Cape Fear (1962) - Rotten Tomatoes

Cape Fear1962

Cape Fear (1962)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Cape Fear Photos

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 daughter (Lori Martin), tries to put the ex-criminal behind bars, but has no grounds to do so. Chief Dutton (Martin Balsam) tries to help Sam with a few strong-arm tactics, but succeeds only in having the courts take Cady's side in the matter. Things come to a head when Sam moves his family to the "safety" of a remote houseboat on Cape Fear river. Cady shows up unannounced and is about to ravage Bowden's wife and daughter and when Sam turns the tables. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Gregory Peck
as Sam Bowden
Polly Bergen
as Peggy Bowden
Martin Balsam
as Police Chief Mark Dutton
Lori Martin
as Nancy Bowden
Telly Savalas
as Private Detective Charles Sievers
Jack Kruschen
as Attorney Dave Grafton
Barrie Chase
as Diane Taylor
Paul Comi
as Garner
John R. McKee
as Officer Marconi
John McKee
as Marconi
Page Slattery
as Deputy Kersek
Ward Ramsey
as Officer Brown
Will Wright
as Dr. Pearsall
Joan Staley
as Waitress
Mack Williams
as Dr. Lowney
Thomas Newman
as Lt. Gervasi
Bunny Rhea
as Pianist
Paul Levitt
as Police Operator
Alan Wells
as Young Man
Allan Ray
as Young Man
Norma Yost
as Ticket Clerk
Josephine Smith
as Librarian
Bob Noble
as Pedestrian
Jack Elkins
as Pedestrian
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Critic Reviews for Cape Fear

All Critics (19)

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 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Unpleasant but suspenseful film noir.

January 23, 2007 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

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 | Rating: 3/5

Keep-you-up-all-night terrifying!

February 7, 2003 | Rating: 5/5

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

July 25, 2002 | Rating: 3/5

A classic revenge thriller.

July 25, 2002 | Rating: 4/5

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.

xGary Xx
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.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

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

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

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