Top 5000
Down 33 this week

Cape Fear (1991)

R  |   |  Crime, Thriller  |  15 November 1991 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.3/10 from 118,619 users   Metascore: 73/100
Reviews: 258 user | 101 critic | 9 from

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 »
Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video


Celebrate IMDb's 25th Anniversary with Photos We Love

IMDb turns 25 on October 17! To celebrate, we put together a gallery of some of our favorite movie, TV, and event photos from the last 25 years.

See the Photos We Love

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 29 titles
created 10 Jan 2011
a list of 45 titles
created 02 Apr 2012
a list of 23 titles
created 20 Apr 2012
a list of 25 titles
created 17 Dec 2012
a list of 47 titles
created 24 Aug 2014

Related Items

Search for "Cape Fear" on

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Cape Fear (1991)

Cape Fear (1991) on IMDb 7.3/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Cape Fear.

User Polls

Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Mean Streets (1973)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A small-time hood struggles to succeed on the "mean streets" of Little Italy.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, David Proval
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Aspiring comic Rupert Pupkin wants to achieve success in show biz by stalking his idol, a late night talk-show host who craves his own privacy.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Robert De Niro, Jerry Lewis, Diahnne Abbott
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Federal Agent Eliot Ness sets out to stop Al Capone; because of rampant corruption, he assembles a small, hand-picked team.

Director: Brian De Palma
Stars: Kevin Costner, Sean Connery, Robert De Niro
Raging Bull (1980)
Biography | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

An emotionally self-destructive boxer's journey through life, as the violence and temper that leads him to the top in the ring, destroys his life outside it.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Robert De Niro, Cathy Moriarty, Joe Pesci
Cape Fear (1962)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

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

Director: J. Lee Thompson
Stars: Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum, Polly Bergen
A Bronx Tale (1993)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A father becomes worried when a local gangster befriends his son in the Bronx in the 1960s.

Director: Robert De Niro
Stars: Robert De Niro, Chazz Palminteri, Lillo Brancato
Ronin (1998)
Action | Adventure | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A freelancing former US intelligence agent tries to track down a mysterious package that is wanted by both the Irish and the Russians.

Director: John Frankenheimer
Stars: Robert De Niro, Jean Reno, Natascha McElhone
Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Fast Eddie Felson teaches a cocky but immensely talented protégé the ropes of pool hustling, which in turn inspires him to make an unlikely comeback.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Paul Newman, Tom Cruise, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio
Sleepers (1996)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

After a prank goes disastrously wrong, a group of boys are sent to a detention center where they are brutalized; over 10 years later, they get their chance for revenge.

Director: Barry Levinson
Stars: Robert De Niro, Kevin Bacon, Brad Pitt
Taxi Driver (1976)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A mentally unstable Vietnam war veteran works as a night-time taxi driver in New York City where the perceived decadence and sleaze feeds his urge for violent action, attempting to save a preadolescent prostitute in the process.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Cybill Shepherd
Backdraft (1991)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Two Chicago firefighter brothers who don't get along have to work together while a dangerous arsonist is on the loose.

Director: Ron Howard
Stars: Kurt Russell, William Baldwin, Robert De Niro
Casino (1995)
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Greed, deception, money, power, and murder occur between two mobster best friends and a trophy wife over a gambling empire.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone, Joe Pesci


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) »


The Bowden family has moved to New Essex. 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 start of the scene where the hired goons attack Max in the parking lot, Max is wearing his watch when he turns to face them after one of them calls his name. About half way through the scene Max's watch inexplicably disappears from his wrist. 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 »


Referenced in What Lies Beneath (2000) See more »


Don't Mess with the Voodoo
Written by Graham Drout, Bob Hamphill, Nick Kane and Joe Smith
Performed by Iko Iko
From "Snowstorm In The Jungle" on Kingsnake Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Robert DeNiro truly gives this movie its element of fear
24 May 2005 | by (Portland, Oregon, USA) – See all my reviews

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.

40 of 61 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
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
Discuss Cape Fear (1991) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: