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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
229 ( 15)
Top Rated Movies #23 | Won 5 Oscars. Another 63 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:

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:

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

When Sir Anthony Hopkins found out that he was cast as Hannibal Lecter, based on his performance as Dr. Frederick Treves in The Elephant Man (1980), he questioned director Jonathan Demme, and said, "But Dr. Treves was a good man." To which Demme replied, "So is Lecter, he is a good man too. Just trapped in an insane mind." See more »

Goofs

During Lecter's escape, when the SWAT team officer steps up on the step ladder, and prepares to open the elevator roof, he points his pistol at the trap door. The pistol is a Browning Hi-Power, which is a single action pistol, meaning that the hammer must be cocked for the pistol to fire. The hammer is not cocked in the scene. 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 »

Alternate Versions

For the TV network version, Miggs says to Clarice 'I can smell your scent' instead of 'I can smell your c*nt'. Lecter's reply "I myself cannot" is omitted. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Skeleton Key 2: 667 Neighbor of the Beast (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Hip Priest
(1981)
Performed by The Fall
Written by Mark E. Smith (as M.E. Smith), Marc Riley (as M. Riley), Steve Hanley (as S. Hanley), Craig Scanlon (as C. Scanlon), and Paul Hanley (as P. Hanley)
Courtesy of Situation Two / Beggars Banquet Records Limited
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Absolutely Brilliant.
19 February 1999 | by Scudder-3See 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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