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

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(novel), (earlier screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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1,226 ( 43)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Judge
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Zully Montero ...
Craig Henne ...
Prisoner
Forest Burton ...
Prisoner
Edgar Allan Poe IV ...
Prisoner
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Prisoner
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Storyline

Sam Bowden (Nick Nolte)is a small-town corporate attorney/"Leave It to Beaver" type family-man. Max Cady (Robert De Niro) 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

Taglines:

There is nothing in the dark that isn't there in the light. Except fear. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

15 November 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cabo de miedo  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$35,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$79,100,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The scene between Robert De Niro and Juliette Lewis in the school was shot in three takes, but the first one was used in final productions. See more »

Goofs

Sam orders the "hospital job" against Max Cady in the hope that Cady will leave the Bowden family alone afterwards. During the actual attack, Cady takes eighteen repeated heavy blows with metal pipes all over his body and then stands up to fight back, a complete impossibility. Max Cady would have been dead. See more »

Quotes

[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.
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Crazy Credits

On the video, the music and nighttime crickets audio continue over not only the Amblin Entertainment logo after the credits end, but the MPAA Rated R screen and the Universal Studios plug as well.

On the DVD, the Universal Studios plug is removed and the audio continues over just a black screen after the MPAA Rated R screen. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Munchie (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

Per te d'immenso giubilo
From the opera Lucia Di Lammermoor-Gaetano Donizetti (as Donizetti)
Courtesy of Everest Records
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The Great Un-American Classic!
30 April 2005 | by (Troy, NY) – See all my reviews

This brutal, violent and suspenseful thriller combines a scorching performance by Robert Deniro, sumptuous location photography, and a powerful script that raises disturbing questions about religion, sex, and class distinctions in our so-called classless society.

At first glance Max Cady seems to be just another creep, a rapist and convict out to torment and humiliate a nice, upper-middle class family. "He's an ex-con," yuppie lawyer Sam Bowden smugly says, with fatuous self-satisfaction. But gradually it becomes apparent that things are not what they seem. The wholesome, "superior" middle class family is rotten with corruption, while the vicious, "psychotic" ex-con is a man of extraordinary courage, intelligence, and spiritual strength. Even his most horrible acts of violence are connected to the corrupt and self-serving behavior of his "betters." What makes this movie work so well is that director Martin Scorsese breaks away from his usual mean streets milieu. If Max Cady had been an Italian wise guy, the movie would have made excuses for him. The outcome would have been predictable. But here the great director remains an impartial observer of criminal behavior, rather than a sentimental apologist for ethnic violence. (As in GANGS OF NEW YORK.) Max Cady is pure evil, but he speaks the truth about the evil of allowing class distinctions to flourish in a so-called "democracy." When it came out, this movie was reviled by critics, especially by effete yuppies like Terence Rafferty at GQ and VANITY FAIR. Most of them whined about the violence, but it was painfully clear that what really disturbed them was the possibility that an ugly ex-con really could be smarter, tougher, and more virtuous than a spoiled yuppie lawyer.

Shocking!!!


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