The Silence of the Lambs (1991)



Critic 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.

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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
R (adult situations/language)
Horror , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Orion Pictures Corporation

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

Critic Reviews for The Silence of the Lambs

All Critics (74) | Top Critics (21)

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.

Full Review… | February 17, 2015
New York Daily News
Top Critic

Jonathan Demme's hypnotic adaptation of the Thomas Harris novel has a seriousness and intensity that's been entirely lacking in horror movies lately.

Full Review… | August 12, 2013
Seattle Times
Top Critic

Hopkins' cumulative screen image is one of civility and decency, and the association adds to the withering, macabre effect of his murderer. It is a remarkably lucid portrait of lunacy.

Full Review… | August 12, 2013
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

Demme comes at Harris' material from another angle: His movie may deal with madness, but his perspective is mercifully sane.

Full Review… | August 12, 2013
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

It's a gnarled, brutal, highly manipulative film that, at its center, seems morally indefensible.

Full Review… | August 12, 2013
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Jonathan Demme's thriller is artful pulp -- tabloid material treated with intelligence and care and a weird kind of sensitivity.

Full Review… | August 12, 2013
New Yorker
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Silence of the Lambs

A stunning and scintillating thriller with remarkable characters portrayed larger than life by Foster and Hopkins.

Adriel Lim
Adriel Lim

Super Reviewer

This breathtaking psychological thriller and terrific character study will always be remembered for its iconic depiction of one of the most fascinating monsters ever created, Dr. Lecter, having deserved every award that it won, although Ted Levine should have also been remembered for his fantastic performance.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

A taut thriller, 'Silence of the Lambs' is one of the most gripping cinematic experiences out there. With the help of a devilishly good performance from Hopkins, a kinetic pace, and a potent script, 'Lambs' has easily crafted its place in cinematic history, as well as tapped into crime thriller gold.

Kase Vollebregt
Kase Vollebregt

Super Reviewer

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