Cape Fear
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guide
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips
The content of this page was created directly by users and has not been screened or verified by IMDb staff.
Visit our FAQ Help to learn more
Unable to edit? Request access

FAQ Contents

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Cape Fear can be found here.

Yes. Cape Fear is based on the 1957 novel The Executioners by American author John D. MacDonald [l916-1986]. It is a remake of the original Cape Fear (1962). The script for the remake was written by American screenwriter Wesley Strick.

Sam Bowden (Nick Nolte), his wife Leigh (Jessica Lange), and their 15-year old daughter Danielle (Juliette Lewis) are stalked and threatened by Max Cady (Robert De Niro), an ex-con whom Sam defended 14 years ago.

Cape Fear is a reference to the Cape Fear River in North Carolina. The Bowdens have a houseboat on the river, which is where their final showdown with Cady takes place.

Fourteen years ago, Cady was on trial for the rape of a 16-year old girl, and Sam served as his defense attorney. Certain that Cady brutally beat her and was capable of much worse, Sam purposely buried a report revealing that the victim was sexually promiscuous, having had three sexual partners in the month before the attack. Sam was successful at lowering the charge to battery, and Cady was sentenced to only seven years in prison. While in prison, Cady beat another prisoner and earned himself seven more years.

The basic story is the same, even to an arrangement of Bernard Herrmann''s haunting original music, although there has been some minor updating. For example, the names of Sam's wife and daughter have been modernized from Peggy and Nancy to Leigh and Danielle (Danny). Where Nancy in the original had the good sense to stay away from Cady, Danny is drawn to his sexuality. Peggy was a stay-at-home mom whereas Leigh is a graphics designer. The promiscuous pick-up in the original has become a clerk at the County courthouse where Sam works and with whom Sam plays racketball. In the original, Sam and Peggy had an idyllic marriage; Sam and Leigh have a rocky marriage due to Sam's previous promiscuity. Cady is portrayed as a psychotic religious fanatic, speaking in tongues and sporting biblical tattoos.

Yes. Robert Mitchum plays Lieutenant Elgart, the police detective who suggests to Sam the use of "alternative" means of stopping Cady. Gregory Peck plays Lee Heller, a criminal lawyer who ends up defending Cady. Martin Balsam, who played Police Chief Mark Dutton in the original, also appears in the remake as the judge.

Yes, Sexus is the first book in American novelist Henry Miller's The Rosy Cruxifixion trilogy, consisting of Sexus (1949), Plexus (1953), and Nexus (1960). The trilogy explores the details of Miller's marriages and philosophical musings.

Cady follows the Bowdens to their houseboat on the Cape Fear River by strapping himself under their Jeep Wagoner. He then rents a boat and follows them to the spot where they have anchored. As they're eating dinner, the houseboat is caught in a squall. Sam goes out to check the anchor, but he is knocked out by Cady, who then cuts the anchor line, setting the boat adrift. He enters the cabin and comes on to Danielle, but she grabs a pan of hot water and tosses it on him. Cady locks Danny in the hold and begins to molest Leigh. Suddenly, Cady stops, pulls Sam into the cabin, and releases Danny from the hold, while Leigh tries to proposition him in order to protect Danny. Gloating, Cady lights up a cigar. Danny sprays him with lighter fluid, setting his head and shoulders on fire. Cady jumps in the water and Sam tries to steer the boat away, but Cady grabs the cut anchor line and climbs back aboard. Holding a gun to Sam's head, Cady holds a mock trial with Sam as the defendant and Leigh and Danny as the jury. Cady forces Sam to admit that he buried the report of his victim's prior sexual history, but Sam counters that her promiscuity does not justify rape. Cady declares Sam guilty of betrayal, then turns to Danny and Leigh and orders them to take off their clothes and get down on their knees. He tries to handcuff Sam to a brass rail, but the swirling waters knock everyone off balance. Sam forces Leigh and Danny to escape by jumping in the water. Sam tries to jump in after them, but Cady catches him by a pant leg. Sam breaks free, so Cady grabs a gun. While Cady looks around to locate Sam, Sam crawls along the floor and handcuffs Cady's leg to the rail. In the shifting waters, Cady can't get off a good shot, and the gun subsequently falls into the water. Suddenly, the boat hits a rock and is torn apart, washing them and parts of the boat to shore, Cady still handcuffed to the rail. Sam grabs a rock and hits Cady with it. They fight furiously until the rushing water carries Cady away screaming in tongues. The two stare at each other as Cady is slowly pulled under the water. Sam washes Cady's blood from his hands and joins Leigh and Danny. In the final scene, Danny (in a voiceover) finishes reading her reminiscence about the houseboat as the camera slowly focuses in on her eyes.

Cady petitioned to represent himself at his parole hearings. In doing so, he was granted access to the court file.

Yes, the music ends in the middle of the credits and is followed by the sounds of thunder, rushing water, crickets, and birds.


Related Links

Plot summary Plot synopsis Parents Guide
Trivia Quotes Goofs
Soundtrack listing Crazy credits Alternate versions
Movie connections User reviews Main details