Cate Tafoya

Written by Cate Tafoya

Modified & Updated: 04 Mar 2024

Sherman Smith

Reviewed by Sherman Smith


Have you ever wondered what goes on in the seemingly peaceful suburbs? Well, look no further than “The ‘Burbs”, a cult classic movie that takes a hilarious and satirical look at suburban life. Released in 1989, this black comedy directed by Joe Dante has gained a dedicated fan base over the years.”The ‘Burbs” stars Tom Hanks as Ray Peterson, an average suburbanite who becomes suspicious of his mysterious neighbors. As the plot unfolds, Ray and his quirky neighbors embark on a comical adventure to uncover the truth lurking behind the white picket fences. With its wacky characters, clever dialogue, and dark humor, “The ‘Burbs” remains a must-watch for movie enthusiasts.Now, get ready to dive into the fascinating world of “The ‘Burbs” as we present you with 46 interesting facts about the movie that will pique your curiosity and make you appreciate this underrated gem even more.

Key Takeaways:

  • “The ‘Burbs” is a 1989 black comedy that satirizes suburban life, blending humor and suspense to create a unique viewing experience. Despite initial box office struggles, it has gained a dedicated cult following over the years.
  • “The ‘Burbs” explores themes of paranoia, conformity, and irrational fear in a suburban setting, featuring a strong ensemble cast and memorable quotes. Its darkly humorous take on suburban life has made it a popular topic of discussion among film enthusiasts.
Table of Contents

The ‘Burbs was released in 1989.

The movie was directed by Joe Dante and written by Dana Olsen.

Tom Hanks stars as the lead character, Ray Peterson.

Hanks delivers a standout performance as a suburbanite who becomes obsessed with his peculiar neighbors.

The film is a black comedy that satirizes suburban life.

It explores the dark secrets and paranoia that can lurk behind the seemingly idyllic façade of suburban neighborhoods.

The ‘Burbs was not a box office success.

Despite its cult following and critical acclaim, the film initially underperformed at the box office.

The movie has since gained a cult following.

Over the years, The ‘Burbs has garnered a dedicated fan base and is considered a cult classic.

The composer of the film’s score is Jerry Goldsmith.

Goldsmith’s music adds to the suspense and comedic elements of the movie.

The ‘Burbs was primarily filmed on a backlot in Universal City, California.

The set was designed to resemble a typical suburban neighborhood.

The film features a strong supporting cast.

A notable mention is Rick Ducommun as Art Weingartner, Ray’s neighbor and best friend.

Carrie Fisher portrays Ray’s wife, Carol Peterson.

Fisher brings her trademark wit and charm to the role.

The ‘Burbs contains elements of horror and suspense.

The movie blurs the line between comedy and horror, creating a unique viewing experience.

The film explores themes of voyeurism and suspicion.

Ray and his neighbors become obsessed with their new neighbors and begin spying on them.

The ‘Burbs has memorable quotes.

Lines like “I’m your friendly neighborhood killer” and “The exer-term-inator” have become iconic among fans.

The movie presents a satirical critique of societal norms.

It challenges the idea of conformity and the pressure to fit into societal expectations.

Corey Feldman plays Ricky Butler, a teenager who aids Ray in his investigation.

Feldman’s portrayal adds a youthful and rebellious energy to the film.

The ‘Burbs was inspired by director Joe Dante’s own experiences living in a suburban neighborhood.

Dante drew from his observations to create the film’s darkly humorous take on suburban life.

The movie has a distinctive visual style.

The cinematography and set design contribute to the film’s quirky and offbeat atmosphere.

The ‘Burbs received mixed reviews upon its initial release.

Critics were divided on the film’s blend of comedy and horror.

Despite its initial reception, the movie has gained appreciation over time.

Its unconventional premise and dark humor have resonated with audiences.

The ‘Burbs went on to become a home video success.

Its popularity grew through rentals and sales in the years following its release.

The film has become a Halloween cult favorite.

Many fans enjoy watching The ‘Burbs as part of their annual Halloween movie marathon.

The ‘Burbs showcases the talent of the late actor Bruce Dern.

Dern delivers a memorable performance as Mark Rumsfield, a military-obsessed neighbor.

The movie tackles themes of isolation and community dynamics.

It explores how individuals interact within a close-knit neighborhood setting.

The ‘Burbs features comedic set pieces and slapstick humor.

The physical comedy adds to the film’s entertainment value.

The movie’s poster has become iconic.

It features an image of the neighborhood with exaggerated facial expressions of the characters.

The ‘Burbs has a unique blend of genres.

It combines elements of comedy, horror, and mystery to create a distinctive viewing experience.

The film has influenced other dark comedies.

Its satirical take on suburban life has been echoed in movies like American Beauty and The Stepford Wives.

The ‘Burbs has a memorable opening sequence.

The camera pans across the neighborhood, introducing the audience to the setting and the characters.

The movie’s soundtrack features a mix of classic rock and suspenseful music.

The music sets the tone for the film’s various comedic and suspenseful moments.

The ‘Burbs explores the theme of irrational fear.

It delves into the paranoia that can arise from making assumptions about others based on appearances.

The film’s screenplay underwent several rewrites.

The script went through multiple iterations before finding its final form.

The ‘Burbs was a departure from Tom Hanks’ previous roles.

Hanks, known for his more serious and dramatic performances, embraced the opportunity to showcase his comedic skills.

The movie’s title refers to the nickname for suburban neighborhoods.

‘Burbs is short for suburbs, highlighting the setting of the film.

The ‘Burbs features a memorable climactic sequence.

The finale pits the characters against the mysterious neighbors and their potentially sinister activities.

The film plays with audience expectations.

It keeps viewers guessing about the true nature of the neighbors and their intentions.

The ‘Burbs explores themes of conformity and the pressures of societal norms.

It challenges the notion of the ideal suburban lifestyle and the sacrifices made to maintain it.

The movie’s humor is often dark and subversive.

It relies on uncomfortable situations and unexpected twists to elicit laughter.

The ‘Burbs has become a popular topic of discussion among film enthusiasts.

Its unique blend of genres and its examination of suburban life make it a rich subject for analysis.

The film’s cast delivers strong performances across the board.

Every actor brings depth and charisma to their respective roles.

The ‘Burbs features memorable supporting characters.

From the eccentric neighbors to the nosy mailman, each character adds to the film’s comedic and mysterious atmosphere.

The movie’s script is filled with witty dialogue.

The characters engage in humorous banter that adds to the overall entertainment value.

The ‘Burbs incorporates elements of farce and satire.

The exaggerated situations and characters create a sense of absurdity and social commentary.

The film’s pacing keeps audiences engaged from start to finish.

The story unfolds at a brisk pace, with each scene building upon the suspense and comedy of the previous one.

The ‘Burbs has become a fixture in pop culture.

References and homages to the film can be found in various forms of media.

The movie’s themes resonate with both suburban and non-suburban audiences.

It explores universal themes of curiosity, fear, and the desire for a sense of belonging.

The ‘Burbs showcases the comedic talents of its ensemble cast.

Each actor brings a unique flavor to the film, contributing to its overall charm.

The movie’s ending leaves room for interpretation.

It prompts discussion and debate among viewers, adding to the lasting impact of The ‘Burbs.


The ‘Burbs is a cult classic film that has delighted audiences with its quirky humor and suspenseful plot for decades. With a talented cast, clever writing, and a unique blend of comedy and mystery, it remains a beloved favorite among movie buffs.

From the iconic performances of Tom Hanks to the brilliant direction of Joe Dante, The ‘Burbs has stood the test of time as a must-watch film. Its exploration of suburban paranoia and the dark secrets hidden behind white picket fences continues to resonate with audiences today.

Whether you’re a longtime fan or discovering The ‘Burbs for the first time, this film is sure to captivate you with its offbeat charm and memorable characters. So grab some popcorn, cozy up on the couch, and get ready for a wild ride through the cul-de-sacs of suburban America.


1. Who directed The ‘Burbs?

The ‘Burbs was directed by Joe Dante, known for his unique blend of comedy and horror.

2. When was The ‘Burbs released?

The film was released on February 17, 1989.

3. Who stars in The ‘Burbs?

The ‘Burbs features a talented cast including Tom Hanks, Bruce Dern, Carrie Fisher, and Corey Feldman.

4. What is the plot of The ‘Burbs?

The film follows the story of a group of neighbors who suspect that a peculiar family next door is involved in nefarious activities.

5. Is The ‘Burbs a comedy or a thriller?

The ‘Burbs is a dark comedy that blends humor with elements of mystery and suspense.

6. Is The ‘Burbs suitable for all ages?

The film is rated PG and is generally considered suitable for older children and adults.

7. Did The ‘Burbs receive any awards or nominations?

While the film did not receive any major awards or nominations, it has gained a devoted following over the years and is considered a cult classic.

8. Where was The ‘Burbs filmed?

The movie was filmed in various locations in Los Angeles, California.

9. Can I stream The ‘Burbs online?

The ‘Burbs is available for streaming on various platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu.

10. Does The ‘Burbs have any sequels?

No, The ‘Burbs is a standalone film and does not have any official sequels.

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