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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)
235 ( 20)
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


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 »


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?


Although when characters are talking to Starling, they often talk direct to camera, when she is talking to them, she is always looking slightly off-camera. Director Jonathan Demme has explained that this was done so as the audience would directly experience her POV, but not theirs, hence encouraged the audience to more readily identify with her. See more »


At the Memphis airport, Lt. Boyle introduces Sgt. Pembry to Dr. Lecter as "Sgt. Petry". 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

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 »


Referenced in Damages: Don't Forget to Thank Mr. Zedeck (2010) See more »


Real Men
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
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Perfectly executed dramatic thriller
12 January 1999 | by (Fargo, North Dakota) – See all my reviews

The Silence of the Lambs, having accomplished the rare feat of winning all five of the major Academy Award categories, is a remarkable achievement in filmmaking. Gruesome, pulpish material was transformed by dedicated participants on all levels of production, and a film that would have failed in the hands of many others wound up becoming a modern masterpiece. Taut direction and a superb screenplay might be the best arguments for the film's power, but the flashiest are certainly delivered in the bravura performances of Hopkins and Foster. Their interplay -- and remember, they only share a handful of scenes together -- is nothing short of riveting.

125 of 159 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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