A bureaucrat rents a Paris apartment where he finds himself drawn into a rabbit hole of dangerous paranoia.


Roman Polanski


Roland Topor (novel), Gérard Brach (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
4,749 ( 560)
2 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Roman Polanski ... Trelkovsky
Isabelle Adjani ... Stella
Melvyn Douglas ... Monsieur Zy
Jo Van Fleet ... Madame Dioz
Bernard Fresson ... Scope
Lila Kedrova ... Madame Gaderian
Claude Dauphin ... Husband at the accident
Claude Piéplu ... Neighbor (as Claude Pieplu)
Rufus ... Georges Badar
Romain Bouteille Romain Bouteille ... Simon
Jacques Monod Jacques Monod ... Cafe Owner
Patrice Alexsandre Patrice Alexsandre ... Robert
Jean-Pierre Bagot Jean-Pierre Bagot ... Policeman
Josiane Balasko ... Viviane - Office Worker
Michel Blanc ... Scope's Neighbor


In Paris, the shy bureaucrat Trelkovsky rents an old apartment without bathroom where the previous tenant, the Egyptologist Simone Choule, committed suicide. The unfriendly concierge (Shelley Winters) and the tough landlord Mr. Zy establish stringent rules of behavior and Trelkovsky feels ridden by his neighbors. Meanwhile he visits Simone in the hospital and befriends her girlfriend Stella. After the death of Simone, Trelkovsky feels obsessed for her and believes his landlord and neighbors are plotting a scheme to force him to also commit suicide. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


How could he escape from his nightmares? See more »


Drama | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


The picture was filmed in both French and English languages. See more »


After visiting the previous tenant in hospital, he takes her hysterical friend for a cocktail. He orders a martini for himself but after returning from the loo, an amber-colored drink in a tall glass has been delivered to him instead. See more »


Trelkovsky: You want me to do it again? I shall do it again! You did not like it the first time.
Trelkovsky: Simone Choule does not disappoint!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The film has no end credits; only the Paramount logo. See more »

Alternate Versions

Although the UK cinema version was complete the 1986 CIC video was cut by 6 secs by the BBFC to remove a brief extract of the banned nunchaku scene from Enter the Dragon (seen by Trelkovsky and Stella during a cinema visit). The cuts were fully waived in the 2004 Paramount DVD. See more »


Featured in High Life (2009) See more »


Written and Performed by Philippe Sarde Et Orchestre
See more »

User Reviews

I Didn't Get It
15 July 2005 | by BaronBl00dSee all my reviews

Normally a great fan of Roman Polanski's work, I must confess that I just didn't get The Tenant. The story details a Pole living in Paris taking over the apartment of a woman who jumped out of the window of said apartment. The apartment has some strange power in it and quickly transforms the new tenant's life for the worse...in fact things literally fall apart for him. Polanski plays the Pole and does a serviceable job. I always thought he was a pretty decent actor. The people living in the apartment building are equally good and bizarre with Shelley Winters standing out as the concierge. Polanski also does a rather deft job behind the camera creating tension and a foreboding feeling in many scenes. What then is the problem? It has to be the weird script which hints at story lines and never really explains any of the action, particularly the ending. I just didn't buy the outcome. Why did it happen? Why was there a tooth in the wall(an effective scene if not an unexplained one)? I can't go into to much detail about the fate that befalls Polanski's character, but it seems to come out of nowhere. I know this film is revered by many as one of the great horror films of all time. I never was scared by anything except the convoluted plot being taken seriously. Maybe the film is trying to be too enigmatic and symbolic. I don't know, but what I do know is The Tenant left me with an unsatisfied feeling. It certainly isn't a bad film, but I didn't think it was great either. There were large tracts within that were just plain boring, and though Polanski is definitely one of the greatest directors of all time - he can and has been guilty of downplaying scenes too much. I can say the same for some of the scenes in Repulsion. I also believe that this film needs to be seen more than once, but I will definitely have to work up to that chore another time. As with much of Polanski's work, there is a dose of black humour laced throughout. I really enjoyed the scenes of Polanski's character seeing the woman who jumped out of the window in hospital almost completely covered with bandages. He visits not for concern for the girl but with hopes that she will die and he will land her apartment. These scenes are underlined with a very dark, amusing edge and an appropriate irony to the film's denouement.

32 of 39 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 187 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.



France | USA


French | English

Release Date:

26 May 1976 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

The Tenant See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Marianne Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed