For a better experience on MUBI, update your browser.
1,333 Ratings

Cape Fear

Directed by J. Lee Thompson
United States, 1962
Crime, Drama, Thriller


Small-town lawyer Sam Bowden’s life becomes torturous when Max Cady re-enters his life. Cady went to jail for 8 years after Bowden testified that Cady attacked a young woman. Now that Cady has been released, he begins to terrorize Bowden and his family, particularly targeting Bowden’s daughter.

This film is not currently playing on MUBI but 30 other great films are. See what’s now showing
Cape Fear Directed by J. Lee Thompson

What are people saying?

  • msmichel's rating of the film Cape Fear

    There is a certain perverseness and frank sexuality to Thompson's 'Cape Fear' which given its time period hurt its box office potential. 50 plus years later it stands as a classic thriller that holds more power than its '91 Scorsese remake. Mitchum and Peck were both powerhouses here well supported all around. Hermann's score is quite magnificent adding to the film's ability to upset and manipulate.

  • gld48's rating of the film Cape Fear

    So good. How this passed the censors is beyond but it delivers in every way. Mitchum is terrifying and Peck is his usual granite self. Gorgeous black and white.

  • francine's rating of the film Cape Fear

    Cannot believe I have just now only watched this. Thanks J.Can't image anyone playing it more raw and abusive than Mitchum. Peck as Sam, was right choice for antithesis of Cady. .I've never seen the remake, probably never should.That last scene in the backwater, I didn't breathe.Can't wait to let some time pass to rewatch. Yes. up there with the better Hitch films.

  • Shelley's rating of the film Cape Fear

    it's very interesting to compare this to Scorsese's take on "Cape Fear" because they are so very different, almost completely. I really liked this one because Mitchum is high on my "creeper" list and Peck is a great actor. the black and white adds another terrifying depth to this film. I found myself grasping at the covers at certain scenes and my heart paused a few times. this is a great film/classic/should be seen

  • Zachary George Najarian-Najafi's rating of the film Cape Fear

    If Harry Powell was not proof enough, Mitchum's Max Cady shows that the man knew how to terrify. Cady is more than just a sociopathic rapist, he's a feral beast rising from the muck of the swamp ready to attack. But he's also witty and urbane, and anything bu dumb. It is an electrifying performance, but Gregory Peck balances him out. Don't miss this sizzling slice of Southern Gothic, it drips with light and shadow.

  • Martin Wilson's rating of the film Cape Fear

    Mitchum smearing the raw egg over Polly Bergen's chest is one of the most provocative moments in the history of film. As close as Hollywood has come to the money shot - and way back in 1962. As squirm inducing as young Martin Stephens kissing Deborah Kerr in THE INNOCENTS, the year before. Thompson really needs to be reassessed. For every one of his later mediocrities, there's a terrific film like this.

  • Duncan Gray's rating of the film Cape Fear

    I dig the Scorsese version, which is more thrilling and has more complex themes. But one can't deny the sordid power of telling this story in a setting that could still feign innocence, where the film could tap into bourgeois America's fear of its own underclass, and where the dark triumph is making a law-abiding ending feel bloodthirsty. David Thomson: "De Niro is a masterclass, but Robert Mitchum is The Beast."

  • Nicholas Gregory's rating of the film Cape Fear

    Thompson’s directing is more plain than Scorsese’s stylish approach. It captures the script, but doesn’t exactly accentuate it either. That said, Mitchum’s sinister downplay is eerier than De Niro’s menacing brute— you can practically see the revenge clock ticking and the methodical gears moving in his headspace. Oddly, Mitchum’s character is like a more psychologically-driven and motivated Hannibal Lecter.

Related films