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.

Director:

Jonathan Demme

Writers:

Thomas Harris (based on the novel by), Ted Tally (screenplay by)
Popularity
166 ( 25)
Top Rated Movies #23 | Won 5 Oscars. Another 64 wins & 51 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

F.B.I. trainee Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) works hard to advance her career, while trying to hide or 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 (Scott Glenn). While she is still a trainee, Crawford asks her to question Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Sir Anthony Hopkins), 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" (Ted Levine), who has so far killed five victims, all located in the eastern U.S., all young women, who are slightly overweight (especially around the hips), all who were drowned in natural bodies of water, and all who ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

From the terrifying best seller See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

An early decision on the part of director Jonathan Demme was to film at Quantico, the FBI's own training environment, which had always closed its doors to movie crews. Visiting Quantico for the first time, production designer Kristi Zea was struck by how boring and prosaic the location was. She expressed her concern to Demme, who replied that he wanted the place to look as mundane as possible. See more »

Goofs

The same newspaper clipping from the National Inquisitor with the headline "Bill Skins Fifth" appears on the wall of Jack Crawford's office at the beginning of the film, and on the wall of Buffalo Bill's trophy room at the end. The text of the article is actually not about Buffalo Bill at all: it is the story of how Hannibal Lecter was arrested for a "brutal murder" in which "reportedly acts of cannibalism were a factor in the death". The victim, named as Stuart Heart, is inconsistently described as a museum curator, as an entymologist, and as the creator of a liver disease drug. The story includes a quote from "Special Agent Jack Crawford".

The story's text can be seen in its proper place during Clarice's research on the microfiche, in the Washington Dispatch story headlined "Renowned Psychiatrist Charged in Murder". See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
FBI instructor: Starling! Starling! Crawford wants to see you in his office.
Clarice Starling: Thank you, sir.
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Crazy Credits

After the Copyright notice and MPAA logo, a logo appears with the text "A Luta Continua". This is not a production company credit; instead, it's Portuguese for "The Struggle Continues" ("To be continued"). See more »

Alternate Versions

Criterion's Special Edition on DVD features outtake footage not included in the theatrical version, including:
  • a longer version of the scene where Clarice discovers Raspail's head inside Your-Self Storage;
  • a longer version of the scene where Lector explains to Clarice how to identify Buffalo Bill from his rejected applications for sex change surgery. The dialogue is longer and is taken almost verbatim from Thomas Harris' novel, and plays over a scene where the camera moves inside Buffalo Bill's cellar, stopping at the edge of the pit where Senator Martin's daughter is held. This is the same scene that appears in the theatrical version, right after Starling's visit to the enthomologists Roden and Pilcher, with no voiceover but with music and sound effects and Katherine Martin's screams coming from the pit;
  • a brief new scene where Starling is given a gun from instructor Brigham right before her departure for West Virginia;
  • an alternate version of the car scene where Starling and Crawford are talking after the Elk River victim's autopsy. In the theatrical version, Crawford apologizes to Starling for humiliating her in front of the state troopers; the alternate take has Starling revealing that a bug cocoon was found in Benjamin Raspail's throat. In the theatrical version this information is not revealed until later, when Starling mentions it during one of her encounters with Lector;
  • a longer version of the telephone conversation between FBI Director Burke, Paul Krendler and Crawford after the phony offer to Lekter has been discovered; Crawford tries to convince Krendler not to accept Lector's help;
  • a new scene showing a meeting with Starling, Crawford, Paul Krendler and and FBI Director Burke; Krendler blames Starling and Crawford for Lector's escape and Burke suspends them both from the case;
  • the DVD also features the complete video monologue from performance artist Jim Roche as the TV Evangelist; in the theatrical version Roche appears on a TV put in front of Lector's cell, as punishment for Miggs' death.
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Connections

References Un Chien Andalou (1929) 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
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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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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Latin

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, 18 February 1991

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:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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