Cape Fear (1991 film)

1991 film directed by Martin Scorsese

Cape Fear is a 1991 film about a convicted rapist, released from prison after serving a 14 year sentence, who stalks the family of the lawyer who originally defended him. It is a remake of the 1962 film of the same name.

Directed by Martin Scorsese. Written by Wesley Strick, based on the 1962 screenplay by James R. Webb, which was an adaptation from the novel The Executioners by John D. MacDonald.
There is nothing in the dark that isn't there in the light. Except fear. (taglines)

Max Cady

  • It's not necessary to lay a foul tongue on me, my friend. I could get upset. Things could get out of hand. Then in self defense, I could do something to you that you would not like, right here.
  • Counselor? Counselor, is that you? Counselor, come out, come out, wherever you are! I ain't no white trash piece of shit. I'm better than you all! I can out-learn you. I can out-read you. I can out-think you. And I can out-philosophize you. And I'm gonna outlast you. You think a couple whacks to my good ol' boy guts is gonna get me down? It's gonna take a hell of a lot more than that, Counselor, to prove you're better than me! I am like God, and God like me. I am as large as God. He is as small as I. He cannot above me, nor I beneath Him be. Silesius, 17th Century. Counselor? Counselor, could you be there? Could you be there? [He whistles] Counselor. I wonder if you're here. Ah, fuck it. You're here, you ain't here. What the fuck's the difference?
  • I am going to teach you the meaning of commitment. Fourteen years ago, I was forced to make a commitment to an eight by nine cell, now you are going to be forced to make a commitment. You could say I'm here to save you.
  • [Singing] On Jordan's stormy branks I stand! Oh, who will come with me? I am bound for the promised land! I am bound for the promised l-... land! I am bound for the promised land!

Danielle Bowden

  • My reminiscence: I always thought that for such a lovely river the name was mystifying, Cape Fear, when the only thing to fear on those enchanted summer nights was that the magic would end and real life would come crashing in.
  • If you hold on to the past, you die a little each day...
  • We never spoke about what happened, at least not to each other. Fear, I suppose, that to remember his name and what he did would mean letting him into our dreams. And me, I hardly dream about him anymore. Still, things won't ever be the way they were before he came. But that's alright because if you hang onto the past you die a little every day. And for myself, I know I'd rather live. [whispers] The end.


Max Cady: [smiling, after grabbing the keys from the car] Free as a bird. You go wherever you want with whomever.
Sam Bowden: I'd like my keys back, please.
Max Cady: Could it be you don't remember me?
Sam Bowden: I remember you. You were at the movies the other night.
Max Cady: I'm disappointed. I'm hurt.
Sam Bowden: I would like my keys.
Max Cady: Max Cady. You look the same. Maybe 15 pounds heavier. But they say the average man gains a pound a year till he's about... Come on. Gains a pound a year till he's about 60. Me? I dropped a pound every year in my sentence.
Sam Bowden: Atlanta. July 1977?
Max Cady: You got it. [looks at keys] Fourteen years since I held a set of keys.

Judge: Let me quote our great Negro educator, Mr. Booker T. Washington."I will let no man drag me down so low... " to make me hate him."

Lieutenant Elgart: So what happened, your wife let the dog out and Cady abducted him and...
Sam Bowden: No, my wife didn't let the dog out.
Lieutenant Elgart: So he came into the house? Now that's illegal entry...
Sam Bowden: No, he didn't come into the house either. Now look, I'm not a cop, I don't know how he did it, all I know is that he DID it.

Max Cady: Are you my friend? Are you my friend?
Claude Kersek: No, I'm not your friend.
Max Cady: Well, see, I like to plan my comings and goings with friends, so if you're planning my comings and goings, I'd call that presumptuous. In fact, I'd call it downright rude.

Max Cady: I wanted to meet you, see what you're like. I see you're a nice person. That's all.
Danielle Bowden: You're not gonna hurt me, are you?
Max Cady: No, I'm not gonna hurt you at all. There's no hurtin' here, Danielle. 'Tween us, there's no anger, nothin'. Just a search for truth. I mean, did you judge me, did you get angry at me when you caught me smokin' the grass? Hmm?
Danielle Bowden: No.
Max Cady: But your parents, they judged you. They got plenty angry at you, didn't they?
Danielle Bowden: Yeah.
Max Cady: Mm-hmm. They punished you for their sins. What did they do?
Danielle Bowden: They, uh... My dad... They just yelled a whole lot and, um... My mom cried... and my dad said I couldn't drive the Cherokee.
Max Cady: I'd say they punished you for their sins, and you resent that, and you should resent it. But Professor 'Do-Right' has a little advice for you. You shouldn't damn 'em. Don't judge 'em. Just forgive 'em, for they know not what they do.
Danielle Bowden: Well, um, why do you hate my father?
Max Cady: I don't hate him at all. Oh, no, I pray for him. I'm here to help him. I mean, we all make mistakes, Danielle. You and I have. At least we try to admit it. Don't we?...But your daddy, he don't. Every man carries a circle of hell around his head like a halo. Your daddy, too. Every man... Every man has to go through hell to reach his paradise. You know what paradise is?...Salvation. 'Cause your daddy's not happy. Your mommy's not happy. And, you know what? You're not happy. Are you? You know, I think I might have found a companion, a companion for that long walk to the light.

Max Cady: The people call Samuel J. Bowden! Do you swear to tell the truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Sam Bowden: Cady, somebody's got to man the boat. We're heading into unprotected water!
Max Cady: Do you swear?
Danielle Bowden: I'll do it, Dad.
Max Cady: [pointing her the gun] You sit, Danielle! Don't you make light of your civic duty, darling! You're the jury!
Sam Bowden: All right, all right, okay! I swear to tell the truth. What do you wanna know?
Max Cady: Was a prior sexual history ever prepared in connection with my defense? Was a prior sexual history ever prepared in connection with my defense?
Sam Bowden: It's... [Cady hits him in the face and Danielle is screaming]
Max Cady: [looking in the camera behind him] I'm sorry, Your Honor. I agree. That was argumentative. [addressing again to Sam] An investigator did prepare a prior sexual history on the alleged victim. True? [looking again behind him] I can ask leading questions, Your Honor. He is a hostile witness. [to Sam] Would you care to tell the court what the gist was of this report?
Sam Bowden: Cady, it was 14 years ago. I can't remember that. [Cady hits him again]
Leigh Bowden: [Screams] How can he answer when you're hitting him like that?!
Max Cady: [to the camera behind him] Because he's perjuring himself, Your Honor. He knows damn well exactly what it said! [turns to Sam] Don't you?!
Sam Bowden: It said that she was promiscuous. It said that she had three different lovers in one month.
Max Cady: At least three! At least three! And did you show this report to the D. A.?
Sam Bowden: No, no.
Max Cady: No! I... I only discovered it after I petitioned to represent myself, six years into my sentence! But there it was in the court file! But back in '77, you buried it, Counselor! Would you care to tell the jury why? Would you care to tell the court why?!
Sam Bowden: [looking at Leigh and Danielle] Because I know he brutally raped her and he beat her!
Max Cady: Talk to me! I'm standing here! [hits Sam in the face]
Sam Bowden: Just because she was promiscuous didn't give you the right to rape her! You bragged to me that you beat two prior aggravated rapes. You were a menace!
Max Cady: [Screams] YOU WERE MY LAWYER! YOU WERE MY LAWYER! That report could've saved me fourteen years!
Sam Bowden: [Begrudgingly] You're probably right.
Max Cady: [Disgusted] YOU SELF-RIGHTEOUS FUCK! I'm Virgil, Counselor, and I'm guidin' you through the gates of Hell. We are now in the Ninth Circle, the Circle of Traitors. Traitors to country! Traitors to fellow man! Traitors to God! You, sir, are charged with betrayin' the principles of all three! Can you please quote for me the American Bar Association's Rules of Professional Conduct, Canon Seven?
Sam Bowden: [Saddened] "A lawyer should represent his client..."
Max Cady: "Should ZEALOUSLY represent his client within the bounds of the law"! And I find you guilty, Counselor! Guilty of betrayin' your fellow man! Guilty of betrayin' your country, guilty of abrogatin' your oath, guilty of judgin' me and sellin' me out! And with the power vested in me by the kingdom of God, I sentence you to the Ninth Circle of Hell! Now you will learn about loss! Loss of freedom! Loss of humanity! Now you and I will truly be the same, Counselor!

Max Cady: You already sacrificed me, Counselor!


  • There is nothing in the dark that isn't there in the light. Except fear.
  • Sam Bowden has always provided for his family's future. But the past is coming back to haunt them.


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