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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
147 ( 2)
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

At the beginning of the movie, when Clarice Starling is looking for Jack Crawford, who is investigating the killer known as "Buffalo Bill", the first office to which she goes has what appears to be notes about the investigation on a blackboard. Among them are two short quotations from the e.e. cummings poem "Buffalo Bill's / defunct": "1-2-3-4-5", and, near the bottom of the board (the right side of the board isn't visible): "how do you like, blue-eyed boy now". The latter appears to be quoting (slightly misquoting, actually) the final lines of the poem: "how do you like your blue-eyed boy / Mister Death." See more »

Goofs

The FBI is unable to find a pattern in the killings because the first victim was the third corpse they found, and it is not until Clarice goes over Lecter's notes that she realizes that Buffalo Bill must have known his first victim, something the FBI apparently never thought of. However, the FBI generally assume that serial killers start by killing people they know. 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

The scene where Miggs throws sperm at Clarice is shown from the different angle in the TV network version, so the audience can't really see what Miggs is throwing. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Tripping the Rift: The Son Also Rises (2007) 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

Perfectly executed dramatic thriller
12 January 1999 | by pooch-8See 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.


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