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Cape Fear (1962)

Passed | | Drama, Thriller | 20 May 1962 (Canada)
2:08 | Trailer
A lawyer's family is stalked by a man he once helped put in jail.


J. Lee Thompson


John D. MacDonald (novel), James R. Webb (screenplay)





Cast overview, first billed only:
Gregory Peck ... Sam Bowden
Robert Mitchum ... Max Cady
Polly Bergen ... Peggy Bowden
Lori Martin ... Nancy Bowden
Martin Balsam ... Police Chief Mark Dutton
Jack Kruschen ... Attorney Dave Grafton
Telly Savalas ... Private Detective Charles Sievers
Barrie Chase ... Diane Taylor
Paul Comi ... Garner
John McKee John McKee ... Officer Marconi
Page Slattery Page Slattery ... Deputy Kersek
Ward Ramsey ... Officer Brown
Edward Platt ... Judge
Will Wright ... Dr. Pearsall
Joan Staley ... Waitress


Small-town lawyer Sam Bowden's life becomes torturous when Max Cady re-enters his life. Cady went to jail for 8 years after Bowden testified that Cady attacked a young woman. Now that Cady has been released, he begins to terrorize Bowden and his family, particularly targeting Bowden's daughter, Nancy. Initially, Cady uses his newfound knowledge of the law (learned in prison) to annoy the Bowdens, then poisons the family dog... Who's next ? Written by Chris Holland <cholland@atlantic.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


CHILLING SUSPENSE in the screen's most gripping war of nerves! See more »


Drama | Thriller


Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


At first, Robert Mitchum didn't want to do the film but finally relented after Gregory Peck and J. Lee Thompson delivered a case of bourbon to his home. His reply was, "Okay, I've drunk your bourbon. I'm drunk. I'll do it." See more »


The house Nancy is hiding in has power for her 45 rpm record player, but uses kerosene lamps for lighting. See more »


Police Chief Mark Dutton: Let's make with the pants.
See more »


Spoofed in Daria: Camp Fear (2001) See more »

User Reviews

Robert Mitchum at his creepy best
30 September 2004 | by chris_gaskin123See all my reviews

I recently picked up a VHS copy of Cape Fear from a market and watched and found it an excellent movie. This is long deleted on video in Britain, so I was lucky to see it.

A lawyer and his family are terrorised by a killer he helped to put in prison. Released after eight years, he wants his revenge. He starts by poisoning the family dog and he kills a woman before picking on the lawyer's daughter. The family flee to their houseboat and the killer is finally arrested after he is set up and faces many more years in prison.

This is Robert Mitchum at his creepy best, in a role very similar to the one he played in Night Of the Hunter.

The lawyer is played by Gregory Peck and the movie also stars Polly Bergen, Martin Balsam and an early role for Telly Savalas (Kojak).

The excellent score is by the great Bernard Herrmann (The Day the Earth Stood Still, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, Psycho).

This movie was rather creepy in parts and is a must for any movie fan.

Rating: 5 stars out of 5.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

20 May 1962 (Canada) See more »

Also Known As:

The Executioners See more »


Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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