Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Silence of the Lambs

1991 American Feature

Cast: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn, Ted Levine, Anthony Heald, Brooke Smith, Diane Baker, Kasi Lemmons, Frankie Faison, Tracey Walter, Charles Napier, Dan Butler and Ron Vawter
Director: Jonathan Demme
Writer: Ted Tally, based on the novel by Thomas Harris

In order to catch a psychopathic serial killer who skins his victims, FBI trainee Clarice Starling must seek the aid of the enigmatic and manipulative Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a respected psychiatrist turned cannibalistic murderer.


  • Internet Movie Database: 8.7/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes - Critics: 94% / Audience: 93%
  • Metacritic - Critics: 84% / Audience: 8.8%
  • OMG rating: 6/10

  • DVD/Blu-ray: Available
  • Soundtrack: Available
  • Book: Available


  • Academy Awards for Best Picture, Director, Actor (Hopkins), Actress (Foster) and Adapted Screenplay; also nominated for Film Editing and Sound.
  • Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Drama (Foster); also nominated for Best Motion Picture - Drama, Director, Actor - Drama (Hopkins) and Screenplay.
  • BAFTA Awards for Best Actor (Hopkins) and Actress (Foster); also nominated for Best Film, Direction, Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Original Film Score, Editing and Sound.
  • Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Saturn Awards for Best Horror Film, Actor (Hopkins), Writing and Makeup.
  • Berlin International Film Festival Silver Berlin Bear Award for Best Director.
  • Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures.
  • National Board of Review Awards for Best Film, Director and Supporting Actor (Hopkins).
  • New York Film Critics Circle Awards for Best Film, Director, Actor (Hopkins) and Actress (Foster).
  • Producers Guild of America Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures.
  • Writers Guild of America Award for Adapted Screenplay.

  • Thomas Harris' novel The Silence of the Lambs, first published in 1988, was the sequel to Harris' 1981 novel Red Dragon. He wrote two other novels featuring Hannibal Lecter, Hannibal (a sequel to Lambs) in 1999 and Hannibal Rising (a prequel to the entire series) in 2006.
  • Red Dragon was first adapted for film in 1986 as Manhunter, with Brian Cox as Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Anthony Hopkins returned as Lecter (with Julianne Moore replacing Jodie Foster as Clarice Starling) in the 2001 film adaptation of Hannibal and in the 2002 remake of Red Dragon. The film version of Hannibal Rising was released in 2007, with Gaspard Ulliel as a young Lecter.
  • Casting Call: Halle Berry, Kenneth Branagh, Sean Connery, Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall, Louis Gossett, Jr., Melanie Griffith, Gene Hackman (who also wanted to direct the film), Ed Harris, Dustin Hoffman, John Hurt, Jeremy Irons, Michael Keaton, Nicole Kidman, Christopher Lloyd, Andie MacDowell, Jack Nicholson, Michelle Pfeiffer, Mickey Rourke, Meg Ryan and Patrick Stewart.
  • In addition to the film's own director, cameos include filmmakers Roger Corman and George Romero, as well as singer Chris Isaak.
  • The position of the hanging body of Lecter's disemboweled victim was specifically based on the work of painter Francis Bacon.
  • The pattern on the moth's back in the poster art for The Silence of the Lambs was inspired by photographer Philippe Halsman's In Voluptate Mors. This same imagery was also used in the poster for The Descent.
  • Upon its release, The Silence of the Lambs was criticized by members of the GLBT community for its portrayal of the serial killer Buffalo Bill as either gay, bisexual and/or a transsexual. In response to the criticism, director Jonathan Demme replied that Buffalo Bill "wasn't a gay character. He was a tormented man who hated himself and wished he was a woman because that would have made him as far away from himself as he possibly could be." Demme added that he "came to realize that there is a tremendous absence of positive gay characters in movies", which lead him to his next major film, Philadelphia.
  • The first horror film to win the Best Picture Oscar, the first film available on home video at the time of the Academy Awards ceremony to win Best Picture, and only the third film in Academy Award history to win Oscars in all "top five" categories, Best Picture, Actor, Actress, Director and Screenplay.
  • Despite Anthony Hopkins' wins for leading actor and Hannibal Lecter's rise to iconic status, his total screen time in The Silence of the Lambs is only 16 minutes out of a total running time of 118 minutes. Hopkins has described his voice for Lecter as "a combination of Truman Capote and Katharine Hepburn".
  • In 1998, The Silence of the Lambs was ranked #65 on the American Film Institute's "100 Years, 100 Movies" list.
  • In 2001, The Silence of the Lambs was ranked #5 on the American Film Institute's "100 Years, 100 Thrills" list.
  • In 2003, Clarice Starling was ranked the #6 hero and Hannibal Lecter was ranked the #1 villain on the American Film Institute's "100 Years, 100 Heroes & Villains" list.
  • In 2005, "A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti" was ranked #21 on the American Film Institute's "100 Years, 100 Movie Quotes" list.
  • A stage musical parody of The Silence of the Lambs, titled Silence! The Musical, had its world premiere in 2005 as part of the New York International Fringe Festival, and went on to open Off-Broadway in 2011. With songs by Jon and Al Kaplan and book by Hunter Bell, the musical spoof won several awards and featured such unlikely show tunes as "If I Could Smell Her Cunt", "I'd Fuck Me" and "Put the Fucking Lotion in the Basket".
  • In 2007, The Silence of the Lambs was ranked #74 on the American Film Institute's "100 Years, 100 Movies: 10th Anniversary Edition" list.
  • In 2011, The Silence of the Lambs was inducted into the National Film Registry.
  • The television series Hannibal premiered on NBC in 2013. Developed by Bryan Fuller and starring Mads Mikkelsen as the title character, the series is based on characters and elements from the Red Dragon novel.

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