The Hitcher is a 1986 American road thriller film directed by Robert Harmon and written by Eric Red. It stars Rutger Hauer as the title character, a murderous hitch-hiker who stalks a young motorist (C. Thomas Howell) across the highways of West Texas. Jeffrey DeMunn and Jennifer Jason Leigh appear in supporting roles.


Jim Halsey, a young man delivering a car from Chicago to San Diego, spots a man hitch-hiking in the West Texas desert and gives him a ride. The hitch-hiker, who calls himself John Ryder, forces Jim's leg down on the accelerator when they pass a stranded car. Ryder states he murdered the driver and intends to do the same to Jim, threatening him with a switchblade. Terrified, Jim asks what Ryder wants. He replies, "I want you to stop me." When Jim realizes that Ryder's seat belt is unbuckled and the passenger door is ajar, he shoves Ryder out of the moving car.