AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
Name Occurs Before Title Offscreen Credit Print Viewed By AFI
Cape Fear
Director: J. Lee Thompson (Dir)
Release Date:   1962
Premiere Information:   Miami, Florida, opening: 12 Apr 1962
Duration (in mins):   105
Print this page
Display Movie Summary


Cast:   Gregory Peck (Sam Bowden)  
    Robert Mitchum (Max Cady)  
    Polly Bergen (Peggy Bowden)  
    Lori Martin (Nancy Bowden)  
    Martin Balsam (Mark Dutton)  
    Jack Kruschen (Dave Grafton)  
    Telly Savalas (Charles Sievers)  
    Barrie Chase (Diane Taylor)  
    Paul Comi (Garner)  
    John McKee (Officer Marconi)  
    Page Slattery (Deputy Kersek)  
    Ward Ramsey (Officer Brown)  
    Edward Platt (Judge)  
    Will Wright (Dr. Pearsall)  
    Joan Staley (Waitress)  
    Norma Yost (Ticket clerk)  
    Mack Williams (Dr. Lowney)  
    Thomas Newman (Lieutenant Gervasi)  
    Alan Reynolds (Vernon)  
    Herb Armstrong (Waiter)  
    Bunny Rhea (Pianist)  
    Carol Sydes (Betty)  
    Alan Wells    
    Allan Ray (Young blades)  
    Paul Levitt (Police operator)  

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. 

Production Company: Melville-Talbot Productions  
Distribution Company: Universal-International  
Director: J. Lee Thompson (Dir)
  Ray Gosnell Jr. (Asst dir)
Producer: Sy Bartlett (Prod)
Writer: James R. Webb (Scr)
Photography: Sam Leavitt (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Alexander Golitzen (Art dir)
  Robert Boyle (Art dir)
Film Editor: George Tomasini (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Oliver Emert (Set dec)
Costumes: Mary Wills (Cost)
Music: Bernard Herrmann (Mus)
Sound: Waldon O. Watson (Sd)
  Corson Jowett (Sd)
Make Up: Frank Prehoda (Makeup)
  Tom Tuttle (Makeup)
  Virginia Darcy (Hairstyles)
Production Misc: Ernest B. Wehmeyer (Prod mgr)
Country: United States

Source Text: Based on the novel The Executioners by John D. MacDonald (New York, 1958).
Authors: John D. MacDonald

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Melville-Talbot Productions 18/12/1961 dd/mm/yyyy LP24729

 
Genre: Melodrama
 
Subjects (Major): Cape Fear River
  Dogs
  Ex-convicts
  Family life
  Houseboats
  Lawyers
  Police
  Psychopaths
  Revenge
  Sadism
  Small town life
  United States--South

Display Movie Summary
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.
 
Advanced Search
AFI Membership
The definitive list of classic American films

© 2014 American Film Institute.
All rights reserved.
Terms of use.