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
De Niro's Cady accent came from an earlier role where he played a southerner. To prepare for the role, De Niro took excerpts of the script and a tape recorder into southern towns and would ask locals to read the lines into the tape. See more »
The detective's blood pool changes shape on the kitchen floor. See more »
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.
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Later half of the credits are played to the sound of nighttime crickets. See more »
Robert DeNiro truly gives this movie its element of fear
To me, it's amazing that there's actually a place in North Carolina called Cape Fear, but it provides the perfect setting for this movie. Several years after attorney Sam Bowden (Nick Nolte) defended convicted rapist Max Cady (Robert DeNiro), Cady gets out of jail and decides that Bowden didn't do a good job defending him. After Sam and Max meet each other a few times, Max starts getting crazier and crazier. After he tries to enter Sam's house, Sam and his family go into hiding at Cape Fear. Then, the terror really begins.
Martin Scorsese brought a unique intensity to movies like "Mean Streets" and "Taxi Driver", but this is something completely different. Whereas his earlier movies simply made you identify with the characters, "Cape Fear" makes you both identify with the characters and find them unpleasant. Not only Max Cady, but also the Bowdens. They are never the "ideal American family", but Cady's threats against them make them get progressively nastier in their attitudes towards each other and to other people.
I think that it's safe to say that after watching "Cape Fear", you will never look at any person the same way again.
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