Cape Fear (1991) - Rotten Tomatoes

Cape Fear1991

Cape Fear (1991)



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

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Movie Info

A remake of the 1962 version, this nail-biting and brutal thriller tells the story of a vengeful ex-con who sets out to ruin the lawyer who sent him to prison for committing a series of rapes 14 years before. The plot is based on a story by John D. MacDonald. Look carefully and see cameo appearances by a few stars from the original version.

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Nick Nolte
as Sam Bowden
Jessica Lange
as Leigh Bowden
Juliette Lewis
as Danielle Bowden
Joe Don Baker
as Claude Kersek
Robert Mitchum
as Lt. Elgart
Gregory Peck
as Lee Heller
Illeana Douglas
as Lori Davis
Fred Dalton Thompson
as Tom Broadbent
Zully Montero
as Graciella
Craig Henne
as Prisoner
Forest Burton
as Prisoner
Rod Ball
as Prisoner
W. Paul Bodie
as Prisoner
Joel Kolker
as Corrections Officer
Antoni Corone
as Corrections Officer
Tamara Jones
as Ice Cream Cashier
Roger Pretto
as Racquetball Colleague
Parris Buckner
as Racquetball Colleague
Margot Moreland
as Secretary
Robert L. Gerlach
as Arresting Officer
Bruce E. Holdstein
as Arresting Officer
Richard Wasserman
as Parade Watcher
Paul Nagle Jr.
as Parade Watcher
Paul Froehler
as Parade Watcher
Mary Ellen O'Brien
as Parade Watcher
Jody Wilson
as Parade Watcher
Jodie Wilson
as Parade Watcher
Kate Colburn
as Waitress
Domenica Cameron-Scorsese
as Dani's Girlfriend
Garr Stevens
as 1st Big Man
Billy Lucas
as 2nd Big Man
Ken Collins
as 3rd Big Man
Linda Perri
as Ticket Agent
Elizabeth Moyer
as Ticket Agent
Catherine Scorsese
as Fruit Stand Customer
Charles Scorsese
as Fruit Stand Customer
Chad Dowdell
as Jim (uncredited)
Jackie Davis
as Jimmy the Dockmaster
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Critic Reviews for Cape Fear

All Critics (53) | Top Critics (17)

Martin Scorsese wasn't supposed to remake the 1962 thriller, but when he did, he brought along his longtime muse and infused the story with an overwhelming amount of trademark chaos...

November 19, 2021 | Full Review…

It's a mess, really. But what a mess! Why do we call Scorsese one of the great filmmakers of his generation? Because, like all the great ones, even when he fails he fails with style and with wit.

August 17, 2021 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

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 18, 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…
Top Critic

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…

Audience Reviews for Cape Fear


A stylish neo-noir from Martin Scorsese, more mainstream than the rest of his work but still with his personal touch. It is a smart and anguishing thriller that takes a good time to build tension and boasts a terrifying performance by De Niro as the psychopath Max Cady.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer



Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer


Loved De Niro and the suspense was solid.

Matt Goodman
Matt Goodman

Super Reviewer

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