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The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

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

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(novel), (screenplay)
Popularity
307 ( 22)
Top Rated Movies #23 | Won 5 Oscars. Another 58 wins & 44 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Clarice Starling
Lawrence A. Bonney ... FBI Instructor
... Ardelia Mapp
Lawrence T. Wrentz ... Agent Burroughs
... Jack Crawford
... Dr. Frederick Chilton
... Barney
... Friendly Psychopath
Frank Seals Jr. ... Brooding Psychopath
Stuart Rudin ... Miggs
... Dr. Hannibal Lecter
Maria Skorobogatov ... Young Clarice (as Masha Skorobogatov)
Jeffrie Lane ... Clarice's Father
Leib Lensky ... Mr. Lang
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:

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:

Official Facebook

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 February 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Silence of the Lambs  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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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

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (original cut)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is the only movie where Clarice actually uses the media nickname that they gave Dr. Lecter. When she is talking with Jack about who the subject she is to interview is, she says "Hannibal the Cannibal", but throughout the rest of the movie, and in Hannibal (2001), she calls him Dr. Lecter, except when she says "Hannibal Lecter" to Pazzi, to tell him who she is looking for. She respects him, so she always says Dr. Lecter, even when she's not speaking to him directly. See more »

Goofs

When Sgt. Pembry is preparing to handcuff Dr. Lecter to the bars of his cell while bringing in his requested second supper, he has Lecter sit with his back to the bars and his arms thrust behind him in order secure the shackles. It's obvious that Dr. Lecter has been waiting for a fair amount of time between his first meal and his second serving because his drawings and magazines are spread over the entire desktop surface. A closeup of the Lecter's arms shows red, discolored wrists. 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

Featured in Red Dragon (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Goodbye Horses
(1988)
Performed by Q. Lazzarus
Written by William Garvey (as W. Garvey)
[Played when Jame Gumb is introduced and applying his makeup]
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Absolutely Brilliant.
19 February 1999 | by 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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