Cape Feare And Other References

“Cape Feare” was based on Cape Fear (1991), which was a remake of the first movie from 1962. The movie was originally adapted from the 1957 novel The Executioners. The story itself embraces the notion of stories changing through time that is at the forefront of Mr. Burns. The premise of the movies and book are the same. A convicted rapist, Max Cady, is released from jail after serving his time. He sets forward to take revenge on the attorney, Sam Bowden, he believes is responsible for his conviction. Cady stalks the family, kills their dog, and attempts to seduce Bowden’s daughter. Bowden takes the family to hide out on their houseboat, where Cady follows them. Cady attacks the family, but ultimately, Bowden overpowers him.

CAPE FEAR (1962)
  • Directed by: J. Lee Thompson

  • Starring: Robert Mitchum, Gregory Peck, Martin Balsam, Polly Bergen, Lori Martin

  • Composer: Bernard Herrmann

  • Ending: Cady spends his life in jail.

CAPE FEAR (1991)
  • Directed by: Martin Scorsese

  • Starring: Robert De Niro, Nick Nolte, Jessica Lange, Juliette Lewis, Joe Don Baker

  • Cameos: Robert Mitchum, Gregory Peck, Martin Balsam

  • Composer: Bernard Herrmann

  • Ending: Cady drowns.


This reviewer compares the two movies here, stating: “In the 1962 version, protagonist Sam Bowden was underwritten, Peck’s performance stiff and disinterested. Here, Nick Nolte plays him as a bundle of nerves and insecurities, a frustrated victim not only of Max Cady but also of a societal system powerless to protect him.”

"CAPE FEARE" (1993) 

In Season One, Sideshow Bob framed Krusty the Clown for robbing a convenience store to take over his show, tired of humiliating himself on it. Bart proved that Krusty was innocent and that Sideshow Bob framed him, sending Sideshow Bob to prison. Sideshow Bob is released from prison and is set on murdering Bart for revenge. Sideshow Bob stalks the family, who enter the Witness Protection Program. They are sent to live on a houseboat, which Sideshow Bob finds. Sideshow Bob corners Bart on the boat and delays murdering him to grant Bart’s last wish- that Sideshow Bob perform the entirety of the HMS Pinafore. By the end of the performance, the houseboat returns to land, where Sideshow Bob is arrested.

Watch the episode here. The episode has many distinct visual references to the film, which you can see below:


A 1955 film noir in which “a corrupt reverend-turned-serial killer attempts to charm an unsuspecting widow and steal $10,000 hidden by her executed husband.” Washburn said that this film was influential on Mr. Burns. Washburn uses the Love/Hate speech from this movie in the script.

“Ah, little lad, you’re staring at my fingers. Would you like me to tell you the little story of right-hand/left-hand? The story of good and evil? H-A-T-E! It was with this left hand that old brother Cain struck the blow that laid his brother low. L-O-V-E! You see these fingers, dear hearts? These fingers has veins that run straight to the soul of man. The right hand, friends, the hand of love. Now watch, and I’ll show you the story of life. [Here, he interlocks his two hands] Those fingers, dear hearts, is always a-warring and a-tugging, one agin t’other. Now watch ’em! Old brother left hand, left hand he’s a fighting, and it looks like love’s a goner. But wait a minute! Hot dog, love’s a winning! Yessirree! It’s love that’s won, and old left hand hate is down for the count!”


A 1989 movie directed by Spike Lee which “tells the story of a Brooklyn neighborhood’s simmering racial tension, which comes to a head and culminates in tragedy on the hottest day of summer.” The character, Radio Raheem, performs the monologue from Night of the Hunter with linguistic differences such as “iced” and “stop the presses.”

“Let me tell you the story of Right Hand, Left Hand. It’s a tale of good and evil. Hate: it was with this hand that Cane iced his brother. Love: these five fingers, they go straight to the soul of man. The right hand: the hand of love. The story of life is this: static. One hand is always fighting the other hand, and the left hand is kicking much ass. I mean, it looks like the right hand, Love, is finished. But hold on, stop the presses, the right hand is coming back. Yeah, he got the left hand on the ropes, now, that’s right. Yea, boom, it’s a devastating right and Hate is hurt, he’s down. Ooh! Ooh! Left-Hand Hate KOed by Love. If I love you, I love you. But if I hate you …”

Compare the clips below:

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