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783 Ratings

The Hitch-Hiker

Directed by Ida Lupino
United States, 1953
Thriller, Film noir
  • English
  • English, French, Turkish


Two middle-aged travelers make the mistake of their lives when they pick up a mysterious and psychotic hitch-hiker who never closes his right eye — even when he sleeps!

Our take

In Hollywood history, too few women have gotten their chance in the director’s chair. But in any hall of fame, there’s actress-turned-director Ida Lupino, whose independently-produced Hitch-Hiker (the first major noir directed by a woman?) is one of the era’s most shocking renegade thrillers.

The Hitch-Hiker Directed by Ida Lupino
While [Emmet] is uncouth and deliciously nasty, and his inevitable arrest is met with some satisfactory relief, always at work is a sad, volatile vulnerability of a damaged madman whose behaviour can never be easily predicted; in scenes of raw emotional explosion, Talman seems to revel in a performance that is both savage and lucid, marking a career highlight.
October 01, 2018
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A taut, lean fiction, inspired by a real-life crime spree. Lupino directs her all-male cast (Edmund O’Brien and Frank Lovejoy as the All-American men who pick up a dangerous hitch-hiker and William Talman as the psychopathic killer) with a sure hand and a keen sense of space and landscape (the highways of the Southwest, Baja California Peninsula, the Mexican-American boarder) and accurately times the suspense of a progressively darker nightmare.
March 17, 2017
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It’s a brutal story handled by Ms. Lupino, one of Hollywood’s very few female directors, with the same steely determination and emotional sensitivity found in her strongest performances.
November 24, 2016
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What are people saying?

  • T Mills's rating of the film The Hitch-Hiker

    One of the best crime films ever. It's lean and mean, Lupino has an eye and ear for the genre. Where it could have gotten so silly at the end, it prevails and shows that Lupino was one of the most mature and best directors of her time.

  • Duncan Gray's rating of the film The Hitch-Hiker

    I love 50s noirs! They developed such a sharp, bitter streak as the boredom of the Eisenhower years set in. I'm surprised at the low ratings for this's not as good as The Big Heat or Pickup on South Street, but not far off from, say, Force of Evil. A punchy bit of nihilism with really strong direction from Ida Lupino. Pair it with Scorsese's Cape Fear and watch all the subtexts come to the surface.

  • El Biffo's rating of the film The Hitch-Hiker

    This was part of a nationwide propaganda campaign against hitch-hiking. The powers that be were annoyed that folks were getting away without buying cars. There are still many laws against hitch-hiking, and in CA, BART shuts down at midnight, so most people going to S.F. for its nighttime entertainment need to have a car.

  • Jason's rating of the film The Hitch-Hiker

    THE HITCH-HIKER has got to be one of my favourite American films. My God, Ida, I love you so. Three people. Almost only that. But it can be everything. Or everythings. A model of the psyche, of society, underside of an aggregation. Three people can be a puzzle, a Rubik's Cube. Just ask Harold Pinter, Roman Polanski. THE HITCH-HIKER is unbelievably great, even just at the level of the economics of three sets of eyes.

  • Ethan's rating of the film The Hitch-Hiker

    This one explosive film. Ida Lupino delivers an intense film noir with more twists and turns then the back highways these men take. The violence is both physical and psychological and both are equally deadly and you can feel the sweat and desperation drip from the screen. A true gem of a film.

  • Matthew_Lucas's rating of the film The Hitch-Hiker

    Ida Lupino was the only notable female director in Hollywood when she directed this feverish, 70 minute nightmare of a film about two unsuspected travelers who pick up a murderous hitchhiker hell-bent on escaping the authorities through Mexico. Has a "ripped from the headlines" sensationalism, but Lupino directs with a pared down, intense focus that ratchets up the suspense. A lean, frightening film noir.

  • Dave's rating of the film The Hitch-Hiker

    Ida Lupino does great work directing this B-noir. It is a simple story, told in simple fashion, but the straightforwardness of the production is what allows the movie to be so tense. Photographed by the great Nicholas Musaraca, the views of the demented Talman in the backseat are hard to forget.

  • EdieEmm's rating of the film The Hitch-Hiker

    Psychologically tense, cinematographic noir with enough atmosphere to make a wide-open desert seem claustrophobic. Suffers from obviously limiting production code restrictions and an exhaustingly melodramatic score.

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