Pacific Heights (1990)


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Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

John Schlesinger directed this upscale horror film about a landlord with the ultimate problem tenant. Patty Palmer (Melanie Griffith) and Drake Goodman (Matthew Modine) are a middle class couple who lie on their financial statement in order to buy an old Victorian house in San Francisco, planning to renovate it and rent it out. Unfortunately, they select as a tenant Carter Hayes (Michael Keaton), a psychotic real estate bargain hunter who plans to drive Patty and Drake into foreclosure … More

Rating: R
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Daniel Pyne
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jun 1, 2004
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment


as Carter Hayes

as Patty Palmer

as Drake Goodman

as Toshio

as Stephanie

as Florence

as Liz Hamilton

as Carter's Lover (uncr...

as Warning Cop

as Bennett Fidlow

as Loan Officer

as District Attorney

as Revilla

as Hotel Manager

as Desk Clerk

as Hotel Maid

as Sergeant

as Mr. Thayer

as Mrs. Thayer

as Younger Man

as Older Man

as 1st Deputy Sheriff

as Bank Teller

as 2nd Deputy Sheriff

as Locksmith

as Exterminator

as Arresting Cop

as Shoe Shine

as Arresting Cop

as Other Cop

as Precinct Cop

as Man at Police Statio...

as Man at Police Statio...

as Television Host

as Neighbor

as Neighbor

as Neighbor

as Neighbor

as Neighbor

as Neighbor

as Neighbor

as Man in Elevator
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Pacific Heights

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Critic Reviews for Pacific Heights

All Critics (29) | Top Critics (8)

Full Review… | September 7, 2011
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | September 28, 1990
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

Moderately entertaining suspense with an unusually foul villain at its core.

March 10, 2004
F5 (Wichita, KS)

Michael Keaton as a malicious tenant. Aren't you scared just thinking about it?

April 22, 2003
Juicy Cerebellum

Audience Reviews for Pacific Heights

There really hadn't been, and hasn't since been, a thriller like "Pacific Heights." It melds horror and thriller seamlessly, casting Michael Keaton as an unhinged tenant who messes with new landlords Patty and Drake (Griffith and Modine). Carter Hayes (Keaton) uses the law as a means to threaten, extort, and pressure his landlords into hurting him, so he can use it against them. Trapped in their so-called home and unable to throw him out, they go crazy, and eventually lose everything they tried to build. Keaton is such a sublime maniac, that every scene he is in makes you uneasy. He's creepy, but in a subtle, predatory kind of way. His eyes always smolder, and you never know whether he's unhinged, or just greedy. The revenge fantasy angle was interesting, and I liked the way it played out, as it amped up the tension even further. The cat and mouse game that Keaton and Griffith play onscreen is tantamount to "Single White Female," but without the obsessive quality to it. I highly recommend this for those who love thrillers and the work of Micheal Keaton.

Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

Having such good films under his belt like "Midnight Cowboy" and "Marathon Man", director John Schlesinger is no slouch when it comes to crafting a quality drama or suspense. However, with an irritatingly underpar cast, this is not one of his finer efforts.
Young couple Patty (Melanie Griffith) and Drake (Matthew Modine) purchase a Victorian home in San Francisco. They fix it up and rent one of the apartments to fast-talking businessman Carter Hayes (Michael Keaton) unaware that he is in fact, a sociopathic swindler.
When this film was released in 1990, I actually enjoyed it. I was 12 years old. Looking at it now, I have to admit that my critical faculties had not kicked in then. There's no denying that it's a well crafted suspense yarn but it's also ludicrously plotted. The fault doesn't lie with Schlesinger though, in fact, he does really well handling the tension and suspense. The fault lies with the unintelligible script. Would this stereotypically disturbed character really waste his time, being no more than an inconvenience by drilling holes in the walls? Do disturbed sociopaths really sit watching static interference on TV, in a darkened room, while flipping a razor blades over their fingers? Methinks it's all a little melodramatic. Keaton does his best sinister look with animated eyebrows, Modine needs his quiff trimmed and Griffith gives her usual one-note innocent, softly spoken, damsel in distress act. Three very limited actors with a very limited script. Schlesinger brings what he can to the table, but it's not enough to overcome ineptitude.
Hitchcock would have had a field day with similiar material. Schlesinger tries his best to emulate the old master but he's ultimately fighting a losing battle with a very limited cast.

Mark Walker

Super Reviewer

A dull thriller with one of the lamest final fight sequence I've ever seen. Even otherwise, the movie sucked in the action department.

familiar stranger

Super Reviewer

Pacific Heights Quotes

– Submitted by Nick S (2 years ago)

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