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The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

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A young F.B.I. cadet must confide in an incarcerated and manipulative killer to receive his help on catching another serial killer who skins his victims.



(novel), (screenplay)
210 ( 25)
Top Rated Movies #23 | Won 5 Oscars. Another 48 wins & 34 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lawrence A. Bonney ...
Lawrence T. Wrentz ...
Don Brockett ...
Frank Seals Jr. ...
Stuart Rudin ...
Maria Skorobogatov ...
Young Clarice (as Masha Skorobogatov)
Jeffrie Lane ...
Leib Lensky ...
George 'Red' Schwartz ...
Mr. Lang's Driver (as Red Schwartz)


FBI trainee Clarice Starling works hard to advance her career, including trying to hide or put behind her West Virginia roots, of which if some knew would automatically classify her as being backward or white trash. After graduation, she aspires to work in the agency's Behavioral Science Unit under the leadership of Jack Crawford. While she is still a trainee, Crawford does ask her to question Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a psychiatrist imprisoned thus far for eight years in maximum security isolation for being a serial killer, he who cannibalized his victims. Clarice is able to figure out the assignment is to pick Lecter's brains to help them solve another serial murder case, that of someone coined by the media as Buffalo Bill who has so far killed five victims, all located in the eastern US, all young women who are slightly overweight especially around the hips, all who were drowned in natural bodies of water, and all who were stripped of large swaths of skin. She also figures that Crawford... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


May The Silence Be Broken!! See more »


Crime | Drama | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

14 February 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Silence of the Lambs  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$19,000,000 (estimated)


$130,727,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (original cut)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


When Jonathan Demme filmed the scene where Lecter and Starling first meet, Anthony Hopkins said he should look directly at the camera as it panned into his line of sight. He felt Lecter should be portrayed as "knowing everything." See more »


When Clarice is interviewing Lecter, a padlock on his cell door goes from locked to unlocked between scenes. See more »


[first lines]
FBI instructor: Starling! Starling! Crawford wants to see you in his office.
Clarice Starling: Thank you, sir.
See more »

Crazy Credits

There is a 'Moth Wrangler/Make-Up' listed in the crew list. See more »


Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Ian McKellen/Kylie Minogue (2002) See more »


Lanmò Nan Zile A
Performed and Written by Les Freres Parent
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A truly remarkable film
16 November 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

STAR RATING: ***** The Works **** Just Misses the Mark *** That Little Bit In Between ** Lagging Behind * The Pits

Rookie FBI agent Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) is assigned to get into the mind of notorious incarcerated serial killer Dr Hannibal 'the Cannibal' Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) to get his evaluation on the elusive Buffalo Bill, a serial killer who's been abducting and killing young women. When a prominent senator's daughter is kidnapped, it becomes a race against time to find her before she is killed and all the while Lecter is playing mind-games with Starling as well as any help he can provide...

The first of Thomas Harris's Hannibal novels to be adapted for the screen, only to be followed some years later with some very lacklustre (but inevitable!) follow-ups, despite it's age this remains one of the most effective chillers of modern times. Despite the mainstream appeal of the film, the grainy lighting and laid-back budget give it an art-house feel that sets it apart from other such films that were as successful. The film manages some effectively disturbing scenes that make it a not altogether pleasant viewing experience.

Performances wise, in a very early role, a young Foster shows her promise for future roles, with a gripping portrayal of naivety and vulnerability here that is very compelling and convincing, even though there are some plausibility problems with someone as junior as her being assigned to do something like that. Hopkins too is brilliant as Lecter, playing a dangerous man behind bars who's ability to get inside your head and see the things you don't want him to see makes him no less dangerous, if not more so, than if he was on the outside. He's certainly received the most acclaim for his role over the years, but in my humble opinion, he's actually over-shadowed (though only slightly!) by Ted Levine as Buffalo Bill, a truly extraordinary psychopath with an unsettling sexuality disorder that is probably one of the nastiest things ever to be seen in such a mainstream film. As supporting FBI agent Crawford, Scott Glenn is impressive but sort of just faded into DTV land after this film.

It's easily one of the most popular films ever made, so it's likely a lot of you are familiar with it already, but with reviews on the so-inferior follow-up films Red Dragon and Hannibal, I thought it only right that I'd finally give this first film a mention. Truly remarkable. *****

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