CHANNEL 4 4SEVEN E4 MORE4 FILM4 4MUSIC 4oD

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: Scott Glenn, Anthony Hopkins, Anthony Heald, Frankie Faison, Jodie Foster, Ted Levine, Lawrence A Bonney
  • Director: Jonathan Demme
  • Screen Writer: Ted Tally
  • Producer: Ron Bozman, Kenneth Utt, Edward Saxon
  • 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 Like Someone In Love

    Like Someone In Love

    Iranian auteur Abbas Kiarostami travels to Japan for this reflective drama

  • Film4 Shell

    Shell

    Scott Graham's award-winning Highland drama, starring Chloe Pirrie as a teenager who works at a remote petrol station

    On Film4: 4 Aug 11:05PM

  • Film4 Shell

    Shell on Film4

    Watch Scott Graham's award-winning Highland drama, starring Chloe Pirrie as a teenager who works at a remote petrol station

  • Film4 Mistaken For Strangers

    Mistaken For Strangers on Film4

    Indie rock band The National are followed on their tour by the frontman's brother, an aspiring filmmaker

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

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

or Register

Share