An overstressed suburbanite and two of his neighbors struggle to prove their paranoid theory that the new family on the block are part of a murderous cult.

Director:

Writer:

Reviews
Popularity
2,290 ( 69)

On Disc

at Amazon

1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Money Pit (1986)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A young couple struggles to repair a hopelessly dilapidated house.

Director: Richard Benjamin
Stars: Tom Hanks, Shelley Long, Alexander Godunov
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A detective must adopt the dog of a dead man to help him find the murderer.

Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Stars: Tom Hanks, Mare Winningham, Craig T. Nelson
Dragnet (1987)
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

The equally-straight-laced and "by the book" nephew of Joe Friday must work with his more laid-back partner to solve a mystery.

Director: Tom Mankiewicz
Stars: Dan Aykroyd, Tom Hanks, Christopher Plummer
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A soon-to-be-married man's friends throw him the ultimate bachelor party.

Director: Neal Israel
Stars: Tom Hanks, Tawny Kitaen, Adrian Zmed
Splash (1984)
Comedy | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A young man is reunited with a mermaid who saves him from drowning as a boy and falls in love not knowing who/what she is.

Director: Ron Howard
Stars: Tom Hanks, Daryl Hannah, Eugene Levy
Comedy | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Two sisters join the first female professional baseball league and struggle to help it succeed amidst their own growing rivalry.

Director: Penny Marshall
Stars: Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Lori Petty
Comedy | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A man picked randomly out of a crowd is made the target of CIA survelliance and pursuit.

Director: Stan Dragoti
Stars: Tom Hanks, Lori Singer, Dabney Coleman
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

When a hypochondriac learns that he is dying, he accepts an offer to throw himself in a volcano at a tropical island, and along the way there, learns to truly live.

Director: John Patrick Shanley
Stars: Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Lloyd Bridges
Innerspace (1987)
Action | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A hapless store clerk must foil criminals to save the life of the man who, miniaturized in a secret experiment, was accidentally injected into him.

Director: Joe Dante
Stars: Dennis Quaid, Martin Short, Meg Ryan
Comedy | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A Pennsylvania band scores a hit in 1964 and rides the star-making machinery as long as it can, with lots of help from its manager.

Director: Tom Hanks
Stars: Tom Hanks, Liv Tyler, Charlize Theron
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A recently widowed man's son calls a radio talk-show in an attempt to find his father a partner.

Director: Nora Ephron
Stars: Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Ross Malinger
Uncle Buck (1989)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Bachelor and all round slob, Buck, babysits his brother's rebellious teenage daughter and her cute younger brother and sister.

Director: John Hughes
Stars: John Candy, Macaulay Culkin, Jean Louisa Kelly
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
Brother Theodore ...
...
...
...
...
Joe, Garbageman #2
Cory Danziger ...
...
Detective #1
...
Detective #2
Edit

Storyline

This story takes place in a typical American neighborhood, when some new neighbors come to live in the house next to Ray Peterson. These new people are really strange; nobody has ever seen them, their house is a real mess, and during the night you can hear weird noises from their basement. The only thing they know is their name: Klopeks. One day Walter (an old man of the neighborhood) suddenly disappears and everyone starts to suspect the Klopeks... Written by Chris Makrozahopoulos <makzax@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Life In The Burbs Will Never Be The Same Again! See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 February 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Life in the Burbs  »

Box Office

Gross:

$36,602,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Ray shows Carol the book on Satanic rituals, the theory being the Klopek's have taken Walter for Human sacrifice. Carol says to Ray: "I wouldn't have missed this for the world. A week (vacation) in Jonestown." A ghoulish reference to the Rev. Jim Jones and his religious cult The People's Temple. Rev. Jones moved his followers to South America. Tragedy struck when on November 18, 1978, Jim Jones and more than 900 members of his People's Temple committed mass suicide in the jungle of Guyana. Jim Jones had convinced his congregation that the end of the world was near. Most of the congregation voluntarily fed their children and themselves Kool-Aid laced with poison. 900 people lie dead in the sweltering heat of the jungles of Guyana. See more »

Goofs

Before climbing to post Art didn't have any ring on his fingers. Later, when he was burgling Klopek's house with Ray, we could see wedding ring on his left hand. See more »

Quotes

Art Wiengartner: [emptying the Klopeks garbage into the street] Give me that.
Joe, Garbageman #2: Here you go.
[empties bag in street]
Vic, Garbageman #1: What are YOU doin'?
Joe, Garbageman #2: You asked me to help.
Vic, Garbageman #1: [groans in annoyance]
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the end of the Universal logo, the camera zooms into Earth and to where the film takes place. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Cinema Snob: Gums (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

MACHINE
Written by Alex Mitchell, Ricky Beck Mahler & Gary Sunshine
Performed by Circus Of Power
Courtesy of RCA Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A deliciously black comedy...
17 August 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The world of black comedies has seen few truly classic entries in the past few years. It's a very specific sub genre of comedy that is extremely hard to do well as films like Very Bad Things frequently signify. Too many of Hollywood's more recent offerings feature truly tasteless gags that poke fun at subjects that should simply be left well enough alone. Well I have to say that Hollywood could learn a thing or two from its own past in this department. I recently rediscovered a childhood favourite of mine, The Burbs, and I have to admit that age has not in the least bit dulled the film's razor sharp wit and acid tongued dialogue

Tom Hanks plays Ray Peterson, an overstressed suburbanite who's decided to spend his vacation lounging around the house in a vain effort to relax. Of course he finds his efforts hindered by the constant presence of his somewhat excitable neighbors Art Weingartner (Rick Ducommun) and Mark Rumsfield (Bruce Dern) who suspect the new family in the neighbourhood, the Klopeks, of being mass murderers. Together these three decide to look into the suspicious nature of their new neighbors and just what exactly it is they get up to at night, the time when the otherwise reclusive Klopeks seem to be at their most active.

The premise is basically the set up for another of Joe Dante's (who directed both Gremlins and its remake in all but name, Small Soldiers) bedlam filled romps through suburbs in which he casts a sideways glance at all things American dream.

Quite frankly, my nostalgia for this movie makes it hard to find fault with it. Hanks is as funny as ever, playing it relatively straight compared to his other performances of the period and bringing a lovely shade of deep seated unease to an otherwise grounded character. Bruce Dern fills his role wonderfully, as the military obsessed Rumsfield, a character surprisingly reminiscent of survivalist Burt Gummer from the Tremors movies in both his nature and ability to steal scenes. The only weak link in the leading trio is Ducommun, which is a shame as it is really Art that drives the story more than any other character in the movie. Sure, Art has to be slightly obnoxious and a little irritating but Ducommun overplays these aspects so much that I began to find it painful to watch him as the end of the movie approached. It's hardly a surprise when Hanks tries to kill him. I can't help but feel that perhaps the late John Candy would have fit the role slightly better, bringing some more human and likable qualities to the character.

At times however, The Burbs can feel a little uneasy in its pacing and sense of humour. Scenes like the screaming at the bone, although funny, seem out of place in what is otherwise a movie with a very dry sense of humour. Meanwhile the Klopeks are unveiled as characters perhaps a little too late in the story for the audience to truly develop any kind of opinions about them.

Despite some small problems however, The Burbs remains an extremely funny movie with some terrific dialogue and almost universally good performances from its cast. I defy anyone not to laugh at Rumsfield's fall from the roof of his house or every man Ray's furious rant at the movie's close. For fans of black comedies, The Burbs is a perfect antidote to the current glut of obnoxious Hollywood gross out comedies and the Farrelly Brothers increasingly desperate to offend pieces.


34 of 44 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Things We've learned from the 'Burbs kardiackids02
Will the UK Blu Ray play on my PS3? foxmulder1993
Totally p**** whipped or what? kardiackids02
25th Anniversary Discount Bert
Best one liners ever Screenwriter_fighter87
What's with the smoke? turniphead2
Discuss The 'Burbs (1989) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?