Ruthless People (film) A husband plans to murder his loud, overweight wife, but before he can carry out his plan, she is kidnapped. The inept kidnappers keep lowering their ransom demands when the husband refuses to pay. The wife takes advantage of her confinement to go on a crash reducing program, and she eventually teams with the kidnappers against her husband. Released on June 27, 1986. Directed by Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker. A Touchstone film. 94 min. Stars Danny DeVito (Sam Stone), Bette Midler (Barbara Stone), Judge Reinhold (Ken Kessler), Helen Slater (Sandy Kessler). Filmed at various Southern California locations. Released on video in 1987.