excesses of the 1980s, making it a reflection of the era’s obsessions and values.

Fact 23

The movie’s intricate plot keeps the viewers guessing and delivers unexpected twists and turns that add to its entertainment value.

Fact 24

Ruthless People showcases the talent of its directors, Jim Abrahams and David Zucker, who have a knack for creating hilarious and memorable comedies.

Fact 25

The film’s ensemble cast features talented actors who bring their characters to life with impeccable comedic timing.

Fact 26

Ruthless People received positive reviews for its sharp writing, brilliant performances, and ability to keep the audience engaged from start to finish.

Fact 27

The movie’s iconic poster featuring Bette Midler bound and gagged became an instant pop culture reference.

Fact 28

Ruthless People showcases the power of resourcefulness and resilience, as Barbara Stone outwits her captors and takes control of her own destiny.

Fact 29

The film’s comedic timing and well-executed physical comedy scenes make it a joy to watch for both comedy enthusiasts and casual viewers.

Fact 30

Ruthless People has become a staple of 1980s cinema, capturing the essence of the decade’s humor and style.

Fact 31

The movie’s success paved the way for future comedies that drew inspiration from its smart humor and unconventional storyline.

Fact 32

Ruthless People proves that even in the face of adversity, one can find a way to turn the tables and come out on top.

Fact 33

The film’s vibrant and colorful cinematography adds visual flair to the comedic narrative, making it a visually engaging experience.

Fact 34

Ruthless People is a timeless comedy that continues to entertain audiences with its sharp wit, memorable characters, and hilarious plot twists.


In conclusion, Ruthless People is a timeless comedy that continues to captivate audiences with its clever plot, memorable characters, and brilliant performances. The film showcases the talents of its star-studded cast and highlights the comedic genius of directors Jim Abrahams and David Zucker. With its witty dialogue, sharp satire, and hilarious situations, Ruthless People remains a classic in the comedy genre. Whether you’re a longtime fan or a newcomer, this movie is guaranteed to leave you in stitches from start to finish. So grab some popcorn, dim the lights, and get ready for a wild and uproarious journey with Ruthless People.


1. Who are the main cast members in Ruthless People?

The main cast members in Ruthless People are Danny DeVito, Bette Midler, and Judge Reinhold.

2. When was Ruthless People released?

Ruthless People was released on June 27, 1986.

3. Who directed Ruthless People?

Ruthless People was directed by Jim Abrahams and David Zucker.

4. Is Ruthless People based on a true story?

No, Ruthless People is not based on a true story. It is a fictional comedy film.

5. What is the premise of Ruthless People?

The film follows the story of a wealthy man who is desperately trying to get rid of his obnoxious wife, but his plans take an unexpected turn when she is kidnapped by a couple seeking revenge.

6. Is Ruthless People suitable for all age groups?

Ruthless People is rated R for its adult humor and language. It may not be suitable for younger audiences.

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