AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Cape Fear
Director: J. Lee Thompson (Dir)
Release Date:   1962
Duration (in mins):  105
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Cast: Gregory Peck  (Sam Bowden)
  Robert Mitchum  (Max Cady)
  Polly Bergen  (Peggy Bowden)

Summary: Following a 6-year imprisonment for committing a sadistic sex crime, Max Cady arrives in a small southern town to seek revenge on the man responsible for his conviction, counselor Sam Bowden. Although Cady makes no direct threats, it is apparent that he is after Sam's wife, Peggy, and his 12-year-old daughter, Nancy. Because he has broken no law, neither Sam nor the police are able to take any legal action against him. Consequently, Sam cannot prevent Cady from poisoning the family dog, menacing Nancy when she leaves school, and whispering obscenities to Peggy over the telephone. Furthermore, Cady refuses to be bribed or bullied out of town. Desperate, Sam decides to take the law into his hands and lay a trap for Cady. After hiding his wife and daughter in a houseboat on the Cape Fear River, he leaves town. He then secretly returns, hopeful that Cady has discovered the hiding place. The ruse works, and Cady arrives on the scene late one night. Following a furious struggle in the river, Sam overpowers Cady and once more is instrumental in sending him to prison. 

Distribution Company: Universal-International
Production Company: Melville-Talbot Productions
Director: J. Lee Thompson (Dir)
  Ray Gosnell Jr. (Asst dir)
Producer: Sy Bartlett (Prod)
Writer: James R. Webb (Scr)

Subject Major: Cape Fear River
  Family life
  Small town life
  United States--South

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
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