Cape Fear

A work of rippling cinematic muscle by Martin Scorsese

Cape Fear
Martin Scorsese's "Cape Fear" is a work of rippling cinematic muscle. It's a brutal, demonic film with a grip like a vise; it grabs you early, its fingers around your throat, and never lets go. No one can give evil a more voluptuous surface than Scorsese; he's a dread master, and with "Cape Fear" -- his remake of the 1962 thriller with Gregory Peck and Robert Mitchum -- he's delivered a ravishing thesis on the anatomy of terror. If the director has set out to horrify us, then he's succeeded, and made us laugh at ourselves for being so spooked. "Cape Fear" scares you, all right, and more -- it makes your liver blanch.

The movie premise is as straightforward as it is tough. Sam Bowden (Nick Nolte) is an attorney in a small Southern town, who 14 years ago unsuccessfully defended a brutal maniac named Max Cady (Robert De Niro) on a rape charge that, after being reduced to battery, sent him to prison. At the time of his trial, Cady was illiterate, but during his imprisonment he has become a bookworm, reading literature, philosophy and, in particular, law. All the while, Cady has dreamed of taking his revenge against Bowden, whose shoddy defense, he believes, is the reason he's lost his wife, his child and a big chunk of his life. And so when Cady is finally released, he makes a beeline for Bowden's peaceful home town, looking for a little payback.

At its heart, "Cape Fear" is a genre exercise, and because it's so expertly executed and so visually alive, the movie still gets to us. Even here, it's impossible to be indifferent to Scorsese's work; he's a virtuoso, and for some filmmakers this movie would stand as a pinnacle work. (H. Hinson, Washington Post)

Cape Fear

Wed October 18, 2006, 7:00 only, Muenzinger Auditorium

USA, 1991, in English, Color, 128 min, Rated R



10 films for $60 with punch card
$9 general admission. $7 w/UCB student ID, $7 for senior citizens
$1 discount to anyone with a bike helmet
Free on your birthday! CU Cinema Studies students get in free.


Pay lot 360 (now only $1/hour!), across from the buffalo statue and next to the Duane Physics tower, is closest to Muenzinger. Free parking can be found after 5pm at the meters along Colorado Ave east of Folsom stadium and along University Ave west of Macky.


Park elsewhere and catch the HOP to campus

International Film Series

(Originally called The University Film Commission)
Established 1941 by James Sandoe.

First Person Cinema

(Originally called The Experimental Cinema Group)
Established 1955 by Carla Selby, Gladney Oakley, Bruce Conner and Stan Brakhage.

C.U. Film Program

(AKA The Rocky Mountain Film Center)
First offered degrees in filmmaking and critical studies in 1989 under the guidance of Virgil Grillo.

Celebrating Stan

Created by Suranjan Ganguly in 2003.

C.U. Department of Cinema Studies & Moving Image Arts

Established 2017 by Chair Ernesto Acevedo-Muñoz.

Thank you, sponsors!
Boulder International Film Festival
Department of Cinema Studies & Moving Image Arts

Looking for a gift for a friend?
Buy a Frequent Patron Punch Card for $60 at any IFS show. With the punch card you can see ten films (a value of $90).

Cover art for Spring 2 2022
Virtual titles to stream from home

Cox & Kjølseth
: Filmmaker Alex Cox & Pablo Kjølseth discuss film topics from their own unique perspectives.

: Pablo and Ana share Zoom-based briefs on what's currently playing at IFS

Sprocket Damage
: Sprocket Damage digs deep(ish) into current and classic films and film-related subjects to bring to you insightful, humorous, and enlightening perspectives on the industry.

Search IFS schedules

Index of visiting artists