Pacific Heights (1990)

R  |   |  Mystery, Thriller  |  28 September 1990 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 13,682 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


It seemed like the perfect house. He seemed like the perfect tenant. Until they asked him to leave. 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?


Debut produced screenplay for a cinema movie of TV writer Daniel Pyne. See more »


Patty's last name is shown to be "Palmer" on her financial statement seen in Carter's briefcase, but the closing credits list her name as "Patty Parker" 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 »


Referenced in NCIS: Dead and Unburied (2006) See more »


Written by Kim Thayil (as Ken Thayil) and Chris Cornell (as Christopher Cornell)
Performed by Soundgarden
Courtesy of A&M Records, Inc.
Copyright 1989 Loud Love Music (ASCAP)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

People aren't what they seem
9 June 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Along with multiple other stories in film, normal and happy couples just can't seem to cut a break with running into some of the most mentally unbalanced individuals. I pity these people; I really do. Look at The Mean Season (1985), Unlawful Entry (1992) or even The Cable Guy (1996). Each share something in common and that's the unstable intruder who doesn't care what he does or how he does it because their upbringing as a child or young adult was very screwed up.

Pacific Heights (1990) is the story about a young couple who moved into this specific area and buy a large house to use as an apartment for other tenants. All goes well like they planned until they come in contact with a very slippery and shifty individual who ends up making their lives spiral downward. Odd as it is, I was able to predict what would happen in this kind of situation. I don't know if that's because the writer Daniel Pyne, could not write a more original plot. I say that because like the other films mentioned above, the antagonist relies on and abuses the rights he is given by law to evade the law. This makes the story very formulaic, but I do give credit for the third act because it went in a direction I did not expect.

Playing the young spirited couple are Melanie Griffith as Patty Palmer and Matthew Modine as Drake Goodman. Together they permit the sly dog Carter Hayes (Michael Keaton) into their home as a tenant. To be honest, I found Griffith and Modine to be good at playing an unknown couple but I also don't feel like they made their characters stand out enough either. That's because of how formulaic the screenplay was written.

As for Keaton, no doubt does he make it look like he has the mental state of a sociopath. He was creepy but I think he could have been creepier. Every now and then he did burst out in anger and that's really what I wanted to see but instead for the most part, the audience will get a controlled anger. However, I also give credit to Keaton for making it look like being a criminal is as easy as one two three. It's unnerving. As for the musical score provided by renowned composer Hans Zimmer, was rather disappointing. It did have a few tunes that got the blood pumping and the muscles tense but there was no theme and there wasn't enough music the emmerse myself into the situations that occurred.

However, the reason why I still give this movie the credit it deserves because of how real these situations can be. And the closer it gets to being in your house, the scarier it gets. Having a killer running around is one thing, having a cop breaking an entering because they lust for the a married couple's partner is another, but having a tenant that stalks you during the day and plans by night, can be really upsetting. I sure wouldn't want to be that couple. Whether its Jim Carrey, Richard Jordan, Ray Liotta, Michael Keaton or any other actor that plays mentally disturbed antagonists, these guys are just downright uncomfortable (in a good way).

Even if the writing is formulaic, the fact that someone can be this unsettling will still creep people out. The music may not be very compelling either but Michael Keaton and his supporting cast do what is possible to keep the audiences' attention.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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