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Cape Fear (1991)

R  |   |  Crime, Thriller  |  15 November 1991 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 119,918 users   Metascore: 73/100
Reviews: 259 user | 103 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) »


He learned to read. 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?


Martin Scorsese directed the film as part of a two picture deal with Universal Studio because of their help and support with the release of The Last Temptation of Christ (1988). The other picture in the deal was Casino (1995). See more »


Before retiring for the night, the Bowden family and investigator Kersek securely close and lock all the doors and windows in the Bowden home. Yet a short while later, the wind blows one of the doors open. 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

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


Referenced in Jeopardy!: Episode #26.137 (2010) See more »


Written and Performed by Guns N' Roses (as Guns N'Roses)
Courtesy of Geffen Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A disturbing and intense thriller
26 January 2005 | by (Chicago, Illinois) – See all my reviews

You've pretty much read it in my comments, I am a huge fan of M.S. and R.D. But honestly, I watched "Cape Fear" because I bought "The Simpsons" 5th season on DVD, and I had no idea that the Sideshow Bob episode where he tries to kill Bart was based on this movie. So, I knew I had to rent this movie if it was good enough to parody on "The Simpsons". And it was very disturbing to watch. Robert DeNiro is one of my favorite actors, and he completely freaked me out in this film. Especially the scene between him and Juliette Lewis. Even though in some ways this film is done a little over the top, it all adds together very well. I was very impressed with this film and would recommend it to Martin Scorsesse fans of course. Even though I wouldn't say this was his best work, it is one of his best thrillers though.


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Cape Fear and What about Bob? alah-qp
Creeps on this site re Juliette Lewis Pleasepassthemilkplease
Max Cady: The 'Best' Villain Ever? tryggvason_asgeir
Jessica Lange Is AWFUL In This Film. ChairmanOfTheBored
Cady took a risk with Lori luks-11
Robert DeNiro was HOT as Max. TheArtfulDetective
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