Return to Paradise (1998)

R  |   |  Drama, Romance, Thriller  |  14 August 1998 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 11,268 users   Metascore: 54/100
Reviews: 128 user | 67 critic | 22 from

Two friends must choose whether to help a third friend who was arrested in Malaysia for drug possession.



(motion picture Force Majeure), (motion picture Force Majeure) (as O. Schatzky) , 2 more credits »
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2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ming Lee ...
Mr. Chandran
Mr. Doramin
Famous Divorce Lawyer (as James Michael McCauley)
Young Woman in Limo (as Brettanya Friese)
Woman in Bar
Construction Foreman
Amy Wong ...
Ticket Agent (as Amy Wong)


Three friends share an exciting vacation in Malaysia, full of fun, drinks, women and hash. When the vacation is over, each have dreams of continuing their lives, and they all go their separate ways. One of them (Phoenix) remains on the tropical paradise to fulfill a dream of working with apes for research. Two years later, a lawyer (Heche) comes to New York and hunts down the other two friends to give some sad news. A few days after they left the island, police raided their camp and found amazingly large quantities of hash left about. Phoenix was still residing there, so he had to take the blame. He is set to be put to death in 8 days, and the only way the charges can be decreased is if the two friends come back to paradise and take their share of the responsibilty. If they do, they both will spend three years in prison. If only one does, he will spend six years behind bars... Written by R.P. Falvey

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Give up three years of their lives or give up the life of their friend. They have eight days to decide.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, drug content, some sexuality and a scene of violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

14 August 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Long Way to Paradise  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$2,465,129 (USA) (14 August 1998)


£126,537 (UK) (16 April 1999)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Cuba Gooding Jr. turned down the role of Tony the architect. See more »


[Around 55:00] Beth comes to John's home. She gives him a "ZABARS" bag of food. The door is wide open (we clearly see the outside is red and the inside is green) behind Beth. As John takes the bag, the door is suddenly closed, however no one has closed it. See more »


Lewis McBride: [crying] I asked myself... would I come back for you? And the only answer is a Godless, empty, evil... no. I'm sorry I wouldn't have come back. I'm sorry.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In memory of DANNY ARNOLD See more »


Remake of Force Majeure (1989) See more »


Sonata In F Minor
Written by Domenico Scarletti
See more »

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User Reviews

Riveting performances; unexpected twists!
12 December 1999 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

This well acted, intense drama is worth seeing on two counts:

1) The excellent performances by Lewis (Phoenix) and Beth (Ann Heche)

2) The uncompromising and original plot.

Three young men decide to party in Malaysia, leaving one of them, a Greenpeace activist, behind after two years. He is sentenced to hang for a drug charge; only his two friends who have returned to America can save him.

Not a car chase in sight, but the tension is high. The unexpected, emotion-filled ending is both gratifying and sad. I recommend this film with eight (8) stars.

14 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Vince can clearly act very well, so why does he make so many crap movies benettfreeman
I'm a Malaysian and this is so funny... nalan_dewa19
What if it was you? film_connoisseur84
best performance? AmericanHistoryEX
Cry your eyes out? FoolOntheHill42
Is this a remake/similar to another movie plot pamelajoon
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