The Silence of the Lambs

  • 18
  • Jonathan Demme (1991)
  • US
  • 113 min
The Silence of the Lambs
Film Review
Reviewed By
5 out of 5

This multi-Oscar-winning classic, adapted from Thomas Harris's bestseller, was responsible for giving cinematic serial killers a better image, thanks to Anthony Hopkins's enthralling portrayal of Hannibal Lecter. So what if Lecter was an incarcerated cannibal? It was unprecedented that an actor playing a crazed killer should mount the podium to collect an Oscar (the ceremony host that year, Billy Crystal, was wheeled on dressed as Lecter), while Hopkins's "Fava beans and a nice chianti" line became legendary. Jodie Foster also won an Oscar for her role as fledgeling FBI agent Clarice Starling, who is drawn into a disturbingly close relationship with Lecter as she hunts for serial killer "Buffalo Bill", and it's a testament to her abilities that she holds her own against her scene-stealing co-star. With a track record for directing quirky comedies (Something Wild, Married to the Mob), director Jonathan Demme made a seemingly effortless switch to terror, summoning up a magnificent air of gothic gloom. The hunt for the killer is genuinely suspenseful, but Demme generates the real chill with the probing mind games between his two marvellous leads. Spare a thought, too, for the talented supporting players: stoical Scott Glenn as Foster's boss, Ted Levine as the tormented killer and Anthony Heald as the ill-fated hospital head, the butt of the movie's flip end gag.

Plot Summary

Trainee FBI agent Clarice Starling is sent to interview an imprisoned psychopath with a taste for eating his victims. The inmate offers to help catch a serial killer who is holding a politician's daughter hostage - but to learn what he knows, Clarice has to engage in his dangerous mind games. Jonathan Demme's Oscar-winning thriller, based on Thomas Harris's novel, starring Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn and Ted Levine.

Cast and crew


Clarice Starling
Jodie Foster
Dr Hannibal Lecter
Anthony Hopkins
Jack Crawford
Scott Glenn
Jame Gumb
Ted Levine
Dr Frederick Chilton
Anthony Heald
FBI Instructor
Lawrence A Bonney
Ardelia Mapp
Kasi Lemmons
Agent Burroughs
Lawrence T Wrentz
Frankie Faison
Friendly psychopath
Don Brockett
Brooding psychopath
Frank Seals Jr
Young Clarice
Masha Skorobogatov
Clarice's father
Jeffrie Lane
Swat commander
Chris Isaak
Senator Ruth Martin
Diane Baker
FBI Director Hayden Burke
Roger Corman
Lieutenant Boyle
Charles Napier
FBI Special Agent Paul Krendler
Ron Vawter


Jonathan Demme

Other Information

May be edited for language, violence and nudity.
Available on video, DVD and BluRay
Certificate 18