Cape Fear (1962)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Thriller  |  12 April 1962 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 19,304 users  
Reviews: 141 user | 79 critic

A lawyer's family is stalked by a man he once helped put in jail.



(novel), (screenplay)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Attorney Dave Grafton
Paul Comi ...
George Garner
John McKee ...
Officer Marconi
Page Slattery ...
Deputy Kersek
Ward Ramsey ...
Officer Brown
Dr. Pearsall


Small-town lawyer Sam Bowden's life becomes torturous when Max Cady re-enters his life. Cady went to jail for 8 years after Bowden testified that Cady attacked a young woman. Now that Cady has been released, he begins to terrorize Bowden and his family, particularly targeting Bowden's daughter, Nancy. Initially, Cady uses his newfound knowledge of the law (learned in prison) to annoy the Bowdens, then poisons the family dog... Who's next ? Written by Chris Holland <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The Original Masterpiece Of Revenge, Confrontation And Murder! See more »


Drama | Thriller


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

12 April 1962 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Executioners  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Director J. Lee Thompson complained at the time that UK censor John Trevelyan had ruined the film by making extensive cuts, and the number of edits suggested ranged from 60 to over 100. Trevelyan later replied that he had made only 15 cuts, totalling around 6 minutes, with edits made to threatening dialogue and assault references, Cady's attack on Peggy, and all shots of him staring longingly at Nancy. All later UK video releases restored the cinema cuts. See more »


The launch in which the Bowden family travels to the houseboat has a full windshield. Later, when Sam leaves by himself, only the windshield's frame is present; the glass is gone. See more »


Max Cady: I got somethin' planned for your wife and kid that they ain't nevah gonna forget. They ain't nevah gonna forget it... and neither will you, Counselor! Nevah!
See more »


Featured in Track 29 (1988) See more »

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User Reviews

Mitchum was powerful in Thompson's suspenseful thriller...

Mitchum was, if anything, even more powerful in "Cape Fear," possibly because his antagonist this time was the perfectly contrasting Gregory Peck…

Mitchum played a sex criminal, freed after eight years in prison, who returned to a sleepy little town to terrorize the witness (Gregory Peck) whom he blamed for his conviction…

The ex-con uttered no threats, used no violence, broke no laws – and the police were therefore helpless… But his very presence, the tone of his voice, the look in his eyes as he turned them lazily on Peck's attractive wife and adolescent daughter showed with unmistakable and cumulative menace that he would surely take his revenge…

Peck planted his wife and daughter on a safely moored houseboat to tempt Mitchum into a trap...

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