Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 15
  • Drama, Music
  • 1990
  • 118 mins

The Silence Of The Lambs

The Silence Of The Lambs

Synopsis

FBI agent Clarice Starling's battle of wits with Dr Hannibal Lecter makes for compulsive viewing in this strange, seductive story of heroics, anti-heroics and serial killers

About

A modern thriller masterpiece that established intellectual murderer Dr Hannibal Lecter in the canon of cinematic monsters, as much for his manifest intelligence as for his violent and cannibalistic tendencies.

When a serial killer (dubbed 'Buffalo Bill') is on the loose, an FBI profiler approaches the imprisoned serial killer Lecter (Hopkins) for psychological advice on the murderer. Lecter refuses to work with anyone other than rookie agent Clarice Starling (Foster), offering her titbits of information in return for her life story. Her FBI boss, Jack Crawford (Glenn), warns her "Believe me, you don't want Hannibal Lecter inside your head," but that's where he's heading. The famous exchange that leads to her childhood memory that gives the film its title begins with him coercing painful reminiscences out of her. "After your father's murder, you were orphaned. You were ten years old. You went to live with cousins on a sheep and horse ranch in Montana. And...?"

A devious complex character, there's more to Lecter's agenda, however, than messing with Clarice's head. There's the small matter of his relationship with Buffalo Bill, and his plans for escape - which, of course, include him indulging his cannibalism.

Although some claim that the previous portrayal of Lecter (then spelt Lecktor) by Cox in Manhunter is superior, Hopkins makes the role his own. With flashes of urbanity, wit and fierce intelligence he creates an unforgettable grotesque. Against him, Foster is the embodiment of pluck, desperately fighting to understand Lecter's gnomic utterances and capture Buffalo Bill.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Anthony Heald, Frankie Faison, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn, Ted Levine, Lawrence A Bonney, Jodie Foster
  • Director: Jonathan Demme
  • Screen Writer: Ted Tally
  • Producer: Kenneth Utt, Edward Saxon, Ron Bozman
  • Photographer: Tak Fujimoto
  • Composer: Howard Shore

In a nutshell

Director Demme loses the plot at the end with madmen, skins and yapping dogs, but this is a still wonderful example of classy storytelling and unforgettable characterisation.

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4

    Serena

    Romantic drama set in Depression-era North Carolina starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper.

    On Film4: 3 Oct 9:00PM

  • Film4

    Destry

    Audie Murphy stars in this remake of 1939's Destry Rides Again, which is directed by the man who made that previous version, George Marshall.

    On Film4: 5 Oct 12:40PM

  • Film4

    Macbeth on Film4

    Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard star in Justin Kurzel's gripping adaptation of Macbeth, playing for the first time on Film4.

  • Film4

    Lone Survivor on Film4

    Mark Wahlberg stars in exciting military action-drama Lone Survivor, playing for the first time on Film4.

  • Channel 4 Blog

    TIFF 2016: Top Ten

    Film4.com Editor Michael Leader runs through ten standouts from the Toronto International Film Festival...   The Oath I'd already seen three of the four Film4-backed films screening in Toronto (inc

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Baltasar Kormakur on The Oath

    As his Film4-backed Icelandic thriller The Oath premieres in Toronto, director/writer/actor Baltasar Kormakur speaks with Film4.com editor Michael Leader about making films in Hollywood, returning to

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Share