Cape Fear

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"Sam Bowden has always provided for his family's future. But the past is coming back to haunt them."
  • R
  • 1991
  • 2 hr 7 min
  • 7.3  (214,457)
  • 73

Cape Fear is a 1991 psychological thriller directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert De Niro, Nick Nolte, and Jessica Lange. The film follows the story of a convicted rapist, Max Cady (played by De Niro), who seeks revenge against his former lawyer, Sam Bowden (played by Nolte), who he feels was responsible for his imprisonment.

The movie's opening scene introduces us to Sam Bowden, a successful lawyer and family man, who is haunted by his past. We quickly learn that Sam was the prosecutor who put Max Cady in prison, and Cady has spent the last fourteen years plotting his revenge. Throughout the film, we witness Cady's relentless pursuit of Sam and his family, which includes Sam's wife Leigh Bowden (played by Lange) and their teenage daughter, Danielle (played by Juliette Lewis).

As Cady begins to harass the Bowden family, Sam becomes increasingly paranoid and desperate to protect his loved ones. He hires a private investigator and begins carrying a gun for protection, but it is clear that Cady is always one step ahead. Cady uses his charm and intelligence to manipulate everyone around him, including the Bowden family, as he slowly infiltrates their lives.

What makes Cape Fear so effective as a thriller is the masterful performances by De Niro, Nolte, and Lange. De Niro gives a chilling and intense performance as Cady, making him one of the most memorable villains in movie history. He exudes a menacing aura that is hard to ignore, and his character's relentless pursuit of revenge is both terrifying and captivating.

Nolte, on the other hand, plays Sam with a nervous, anxious energy that perfectly captures the character's desperation. He is a man trying to hold onto his sanity while his life is falling apart around him, and Nolte conveys this with a raw and authentic performance. Lange is also excellent as Leigh, a woman struggling to maintain her composure in the face of her family's impending doom. She brings a vulnerability to the role that is both heartbreaking and relatable.

Aside from the acting, the movie's use of music and cinematography also contribute to its tense, ominous atmosphere. The score, composed by Bernard Herrmann, who also scored the original 1962 version of the movie, is haunting and memorable. The use of shadows, camera angles, and quick cuts throughout the film also create a sense of unease and paranoia, making the audience feel like they are being watched along with the Bowden family.

Overall, Cape Fear is a gripping and suspenseful thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The talented cast, excellent direction, and unforgettable villain make it a must-see for fans of the genre.

Cape Fear is a 1991 crime movie with a runtime of 2 hours and 7 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.3 and a MetaScore of 73.

Cape Fear
Where to Watch Cape Fear
Cape Fear is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Cape Fear for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr 7 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.3  (214,457)
  • Metascore