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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.

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(novel), (screenplay)
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273 ( 32)
Top Rated Movies #23 | Won 5 Oscars. Another 49 wins & 38 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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)
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

To enter the mind of a killer she must challenge the mind of a madman. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 February 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Silence of the Lambs  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$19,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$130,727,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (original cut)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jonathan Demme cast Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter based on his performance as Dr. Frederick Treves in The Elephant Man (1980). Hopkins has himself said that he felt the sharing-and-caring role of Dr. Frederick Treves was rather dull. See more »

Goofs

The same newspaper clipping from the National Inquisitor with the headline "Bill Skins Fifth" appears on the wall of Jack Crawford's office at the beginning of the film, and on the wall of Buffalo Bill's trophy room at the end. The text of the article is actually not about Buffalo Bill at all: it is the story of how Hannibal Lecter was arrested for a "brutal murder" in which "reportedly acts of cannibalism were a factor in the death". The victim, named as Stuart Heart, is inconsistently described as a museum curator, as an entymologist, and as the creator of a liver disease drug. The story includes a quote from "Special Agent Jack Crawford".

The story's text can be seen in its proper place during Clarice's research on the microfiche, in the Washington Dispatch story headlined "Renowned Psychiatrist Charged in Murder". See more »

Quotes

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

Crazy Credits

After the Copyright notice and MPAA logo, a logo appears with the text "A Luta Continua". This is not a production company credit; instead, it's Portuguese for "The Struggle Continues" ("To be continued"). See more »

Connections

Featured in 1,001 Movies You Must See (Before You Die) (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

American Girl
(1976)
Performed by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers (as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers)
Written by Tom Petty (as T. Petty)
Courtesy of Gone Gator Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A Story And A Character That You Can't Forget
17 January 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I'll never forget my first viewing of this movie at the theater and will always look back fondly on it for one reason: helping me quit smoking cigarettes.

I read the book first, was fascinated by it, and couldn't wait for the film to come out. That was the day I picked to quit smoking and I knew this movie would take my mind off that matter. I was expecting an intense movie and I got it. Little did I realize how well-received this film would be and how it propelled Anthony Hopkins to super-stardom.

Although entertaining, this is not always a fun movie to watch, especially with the scenes with Ted Levine who plays the killer, "Buffalo Bill." "Bill" and his kidnapped young woman are sick and profane people, respectively, and their scenes are very unpleasant. This movie is not for the squeamish with those and other scenes involving the infamous Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Hopkins). There also is some extreme crudeness in the jail/dungeon where Lecter and other inmates are held.

Jodie Foster is excellent as the FBI agent "Clarice Starling" and Scott Glenn is low-key and effective as "Jack Crawford." A major part of the film is psychological more than violent as Lecter constantly taunts "Clarice," while she tries her best to manipulate him to help with a case. The by-play between the two is a game in itself.

Hopkins, however, is the actor people remember best from this movie. His portrayal of the refined-yet-cannibalistic serial killer-doctor is one viewers will never forget. I've enjoyed watching him in the sequels, too. The looks on his face, his fascinating vocabulary with intelligent sarcasm and frankness, never ceases to entertain.

"Silence Of The Lambs" has turned into a modern-day "classic." If by some odd chance you have never seen this movie, be warned it is a dark, difficult story to watch at times....but it will get your mind off other things.


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