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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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1,315 ( 184)
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:

He learned to read. 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

Robert De Niro was tattooed with vegetable dyes, which fade after a few months. See more »

Goofs

At the end of the film, Sam Bowden says that he had to go to hearings before the American Bar Association as a result of his criminal actions toward Cady. But the ABA doesn't license lawyers, nor does it have the authority to disbar them. It is a lobbying group. Bowden would have had to go before the Georgia Bar Association, given that the crime occurred in that state. 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

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

Connections

Referenced in Civil Wars: Tape Fear (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

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
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Seeking Retribution
29 April 2003 | by (Sparta, IL) – See all my reviews

Robert De Niro plays Max Cady, an illiterate criminal who has been imprisoned for fourteen years on rape and battery charges. Nick Nolte plays Sam Bowden, Cady's lawyer who intentionally buried a valuable document, which may have allowed Cady's prison sentence to be significantly shorter. Cady learns to read while in prison. He starts with 'See Spot Run,' then proceeds to study law books. Cady's rage and desire for revenge grows with each additional day that he is in prison. Although Cady's original prison sentence was only eight years, it is increased to fourteen years due to battery of another inmate. He memorizes the Bible and tattoos his body with scripture referring to vengeance. When Cady is finally released from prison, he immediately seeks out Bowden and his family. Cady has become a scripture slinging psychopath hell bent on revenge. The director Martin Scorsese is attempting to prove that everyone has skeletons in their closet. Bowden might appear to be a terrific lawyer and loving family man on the surface, but underneath the perfect image lies a cheating husband and corrupt lawyer. Scorsese also shows how powerful the emotion of revenge can be and how it can distort ones version of what is right and wrong. Scorsese demonstrates this by showing Cady's knowledge of scripture and his acceptance of the terror that he is inflicting on the Bowden family. Scorsese's use of cameo appearances by Robert Mithcum and Gregory Peck was brilliant. The fact that they played such opposite roles in the original film was an interesting twist. I enjoyed the original 1962 version more than this remake, but I feel that the blood being in color definitely added to the terror that this film inflicts.


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