The Silence of the Lambs (film)

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A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.
I do wish we could chat longer, but I'm having an old friend for dinner. Bye.
Well, Clarice, have the lambs stopped screaming?
It rubs the lotion on its skin, or else it gets the hose again.
You fly back to school now, little Starling. Fly, fly, fly. Fly, fly, fly.
I thought, I thought if I could save just one, but … he was so heavy. So heavy.
Quid pro quo – I tell you things, you tell me things. Not about this case, though. About yourself.
Would you fuck me? I'd fuck me. I'd fuck me hard. I'd fuck me so hard.
The significance of the moth is change. Caterpillar into chrysalis, or pupa, and from thence into beauty. Our Billy wants to change, too.
First principles, Clarice: simplicity. Read Marcus Aurelius, "Of each particular thing, ask: What is it in itself? What is its nature?"

The Silence of the Lambs is a 1991 horror/thriller film about a young FBI trainee who is hunting a serial killer who skins and butchers his victims. To better understand the motives of the killer, she attempts to get inside his mind with the help of an imprisoned psychopath, with whom she plays a deadly psychological game of cat-and-mouse.

Directed by Jonathan Demme. Written by Ted Tally, based on the novel by Thomas Harris.
To enter the mind of a killer she must challenge the mind of a madman.(taglines)

Jame “Buffalo Bill” Gumb

  • Would you fuck me? I'd fuck me. I'd fuck me hard. I'd fuck me so hard.


Jack Crawford: Be very careful with Hannibal Lecter. Dr. Chilton at the asylum will go over all the physical procedures used with him. Do not deviate from them for any reason whatsoever. And you're to tell him nothing personal, Starling. Believe me, you don't want Hannibal Lecter inside your head. Just do your job, but never forget what he is.
Clarice Starling: And what is that?
[cut to Clarice's first trip to the psychiatric prison]
Dr. Chilton: Oh, he's a monster. Pure psychopath. So rare to capture one alive. From a research point of view, Lecter is our most prized asset.
Dr. Chilton: Crawford is very clever, isn't he, using you?
Clarice Starling: What do you mean, sir?
Dr. Chilton: A pretty young woman to turn him on. I don't believe Lecter's even seen a woman in eight years. And, oh, are you ever his taste. So to speak.

Agent Starling: I graduated from UVA, Doctor. It's not a charm school.
Chilton: Good. Then you should be able to remember the rules. Do not touch or approach the glass. You pass him nothing but soft paper. No pencils or pens. No staples or paperclips in his paper. Use the sliding food carrier. If he attempts to pass you anything, do. not. accept. it. - Do you understand me?
Agent Starling: Yes, I understand, sir.
Chilton: I'm going to show you why we insist on such precautions. On the evening of July 8, 1981, he complained of chest pains and was taken to the dispensary. His mouthpiece and restraints were removed for an EKG. When the nurse leaned over him, he did this to her. [pulls out photo] The doctors managed to reset her jaw, more or less. Saved one of her eyes … his pulse never got above 85, even when he ate her tongue.

Clarice Starling: Excuse me. Excuse me, gentlemen. You officers and gentlemen, listen here now. There's things we need to do for her. I know that y'all brought her this far and her folks would thank you if they could for your kindness and your sensitivity, but now please go on now and let us take care of her. Go on now. Thank you. Thank you.
Jack Crawford: [on the phone] OK, good. Yeah, that's right. Elk River. Stand by for transmission.

Hannibal Lecter: You're not real FBI, are you?
Clarice Starling: I'm still in training at the Academy.
Hannibal Lecter: Jack Crawford sent a trainee to me?
Clarice Starling: Yes, I'm a student. I'm here to learn from you. Maybe you can decide for yourself whether or not I'm qualified enough to do that.
Hannibal Lecter: Mmm. That is rather slippery of you, Agent Starling. Sit, please. Now then, tell me. What did Miggs say to you? Multiple Miggs in the next cell. He hissed at you. What did he say?
Clarice Starling: He said, "I can smell your cunt."
Hannibal Lecter: I see. I, myself, cannot. You use Evian skin cream, and sometimes you wear L'Air du Temps … but not today.
Clarice Starling: Did you do all those drawings, Doctor?
Hannibal Lecter: Ah. That is the Duomo seen from the Belvedere. You know Florence?
Clarice Starling: All that detail just from memory, sir?
Hannibal Lecter: Memory, Agent Starling, is what I have instead of a view.

Hannibal Lecter: Quid pro quo. I tell you things, you tell me things. Not about this case, though, about yourself. Quid pro quo. Yes or no? Yes or no, Clarice? Poor little Catherine is waiting.
Clarice Starling: Go, Doctor.
Hannibal Lecter: What is your worst memory of childhood?
Clarice Starling: The death of my father.
Hannibal Lecter: Tell me about it and don't lie, or I'll know.
Clarice Starling: He was a town marshal, and... one night, he surprised two burglars coming out the back of a drugstore. They shot him.
Hannibal Lecter: Was he killed outright?
Clarice Starling: No, he was very strong, he lasted more than a month. My mother died when I was very young, so... my father had become the whole world to me, and, when he left me, I had nothing. I was ten years old.
Hannibal Lector: You're very frank, Clarice. I think it would be quite something to know you in private life.
Clarice Starling: Quid pro quo, Doctor.
Hannibal Lector: So tell me about Miss West Virginia. Was she a large girl?
Clarice Starling: Yes.
Hannibal Lector: Big through the hips? Roomy?
Clarice Starling: They all were.
Hannibal Lector: What else?
Clarice Starling: She had an object deliberately inserted into her throat. Now, that hasn't been made public yet. We don't know what it means.
Hannibal Lector: Was it a butterfly?
Clarice Starling: Yes. A moth. Just like the one we found in Benjamin Raspail's head an hour ago. Why does he place them there, Doctor?
Hannibal Lecter: The significance of the moth is change. Caterpillar into chrysalis, or pupa, and from thence into beauty. Our Billy wants to change, too.

Hannibal Lecter: [about "Buffalo Bill"] What a naughty boy he is! Do you know why he's called 'Buffalo Bill'? Please tell me - the newspapers won't say.
Clarice Starling: Well, it started as a bad joke in Kansas City homicide. They said, 'this one likes to skin his humps.'
Hannibal Lecter: Why do you think he removes their skins, Agent Starling? Enthrall me with your acumen.
Clarice Starling: It excites him. Most serial killers keep some sort of trophies from their victims.
Hannibal Lecter: I didn't.
Clarice Starling: No. No, you ate yours.

Hannibal Lecter: You're so 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. A well-scrubbed, hustling rube, with a little taste. Good nutrition has given you some length of bone, but you're not more than one generation from poor white trash, are you, Agent Starling? And that accent you've tried so desperately to shed? Pure West Virginia. What is your father dear? Is he a coal miner? Does he stink of the lamp? Oh and how quickly the boys found you … all those tedious, sticky fumblings in the back seats of cars … while you could only dream of getting out … getting anywhere … getting all the way to the FBI.
Clarice Starling: You see a lot, doctor. But can you point that high-powered perception at yourself? What about it? Why don't you – why don't you look at yourself and write down what you see? Or maybe you're afraid to...
Hannibal Lecter: A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti. [He approaches the glass and lets go with a slurping sound.] You fly back to school now, little Starling. [He turns his back on her and speaks in a whisper] Fly, fly, fly. Fly, fly, fly.

Hannibal Lecter: Jack Crawford is helping your career, isn't he? Apparently he likes you, and you like him too.
Clarice Starling: I never thought about it.
Hannibal Lecter: Do you think that Jack Crawford wants you sexually? True, he is much older, but do you think he imagines encounters, exchanges, fucking you?
Clarice Starling: That doesn't interest me, Doctor, and frankly, it's … it's the sort of thing that Miggs would say.
Hannibal Lecter: Not anymore.

Clarice Starling: What did you mean by transformation, doctor?
Hannibal Lecter: I've been in this room for eight years now, Clarice. I know they will never, ever let me out while I'm alive. What I want is a view. I want a window where I can see a tree, or even water. I want to be in a federal institution, far away from Dr. Chilton.
Clarice Starling: What did you mean by fledgling killer? Are you saying that he's killed again?
Hannibal Lecter: I'm offering you a psychological profile of Buffalo Bill based on the case evidence. I'll help you catch him, Clarice.
Clarice Starling: [She rises] You know who he is, don't you? Tell me who decapitated your patient, doctor.
Hannibal Lecter: All good things to those who wait. I've waited, Clarice. But how long can you and old Jackie boy wait? Our little Billy must already be searching for that next special lady.

Clarice Starling: If your profile helps us capture Buffalo Bill in time to save Catherine Martin, the Senator promises you a transfer to the VA Hospital at Oneida Park, New York with a view of the woods nearby. Maximum security still applies, of course. You'd have reasonable access to books. Best of all, though, one week of the year, you'd get to leave the hospital and go here - [She produces a map] Plum Island, every day of that week, you may walk on the beach. You may swim in the ocean for up to one hour. Under SWAT team surveillance, of course. And there you have it...If Catherine Martin dies, you get nothing.
Hannibal Lecter: Plum Island Animal Disease Research Center. Sounds charming.
Clarice Starling: That's only part of the island. There's a very, very nice beach. Terns nest there. There's beautiful …
Hannibal Lecter: Terns? If I help you, Clarice, it will be "turns" for us too. Quid pro quo – I tell you things, you tell me things. Not about this case, though. About yourself. Quid pro quo. Yes or no? [pause] Yes or no, Clarice? Poor little Catherine is waiting.
Clarice Starling: Go, doctor.

Hannibal Lecter: Billy is not a real trans-sexual, but he thinks he is. He tries to be. He's tried to be a lot of things, I expect.
Clarice Starling: And you said that I was very close to the way we would catch him. What did you mean, doctor?
Hannibal Lecter: There are three major centers for trans-sexual surgery: Johns Hopkins, the University of Minnesota, and Columbus Medical Center. I wouldn't be surprised if Billy had applied for sex reassignment at one or all of them, and been rejected.
Clarice Starling: On what basis would they reject him?
Hannibal Lecter: Look for severe childhood disturbances associated with violence. Our Billy wasn't born a criminal, Clarice. He was made one through years of systematic abuse. Billy hates his own identity, you see, and he thinks that makes him a trans-sexual. But his pathology is a thousand times more savage and more terrifying.

[Buffalo Bill is holding Catherine Martin hostage in a hole in his basement]
Buffalo Bill: [to his dog Precious] It rubs the lotion on its skin. It does this whenever it is told.
Catherine Martin: Mister … my family will pay cash. Whatever ransom you're asking for, they pay it.
Buffalo Bill: It rubs the lotion on its skin, or else it gets the hose again. [to his dog, Precious] Yes, it will, Precious, won't it? It will get the hose!
Catherine Martin: Okay … okay … okay. Mister, if you let me go, I won't – I won't press charges, I promise. See, my mom is a real important woman … I guess you already know that.
Buffalo Bill: Now it places the lotion in the basket.
Catherine Martin: Please! Please, I wanna go home! I wanna go home, please!
Buffalo Bill: It places the lotion in the basket.
Catherine Martin: I wanna see my mommy! Please, I wanna see my …
Buffalo Bill: Put the fucking lotion in the basket!

Senator Martin: Dr. Lecter. I brought an affidavit guaranteeing your new rights. You want to read it before I sign.
Hannibal Lecter: I won't waste your time or Catherine's time bargaining for petty privileges. Clarice Starling and that awful Jack Crawford have wasted far too much time already. I only pray they haven't doomed the poor girl. Let me help you now and I will trust you when it's all over.
Senator Martin: You have my word... [An aide is poised to take notes]
Hannibal Lecter: Buffalo Bill's real name is Louis Friend. I met him just once. He was referred to me in April or May 1980 by my patient Benjamin Raspail. They were lovers, you see. But Raspail had become very frightened. Apparently, Louis had murdered a transient and done things with her skin.
Senator aide: We need his address and a physical description.
Hannibal Lecter: Tell me, Senator, did you nurse Catherine yourself?
Senator Martin: What?
Hannibal Lecter: Did you breast-feed her?
Krendler: Now, wait a minute …
Senator Martin: Yes, I did.
Hannibal Lecter: Toughened your nipples, didn't it?
Krendler: You son of a bitch!
Hannibal Lecter: Amputate a man's leg, and he can still feel it tickling. Tell me, mum, when your little girl is on the slab, where will it tickle you?
Senator Martin: Take this thing back to Baltimore!
Hannibal Lecter: Five foot ten, strongly built, about 180 pounds; hair blonde, eyes pale blue. He'd be about 35 now. He said he lived in Philadelphia, but may have lied. That's all I can remember, mum, but if I think of any more, I will let you know. Oh, and Senator, just one more thing: love your suit.

Officer Murray: [about Hannibal Lecter] Is it true what they're saying, he's some kinda vampire?
Clarice Starling: They don't have a name for what he is.

Hannibal Lecter: People will say we're in love. [He clucks at her with his tongue] Anthrax Island. That was an especially nice touch, Clarice. Yours?
Clarice Starling: Yes.
Hannibal Lecter: Yeah. That was good. Pity about poor Catherine, though. Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock.
Clarice Starling: Your anagrams are showing, doctor. 'Louis Friend?' Iron Sulfide. also known as fool's gold.
Hannibal Lecter: Oh Clarice, your problem is, you need to get more fun out of life.
Clarice Starling: You were telling me the truth back in Baltimore, sir. Please continue now.
Hannibal Lecter: I've read the case files. Have you? Everything you need to find him is right there in those pages.
Clarice Starling: Then tell me how.
Hannibal Lecter: First principles, Clarice: simplicity. Read Marcus Aurelius, "Of each particular thing, ask: What is it in itself? What is its nature?" What does he do, this man you seek?
Clarice Starling: He kills women.
Hannibal Lecter: No, that is incidental. What is the first and principal thing he does, what needs does he serve by killing?
Clarice Starling: Anger, social acceptance, and, uh, sexual frustration …
Hannibal Lecter: No, he covets. That's his nature. And how do we begin to covet, Clarice? Do we seek out things to covet? Make an effort to answer, now.
Clarice Starling: No. We just …
Hannibal Lecter: No. We begin by coveting what we see every day. Don't you feel eyes moving over your body, Clarice? And don't your eyes seek out the things you want?

Hannibal Lecter: No! I will listen now. After your father's murder, you were orphaned. You were ten years old. You went to live with cousins on a sheep and horse ranch in Montana. And …?
Clarice Starling: [tears begin forming in her eyes] And one morning, I just ran away.
Hannibal Lecter: Not "just", Clarice. What set you off? You started at what time?
Clarice Starling: Early, still dark.
Hannibal Lecter: Then something woke you, didn't it? Was it a dream? What was it?
Clarice Starling: I heard a strange noise.
Hannibal Lecter: What was it?
Clarice Starling: It was … screaming. Some kind of screaming, like a child's voice.
Hannibal Lecter: What did you do?
Clarice Starling: I went downstairs, outside. I crept up into the barn. I was so scared to look inside, but I had to.
Hannibal Lecter: And what did you see, Clarice? What did you see?
Clarice Starling: Lambs. And they were screaming.
Hannibal Lecter: They were slaughtering the spring lambs?
Clarice Starling: And they were screaming.
Hannibal Lecter: And you ran away?
Clarice Starling: No. First I tried to free them. I … I opened the gate to their pen, but they wouldn't run. They just stood there, confused. They wouldn't run.
Hannibal Lecter: But you could and you did, didn't you?
Clarice Starling: Yes. I took one lamb, and I ran away as fast as I could.
Hannibal Lecter: Where were you going, Clarice?
Clarice: I don't know. I didn't have any food, any water, and it was very cold, very cold. I thought, I thought if I could save just one, but … he was so heavy. So heavy. I didn't get more than a few miles when the sheriff's car picked me up. The rancher was so angry he sent me to live at the Lutheran orphanage in Bozeman. I never saw the ranch again.
Hannibal Lecter: What became of your lamb, Clarice?
Clarice Starling: They killed him.
Hannibal Lecter: You still wake up sometimes, don't you? You wake up in the dark and hear the screaming of the lambs.
Clarice Starling: Yes.
Hannibal Lecter: And you think if you save poor Catherine, you could make them stop, don't you? You think if Catherine lives, you won't wake up in the dark ever again to that awful screaming of the lambs.
Clarice Starling: [choking up] I don't know. I don't know.
Hannibal Lecter: Thank you, Clarice. Thank you.
Clarice Starling: Tell me his name, Doctor.
Hannibal Lecter: … Dr. Chilton, I presume. I think you know each other.
Dr. Chilton: Okay. Let's go.
Clarice Starling: It's your turn, Doctor.
Dr. Chilton: Out!
Clarice Starling: Tell me his name!
Boyle: I'm sorry, ma'am. We've got orders. We have to put you on a plane. Come on, now.
[Chilton and the guards start leading Clarice out]
Hannibal Lecter: Brave Clarice. You will let me know when those lambs stop screaming, won't you?
Clarice Starling: Tell me his name, Doctor!
Hannibal Lecter: Clarice, your case file. [their hands touch briefly] Goodbye, Clarice.

Ardelia Mapp: Is this Lecter's handwriting? "Clarice, doesn't this random scattering of sites seem desperately random – like the elaborations of a bad liar? Ta, Hannibal Lecter."
Clarice Starling: "Desperately random." What does he mean?
Ardelia Mapp: Not random at all, maybe. Like there's some pattern here …?
Clarice Starling: But there is no pattern, or the computers would've nailed it. They're even found in random order.
Ardelia Mapp: Random because of the one girl. The one he weighted down.
Clarice Starling: Oh, Fredrica Bimmel, from … Belvedere, Ohio. First girl taken, third body found. Why?
Ardelia Mapp: 'Cause she didn't drift. He weighted her down.
Clarice Starling: What did Lecter say about … "first principles"?
Ardelia Mapp: Simplicity …
Clarice Starling: What does this guy do? He "covets". How do we first start to covet?
Ardelia Mapp: "We covet what we see …"
Clarice Starling: "… every day."
Ardelia Mapp: Hot damn, Clarice.
Clarice Starling: He knew her.

Hannibal Lecter: [on telephone] Well, Clarice, have the lambs stopped screaming?
Clarice Starling: Dr. Lecter?
Hannibal Lecter: Don't bother with a trace, I won't be on long enough.
Clarice Starling: Where are you?
Hannibal Lecter: I have no plans to call on you, Clarice. The world's more interesting with you in it. So you take care now to extend me the same courtesy.
Clarice Starling: You know I can't make that promise.
Hannibal Lecter: I do wish we could chat longer, but … [eyeing Dr. Chilton] I'm having an old friend for dinner. Bye.
Clarice Starling: Dr. Lecter? … Dr. Lecter? … Dr. Lecter? … Dr. Lecter? …


  • To enter the mind of a killer, she must challenge the mind of a madman.
  • Prepare yourself for the most exciting, mesmerising and terrifying two hours of your life!
  • When the Fox hears the Rabbit scream he comes a-runnin', but not to help.
  • May The Silence Be Broken!!
  • Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Brilliant. Cunning. Psychotic. In his mind lies the clue to a ruthless killer. – Clarice Starling, FBI. Brilliant. Vulnerable. Alone. She must trust him to stop the killer.



About The Silence of the Lambs (film)

It’s about one young woman trying desperately to save the life of another young woman. And in order to do that, she’s faced with the overwhelming obstacle of all these men —Jodie Foster
  • the lesbian community is under siege, we always try to present to the heterosexual community the idealized version, but I do not think that's a good way to do it, even though I can understand where it's coming from. ("Valerie Miner talked about the kinds of self-censorship she finds in her work when she starts thinking she should present only positive images of lesbians or working-class people.") Yes. In that poem and also in the poem "Night Voice" I do that. There's this whole controversy now over media images of lesbians and gays and bisexuals. It's brought out in movies like Basic Instinct and Silence of the Lambs where they are presented as killers. It comes up in the novels of P. D. James, where she has these criminals who are lesbians or gay men. And I hate that. But, at the same time, I want the dirty laundry to be out there, whether it's on the Mexican culture or the lesbian culture or the bisexual. And I'm not sure how you do that.
  • I thought The Silence Of The Lambs was an absolutely brilliant book. The easiest way for me to understand the huge success of the movie starts with what a great book Thomas Harris wrote to begin with. He created those characters for Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins and Ted Levine to bring to life. As a filmmaker, I had the delicious job of being the moviegoing audience's representative at the place where the film version was now going to happen. Of course, I had my own ideas about the strengths of the book and how best to visualize them for the screen. Same thing with Beloved. In Beloved, there was zero invention: We didn't have to fix anything in the book, no gaping holes, no problems that had to be solved. The film is very faithful to the book, because we were all so inspired by the book that we simply transferred that inspiration to the screen. Silence Of The Lambs was essentially the same situation, except for the ending. Thomas Harris ended the book in a very meditative, poetic sort of way. This being a movie, we needed something a little bit more galvanizing as a sign-off, so we came up with the phone call and a glimpse of Dr. Lecter following Dr. Chilton off into the Caribbean sunset.
    • Jonathan Demme, Jonathan Demme Scott Tobias, A.V. Club (October 23, 2002).
  • It’s about one young woman trying desperately to save the life of another young woman. And in order to do that, she’s faced with the overwhelming obstacle of all these men