“The Silence of the Lambs” turned 30 years old in 2021 and it’s still very popular among old and modern audiences and critically acclaimed. The American psychological thriller and horror movie directed by  Jonathan Demme and written by Ted Tally was adapted from Thomas Harris‘ 1988 novel. It stars Jodie Foster as Clarice Starling, a young FBI trainee who is hunting a serial killer, “Buffalo Bill” (Ted Levine), who skins his female victims. To catch him, she seeks the advice of the imprisoned Dr Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), a brilliant psychiatrist and cannibalistic serial killer.

Released on Valentine’s Day in 1991, “The Silence of the Lambs” was a low-budget sleeper hit that gradually gained widespread critical acclaim and box office success,  grossing almost $272.7 million. With Demme in charge, the film was not only lauded as a cinematic work of art but, has had a lasting impact on Hollywood. It was the first horror film to win an Academic Award for “Best Picture”, and also has the distinction of being only the third movie in history to win the five major Oscars for best film, director, actor, actress and best-adapted screenplay – after “It happened one night (1934) and “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s nest” (1975).

The film features superb performances from Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins, with director Jonathan Demme, previously best known for comedy, delivering a thrilling masterpiece. Foster, as FBI recruit Clarice Starling, is asked by her superior, Jack Crawford (Scott Gleen), to visit notorious serial killer Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter, a former psychiatrist held in a subterranean prison who may have an insight into the psyche of a murderer named Buffalo Bill (creepily played by Ted Levine), that will help the FBI catch him.

However, the witty, smart and cultured Hannibal doesn’t make Clarice’s life easy. He draws Clarice into an uneasy, disturbing relationship in which he demands insight into her childhood in return for his professional opinions. It’s their exchanges, in Hannibal’s dark, gothic dungeon, separated only by glass, that is at the film’s heart as Foster and Hopkins, showing their tour de force performances. That’s class!

“The Silence of the Lambs” is regularly cited by critics, film directors and audiences as one of the greatest and most influential films. In 2018, Empire ranked it 48th on their list of the 500 greatest movies of all time. The American Film Institute ranked it the fifth-greatest and most influential thriller film while Starling and Lecter were ranked among the greatest film heroines and villains. 

A sequel, “Hannibal“, was released in 2001, but it didn’t achieve the same success and it was followed by the more enjoyable prequel “Red Dragon” (2002) and “Hannibal Rising” (2007).

Check out the movie’s best scenes and the official trailer below:

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