Before “Mindhunter” and the true crime craze, “The Silence of the Lambs” was the definitive psychological serial killer story. A young FBI agent, Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster), sets out to interview convicted cannibal Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) in hopes to solve a high-profile kidnapping case. The hunt for Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine) triggers Clarice’s personal traumas, with Hannibal at once becoming a mentor, father figure, and an iconically surly psychopath. For example, we’ve dared to try (non-human) liver and fava beans, followed by a nice chianti after Hannibal so charismatically recommended the dish. He’s just that convincing.
The 1991 film was directed by Jonathan Demme and made history as the third movie to ever sweep the “big five” Oscar categories, winning Best Picture, Actor, Actress, Director, and Adapted Screenplay.
“The Silence of the Lambs” most famously spurred one sequel,