The Silence of the Lambs

The Silence of the Lambs

Jonathan Demme (1991)

15 Certificate


Our Score
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: stoic 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.


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 & Crew

Clarice Starling Jodie Foster
Dr Hannibal Lecter Anthony Hopkins
Jack Crawford Scott Glenn
Jame Gumb Ted Levine
Catherine Martin Brooke Smith
Dr Frederick Chilton Anthony Heald
Ardelia Mapp Kasi Lemmons
Barney Matthews Frankie Faison
Swat commander Chris Isaak
FBI Director Hayden Burke Roger Corman
Ruth Martin Diane Baker
Director Jonathan Demme
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: BFI DistributionGuidance: Violence, swearing, nudity.Available on: video, DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 3 Nov 2017