The Silence of the Lambs, a movie review

A movie review by: Lee Sonogan

(1991) 1h58min/Crime, drama, thriller


Hannibal Lecter: A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.

This movie stars Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins. This movie is about a young F.B.I. cadet who must confide in an incarcerated and manipulative killer to receive his help on catching another serial killer who skins his victims. With a budget of $19 million, it made over $270 million at the box office. A must watch powerful drama, crime and thriller movie.

Sir Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster only share four scenes throughout the course of the film. In preparation for his role, Sir Anthony Hopkins studied files of serial killers. Also, he visited prisons, studied convicted murderers, and was present during some court hearings concerning gruesome murderers and serial killings. One of the inspirations, Sir Anthony Hopkins borrowed, for his interpretation of Hannibal Lecter, was a friend of his in London who never blinked, which unnerved anyone around him.

Jodie Foster spent a great deal of time with F.B.I. Agent Mary Ann Krause prior to filming. Krause gave Foster the idea of Starling standing by her car crying. Krause told Foster that at times, the work just became so overwhelming that it was a good way to get an emotional release. After Jodie Foster first read the Thomas Harris novel, she tried to buy the rights herself, only to find Gene Hackman had beaten her to it.

The Silence of the Lambs was inspired by the real-life relationship between University of Washington criminology professor and profiler Robert Keppel, and serial killer Ted Bundy. Bundy helped Keppel investigate the Green River Serial Killings in Washington. Bundy was executed on January 24, 1989. The Green River Killings were finally solved in 2001 when Gary Ridgway was arrested.

With twenty-four minutes and fifty-two seconds of screen time, Sir Anthony Hopkins’ performance in this movie is the second shortest to ever win an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, with David Niven in Separate Tables in 1958 beating him, at twenty-three minutes and thirty-nine seconds.

At least six directors have roles in this film: Jodie Foster, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Kasi Lemmons, Roger Corman, Dan Butler who directed episodes of Frasier in 1993 and a cameo by George A. Romero. The film surpassed its budget in its first week of release. Within ten years of the release of this film, the building used for the exterior of Lecter’s asylum had been shut down and demolished.

It’s one of the best movies of the nineties in my opinion. Both Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins are impressive acting and impressive in character. The main bad guy other than Hannibal Lector, Buffalo Bill gets interesting near the end of the movie. The ending involves a night vision goggles scene that is infamous with the movie. I recommend this movie to people who like serial killers and the Hannibal Lector series.


PS – This movie is a classic crime, thriller movie in my eyes.

Hannibal Lecter: Well, Clarice – have the lambs stopped screaming?

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