The Silence Of The Lambs (1991)

 ●  English ● 1 hr 58 mins

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This spine chilling and suspenseful investigative thriller revolves around a young and inexperienced FBI agent Clarice Starling, who is assigned to help find a missing woman and save her from a psychopathic serial killer who skins his victims. Clarice attempts to gain a better insight into the twisted mind of the killer by talking to another psychopath Hannibal Lecter, who used to be a respected psychiatrist. FBI agent Jack Crawford believes that Lecter, who is also a very powerful and clever mind manipulator, has the answers to their questions and can help locate the killer. However, Clarice must first gain Lecter's confidence before the inmate will give away any information. Can the young and inexperienced Clarice succeed in eliciting useful information from the convoluted Lecter, without becoming pray to his manipulations and machinations?
See Storyline (May Contain Spoilers)

Cast: Jodie Foster

Crew: Jonathan Demme (Director), Tak Fujimoto (Director of Photography), Howard Shore (Music Director)

Rating: A (India)

Genres: Crime, Drama, Thriller

Release Dates: 14 Feb 1991 (India)

Tagline: May The Silence Be Broken!!

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Did you know? When Anthony Hopkins found out that he was cast as Hannibal Lecter based on his performance as Dr. Frederick Treves in The Elephant Man (1980) he questioned Jonathan Demme and said "But Dr. Treves was a good man." To which Demme replied "So is Lecter, he is a good man too. Just trapped in an insane mind." Read More
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Screenplay Writer

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Film Type:
Feature Film
Colour Info:
Sound Mix:
Dolby SR
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 (Flat), 2.35 : 1
May The Silence Be Broken!!
To enter the mind of a killer she must challenge the mind of a madman.
Prepare yourself for the most exciting, mesmerising and terrifying two hours of your life!
Character Error
The autopsy scene contains at least 8 errors. Among them, the body was fingerprinted without collecting evidence under the victims fingernails, and the ink would have destroyed the evidence. You cannot get fingerprints off a body in that condition.

Character Error
Clarice says she double-majored in criminology and psychology at the University of Virginia. UVA has never offered a criminology major.

Character Error
When Jack Crawford describes who will be escorting Starling at the asylum, he calls Dr. Chilton "Dr. Chilnet."

Character Error
Jack Crawford says Clarice graduated magna cum laude from UVA, but UVA does not award that distinction to psychology majors.

Character Error
Sgt Tate tells an officer to call in the SWAT team. Memphis has no SWAT team, but it has a TACT team.

Character Error
When Clarice visits the entomologists to identify the moth pupa, they say while examining the chrysalis that it must've been specially raised from imported eggs and fed "honey and nightshade". Deaths Head moth larvae, like most caterpillars, eat only vegetation; the adult moths eat honey.

The ring of sweat on Clarice's sweatshirt as she is running on the Quantico course in the beginning of the movie covers her body almost from shoulder to shoulder. When she gets called into Crawford's office, it is significantly smaller.

During the autopsy scene, they remove the bug cocoon from the victim and insert it into a small jar with the bug antenna pointing to the bottom of the jar. The next next shot shows Clarice pouring fluid into the jar with the antenna pointing up.

As Clarice is looking through the microfilm, the pen in her mouth switches places several times.

Crew/Equipment Visible
A black string is attached to the back of the moth that lands on the red roll of string at Buffalo Bill's house. It's clearly visible in high definition.

Errors in Geography
When Hannibal is imprisoned in Memphis, the sign outside the Shelby county courthouse is shown, in dim light, to be a museum.

Errors in Geography
Nearly all the vehicles in the film have inspection stickers in the windshield indicating registration in Pittsburgh, PA, where none of the action takes place.

Errors in Geography
The military aircraft heading toward Calument City has California Air Guard on the side, which is not likely for planes coming from Virginia.

Errors in Geography
Clarice runs a course on a Marine Corps Base in Quantico, VA, which is also home to the FBI Academy. The Endurance Course is about 5 miles long throughout the Quantico highlands, in the Marine part, not the FBI part. At the cargo net obstacle, she was nearly at the end of the course, about 2-3 miles from the FBI Academy. A road is to the left on the screen, and nothing but miles of woods is on her right, when the FBI agent comes out and says that Crawford wants to speak to her. It would've been faster and more logical for her to finish the course, not run 3-4 miles back through the woods to the FBI academy.

Factual Mistake
When Catherine Martin drives into the parking area, the killer looks right into the headlights of her car while wearing night-vision goggles, but he isn't blinded. Goggles of that time might have been permanently damaged. Newer goggles have automatic protection mechanisms.

Factual Mistake
West Virginia State Police uniforms have been forest green since the early 1900's. Their vehicles are blue, with Old Gold and the State Seal on the door. The director asked the WV Department of Public Safety to use some State Police in the movie, but he didn't like the colors of their uniforms. When he asked them to change into the Brown uniforms, they refused and left the set.

Factual Mistake
The film refers to "iron sulfide, also known as 'fool's gold'." Iron sulfide, more specifically, iron (II) sulfide or FeS, is an unstable chemical compound that's usually brown or black. The fool's gold they refer to is commonly known as pyrite, and its proper name is iron (II) disulfide (FeS2). Even if Agent Starling and Dr. Lecter knew enough about chemistry to know the chemical composition of fool's gold, she would have known it as either pyrite or iron disulfide.

In the closing credits, thanks is given to The "Behavorial" Science Unit. The correct spelling is behavioral.

Revealing Mistakes
As Forensics comes to take photos of the victim's body, the "corpse" visibly blinks as hands touch its face.

Revealing Mistakes
When Clarice is talking to Buffalo Bill in his back room, a moth is filmed landing on a cotton reel. After the moth has settled, a thread is visible attached to it. Presumably the shot was filmed in reverse, and the moth was yanked off the reel.

Revealing Mistakes
When Clarice is interviewing Lecter, a padlock on his cell door goes from locked to unlocked between scenes.

Revealing Mistakes
When Clarice is researching Lecter in Quantico by reading old newspaper articles on microfilm, the same text regarding developments at some vague governmental conference appears over and over again surrounding the Lecter articles in all four separate newspapers she views.

Revealing Mistakes
During Lector's escape, the "swat" team arrives and jumps out of the police car at the courthouse with their Ithica 37 shotguns. All of them are shown chambering their rounds except the the officer on the right, who pulls back again on the fore stock and asks "ready?" That should've ejected a shell and left the gun unloaded.
Throughout the film, Hannibal Lector (Anthony Hopkins) never blinks.

At 24 minutes and 52 seconds, Anthony Hopkins's 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 (1958) beating him by one minute.

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 January 24, 1989. The Green River Killings were finally solved in 2001, when Gary Ridgway was arrested. On November 5, 2003, in a Seattle courtroom, Ridgway plead guilty to 48 counts of aggravated first degree murder.

In preparation for his role, Anthony Hopkins studied files of serial killers. Also, he visited prisons and studied convicted murderers and was present during some court hearings concerning serial killings.

Jodie Foster claims that during the first meeting between Lecter and Starling, Anthony Hopkins's mocking of her southern accent was improvised on the spot. Foster's horrified reaction was genuine; she felt personally attacked. She later thanked Hopkins for generating such an honest reaction.

When Clarice visits Dr. Hannibal Lecter in his new facility, Lecter insists she continue telling him about her childhood as part of the agreement. Jodie Foster, reluctantly, continues her story about running away. Midway through her confessions, she mentions taking a lamb with her. If one listens closely after she says, "I thought if I could save just one..." a distant sound of something being dropped can be heard in the background. A crewman dropped a wrench during filming. Director Jonathan Demme panicked, thinking it would ruin the scene completely. However, Foster remained in character and continued the story, ultimately convincing Demme to keep the footage. After "Cut" was said, Foster turned her head to the crew and yelled, "What the Hell was that!"

When Anthony Hopkins found out that he was cast as Hannibal Lecter based on his performance as Dr. Frederick Treves in The Elephant Man (1980) he questioned Jonathan Demme and said "But Dr. Treves was a good man." To which Demme replied "So is Lecter, he is a good man too. Just trapped in an insane mind."

After Lecter was moved from Baltimore, the plan was to dress him in a yellow or orange jumpsuit. Anthony Hopkins convinced Jonathan Demme and costume designer Colleen Atwood that the character would seem more clinical and unsettling if he was dressed in pure white. Hopkins has since said the got the idea from his fear of dentists.

Buffalo Bill is the combination of three real-life serial killers: Ed Gein, who skinned his victims, Ted Bundy, who used the cast on his hand as bait to convince women get into his van, and Gary Heidnick, who kept women he kidnapped in a pit in his basement. Gein was only positively linked to two murders, and suspected of two others. He gathered most of his materials through grave-robbing, not murder.

Clarice Starling was chosen by the American Film Institution as the sixth greatest film hero (out of fifty), the highest ranked female on the list; Hannibal Lecter was chosen as the #1 greatest film villain (also out of fifty).

Anthony Hopkins said he saw Lecter as similar to HAL in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968); a highly complex, highly intelligent, highly logical killing machine who seems to know everything going on around him.

Jodie Foster spent a great deal of time with FBI 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.

The idea to use glass in Lecter's Baltimore cell as opposed to traditional bars came from production designer Kristi Zea. The idea came about because director Jonathan Demme was unhappy shooting the Lecter scenes through bars, as he felt they negated the sense of intimacy between Lecter and Starling which he was trying to achieve.

Anthony Hopkins described his voice for Hannibal Lecter as, "a combination of Truman Capote and Katharine Hepburn."

As of 2013, the only horror film to win an Oscar for Best Picture. Only two others have been nominated: The Exorcist (1973) and Jaws (1975)).

When Jonathan Demme filmed the scene where Lecter and Starling first meet, Anthony Hopkins said he should look directly at the camera as it panned into his line of sight. He felt Lecter should be portrayed as "knowing everything."

Although when characters are talking to Starling, they often talk direct to camera, when she is talking to them, she is always looking slightly off-camera. Director Jonathan Demme has explained that this was done so as the audience would directly experience her POV, but not theirs, hence encouraged the audience to more readily identify with her.

As of 2013, one of three films to win the top five Oscars: Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Picture, and Best Screenplay (Adapted). The others are It Happened One Night (1934) and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975).

The production received full co-operation from the FBI as they saw it as a potential recruiting tool to hire more female agents.

Buffalo Bill's dance was not included in the original draft of the screenplay, although it appears in the novel. It was added at the insistence of Ted Levine, who thought the scene was essential in defining the character.

Anthony Hopkins invented the fast, slurping-type sound that Hannibal Lecter does. He did it spontaneously during filming on the set, and everyone thought it was great. Director Jonathan Demme became annoyed with it after a while, but denied his irritation.

Jack Crawford was based on real-life FBI Special Agent John E. Douglas, an early member of the FBI's Behavioral Sciences Unit, who coached Glenn on his portrayal of a member of the BSU. Douglas, still an active FBI Special Agent during production, was in the midst of tracking Gary Ridgway, the Green River Killer, who was believed to have killed more than 90 women in Washington state between 1982 and 1998. Ridgway was arrested 2001, and plead guilty to 48 counts of aggravated first degree murder on November 5, 2003.