340 user 134 critic

Cape Fear (1991)

2:34 | Trailer
A convicted rapist, released from prison after serving a fourteen-year sentence, stalks the family of the lawyer who originally defended him.


Martin Scorsese


John D. MacDonald (novel), James R. Webb (earlier screenplay) | 1 more credit »
685 ( 194)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert De Niro ... Max Cady
Nick Nolte ... Sam Bowden
Jessica Lange ... Leigh Bowden
Juliette Lewis ... Danielle Bowden
Joe Don Baker ... Claude Kersek
Robert Mitchum ... Lieutenant Elgart
Gregory Peck ... Lee Heller
Martin Balsam ... Judge
Illeana Douglas ... Lori Davis
Fred Thompson ... Tom Broadbent (as Fred Dalton Thompson)
Zully Montero Zully Montero ... Graciella
Craig Henne Craig Henne ... Prisoner
Forest Burton Forest Burton ... Prisoner
Edgar Allan Poe IV Edgar Allan Poe IV ... Prisoner
Rod Ball ... Prisoner


Imprisoned for brutally assaulting a young girl, Max Cady spends his time in jail wisely - reading literature, sculpting his body to perfection and planning his violent revenge on the defence lawyer who put him behind bars. After serving his fourteen year sentence, Cady is released from prison and his rampage begins. Written by BecksyKane

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The Bowden family has moved to New Essex. See more »


Crime | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence, and for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


The music video that Danielle watches to avoid her parents' argument is Jane's Addiction's "Been Caught Stealing". See more »


Cady asks Bowden to recite Canon Seven of the ABA Model Code. The Model Code was abandoned in 1983 and replaced with the Modern Rules of Professional Conduct, which has no canons. As Cady had been in prison for 14 years, the earlier Model Code would still have been in place when Bowden represented him. 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

At the start of the film, when the Universal Pictures logo appears on screen, instead by studio's theme, sounds from the thunders and rainy is heard, and the logo changes of Egyptian ripple waters. See more »

Alternate Versions

SPOILER: When the movie was originally shown on network television, the blood left by Kersek's killing was optically removed by censors and replaced by a clean tile floor. See more »


Referenced in What Lies Beneath (2000) See more »


Written by Alice Byrd
Performed by Henry 'Professor Longhair' Byrd (as Professor Longhair)
Courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp.
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
See more »

User Reviews

God bless Martin Scorsese
5 December 1999 | by droog1983See all my reviews

First off this film is not great, but it is one of the best film of the 90's. Then again it starred Robert De Niro and was directed by Martin Scorsese. With this in mind, you know the film can't fail. I first viewed this film at the cinema, and I have to say I walked out of the theater predicting that De Niro had the Oscar in his pocket. Sadly however he didn't win.

Robert De Niro plays Max Cady, a convicted rapist of a teenage girl. He is released from prison years later, and vowes revenge on his lawyer, and his lawyers family. This is a strong suspense film that reaches to a breathtaking climax on a lake called Cape Fear. That is all I'll say, without giving away to much.

This film doesn't reach Martin Scorsese at his top form like he did in Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Goodfellas, and Mean Streets. But it still shows that he is a genius, and the most talented man in Hollywood today. I highly reccomend this film.

I give it an A+!

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Official Sites:

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Release Date:

15 November 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cape Fear See more »


Box Office


$35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$10,261,025, 17 November 1991

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo (as Dolby Stereo SR)



Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

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