Just when we were all beginning to believe that nothing in film could frighten us anymore, along came Hannibal Lecter to scare the bejesus out of us. Silence of the Lambs assembles one of the most powerful combinations of acting, writing, and direction in modern moviemaking to remind us of the infinite depth of human depravity.

Anthony Hopkins glides through his performance as evil incarnate with gripping understatement, unveiling for us everything we fear most about the dark side of the human psyche. He's no howling lunatic or crazed animal. Hannibal is intelligent, cultured, charming, and wholly devoid of any qualms - or at least he displays no qualms about slicing someone's face off and using it as a mask.

Jodie Foster is equally compelling as Clarice Starling, the perfect foil: a winsome and willing neophyte special agent who charms Hannibal. The dynamic between these two actors is tremendous; if you don't believe us, bear in mind that they both won Oscars for their performances.

The plot is addictive, as we watch Foster and her FBI team attempt to run a serial killer to ground. She coaxes clues from Hannibal - the incarcerated godfather of all serial killers - as to how the killer thinks and what he may do next. Much of the movie's plot focuses on this second killer, nicknamed "Buffalo Bill," but he's not really all that interesting, except for his rather extreme take on cross-dressing. There is no doubt that you'll leave this movie more afraid of Hannibal than of anyone else.


  • One of only 3 films to win the "Golden 5" Academy Awards: Best Picture, Actor, Actress, Director, and Screenplay. (The others were It Happened One Night and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.)

  • The role of Clarice Starling was originally offered to Michelle Pfeiffer

  • Placed #65 on the American Film Institute's "100 Greatest Movies" List