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Cape Fear (1962)


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Release Date: Apr 18, 1962 Wide



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Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 17,403

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Movie Info

After an eight-year prison term for rape and assault, Max Cady (Robert Mitchum) is set free. Immediately making a beeline to Sam Bowden (Gregory Peck), the former prosecutor responsible for Cady's conviction, Cady laconically informs Sam that he intends to "pay back" the attorney for his years behind bars. Conducting a meticulous campaign of terror, Cady is careful to stay within the law. Sam, realizing that Cady intends to wreak vengeance by raping the attorney's wife (Polly Bergen) and


Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Classics

James R. Webb

Sep 18, 2001

Universal International Pictur

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October 9, 2006:
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Martin Scorsese scored the best opening of his career, and his first number one film in fifteen...


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All Critics (23) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (19) | Rotten (1) | DVD (12)

Its politics are abhorrent to me, but my god, it's such a slick, well-crafted thriller ... that I can't hate it

April 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Goatdog's Movies | Comments (2)
Goatdog's Movies

Unpleasant but suspenseful film noir.

January 23, 2007 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

A tense thriller that holds your attention to the very end. The film is aided by one of Bernard Hermann's better scores.

June 24, 2006
Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)

Tedious remake of a "thriller" that wasn't that thrilling to begin with

March 19, 2003 | Comments (6)

Keep-you-up-all-night terrifying!

February 7, 2003
Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies

The remake with De Niro had the most to fear from this superior little thriller!

July 25, 2002
Juicy Cerebellum

A classic revenge thriller.

July 25, 2002
Matinee Magazine

works best as a twisted nail-biter, punctuated brilliantly with an apocalyptic score by Bernard Herrmann

September 26, 2001
Q Network Film Desk

Audience Reviews for Cape Fear

A lawyer finds his family terrorized by a brutal woman hating sociopath who blames him for sending him to jail for 8 years. Gregory Peck was the perfect casting choice as the morally upstanding husband and father who finds he must question his principles when the law fails to protect them from such a wily and dangerous predator. But it is Mitchum on top form who steals the film and brings a real sense of underlying menace to his character; the scenes he shares with Peck crackle with tension. There's also some strong support from the ever reliable Martin Balsam and Telly Savalas (sporting a full head of hair!) and the family scenes are refreshingly syrup free. With a very memorable score and great showdown featuring a classic closing speech, this is far better than the uncharacteristically crass Martin Scorsese remake.
September 8, 2012
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

It's not what he does ... it's what he may do. Mitchum gives elegance to one of the screen's worst creepy bad guys, conveying evil with his eyes, along with the screaming realization that he's gonna enjoy doing it. The battle between the forces of good versus the other has seldom been more clearly delineated.
June 2, 2012

Super Reviewer

Cape Fear is a classic noir that really achieves its intentions. J. Lee Thompson is a director I'm ashamed to say I'm still fairly unfamiliar with although the few films of his I have seen I have loved. It is obvious here that he has mastered the art of light and shadow, the film is beautiful throughout and the night scenes are some of the best I've seen before and since. The acting by the two leads is faultless, both are brilliantly cast and effortlessly compelling. Unforgettable and miles ahead of its peers, no wonder Scorsese admired it but remaking it was a brave move!
May 4, 2011

Super Reviewer

This is a great thriller, it's exciting and suspenseful, and has a couple of great actors. I highly recommend it.
November 23, 2010

Super Reviewer

    1. Sam Bowden: It's a mistake to teach women how to tell time. They always use it against you.
    – Submitted by Doug S (20 months ago)
    1. Sam Bowden: You shocking degenerate. I've seen the worst - the dregs - but you... you are the lowest. Makes me sick to breathe the same air.
    – Submitted by Doug S (20 months ago)
    1. Max Cady: I got somethin' planned for your wife and kid that they ain't nevah gonna forget. They ain't nevah gonna forget it... and neither will you, Counselor!
    – Submitted by 3guys 1 (2 years ago)
View all quotes (3)

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Foreign Titles

  • Ein Köder für die Bestie (DE)
  • Cape Fear (1962) (UK)
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