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Cape Fear (1991)

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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.



(novel), (earlier screenplay) | 1 more credit »
1,638 ( 228)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 17 nominations. See more awards »


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


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


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)

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(as Dolby Stereo SR)



Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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Did You Know?


The music that is heard at the climax of the movie was a piece of music that Bernard Herrmann had written for Alfred Hitchcock's Torn Curtain (1966), but that piece of music was never used. Elmer Bernstein had always liked that original score and he asked Martin Scorsese if it could be used in the film. See more »


Max Cady tapes Sam's threat to do the "hospital job," and then uses that tape recording in court to get a restraining order against Sam. Although Sam admitted making the threats, no tape recording in any state in any court of law is admissible as evidence. 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.
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Crazy Credits

At the start of the film, when the Universal Pictures logo appears on screen, instead by studio's theme, sounds from the thunders and rainy is heard, and the logo changes of Egyptian ripple waters. See more »


I Think We're Alone Now
Written by Ritchie Cordell
Performed by Robert De Niro
(Max Cady (DeNiro) sings a line from this tune to Danny (Juliette Lewis) during their meeting at her school)
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

One of the better thrillers of the 90's
9 December 2004 | by See all my reviews

I have wanted to see this movie for quite some time, and I finally saw it, and I thought that it was great. I am a huge Martin Scorsese fan, and I would have to say this is one of his most true to life films, even though its not his best film. The acting is great,and so is the music. The film will send shivers through your body. This is also one of DeNiro's most underrated performances and deserved more attention at the time of its release. Its also great to see some of the actors from the original version show up in cameo roles. If you like horror films and thrillers, you will most likely enjoy this. ***1/2 out of ****. A recommended viewing.

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