The Silence of the Lambs

1991

The Silence of the Lambs

Critics Consensus

Director Jonathan Demme's smart, taut thriller teeters on the edge between psychological study and all-out horror, and benefits greatly from stellar performances by Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster.

96%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 92

95%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 846,266
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The Silence of the Lambs Photos

Movie Info

In this multiple Oscar-winning thriller, Jodie Foster stars as Clarice Starling, a top student at the FBI's training academy whose shrewd analyses of serial killers lands her a special assignment: the FBI is investigating a vicious murderer nicknamed Buffalo Bill, who kills young women and then removes the skin from their bodies. Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn) wants Clarice to interview Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), a brilliant psychiatrist who is also a violent psychopath, serving life behind bars for various acts of murder and cannibalism. Crawford believes that Lecter may have insight into this case and that Starling, as an attractive young woman, may be just the bait to draw him out. Lecter does indeed know something of Buffalo Bill, but his information comes with a price: in exchange for telling what he knows, he wants to be housed in a more comfortable facility. More important, he wants to speak with Clarice about her past. He skillfully digs into her psyche, forcing her to reveal her innermost traumas and putting her in a position of vulnerability when she can least afford to be weak. The film mingles the horrors of criminal acts with the psychological horrors of Lecter's slow-motion interrogation of Clarice and of her memories that emerge from it. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

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Cast

Jodie Foster
as Clarice Starling
Anthony Hopkins
as Dr. Hannibal Lecter
Scott Glenn
as Jack Crawford
Ted Levine
as Jame Gumb
Anthony Heald
as Dr. Frederick Chilton
Diane Baker
as Sen. Ruth Martin
Kasi Lemmons
as Ardelia Mapp
Brooke Smith
as Catherine Martin
Paul Lazar
as Pilcher
Danny Darst
as Sgt. Tate
Charles Napier
as Lt. Boyle
Cynthia Ettinger
as Off. Jacobs
Brent Hinkley
as Officer Murray
Roger Corman
as FBI Director Hayden Burke
Chris Isaak
as SWAT Commander
Ron Vawter
as Paul Krendler
Lawrence A. Bonney
as FBI Instructor
Lawrence T. Wrentz
as Agent Burroughs
Don Brockett
as Friendly Psychopath
Frank Seals Jr.
as Brooding Psychopath
Masha Skorobogatov
as Young Clarice
Jeffrie Lane
as Clarice's Father
Leib Lensky
as Mr. Lang
George "Red" Schwartz
as Mr. Lang's Driver
Jim Roche
as TV Evangelist
James B. Howard
as Boxing Instructor
Bill Miller
as Mr. Brigham
Chuck Aber
as Agent Terry
Pat McNamara
as Sheriff Perkins
Kenneth Utt
as Dr. Akin
Adelle Lutz
as TV Anchor Woman
Obba Babatundé
as TV Anchor Man
George Micheal
as TV Sportscaster
Jim Dratfield
as Senator Martin's Aide
Stanton D. Miranda
as Reporter #1
Rebecca Saxon
as Reporter #2
Steve Wyatt
as Airport Flirt
Alex Coleman
as Sergeant Pembry
David Earle
as Spooked Memphis Cop
David L. Early
as Spooked Memphis Cop
Andre B. Blake
as Tall Memphis Cop
Bill Dalzell III
as Distraught Memphis Cop
Daniel von Bargen
as SWAT Communicator
Tommy Lafitte
as SWAT Shooter
Josh Broder
as EMS Attendant
Buzz Kilman
as EMS Driver
Harry Northrup
as Mr. Bimmel
Lauren Roselli
as Stacy Hubka
Lamont Arnold
as Flower Delivery Man
George A. Romero
as Memphis FBI Agent
Chad Dowdell
as Scared Man (uncredited)
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News & Interviews for The Silence of the Lambs

Critic Reviews for The Silence of the Lambs

All Critics (92) | Top Critics (27)

  • Jonathan Demme's Silence of the Lambs has everything you want in a popular thriller. It's stylish, intelligent, audacious rather than shocking, and stolen by a suave monster you'll never forget.

    Apr 26, 2018 | Full Review…

    Jay Carr

    Boston Globe
    Top Critic
  • Hopkins' performance is spectacularly unnerving and should win him future award nominations. Holding her own against Hopkins' hare is Jodie Foster as the tenacious, tortoise-like trainee.

    Feb 14, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Anthony Hopkins is devastatingly demonic in Jonathan Demme's truly horrifying thriller.

    Jan 2, 2018 | Full Review…

    Jan Stuart

    Newsday
    Top Critic
  • Anthony Hopkins' performance as Lecter is an uproarious technical masterpiece.

    Nov 1, 2017 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • The movie, scary and graphic to cause timid souls (such as this writer) to close their eyes at certain points, has a vise-like grip on the audience.

    Feb 17, 2015 | Full Review…
  • Jonathan Demme's hypnotic adaptation of the Thomas Harris novel has a seriousness and intensity that's been entirely lacking in horror movies lately.

    Aug 12, 2013 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Silence of the Lambs

  • Oct 24, 2016
    A rare treat of a film. A horror/thriller with the dramatic and psychological gravitas to stand among the greatest films ever made. The film takes big risks and manages to succeed on almost every front. A brilliant psychological film with simply superb performances. Hopkins nails the role of his lifetime. I have little doubt the film may have failed without his brilliant grasp and delivery on the character. Jodie Foster also does an impeccable job. She is an agent who gets little respect. Her angst, un-ease and the domineering way the men she interacts with treat her, adds a sense of dread and powerlessness that helps define the film. While Hopkins is a dominate force, it takes a very strong actor to be remembered in these scenes. Jodie Foster's timid, yet controlled and paradoxically brave, handling of her character was flawless at elevating the entire film. Buffalo Bill is also a solid creeper villain. One of the weaker parts of the film is the sort of absurd mechanics of the Dr's final scenes and Starling and Bill's final showdown. It is all a bit unbelievable, but thankfully you are too engrossed to really think about it. I think part of what makes the dread of the film so real is the relationship foil between Bill and Brooke Smith, as Catherine Martin, and Dr Lecter and Agent Starling. Buffalo Bill is crazy, barely controlled and despicable. He is free and preying on women. He has poor Ms Martin in a well tormenting her. Yet, we unmistakably feel that this caged man talking to Agent Starling is far more menacing, far more dangerous and terrifying. Agent Starling seems more at his mercy than Ms Martin is to Bill. This is truly the mark of profound evil. This masterful dynamic gives this film a lasting psychological power. Hopkins menace is not steeped in gore or terror but rare, profound authority. We fear the power of villains because they wield weapons, supernatural might or brutality. The good Dr commands our fear through sheer psychological influence. We are never sure what turn he might take, what we are sure of is that it is calculated, cold and there is nothing you can do about it.
    Shane S Super Reviewer
  • Sep 23, 2015
    Thrilling, thought provoking, well acted, well directed. Overall a great film
    Kameron W Super Reviewer
  • Nov 24, 2014
    A stunning and scintillating thriller with remarkable characters portrayed larger than life by Foster and Hopkins.
    Adriel L Super Reviewer
  • Nov 01, 2014
    What more could I ask for? It's flawless!
    Maymay A Super Reviewer

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