After 26 years, the lambs still haven’t stopped screaming! February 14th marks the day of love, but it is also the anniversary of The Silence of the Lambs, one of the greatest psychological thrillers ever made.
The Silence Of The Lambs is one of very few films ever to have won five of the major Oscars for best picture for the producers (Edward Saxon, Kenneth Utt and Ronald M. Bozman), director (Jonathan Demme), actors (Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster), and screenwriter (Ted Tally). The best things about this film are the story and the cast.
(Synopsis provided by IMDb.com): Jodie Foster plays the young, ambitious FBI cadet, Clarice Starling. Clarice must confide in an incarcerated and manipulative serial killer known as Hannibal Lector (Anthony Hopkins) to help her catch another serial killer, Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine).
Even though Anthony Hopkins wasn’t the first or last actor to portray Hannibal the Cannibal, he’ll always be the first man we think about when we hear that nickname. Hopkins really dove into this role by visiting prisons and attended court hearings that dealt with murderers. Some of his most memorable lines and actions were actually improvised. For instance, he decided to mock Jodie Foster’s Southern accent in their first scene together, for which Foster later thanked him for generating an honest horrified reaction from her. Hopkins really made that role his own, and that’s why he’ll always be the one and only Hannibal Lector in my book.
Jodie Foster also makes her role her own. After attempting unsuccessfully to buy the rights to the novel, she fought hard to get the role of Clarice. Michelle Pfeiffer turned down the role and Foster was hired after just one meeting with the director. Foster studied for her role also, befriending and spending a lot of time with a real FBI agent prior to filming. The FBI agent was actually the one who gave Foster the idea of Clarice standing by her car and crying after her first interview with Hannibal. Foster put a lot of time and dedication into the role and it really showed! That’s why Clarice Starling was Jodie Foster’s best character.
Of course, we can’t forget about Buffalo Bill himself – Ted Levine! Levine prepared for his role by also reading profiles of serial killers. He also went to a few trans bars and interviewed some patrons. Levine also improvised Buffalo Bill’s dancing scene. No doubt, no one else could have perfected that role like Ted Levine did!
One of the most asked questions in the horror community – “Is The Silence Of The Lambs technically a horror film?” – and answer is yes. The Silence Of The Lambs brought us one of the most memorable psychopaths in history! The film also brought us a compelling story, tense and frightening scenes, and a wonderful cast. The Silence Of The Lambs is no doubt a horror classic and it will still be a classic decades from now.