Films To Watch Before You Die #51 – The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

D.J. Haza presents the next entry in his series of films to watch before you die…

The Silence of the Lambs, 1991.

Directed by Jonathan Demme.
Starring Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glen and Ted Levine.

The Silence of the Lambs is the chilling cinematic story based on Thomas Harris’ novel of the same name. The film follows Clarice Starling (Foster), a young FBI agent who has to entertain the immensely intelligent cannibal Hannibal Lecter (Hopkins) in order to try and capture another serial killer named ‘Buffalo Bill’.

Starling is pulled from her training in order to interview Lecter in his enclosed cell at the Bureau’s Behavioral Science Unit. The former psychiatrist is himself a serial killer and the FBI believe that he can aid their pursuit of Buffalo Bill, who skins the corpses of his female victims. Lecter’s unnerving and evil demeanor puts Starling on edge to begin with, but through regular visits she begins to get to grips with Lecter and a strange relationship forms between them as Lecter takes an obvious liking to her.

The Silence of the Lambs was a huge hit and its estimated $19,000,000 budget was money well spent as it grossed over $272,000,000 worldwide and earned itself a truck load of awards and a very high approval rating from critics and audiences alike. The film mixes the crime and horror genres to great effect and became only the third film to win the top five Oscar categories. Silence of the Lambs won Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay as well as Demme winning Best Director and Foster Best Actress.

However, The Silence of the Lambs is a film you must see before you die because Anthony Hopkins’ Oscar-winning turn as Hannibal Lecter is one of the all time great performances in cinema. His chillingly evil, yet brilliant Lecter has been voted by American Film Institute as the number one film villain of all time. All that despite Hopkins having just less than 16 minutes of screen time in order to shine.

D.J. Haza

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