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Cape Fear (1991)

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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.

Director:

Martin Scorsese

Writers:

John D. MacDonald (novel), James R. Webb (earlier screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
1,179 ( 341)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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 Dalton Thompson ... Tom Broadbent
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
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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:

There is nothing in the dark that isn't there in the light. Except fear. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 November 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cabo de miedo See more »

Filming Locations:

Florida, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$35,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$79,100,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$103,200,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo (as Dolby Stereo SR)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During the opening sequence, Max Cady (Robert De Niro) is seen working out in his cell and the camera pans over his jail time reading material. One of the books featured is "The Cell Within" by Jake Manning. This is not a published work, and only exists as part of a Miami Vice (1984) storyline. In Miami Vice: The Cell Within (1989), Tubbs is tormented and imprisoned by the author Jake Manning, an ex-con he helped convict years before. See more »

Goofs

When the private eye is waiting for Cady in the house, he finally sees Teddy Bear moving, and follows the wire to the windows which (looking from inside) have closed shades. In very next shot, from outside, he is walking up to this window to close it, but there are no shades on it at all. 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.
See more »

Crazy Credits

On the video, the music and nighttime crickets audio continue over not only the Amblin Entertainment logo after the credits end, but the MPAA Rated R screen and the Universal Studios plug as well.

On the DVD, the Universal Studios plug is removed and the audio continues over just a black screen after the MPAA Rated R screen. 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 »

Connections

Referenced in RuPaul's Drag Race: Lip Synch Extravaganza Eleganza (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

The Bog
Performed by Bigod 20
Courtesy of Sire Records Company
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Seeking Retribution
29 April 2003 | by beagle-1See 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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