7.7/10
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178 user 91 critic

Cape Fear (1962)

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

Director:

J. Lee Thompson

Writers:

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

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Cast

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
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

Unparalleled suspense... as one becomes a target for nightmare.. the other becomes his target for execution! (insert) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

J. Lee Thompson originally wanted Hayley Mills to play Nancy Bowden, but Mills couldn't because she was contracted to Walt Disney. See more »

Goofs

When Nancy is being chased by whom she believes to be Max, she runs into a room filled with lockers. We see her right hand pressed up against a row of lockers and she is wearing a ring. In the very next frame, the ring is absent from her finger. See more »

Quotes

Police Chief Mark Dutton: [Bowden has told Dutton that he's worried about Max Cady] You have a dog don't you, Sam?
Sam Bowden: She couldn't bite through a doughnut; but she's a good barker.
Police Chief Mark Dutton: Well, that's good enough. I'll call you when they pick him up.
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User Reviews

 
A Real good one for Thrillers
9 September 2006 | by ragosaalSee all my reviews

Sam Bowden (Gregory Peck) is a happily married lawyer with a teenage daughter, a quiet life and little worries to care for until released convict Max Cady (Robert Mitchum) moves near by seeking for revenge against him. Cady blames Bowden for his 8 years imprisonment because the lawyer failed to get him an innocent verdict in Court for a serious crime he was accused of (and he had committed). The man starts by stalking Bowden and his family while he waits for the appropriate moment to make his move. In the meantime, Cady does not hide his intentions and Bowden knows perfectly well they are in big trouble.

The film is tense all along and interest doesn't fall at any moment. There is a correct direction by J. Lee Thompson, a slightly more than average director who probably did here one of his best jobs (the other one "The Guns of Navarone" (1962) a very entertaining World War II adventure). Black and white shooting was a good idea and helps to create some sort of sordid and dark atmosphere when required as well as the musical score.

Casting is very good too. Gregory Peck is correct in one of his many common good guy roles. Polly Bergen is believable as the frightened wife and there is also good acting by Martin Balsam (as Bowden's chief of police friend) and Telly Savalas (as a private detective hired to help the family). But the major credit in this issue goes without doubt to Robert Michum's performance as the dangerous avenger. He looks calm and quiet -with few exceptions- all the way to the final climax sequences but you know perfectly the man is real mean and deadly. This surely was one of Mitchum's best appearances in his long film carrier.

The 1991 Cape Fear version with Robert de Niro -although a watchable movie- is not as good and thrilling as this one where evil doesn't appear clearly till the end but menace is always there.

A very good thriller indeed!


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 May 1962 (Canada) See more »

Also Known As:

The Executioners See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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