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

    The Babadook

    Widowed mum Amelia (Essie Davis) finds caring for her wayward child Samuel (Noah Wiseman) a tall order. But shes more or less coping until a scary picture book about the mysterious Babadook starts to haunt this single parent family

  • Film4 This Is Where I Leave You

    This Is Where I Leave You

    Shortly after discovering his wifes infidelity, Judd (Jason Bateman) learns of the death of his father. Forced to return to his childhood home to spend a week with his mother, four siblings and his extended family, Judd tries to take stock of his life.

  • Film4 Beasts of the Southern Wild

    Beasts Of The Southern Wild on Film4

    Quvenzhané Wallis stars in an Oscar-nominated role as the six year-old Hushpuppy in Benh Zeitlin's magical realist drama on Film4

  • Film4 Killer Joe

    Killer Joe on Film4

    Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch and Juno Temple star in William Friedkin's noir thriller on Film4

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Joe Cunningham's 11 recommendations for LFF 14

    Unfortunately I haven¿t been jet setting around the world this year to the various exciting international film festivals, but that¿s what makes the London Film Festival¿s compilation approach to progr

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Michael Leader's 11 recommendations for LFF 2014

    One of the best things about the London Film Festival¿s smorgasbord approach to programming is that, amongst the world premieres and gala screenings, there¿s an eclectic collection of exciting films o

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

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

or Register

Share