Totally Useless Movie Trivia - Cape Fear

Cape Fear Movie Trivia

It's the Top Ten Countdown of Cape Fear Movie Trivia

Cape Fear (1991)
R | 2h 8min | Crime, Thriller | 15 November 1991 (USA)

A convicted rapist, released from prison after serving a fourteen-year sentence, stalks the family of the lawyer who originally defended him.
Director: Martin Scorsese
Writers: John D. MacDonald (novel), James R. Webb (earlier screenplay)
Stars: Robert De Niro, Nick Nolte, Jessica Lange
10.  Jessica Lange accepted her role to work with Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese.

9.  The note that is broken on Nick Nolte's grand piano is an A two octaves above middle C.

8.  The thick accent Robert De Niro used to play Max Cady reportedly gave Martin Scorsese the creeps. As a joke, De Niro would call Scorsese's house, leaving voicemails as Cady.

7.  Robert De Niro did a lot of working out several months before the movie and during the shoot to make him the muscular Max Cady, reportedly taking his body fat down to only 3%.

6.  Robert De Niro paid a dentist $5,000 to make his teeth look suitably bad for the role of Max Cady. After filming, he paid $20,000 to have them fixed.

5.  The scene where Robert De Niro sits on the brick wall, he actually sits in front of a blue screen where the fireworks were added later in production.

4.  Robert De Niro was tattooed with vegetable dyes, which fade after a few months.

3.  Juliette Lewis developed a crush on Robert De Niro during the scene in the drama class.

2.  Robert De Niro researched sexual predator crimes for the part and suggested the scene where his character bites the victim.

1.  Body count: 5 (including the dog).


Martin Scorsese directed the film as part of a two picture deal with Universal Studio because of their help and support with the release of The Last Temptation of Christ (1988). The other picture in the deal was Casino (1995).

This was Gregory Peck's final appearance in a theatrical film release before his death on June 12, 2003 at the age of 87.

Robert De Niro's Cady accent came from an earlier role where he played a southerner. To prepare for the role, De Niro took excerpts of the script and a tape recorder into southern towns and would ask locals to read the lines into the tape.

Steven Spielberg was originally set to direct. He later recommended Martin Scorsese for the job and personally called the director, letting him know that this was a commercial film that had potential to be a hit, which would exercise more power for Scorsese to make his films.

Both Robert De Niro and Nick Nolte had to alter their physiques for the film because the 6'0", bulky, Nolte is clearly larger than the 5'9", slimmer De Niro. Nolte slimmed down, losing a good deal of weight, while shooting the film and De Niro bulked up his muscles considerably until De Niro could be seen as Nolte's physical superior. Interestingly the original Sam Bowden (Gregory Peck 6'3" at his peak) was also slightly taller than the original Max Cady (Robert Mitchum 6'1" at his peak).

The music that is heard at the climax of the movie was a piece of music that Bernard Herrmann had written for Alfred Hitchcock's Torn Curtain (1966), but that piece of music was never used. Elmer Bernstein had always liked that original score and he asked Martin Scorsese if it could be used in the film.

The script went through 24 drafts.

Martin Scorsese wanted the Bowdens' house surrounded by oak trees, covered by hanging tufts of Spanish moss. He wanted it so it looked like a sunny oasis by day, and isolating by night. Therefore, it would make a perfect dark cover for Cady.

The climactic scene out in the swamp was filmed in John U. Lloyd State Park, in the middle of a mangrove swamp. A tropical depression set over the set for four days, so the film crew had to wait for the storm to stop so that they could make their own rain.

The climax was filmed inside a 90-foot water-tank on a soundstage. It took four weeks to shoot.