Cape Fear

Critics Consensus

Smart and stylish, Cape Fear is a gleefully mainstream shocker from Martin Scorsese, with a terrifying Robert De Niro peformance.

74%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 50

77%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 68,812

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Movie Info

When attorney Sam Bowden (Nick Nolte) knowingly withholds evidence that would acquit violent sex offender Max Cady (Robert De Niro) of rape charges, Max spends 14 years in prison. But after Max's release, knowing about Sam's deceit, he devotes his life to stalking and destroying the Bowden family. When practical attempts to stop Max fail, Sam realizes that he must act outside the law to protect his wife and daughter in Martin Scorsese's remake of the classic 1962 thriller.

Cast & Crew

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
John D. MacDonald
Writer (Novel)
James R. Webb
Screenwriter
Wesley Strick
Screenwriter
Kathleen Kennedy
Executive Producer
Frank Marshall
Executive Producer
Steven Spielberg
Executive Producer
Elmer Bernstein
Original Music
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News & Interviews for Cape Fear

Critic Reviews for Cape Fear

All Critics (50) | Top Critics (13) | Fresh (37) | Rotten (13)

  • The wrath of De Niro, especially when pitched to the level of a jangle-brained Jehovah, is a mighty thing, but, in this case, its inherent cartoonery capsizes this film's small-story frame.

    November 19, 2019 | Full Review…
  • It gives you a pumped-up, thrill-happy ride (assuming you have a stomach for violent pulp) but it doesn't linger in the mind as Scorsese's richest movies do. It's a swell B movie dressed in haute cinematic couture.

    February 7, 2018 | Full Review…

    David Ansen

    Newsweek
    Top Critic
  • Quote not available.

    September 7, 2011 | Rating: A | Full Review…
  • It's hard to understand why Martin Scorsese wanted to remake a nasty, formulaic 1962 thriller whose only "classic" credentials are a terrifying performance by Robert Mitchum and a Bernard Herrmann score.

    May 24, 2011 | Full Review…
  • Smart and stylish.

    August 7, 2008 | Full Review…
    Variety
    Top Critic
  • Overblown horror-schlocker.

    June 24, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Cape Fear

  • Jul 10, 2016
    Cape Fear was a great suspense/horror film that stands the test of time. De Niro provides a very creepy performance that leaves you feeling dreadful whenever he is on screen. This is assisted by the magnificent score that really adds to the tension. Nolty gives a solid performance as well as the "Leave it to Beaver" esque role he is portraying. My only negative for the movie is the run time. The final act seems to really drag on about twenty minutes too long. All of the tension of the movie has boiled up to a big dramatic ending, and this ending starts to really take care of things, but does meander a bit. Excellent choice for fans of suspenseful movies.
    Hayden B Super Reviewer
  • Jun 22, 2016
    DeNiro plays a convicted rapist, released from prison after serving a 14 year sentence, and stalks the family of the lawyer who originally defended him (Nolte). DeNiro definitely earned his Oscar nomination for this one and if Silence of the Lambs hadn't been released the same year, he would have won. He turns in a haunting performance as Max Cady and definitely pushes the film along. Great film and very effective suspense all around.
    Patrick W Super Reviewer
  • Jun 20, 2016
    I have no idea why people like this film so much. It's absolutely terrible, and De Niro does some of the most unconvincing acting of his career in this film.
    Stephen S Super Reviewer
  • May 20, 2015
    Skin crawlingly creepy, De Niro's Max Cady is the only part that truly stands out in Scorsese's '91 remake of Cape Fear. But he stands out *so much* that it alone makes it worth watching. The couple of innovative stalking moments and supporting cast members Juliette Lewis and Jessica Lange didn't blow me away, but were still enough to kick it up another level.
    Gimly M Super Reviewer

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