The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

R   |    |  Crime, Drama, Thriller

The Silence of the Lambs (1991) Poster

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.


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10 August 2019 | FrenchEddieFelson
| A thrilling must see
I just saw, for the second or third time, this cinematographic masterpiece, during an « UGC culte » evening, in Paris. The list of the Big Five Academy Award winners is short. There are currently three of them, in nine decades: It Happened One Night (1934), One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) and ... The Silence of the Lambs (1991). This is not really surprising, this film being excellent, endowed with a script skillfully elaborated by Thomas Harris, with an irreproachable casting including Anthony Hopkins, Jodie Foster and Scott Glenn. In addition, the director Jonathan Demme delivers a work obviously enjoying an admirable preparatory work.

Without unduly spoiling the script, if you have not seen it yet, by the greatest fluke: a psychopath known as the Buffalo Bill sows terror in the Middle West by kidnapping and murdering young pulpy women, after partially or completely skinning them. Clarice Starling, a young FBI agent, is in charge of interviewing Hannibal Lecter, a well-known former psychiatrist who has also the characteristic of a truly intelligent psychopath focused on cannibalism. Hannibal Lecter is able to provide Clarice Starling with providential information about Buffalo Bill . But he agrees to help her only in exchange for information about the young woman's private life. Between them is established a link of fascination and repulsion.

As a synthesis: a thrilling must see. 9/10 of 10

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Did You Know?


Within ten years of the release of this movie, the building used for the exterior of Lecter's asylum had been shut down and demolished. Footage from this movie was re-used to create the establishing shots used in Red Dragon (2002).


FBI instructor: Starling! Starling! Crawford wants to see you in his office.
Clarice Starling: Thank you, sir.


A black string is attached to the back of the moth that lands on the red roll of string at Buffalo Bill's house. It's clearly visible in high definition.

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").

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.


Hip Priest
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


Plot Summary

Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Crime | Drama | Thriller

Box Office


$19,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$13,766,814 18 February 1991

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:


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