The Hitcher is a 1986 American road action-horror film directed by Robert Harmon and written by Eric Red. It stars Rutger Hauer, C. Thomas Howell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Jeffrey DeMunn. Howell plays Jim, a young man who gives a ride to a hitchhiker, played by Hauer. After narrowly escaping death, Jim repeatedly encounters the hitchhiker, who is revealed to be a serial killer, and the two engage in a game of cat and mouse. It was released in the United States on February 21, 1986.