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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
1,118 ( 431)
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)

Opening Weekend USA:

$10,261,025, 17 November 1991

Gross USA:

$79,091,969

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$182,291,969
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

This is the only Oscar-nominated performance by Robert De Niro in a non-Best Picture nominated film. See more »

Goofs

When Danielle runs to her room as her parents are fighting, the 'music channel' the TV is turned to is playing the video for Jane's Addiction's "Been Caught Stealing", but the music that's heard is Guns'n'Roses "Patience" 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

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 »


Soundtracks

Been Caught Stealing
Performed by Jane's Addiction
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records, Inc.
(plays while Danny is in her bedroom)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Don't Give A Psycho A Grudge
14 May 2008 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Even though Robert DeNiro was nominated for Best Actor for this Martin Scorsese directed remake of Cape Fear, my heart is still with the original. The multi-tattooed voluminous DeNiro is far less menacing than Robert Mitchum was in the original.

One thing Scorsese did was change the billing to reflect the importance of the characters. Mitchum was billed second to Gregory Peck, the upright attorney who Mitchum threatened and stalked along with Peck's family. Then again Peck was producing the original Cape Fear so of course he was first billed.

Part of the problem was that with some 20 to 30 minutes additional running time Scorsese used it to make his characters a bit more complex. DeNiro was a real basket case as Max Cady in this one whereas Robert Mitchum was just plain no good.

Nick Nolte plays attorney Sam Bowden and he's also far more complex and not such a good guy. In the original film Peck was an attorney, but he was a witness in the trial that convicted Cady of rape. Here he was Cady's attorney and he tanked the case because Cady was such a psycho he deserved to be behind bars. Cady in fact does have a grudge of sorts against him. And it's not good to get a psycho mad at you.

Also Peck and his whole family which consisted of Polly Bergen and Lori Martin back in the original was your basic all American white bread family. Their very wholesomeness made the scope of Mitchum stalking them all the more frightening.

Nolte and Jessica Lange have marital problems and their daughter Juliette Lewis is not Mary Poppins. Not that they deserved what DeNiro was going to do to them, but it does blunt the impact of the scope of his evil.

Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum, and Martin Balsam from the original cast all played supporting parts here. But while the film that Scorsese did is a good one, their presence made me all the more hunger for the original.


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