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The Silence of the Lambs


Year: 1991 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 18 Cert – Not suitable for under 18s 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Jonathan Demme 
Starring: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn, Ted Levine  
An image from The Silence of the Lambs

Winner of five Oscars, two BAFTAS and many other awards, The Silence of the Lambs has fast become a horror movie classic. The film centres around Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster), an FBI agent who is attempting to locate a missing woman in order to save her from the notorious serial killer Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine). To do so, Clarice must earn the respect and trust of captured serial killer and cannibal, Dr Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), in the hope he will be able to provide some insight into the workings of the psychopathic mind.

The film regularly ranks highly in film polls, and received both critical acclaim and audience enthusiasm which it has maintained since its release. The eerie tone of the film is present throughout, highlighted particularly by Hopkins’ performance (despite his presence on screen lasting only sixteen minutes), for which he won the Best Actor Oscar. Foster’s acclaimed performance, for which she won the Best Actress Oscar, helps add to the constantly building current of suspense, with climactic episodes which do not disappoint.

One of the most quoted films of all time, and the inspiration for both sequels and prequels, The Silence of the Lambs is a must see for horror and thriller fans alike. Filled with fantastic images, speeches and performances, The Silence of the Lambs is a haunting film which will remain with the viewer long after seeing it.

Catherine Gowers

Only a few truly special films have made such an impact that everybody knows them – whether you’re a fan of horror, thriller, crime, drama or none of the above, you will no doubt be familiar with The Silence of the Lambs.

The film follows trainee FBI agent Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster), who is pulled from her training to interview famous psychiatrist and cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins). The hope is that Lecter’s insight will prove useful to the Bureau in the pursuit of another serial killer, Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine), who skins the corpses of his female victims.

The image of Lecter – his mouth cage, his piercing glare, his hankering for a nice glass of Chianti – is so iconic despite the fact he is only on-screen for 16 minutes that it is easy to overlook how incredible the rest of the cast is. Hopkins and Foster share a chemistry the like of which has not been seen since, and the interplay between the two of them is the highlight of a film full of highlights. Indeed, the film is simply a work of art – there is such a palpable sense of suspense and tension oozing from each shot that you won’t breathe until the film is finished.

If you haven’t seen the film, there is no better time to enjoy this classic and, if you have, you know you want to watch it again.

Reece Goodall

The Silence of the Lambs will be presented on 1st November 2019 from a rare original 35mm print kindly loaned by the BFI National Archive. WSC is proud to be one of few venues nationally who are properly equipped and authorised to bring you these special archived film prints.

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Screenings of this film:

1992/1993 Autumn Term (16mm)
1993/1994 Summer Term (35mm)
1993/1994 Summer Term (35mm)
2011/2012 Spring Term (35mm)
2015/2016 Autumn Term (digital)
2019/2020 Autumn Term (35mm)
2023/2024 Autumn Term (35mm)