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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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181 ( 12)
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 ...
...
...
...
...
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:

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:

Silence of the Lambs  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$19,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$13,766,814 (USA) (15 February 1991)

Gross:

$130,742,922 (USA)
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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

As of 2015, The Godfather: Part II (1974) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) were the only sequels to win Best Picture. This film qualifies as well, since it is a sequel to Manhunter (1986). Even if one does not accept this argument, there are some parallels between this franchise and the two others. Like The Return of the King, it is scored by Howard Shore, and won three of the same Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay Adapted from Another Medium. Both feature a former child star (Jodie Foster, Elijah Wood, and Sean Astin), and both have a climax in which that character confronts a villain (Buffalo Bill, Gollum) who is threatened by the loss of his "Precious" (in this film, a dog, in the other, a ring). Sean Astin's father is John Astin, who played Foster's father in Freaky Friday (1976) and The Addams Family. He also appeared in the parody film, The Silence of the Hams (1994). Both films were followed by prequels (Red Dragon (2002); The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012), both of which feature a dragon as the villain. Richard Armitage, who appeared in The Hobbit films, also played Francis Dolarhyde (the Red Dragon) on Hannibal (2013). Roger Corman appeared in this film and The Godfather: Part II (1974), while Gianni Russo, who played Carlo Rizzi in The Godfather (1972), and The Godfather: Part II (1974), appeared briefly in Red Dragon (2002). See more »

Goofs

Nearly all the vehicles in the film have inspection stickers in the windshield indicating registration in Pittsburgh, PA, where none of the action takes place. 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

The producers wish to thank Adele, Bobby and the rest of the gang at Bufa's. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in The Silence of the Buns (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

Real Men
(1981)
Performed by Savage Republic
Written by Bruce Licher (as B. Licher), Mark Erskine (as M. Erskine), and Jeff Long (as J. Long)
Courtesy of Independent Project Records
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Absolutely Brilliant.
19 February 1999 | by (Livonia, MI USA) – See all my reviews

Sweeping all five major Academy Awards ("Oscars" for Best Movie, Director, Actor, Actress, Screenplay) is quite an accomplishment. Doing it nearly a year after a film was released is a miracle considering the notoriously short attention span of Oscar voters. It is a powerful example of how great a movie can be when superb writers, directors, actors, and others work at the top of their craft.

`Silence of the Lambs' is the story of a young FBI trainee Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) who is summoned to help find one serial killer called `Buffalo Bill.' by interviewing another. Foster's performance is absolutely brilliant. While Anthony Hopkins receives most of the (well-deserved) praise for his chilling portrayal of incarcerated serial killer `Hannibal ‘the Cannibal' Lector', it is Foster's performance that holds the movie together. The fear she shows just behind her eyes makes Clarice's outward courage all the more interesting and vulnerable. This is the perfect way to play the part because it explains Lector's interest in Clarice. Her only bargaining chip in getting Lector's help is to let him `feed' on her innermost secrets and fears in exchange for his brilliant insights into the psychotic mind. The title of the movie comes from these exchanges and is very poignant.

Director Jonathan Demme is masterful. There is one scene late in the movie that I will not spoil. It is one of the most simply brilliant scenes ever staged in a movie. I don't know if all the credit goes to Demme or the writers, but there is a moment in the film where the suspense builds beautifully to a what seems to be a common movie scene. However, through skillful timing of the direction, the audiences assumptions are used against them and when the truth is revealed (hint: it involves a doorbell) it is shocking and induced a collective gasp from the audience I saw it with at the theatre. It set the stage for an edge-of-your seat climax.

Do not miss this movie.

The movie is incredibly suspenseful and an absolute must see.


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