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The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

8.6
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Ratings: 8.6/10 from 646,768 users   Metascore: 84/100
Reviews: 825 user | 162 critic | 17 from Metacritic.com

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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Top 250 #24 | Won 5 Oscars. Another 51 wins & 30 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

Young FBI agent Clarice Starling is assigned to help find a missing woman to save her from a psychopathic serial killer who skins his victims. Clarice attempts to gain a better insight into the twisted mind of the killer by talking to another psychopath Hannibal Lecter, who used to be a respected psychiatrist. FBI agent Jack Crawford believes that Lecter, who is also a very powerful and clever mind manipulator, has the answers to their questions and can help locate the killer. However, Clarice must first gain Lecter's confidence before the inmate will give away any information. Written by Sami Al-Taher <staher2000@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Brilliant. Cunning. Psychotic. In his mind lies the clue to a ruthless killer. - Clarice Starling, FBI. Brilliant. Vulnerable. Alone. She must trust him to stop the killer. 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:

El silencio de los inocentes  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$19,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

SGD 513,930 (Singapore)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Contrary to popular rumor, writer Thomas Harris saw the film shortly after it came out. According to a New York Magazine profile of Harris, "The Silence of the Writer," by Phoebe Hoban (15 April 1991), he called it "a great movie. . . I've been surrounded by it, so I wanted to see it. I admire Jonathan Demme, and we were very fortunate to have him and Ted Tally, and we were very lucky with the cast." See more »

Goofs

When Hannibal is imprisoned in Memphis, the sign outside the Shelby county courthouse is shown, in dim light, to be a museum. 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

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

Connections

References The Harder They Come (1972) See more »

Soundtracks

Goldberg Variations
(1741)
Performed by Jerry Zimmerman
Written by Johann Sebastian Bach (as J.S. Bach)
See more »

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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