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Cape Fear (1991)

R  |   |  Crime, Thriller  |  15 November 1991 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 118,755 users   Metascore: 73/100
Reviews: 258 user | 101 critic | 9 from Metacritic.com

A convicted rapist, released from prison after serving a fourteen-year sentence, stalks the family of the lawyer who originally defended him.



(novel), (earlier screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Zully Montero ...
Craig Henne ...
Forest Burton ...
Edgar Allan Poe IV ...
Rod Ball ...


Sam Bowden is a small-town corporate attorney/"Leave It to Beaver"-esque family-man. Max Cady is a tattooed, cigar-smoking, bible-quoting, rapist. What do they have in common? Fourteen years, ago Sam was a public defender assigned to Max Cady's rape trial, and he made a serious error: he hid a document from his illiterate client that could have gotten him acquitted. Now, the cagey, bibliophile Cady has been released, and he intends to teach Sam Bowden and his family a thing or two about loss. Written by James Craver

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

prison | lawyer | rapist | rape | revenge | See All (212) »


Sam Bowden has always provided for his family's future. But the past is coming back to haunt them. See more »


Crime | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence, and for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

15 November 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cabo de miedo  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$35,000,000 (estimated)


$79,100,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


A picture of James Dean is shown when Danielle (Juliette Lewis) slams the door while her parents argue. See more »


At the end of the film, Sam Bowden says that he had to go to hearings before the American Bar Association as a result of his criminal actions toward Cady. But the ABA doesn't license lawyers, nor does it have the authority to disbar them. It is a lobbying group. Bowden would have had to go before the Georgia Bar Association, given that the crime occurred in that state. See more »


[first lines]
Danielle: My reminiscence. I always thought that for such a lovely river the name is mystifying: "Cape Fear". When the only thing to fear on those enchanted summer nights was that the magic would end and real life would come crashing in.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Later half of the credits are played to the sound of nighttime crickets. See more »


Written by Alice Byrd
Performed by Henry 'Professor Longhair' Byrd (as Professor Longhair)
Courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp.
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Not in his (Scorsese's) best, but definately has it's moments of glory
24 March 2001 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Martin Scorsese takes his first whack at the horror/thriller genre with a remake of the 1962 classic of the same title. While I can not truthfully say the original was better due to the fact that I never saw the original, I have a feeling that Scorsese has brought his maestro touch to the film that changes it slightly from the original to make it better, because this is quite the suspenser.

Here, a very dangerous and evil man named Max Cady (played in one of the best villain roles of the 90's by Robert De Niro) gets out of jail after 14 years of imprisonment, and decides to get vengeance on the lawyer (Nick Nolte) and his family (Jessica Lange the mother and a young and supple Juliette Lewis as the daughter). At times the film is surprisingly slow, but the film is never boring, and suspense is always in the air; the climax/ending contains some of Scorsese and De Niro's finest work. Also, De Niro steals the show as the animal Cady by making the person who is supposed to be the hero into a flawed character, thereby turning the film almost into a Film-noir, which is quite a feat for Scorsese and company. Not perfect, but it shouldn't be. Those are Scorsese's parents briefly buying fruit. A-

30 of 50 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Cape Fear and What about Bob? alah-qp
This movie gave me nightmares. mathteachermike
Creeps on this site re Juliette Lewis Pleasepassthemilkplease
Here are ANSWERS to questions related to the bargain/trial/plea/appeal! justchillen46
Major flaw in Max's 'logic'/grudge jimr1428
Sam Bowden biggest moron ever!! vick-b33
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