1991 • The Silence of the Lambs

The Silence of the Lambs, 1991Monday night after returning home from our second and final wine tasting class, Lauren felt she couldn’t go to sleep quite yet and insisted on watching the next movie in our Best Picture project. And what better movie right before bedtime than The Silence of the Lambs?

Lauren owns the VHS tape of The Silence of the Lambs, and seemed excited to watch it on Blu-ray on the PS3. I had never seen it before and wasn’t sure I wanted to watch it right at that moment; I was under the impression it was a really scary movie that would keep me up at night (yes, I’m a wuss like that). I had heard the terms “psychological thriller” and “crime” and “horror” used quite often in describing The Silence of the Lambs. Even though it was already 10:40, I gave in to Lauren and we stayed up and watched it.

Unlike me prior to last night, you’ve all probably already seen The Silence of the Lambs a time or two. And in the end, it turned out I recognized a few scenes, so maybe I caught parts of it on TV at one point or another over the years. But the premise is as such: young FBI student Clarice Starling is sent to interview mentally insane cannibalistic prisoner Hannibal Lecter, as he may have insight into another case involving serial killer Buffalo Bill. Clarice is able to decipher some clues from Lecter, but only by telling him stories of her traumatic childhood in return. The FBI is bearing down on Buffalo Bill’s latest victim, the daughter of a US Senator, but thanks to Lecter’s clues, Clarice winds up at Buffalo Bill’s house to face him one-on-one in his maze of a basement.

The Silence of the Lambs was another big winner in my book! I really liked the fast pace of the movie; I was surprised that Lecter appeared just a few minutes into the movie. The story just kept moving on along, yet allowing slow people like me the ability to comprehend and keep up—very odd qualities to find in these Best Picture movies. There was nary a moment throughout where I wasn’t just on the edge of my seat; the haunting music throughout kept the suspense going from start to finish.

Hannibal Lecter

Hannibal Lecter

There have been very few movies that have hugely famous lines like The Silence of the Lambs. Lecter delivered at least two all-time memorable quotes, including the final “I’m having an old friend for dinner.” It was much like when I watched Casablanca, hearing quotes and recognizing them but not having previously realized what they were from. The movie just got more and more iconic as it went along.

Obviously the acting of Anthony Hopkins was spellbinding, however it does seem odd he received the Best Actor award for his role when he was on screen for only 16 minutes! Jodie Foster likewise was very deserving of her Best Actress award.

The Silence of the Lambs‘s genre might be completely unique to this project. I can’t really think of another movie so far that even can compare to the horror and suspense. Anyway, it was the fourth consecutive tremendous movie in this project. The last four winners have been spot-on. Way to go filmmakers of the late 80s/early 90s! I ranked The Silence of the Lambs #5 of 61 to this point, right after The Godfather Part II and right ahead of The Sound of Music.

Looking ahead, we have 1992’s Unforgiven before getting into a bunch of movies that I’m quite familiar with. The fun part of the project of watching movies for the first time is nearly over!


  1. […] on our Best Picture project, 1988-1991: Rain Man, Driving Miss Daisy, Dances With Wolves, and The Silence of the Lambs. There have been two strings of four consecutive movies that have been brilliant so far, these […]

  2. A modern classic! And today the film is 20 years old!
    check out my review when you can: http://wp.me/p19wJ2-dP

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