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


John Schlesinger


Daniel Pyne





Cast overview, first billed only:
Melanie Griffith ... Patty Palmer
Matthew Modine ... Drake Goodman
Michael Keaton ... Carter Hayes
Mako ... Toshio Watanabe
Nobu McCarthy ... Mira Watanabe
Laurie Metcalf ... Stephanie MacDonald
Carl Lumbly ... Lou Baker
Dorian Harewood ... Dennis Reed
Luca Bercovici ... Greg
Tippi Hedren ... Florence Peters
Sheila McCarthy ... Liz Hamilton
Guy Boyd ... Warning Cop
Jerry Hardin ... Bennett Fidlow
Dan Hedaya ... Loan Officer
James Staley ... District Attorney


San Franciscans Drake Goodman and Patty Palmer are taking their relationship to the next level not only by moving in together, but their new abode being a house they purchase. Despite it being slightly outside of their price range and only affordable to them in the right circumstances, they purchase a Victorian house in Pacific Heights. Those circumstances include making all the necessary renovations on their own, and immediately renting out the two suites on the main floor at a specific price point. While they rent out the rear one bedroom unit to the Watanabes without incident, outwardly wealthy Carter Hayes is able to manipulate his way into renting the front studio apartment, partly in promising to pay half a year's rent in advance. Drake and Patty eventually learn that Carter, whose money they do not receive, is in the "business" of causing havoc in such rental situations to ruin the owners financially, he being the tenant from hell. In Carter seemingly knowing how to manipulate ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Michael Keaton and Matthew Modine have appeared separately in Batman and The Dark Knight movies: Keaton as the title character in Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992), and Modine as a cop in The Dark Knight Rises (2012). See more »


They refer to the apartment they rent to Carter as a ground level apartment, but it's on the same level as nearby second-floor apartments seen through the windows. See more »


Warning Cop: [Drake illegally cut off the heat and electricity to Hayes' apartment] If he decides to fight an eviction, you're already knee-deep in shit.
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Crazy Credits

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


Referenced in Parker Lewis Can't Lose: Rent-A-Kube (1990) See more »


Lethal Tendencies
Written by Stacy Anderson
Performed by Hallows Eve
Courtesy of Metal Blade Records
Published by Bloody Skull Music, BMI
Administered by Bug Music
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User Reviews

Needed A Little More Air
26 September 2020 | by TheFearmakersSee all my reviews

One of those Premise Thrillers. Here it's about a renter renting from a young couple who bought a building. Matthew Modine and Melanie Griffith look like yuppies but aren't because they have little money so that's both their sympathy and motivation to need rent that Michael Keaton's shyster is holding back, and back and back.

Meanwhile he's a squatter from hell who plagues the place with roaches, hammering noises and endless mind games in an annoying movie that's intentional since the villain's purpose is to drive the protagonists crazy. But there's not enough mix and match, and Michael Keaton has very little to do but sit around in shadows trying to look sleazy (under director John Schlesinger's modern Noir aesthetic). A shame since we know how charming Keaton can be. Imagine dark comedy playing a factor. After all, is this young-couple-harasser any different than Beetlejuice?

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English | Japanese

Release Date:

28 September 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Pacific Heights See more »


Box Office


$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,912,637, 30 September 1990

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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