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The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

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A young FBI cadet must receive the help of an incarcerated and manipulative cannibal killer to help catch another serial killer, a madman who skins his victims.

Director:

Jonathan Demme

Writers:

Thomas Harris (novel), Ted Tally (screenplay)
Popularity
250 ( 22)
Top Rated Movies #23 | Won 5 Oscars. Another 62 wins & 50 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jodie Foster ... Clarice Starling
Lawrence A. Bonney Lawrence A. Bonney ... FBI Instructor
Kasi Lemmons ... Ardelia Mapp
Lawrence T. Wrentz Lawrence T. Wrentz ... Agent Burroughs
Scott Glenn ... Jack Crawford
Anthony Heald ... Dr. Frederick Chilton
Frankie Faison ... Barney
Don Brockett ... Friendly Psychopath
Frank Seals Jr. Frank Seals Jr. ... Brooding Psychopath
Stuart Rudin ... Miggs
Anthony Hopkins ... Dr. Hannibal Lecter
Maria Skorobogatov Maria Skorobogatov ... Young Clarice (as Masha Skorobogatov)
Jeffrie Lane Jeffrie Lane ... Clarice's Father
Leib Lensky Leib Lensky ... Mr. Lang
George 'Red' Schwartz 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, while trying to hide/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 asks her to question Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a psychiatrist imprisoned, thus far, for eight years in maximum security isolation for being a serial killer 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 chose ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Prepare yourself for the most exciting, mesmerising and terrifying two hours of your life! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 February 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Silence of the Lambs See more »

Filming Locations:

Clay County, West Virginia, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$19,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$13,766,814, 15 February 1991, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$130,742,922

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$272,742,922
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (original cut)

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A "Bon Appetit" magazine can be seen in Hannibal's temporary cell. See more »

Goofs

The military aircraft heading toward Calument City has California Air Guard on the side, which is not likely for planes coming from Virginia. 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 ending scene continues throughout the entire credits See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mein erster Freund, Mutter und ich (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

The Magic Flute
(uncredited)
Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
One of the Greatest Thrillers of all Time.
1 August 2017 | by notoriousCASKSee all my reviews

The Silence of the lambs is a masterpiece you cannot miss, it's a masterwork of suspense that blends the elements of horror, crime and psychology into one tight and smooth story. It's only the third film in history to win Academy Awards in all the top five categories: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, and Adapted Screenplay and that implies something about its technical quality as a film. It features expertee level of craftsmanship in all departments of filmmaking, and takes a huge bonus from the exquisite performances put in by its stellar cast.

Jodie Foster stars as Clarice Starling, a top student at the FBI's training academy. FBI agent Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn) wants Clarice to interview Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), a genius psychiatrist who is also a violent psychopath, serving life behind bars for various acts of murder and cannibalism. Crawford believes that Lecter may have insight into a case of a serial killer called Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine), that murders and skins his victims and that Starling as an attractive young woman, may be just the bait to make him help with the case.

The direction by Jonathan Demme is marvelous, as the film introduces its chilling sense of dread and has the audience on the edge of their seats, from the moment Howard Shore's score hits the screen till the end of the film, especially during the climax with a lot of perfectly crafted suspenseful and nail-biting moments. The editing is perfect as the pace is methodical from start to finish, and each and every sequence is relevant to the story. The cinematography by Tak Fujimoto is also fantastic as it fully succeeds into creating a very dark and brooding atmosphere that captivates as well as terrorize the audience, while also exhibiting excellent camera work that makes heavy use of close-ups which increase the creepiness and tension along with displaying an optimal color palette from start to finish. The script by Ted Tally, also packs a very well structured plot, every character has a well-defined arc, all the themes are smartly addressed, the attention to detail is quite impressive, and the complete story and narrative are perfect.

The performances are also incredible. Jodie Foster as Clarice is absolutely brilliant and gives an impeccable performance as a woman who is desperately trying to forget her painful past and yet at the same time tries to prove her worth in a male dominant world. Anthony Hopkins as the genius psychiatrist and cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter is a perfect amalgamation of charisma, intelligence and destructive violence, and gives a bone-chilling and memorable performance that will stand the passage of time as one of the absolute best. The minute amount of screen time that Hopkins is given is a definitive testament to his acting capabilities. With such an elegant and minimal performance, he solidifies himself as one of the most iconic villains of all time. Their charisma and electrifying chemistry makes every scene they share an instant classic. Both the actors gave "once in a lifetime" performances that will stay in film history forever.

In conclusion, the Silence of the Lambs is one of the greatest films ever made and a masterwork of brilliant direction, smart screenplay, splendit camerawork, tight editing, marvelous score and exquisite performances. The film absolutely deserves all the accolades and recognition it gets, for both its contributions to cinema and the immense impact it had on pop culture. Jonathan Demme's magnum opus is not only the quintessential suspence and psychological horror film it is also an ingenious observation of humanity's dark and violent nature and a masterpiece that every film lover must see.


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