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Cape Fear

187 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Gregory Peck and Robert Mitchum star in Hollywood's classic tale of revenge and murder. Robert Mitchum is unforgettable as Max Cady, an ex-con determined to exact a terrible revenge on Sam Bowden (Gregory Peck) and his family. Sam is a small-town lawyer whose worst nightmare comes true when the criminal he helped put away returns to stalk his beautiful young wife (Polly Bergen) and teenage daughter (Lori Martin). Despite help from the local police chief (Martin Balsam) and a private detective (Telly Savalas), Sam is legally powerless to keep Max from playing his sadistic game of cat and mouse. Finally, Sam must put his family's lives at stake in a deadly trap that leads to one of the most suspenseful and heart-pounding confrontations ever committed to film. Director J. Lee Thompson builds tension with each scene leading to a deadly showdown at Cape Fear. This is truly a masterpiece of shock and suspense.

Special Features

  • The Making of Cape Fear
  • Production Photographs
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Production Notes
  • Cast and Filmmakers
  • DVD-ROM Features

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum, Polly Bergen, Telly Savalas
    • Directors: J. Lee Thompson
    • Writers: James R. Webb
    • Producers: Sy Bartlett
    • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Collector's Edition, NTSC
    • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
    • Subtitles: French, Spanish, Bulgarian, Finnish, Greek
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
    • Studio: Universal Studios
    • DVD Release Date: September 18, 2001
    • Run Time: 106 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (187 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B00005LC4D
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,010 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
    • Learn more about "Cape Fear" on IMDb

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Reginald D. Garrard VINE VOICE on April 3, 2004
    Format: VHS Tape
    Prior to his Oscar-winning role as lawyer Atticus Finch in "To Kill a Mockingbird", Gregory Peck portrayed another attorney in 1962's "Cape Fear", a psychological thriller also starring Robert Mitchum in one of his most despicable roles.
    No two actors were better suited than these two. Their characters are a definite study in contrast. Peck's Sam Bowden is a civilized intellectual forced to resort to some underhanded means to protect his family and himself from the treacherous taunts of Mitchum's crude, rude antagonist. Tension builds as the two men make a final confrontation at the location of the film's title.
    Polly Bergen and Lorie Martin as Peck's respective wife and daughter are quite good a show a strength of character rare for women in the early 60's. They are not just "screaming Mimi's".
    Martin Balsam, Jack Krushen and a pre-Kojak Telly Savalas round out a superlative cast; Barrie Chase is also quite memorable as a woman that runs afoul of the Mitchum's sadistic Max Cady.
    Southern locations and crisp cinematography provide a picturesque yet menacing background and look.
    To top off the film off is another remarkable score from Bernard Herrmann. Music by the late composer elevates this already superior thriller to a higher level.
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    27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Hillary on September 29, 2002
    Format: DVD
    The late great classic acting talents of Robert Mitchum are showcased in this 1962 classic, reproving his ability to play the villain with unsurpassed expertise, as in the former 1955 classic "Night of The Hunter".

    Here, Mitchum plays Max Cady, a menacing figure with a perpetual lit cigar and Panama Hat. He has come to town after being released from jail to visit and wreak revenge on the man who put him there, enter Sam, played by Gregory Peck. From their initial reunion in the town parking lot, Cady lets Peck have a peek at what's on his mind. From that moment on, there are grippingly suspenseful encounters between the two men and even worse, threats to his wife played by Polly Bergen, and his daughter, in a rather ineffectual role considering what she goes through when encountering Cady. Particularly amusing is a scene in the beginning of the film. Cady casually watches the family bowl, while harrassing a waitress and having a beer. The expression on Pecks face as his Sam character looks up, and spots those sinister leering eyes peering from a nearby table at his family, is classic.

    What needs to be mentioned more than the great direction, pacing and script, is the believabilty of the sociopath depicted, that Mitchum brings to startling low-life on the screen. He is truly mesmerizing in his sleepy-eyed evil countenance. His gaze, cigar in mouth, hat pulled low, will raise your hair as you watch him. He moves toward his victims in a slow and deliberate manner, and speaks his lines with that commanding voice that he was so famous for. When picked up for questioning, he hilariously mocks Pecks' Sam, calling him casually by name, "Why, Say-im..." and then as "counselor" refering to his lawyer status. My favorite Mitchum line here?
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    12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By David Von Pein on November 8, 2005
    Format: DVD Verified Purchase
    "Counselor, you really stepped on it this time, didn't ya? I don't know what the Bar Association thinks about its members compounding a felony -- but I do know what the law thinks about it. You just put the law in my hands! And I'm gonna BREAK YOUR HEART WITH IT!! Ain't nothin' can stop me! You understand that, don't you?!"

    The above words were spoken by a bloodied "Max Cady" in the original (1962) version of "Cape Fear", which is a suspense-filled masterpiece that remains one of my favorite movies of this genre. The film, which was known as "The Executioners" during the actual shooting of the picture (the title of the 1957 John D. MacDonald novel on which the movie was based), first appeared on American theater screens on April 12th, 1962.

    That Max Cady is one scary dude! No doubt about that. Portrayed to perfection by 44-year-old Robert Mitchum, Cady is presented with full intensity in "Cape". We get the impression, and rightly so, that Mr. Cady is relentless in his pursuit of "Sam Bowden" and his family. Nothing is going to stop him. And Sam (Gregory Peck) knows this too.

    Therefore, drastic measures are needed to fight this awesome menace. Watch and see how it suspensefully unfolds. Many memorable scenes await the viewer here -- scenes that look all the greater thanks to the handsome Anamorphic Widescreen print of the movie that has been encoded onto this DVD. The black-and-white photography looks solid as a rock on this disc.

    As the film opens, we see a cigar-smoking Max Cady walking toward the courthouse to meet his "prey" (Bowden). Cady's self-assured gait and somewhat cocky manner, as we watch him leisurely making his way down the street, give us a good indication as to the kind of man Cady is.
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    9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 15, 1999
    Format: VHS Tape
    Man, oh man what a fabulous performance by Big Bob Mitchum there is in this 1962 Cape Fear! He was never better. This 1962 version is *much* better than Scorcese's remake and it's cause Mitchum is simply superb in the role of Max Cady. What a villian.......brrrrr! Mitchum's performance is so superior to De Niro's in the same role it just clearly demonstrates how much finer of an actor he was than De Niro can ever hope to be. Yes, Peck is weak in this film but who really cares when Big Bob sweeps into the scenes and just blows everybody away verbally. And that scene in the houseboat at night when he has Polly Bergen trapped and he is coming at her with his bare barrel chest dripping with swamp waters and then he gets her pinned against a counter and takes that raw egg and cracks it in his hand and rubs the yolk over her bare shoulders.........I get chills just thinking about it! Wow. No one has ever played a creepier guy than this and so believably. People always talk about Mitchum and Night of the Hunter but he's even *better* in Cape Fear.
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