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Pacific Heights (1990)

R  |   |  Mystery, Thriller  |  28 September 1990 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 13,539 users  
Reviews: 87 user | 19 critic

A couple works hard to renovate their dream house and become landlords to pay for it. Unfortunately one of their tenants has plans of his own.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Toshio Watanabe
Mira Watanabe
Stephanie MacDonald
Lou Baker
Dennis Reed
Florence Peters
Liz Hamilton
Warning Cop
Bennett Fidlow
Loan Officer
District Attorney


A yuppie couple buy a large house in an exclusive San Fransisco neighborhood. They renovate it and plan to rent two apartments on the first floor to cover the costs. A prosperous looking man moves in but is not the ideal tenant. He never pays any rent, drives the other tenants away and systematically ruins the lives of his landlords. Written by Jim Sadur <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The Perfect House. The Perfect Tenant. Perfectly Dangerous. See more »


Mystery | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

28 September 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Fremde Schatten  »

Box Office


$29,381,956 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The name of the housing development that the house in the film was a part of was the Sun Hills Estates at Palm Desert. It's address in the movie is 170 Pacific Street. See more »


Carter's briefcase when Patty is sneaking through his room. See more »


Carter Hayes: [Here at the interrogation room. James Danforth is in jail] They're lying. These people are completely pathological. They took a 1/2 year's rent from me, and they said I never paid them. They evicted me, they slandered me, they totally destroyed my credit. They physically assaulted me. They threatened my life. And now this. These people are parasites. Florence...
Carter Hayes: I am sorry... that you were even touched by any of this. Oh, God, I'm so embarrassed. When I first met you, I was enchanted......
See more »

Crazy Credits

Melanie Griffith's character Patty Palmer is credited as Patty Parker in the credits. See more »


Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (uncredited)
Performed by Vladimir Ashkenazy and The Philharmonia Orchestra
Courtesy of London Records, a division of PolyGram Classics, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Tenants are the curse of the propertied class
27 August 1999 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is a carefully programmed yuppie nightmare, something to titillate the emotions betwixt the sushi and the creme de mint, something to remind the upwardly mobile that you have to keep your guard up at all times because there are animals out there waiting to take it all away from you.

Clever plot premise: Yuppie couple, stylishly unmarried, possibly for tax purposes, buy a painted lady in the Pacific Heights district of San Francisco, a Victorian fixer upper for $750,000. It's the 1980's and everybody is getting rich in California real estate. They are now in yuppie heaven since there are two rentals on the property which take care of $2300 of the $3700 monthly mortgage, which leaves them responsible for only $1400, which is less then they were paying before, and now they have a huge tax write-off and hopefully an appreciating property. Of course they are margined to the gills, but what can go wrong?

How about the tenant from hell? Forget about your wild parties and your late-with-the-rent dead beats. This guy (Michael Keaton as a slimy, upper crust psycho genius) doesn't even pay the deposit. He just moves in, squats, and our yuppie couple is helpless to get rid of him since by law he now has possession. He changes the locks, cultivates big ugly oriental cockroaches, and pounds away at all hours of the night, and chases off the other tenant. Seems he has done this before. Seems it is an elaborate scam to gain total possession of the entire property. Next to go are the owners.

Naturally the cops and the law seem to work for him, not our adorable couple. (This is a little fictional reality to further excite the passions of the audience, call it poetic license, since we all know that the tenant/landlord laws in California are written by and for the propertied class, as they are anywhere else, as is only right.)

But this is a morality play. Could it be that our yuppies are undeserving of their wealth and are easy prey in the econ jungle because of their naiveté? Could be. But as this is a modern morality tale, you can be sure that the woman, played with worrisome lines under her eyes by the ever adorable Melanie Griffith, will turn the tables and kick some male butt despite the handicap of having a not too bright boyfriend, who is easily manipulated by our villain into some rather stupid male behavior that makes things worse for our heroine. Incidentally, he is played with such annoying exactitude by Matthew Modine that I can hear the rednecks in the audience screaming: "Die yuppie scum!"

It should be noticed that the adversary of the yuppies is not your standard ghetto dweller, but a wayward member of the upper class, a fitting adversary in this yuppie trial by fire.

I'll let you guess who wins.

(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon!)

16 of 24 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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