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|Gregory Peck||Sam Bowden|
|Robert Mitchum||Max Cady|
|Polly Bergen||Peggy Bowden|
|Lori Martin||Nancy Bowden|
|Martin Balsam||Police Chief Mark Dutton|
|Telly Savalas||Private Detective Charles Sievers|
|Jack Kruschen||Attorney Dave Grafton|
After spending eight years in prison for rape, Max Cady (Robert Mitchum) is released. He promptly tracks down Sam Bowden (Gregory Peck), a Georgia lawyer whom he holds personally responsible for his conviction because Sam interrupted his attack and testified aggainst him. Cady begins to stalk and subtly threaten Bowden's family. He kills the Bowden family dog, though Sam cannot prove this. A friend of Bowden's, police chief Mark Dutton (Martin Balsam), attempts to intervene on Bowden's behalf, but he cannot prove Cady guilty of any crime.Bowden hires Charlie Sievers (Telly Savalas), a private detective. Cady brutally attacks a young, promiscuous woman named Diane Taylor (Barrie Chase) when she brings him home, but neither the private eye nor Bowden can persuade her to testify. Bowden hires three thugs to beat up Cady and persuade him to leave town, but the plan backfires when Cady gets the better of all three. Cady's lawyer vows to have Bowden disbarred.Afraid for his wife Peggy (Polly Bergen) and 14-year-old daughter Nancy (Lori Martin), Bowden takes them to their houseboat in Cape Fear. In an attempt to trick Cady, Bowden makes it seem as though he has gone to a completely different location. He fully expects Cady to follow his wife and daughter, and he plans on killing Cady to end the battle. He and a local deputy hide nearby, but Cady realizes the deputy is there and kills him. Eluding Bowden, Cady first attacks Mrs. Bowden on the boat, causing Bowden to go to her rescue. Meanwhile, Cady swims back to shore to attack the daughter. Bowden realizes what has happened and swims back, too.The two men engage in a final violent fight on the riverbank. Bowden overpowers Cady but decides not to kill him, preferring to let him spend the rest of his life in jail, because killing Cady would be the "easy way out." The film ends with the Bowden family's sitting together on a boat the next morning.
DVD : 2001-09-18