Top 100 Movie Review: #65 – Silence of the Lambs (1991)

“I Got Your Dog Mister!”

I miss the days of quoting movies.


American Film Institute’s Ranking: #65/100
Awards: Won the Big Five of Academy Awards (Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Screenplay)
My Rating: StarStarStarStar

I worry about the lack of common rallying points in society that keep us culturally cohesive. There was a time where mass entertainment passed the gauntlet from one generation to the next due to limited selection. At 8pm, Nickelodeon turned into Nick At Night where I soaked up “I Love Lucy” and “The Brady Bunch” and was able to connect with grandparents or Aunts and Uncles.

That’s absent now; we can all branch out and end up on very unique and narrow twigs on the expansive trees of netflix, youtube, and hulu. We need some common humanity.

Enter Buffalo Bill.

I love to quote this movie. You want to bring a group of some well-rounded 30-50 somethings together? Pretend to be Hannibal Lector. What some cheap laughs? Start talking about putting the lotion on the skin. Maybe Silence of the Lambs can save us from these polarized times.

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An FBI Trainee Clarice Starling (Jody Foster)download.gif gets the opportunity of a lifetime to interview renown clinical psychologist turned killer Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) to try and solve a tricky case. Some serial killer is kidnapping girls, skinning them, and dropping them into the river. With the FBI at a loss, Clarice tries to tease out as much information from Hannibal as she can.

This begins a big game of cat and mouse. Hannibal starts to play 3d chess, manipulating Clarice and others to get out of jail.



Like any movie that I enjoy, there are usually multiple things going on to keep me interested.

Lovable Psychopath.

What makes Hannibal so endearing?

During his escape from prison, we almost cheer for him. He is amazingly competent, and it is very easy to be wedded to that over the inept politicians, psychologists, and law enforcement agents. His superior intelligence is also endearing; what he says is IMPORTANT, so the few scenes he is in we pay attention.

He just happens to be a cannibal. Nobody’s perfect.


Jody Foster is Fun. 

Hannibal is not the only person we are cheering on. Clarice, being a a rookie of sorts, is easy to support. Her innocence is something I wanted to protect, especially during her forays into the wretched particulars of the case. The only thing that separates her from Hannibal is that she is pure.

Except Clarice is extremely plucky; rather than needing to protect her, she needs to be unleashed.

Thus, we have one of the best pairings in cinema fun. The best scenes in the movie are the ones where they are together. They actually make quite the crime solving duo. Too bad one of them lacks the necessary emotions to be a functioning person in society.


The Eclectic Pscyhopath

Where Hannibal Lector is relatable with the similar interests and debonair delivery, Buffalo Bill is somewhat harder to understand.

We’ve come a long way in our acceptance of transgender, cross-dressing, gender dysphoria, and more in the almost thirty years (30!) since this films release. While the subplot of someone not accepting their gender was probably enough evidence of mental illness on its own in 91, it is more of a regular plot note here. It’s important to understand Buffalo Bill, but I didn’t think it was the main prop used to explore his psychosis.

While Lector is displayed as relatable, Buffalo Bill is most definitely counter culture. His rare flares of normalcy make him even more despicable (like his affection towards his dog as he has people trapped in dry wells). He also has the best lines — hands down.



Great pick up lines found within.

Other People’s Takes:

  • Embrace Your Geekness: “If you have not seen The Silence of the Lambs, this is the ultimate film of suspense and tension.  The film contains a bunch of outstanding performances and some of the best direction you will ever see.  It is an all-time classic and worth the re-watch any time.”
  • In Their Own League: There are very few films that flirt with perfection. “The Silence of the Lambs” is one of those. This is partly due to Jonathan Demme’s eerie resonance throughout, the apt camera work, and the malformation of horror, thriller, mystery and pure character drama.”
  • The Twin Geeks: The truth is we find him incredibly charming—not simply because Hopkins is charming—but because he connects to some deep-rooted part of our spirit that wants to understand him.”

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