Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

In Jonathan Demme's Best Picture winning film:

  • the tense scene of FBI trainee agent Clarice Starling's (Oscar-winning Jodie Foster) walk along a row of underground Baltimore prison cells (and her abuse by prisoner Miggs (Stuart Rudin))
  • her first meeting with the chilling, repellent, super-intelligent, cold-eyed and intriguing Dr. Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lecter (Oscar-winning Anthony Hopkins) - who stood there with his head tilted and then requested that she come "Clos-er" to show her credentials
  • the serial killer Lecter's famous lines: "Memory, Agent Starling, is what I have, instead of a view" - "You use Evian skin cream and sometimes you wear L'air du Temps - but not today" - "You're so-o ambitious, aren't you? You know what you look like to me, with your good bag and your cheap shoes? You look like a rube..."
  • the infamous description given by Lecter about his refined taste in cruelty - with the sound effect of sifting through his teeth: "A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chi-an-ti" - fpt-fpt-fpt''
  • the many scenes of their intense, seductive discussions-interrogations at his jail cell - including her confession about failing to rescue a lamb from the slaughter - as the camera moved in for intense close-ups
  • the image of Lecter's muzzled restraint with a face mask
  • the scene in which Lecter lunged at Sgt. Pembry (Alex Coleman) with bloody, face-eating cannibalism
Sgt. Jim Pembry's Cannibalistic Demise by Hannibal Lecter
  • Lecter also savagely beat Sgt. Boyle (Charles Napier) to death with a police riot baton, and relaxed afterwards to Bach's Goldberg Variations; later, officers found the bloody and savaged body of Sgt. Boyle strung up high on the cell bars like Christ, with a carved-away abdomen. "Sgt. Pembry," with an unrecognizable, gory face, lay bloodied on the floor, and Lecter appeared to be missing.
  • Clarice's entry into the home of the serial killer Jame "Buffalo Bill" Gumb (Ted Levine) and stalking from Bill's POV with night-goggles
Killing of Serial Murderer Jamie Gumb
(Buffalo Bill) in the Dark
  • The real curtain-closing climax of the film came after Clarice graduated from the FBI Academy. She received a long distance phone call from Hannibal Lecter at-large, disguised and calling from a phone at an open-air cafe at a tropical airport terminal (in the Bahamas?). He assured her that he wouldn't pursue her: "I have no plans to call on you, Clarice. The world's more interesting with you in it. Say, you take care now to extend me the same courtesy." She responded: "You know I can't make that promise." Lecter ended their short phone call with a famous farewell line - his final words were about literally dining 'with' Dr. Chilton: "I do wish we could chat longer, but I'm having an old friend for dinner. Bye."

    Lecter noticed that his arch-nemesis, the despicable Dr. Frederick Chilton (Anthony Heald) was deplaning - Chilton was Lecter's next victim. Lecter put on a Panama hat and with his disguise, he slowly walked into the crowded, narrow street of the Caribbean village and disappeared while following Chilton.

The First Meeting Between
Lecter and Clarice

Sgt. Boyle Beaten and 'Crucified'


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