Trivia - The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
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The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Genres: Crime, Drama, Thriller

Taglines: Prepare yourself for the most exciting, mesmerising and terrifying two hours of your life!

Director: Jonathan Demme

Writers: Thomas Harris, Ted Tally

Stars: Jodie Foster, Lawrence A. Bonney, Kasi Lemmons, Lawrence T. Wrentz, ...

FBI trainee Clarice Starling works hard to advance her career, including trying to hide or put behind her West Virginia roots, of which if some knew would automatically classify her as being backward or white trash. After graduation, she aspires to work in the agency's Behavioral Science Unit under the leadership of Jack Crawford. While she is still a trainee, Crawford does ask her to question Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a psychiatrist imprisoned thus far for eight years in maximum security isolation for being a serial killer, he who cannibalized his victims. Clarice is able to figure out the assignment is to pick Lecter's brains to help them solve another serial murder case, that of someone coined by the media as Buffalo Bill who has so far killed five victims, all located in the eastern US, all young women who are slightly overweight especially around the hips, all who were drowned in natural bodies of water, and all who were stripped of large swaths of skin. She also figures that Crawford...
At 24 minutes and 52 seconds, Anthony Hopkins's performance in this movie is the second shortest to ever win an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, with David Niven in Separate Tables (1958) beating him by one minute.
In preparation for his role, Anthony Hopkins studied files of serial killers. Also, he visited prisons and studied convicted murderers and was present during some court hearings concerning serial killings.
The pattern on the butterfly's back in the movie posters is not the natural pattern of the Death's-Head Hawk Moth. It is, in fact, Salvador Dalí's "In Voluptas Mors", a picture of seven naked women made to look like a human skull.
Clarice Starling was chosen by the American Film Institution as the sixth greatest film hero (out of fifty), the highest ranked female on the list; Hannibal Lecter was chosen as the #1 greatest film villain (also out of fifty).
Buffalo Bill is the combination of three real-life serial killers: Ed Gein, who skinned his victims, Ted Bundy, who used the cast on his hand as bait to convince women get into his van, and Gary Heidnick, who kept women he kidnapped in a pit in his baseme
Anthony Hopkins said he saw Lecter as similar to HAL in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968); a highly complex, highly intelligent, highly logical killing machine who seems to know everything going on around him.
After Jodie Foster first read the Thomas Harris novel, she tried to buy the rights herself, only to find Gene Hackman had beaten her to it.
As of 2013, the only horror film to win an Oscar for Best Picture. Only two others have been nominated: The Exorcist (1973) and Jaws (1975)).
Anthony Hopkins described his voice for Hannibal Lecter as, "a combination of Truman Capote and Katharine Hepburn."
When Jonathan Demme filmed the scene where Lecter and Starling first meet, Anthony Hopkins said he should look directly at the camera as it panned into his line of sight. He felt Lecter should be portrayed as "knowing everything."
As of 2013, one of three films to win the top five Oscars: Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Picture, and Best Screenplay (Adapted). The others are It Happened One Night (1934) and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975).
Brooke Smith and Ted Levine were actually very close on the set, making Jodie Foster refer to Brooke Smith as Patricia Hearst' a kidnapping victim who later fell in love with her kidnapper.
Buffalo Bill's dance was not included in the original draft of the screenplay, although it appears in the novel. It was added at the insistence of Ted Levine, who thought the scene was essential in defining the character.
A 'Bon Appetit' magazine can be seen in Hannibal Lecter's temporary cell.
The real-life FBI's Behavioral Science Unit assisted in the making of this film.
The portrayal of the character Dr. Hannibal Lecter is rated as the #1 villain on the American Film Institute's 100 Years...100 Heroes and Villains list.
The first moth cocoon found in one of the victim's throats was made from a combination of Tootsie Rolls(TM) and gummy bears, so it would be edible if swallowed.
Within ten years of the release of this film, the building used for the exterior of Lecter's asylum had been shut down and demolished. Footage from this film was therefore recycled to create the establishing shots used in the prequel Red Dragon (2002).
When Anthony Hopkins' agent rang him up in London to tell him that he was sending him a script called "The Silence of the Lambs", Hopkins immediately thought he might be going up for a children's movie.
The production received full co-operation from the FBI as they saw it as a potential recruiting tool to hire more female agents.
At least six directors have roles in this film: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Kasi Lemmons, Roger Corman, Dan Butler (who directed episodes of Frasier (1993)), and a cameo by George A. Romero.
Brooke Smith gained 25 pounds for her role as Catherine Martin.
Selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry in December 2011, as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."
Almost all the scenes in Hannibal's original cell have either a reflection of Hannibal or Clarice, depending on the camera's point of view.
Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster only share four scenes throughout the course of the film.
It took Thomas Harris 6 years to write the novel.
Entertainment Weekly voted this as the fourth scariest film of all time.
In the novel, Jack Crawford not only has to deal with pitting a rookie agent against Hannibal Lecter, but he also has to contend with his wife dying at home. This subplot wasn't deemed necessary for the film version.
One of the inspirations that Anthony Hopkins borrowed from for his interpretation of Hannibal Lecter was a friend of his in London who never blinked which unnerved anyone around him.
The skull in the poster is formed by 7 women bodies, based on Dali's work.
The film surpassed its budget in its first week of release.
Brooke Smith entered in and out of the pit by crouching through a small door that was half her size. It was then covered with dirt to keep it out of sight of the camera.
This was the third time a film won the five major Oscars (Film, Director, Actor, Actress, Screenplay) after 'It Happened One Night' (1934) and 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' (1975).
Notoriously private and shy, Thomas Harris declined the opportunity to be involved in the film in any way, though he did wish the cast and crew the best of luck with the adaptation.
The rules for speaking with Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) are the same as the rules for speaking with Ethan Powell in Instinct (1999), a role also played by Hopkins.
Dino De Laurentiis, who had produced Manhunter (1986), passed on Silence of the Lambs because Manhunter had flopped. He gave the rights away free to Orion Pictures.
The first film widely available on home video at the time of the Academy Awards ceremony to win Best Picture.
Despite being recently declared bankrupt, Orion still managed to raise $200,000 for the film's Oscar campaign.
Ed Harris turned down the role of Jack Crawford because he didn't find the role interesting and would rather have played Hannibal Lecter.
Jonathan Demme was convinced that Jodie Foster would be perfect for Clarice Starling when he saw her purposefully walk down a corridor to meet him. He liked her air of determination.
The song heard playing while "Buffalo Bill" does his dance is "Goodbye Horses" by Q. Lazzarus. More commonly-known versions of this song are performed by Psyche and by Mortal Loom sung by Ilja Rosendahl.
The third EMS attendant treating Sgt. Pembrie is Jeff Busch, a paramedic and owner of a Pittsburgh emergency vehicle company that detailed all of the emergency vehicles in the film.
Jonathan Demme cast Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter based on his performance as Dr. Frederick Treves in The Elephant Man (1980). Hopkins has himself said that he felt the sharing-and-caring role of Dr. Frederick Treves was rather dull.
Some of the scenes were filmed in Bellaire, Ohio, birthplace of actor Ted Levine.
To everyone's surprise, reclusive author Thomas Harris sent all the Oscar recipients a case of wine.
Ted Tally was halfway through his adaptation of Thomas Harris' novel when financing of the film fell through. Orion president Mike Medavoy urged him to carry on regardless.
Orion snapped up the film rights for $500,000.
Jonathan Demme met with Robert Duvall to see if he would be a good fit for the part of Hannibal Lecter.
[37:48] The song playing during the funeral is "Bringing The Sheaves"
Despite the fact that this was filmed in the standard spherical format, "Filmed in Panavision" is listed in the end credits.
When Agent Starling goes through Fredrica Bimmel's closet and closes the room's door, a promotional poster for Deborah Harry's 1989 solo album, "Def, Dumb & Blonde", can be seen on the bedroom wall. Director Jonathan Demme is a fan of Deborah Harry.
Stayed on top of the US box office for 5 weeks.
Dedicated to Trey Wilson.
Then Secretary of Labor, Elizabeth Dole's, Washington, D.C. office doubled for that of the F.B.I. director's office in the movie.
Michael Keaton, Mickey Rourke, and Kenneth Branagh were all considered for the role of Jack Crawford.
The movie's poster was as #16 of "The 25 Best Movie Posters Ever" by Premiere.
Jonathan Demme signed on as director after reading the novel.
The moth that gets pulled out of a corpse's mouth was actually just candy in case the actress playing the corpse should accidentally swallow it.
Gay rights protesters complaining that making Buffalo Bill a transsexual was highly clichéd and a reflection of and/or pandering to public hostilities around the issue of sexual orientation.
The second film to feature the character of Dr Hannibal Lecter, the first being Michael Mann's Manhunter (1986).
According to an old news article that Starling reads on microfilm, "Judge Detox" presided over Dr. Lecter's murder trial.
Roger Corman:  The veteran filmmaker and president of New World Pictures played the FBI Director.
Edward Saxon:  head in jar
George A. Romero:  the bearded man who accompanies Chilton and the two guards who forcibly remove Clarice Starling after her final meeting with Lecter.
Ted Tally:  the FBI tactical team member with the mustache and glasses, during the raid near the end of the movie.
Kenneth Utt:  the coroner.
Jonathan Demme:  wearing a blue cap at the end of the film.
In his first meeting with Clarice Starling, Lecter describes the drawing on his cell wall as "the Duomo, seen from the Belvedere" in Florence, Italy. Starling later finds Buffalo Bill living in Belvedere, Ohio.
The position of Boyle's body after Lecter has disemboweled and hung him from the cell was specifically based on the work of painter Francis Bacon.
After the shootout with Gumb, Clarice has partially-burned gunpowder buried in the skin on the side of her face, the result of a near-miss. One name for this type of injury is "coal miner's tattoo" , a clever reference to the character's background.
In an early version of Ted Tally's screenplay, Lecter's courthouse escape plan is revealed when the head of SWAT team recognizes the body.
As of 2015, the only horror film to win an Oscar for Best Picture. Only two others have been nominated: The Exorcist (1973) and Jaws (1975)).
The pattern on the moth's back in the movie posters is not the natural pattern of the Death's-Head Hawk Moth. It is, in fact, Salvador Dalí's "In Voluptas Mors", a picture of seven naked women made to look like a human skull.
Jodie Foster stated in "Inside Story: The Silence of the Lambs" (2010) that "Silence of the Lambs" is her favorite movie of her own.
The revolver that Buffalo Bill uses is a Colt Python, which is a double action. That means in the dark scene all he would have had to do was pull the trigger, he would not have had to pull the hammer back.
When studying the character he played, Hopkins noticed similar characteristics in reptiles. Reptiles only blink when they want to, and do it consciously. Therefore, in the movie, Hopkins only blinks in special moments and very consciously.
Gay rights protesters complained that making Buffalo Bill a transsexual was highly clichéd and a reflection of and/or pandering to public hostilities around the issue of sexual orientation.
The song playing during the funeral (at about 39 mins) is "Rock of Ages"
Gene Siskel was the only mainstream critic to give this Best Picture winner a negative review.
Legendary director George A. Romero appears in the movie as does one of the actors from his film Dawn of The Dead: David Early (as one of the SWAT team).
The movie's line "A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti." was voted as the #21 movie quote by the American Film Institute (out of 100).
The Silence of the Lambs, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and It Happened One Night, have all won the Big Five Oscars (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, and Writing). Moreover, these were the only Oscars any of these films won.
Inspiration for the song "Buffalo Bill" by Eminem.
The part of Jame "Buffalo Bill" Gumb, played by Frank Theodore "Ted" Levine, is coincidentally based on real life serial killers Edward Theodore Gein and Theodore Robert "Ted" Bundy.
In an interview John Carpenter declared his disappointment over the movie focusing so much on Clarice Starling's character and that he would have loved to direct this himself, making it "much more frightening and gripping".
The character of Jame Gumb inspired the song "Lady in the Pit" by Bonecage.
In their first meeting, Lechter tells Clarice that his drawing is of " the Duomo as seen from the Belvedere ". Later, agent Starling goes to " Belvedere" Ohio.
The air ambulance seen in the hangar at Memphis airport is a Short 330.
After being cast as Buffalo Bill, Ted Levine developed his character by reading profiles of serial killers. Levine later said he found the material very disturbing. Since Bill was a cross-dresser, he went to a few transvestite bars and interviewed some pa
Contrary to popular rumor, writer Thomas Harris saw the film shortly after it came out. According to a New York Magazine profile of Harris, "The Silence of the Writer," by Phoebe Hoban (15 April 1991), he called it "a great movie. . . I've been surrounded
Lechter said he ate a victim's liver with "some fava beans and nice chianti". Liver, fava beans, and wine all contain a substance called tyramine, which can kill a person who is taking a certain class of antidepressant drugs known as MAO inhibitors. MAO i
According to Jonathan Demme, there were 300 applicants for the role of Clarice Starling. Nicole Kidman and Halle Berry auditioned for the role, and Andie MacDowell was also considered. Meg Ryan, Michelle Pfeiffer and Melanie Griffith turned the role down
For the film's sequels, characters appearing in the mental hospital were never recast: Anthony Heald returned in Red Dragon (2002), and Anthony Hopkinss and Frankie Faison returned for both that film and Hannibal (2001). All the FBI employees, however, we
As of 2004, The Godfather: Part II (1974) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) were the only sequels to win Best Picture. One could argue that this film qualifies as well, since it is arguably a sequel to Manhunter (1986). Even if one
Anthony Hopkins was on screen for a total of 11 minutes throughout the two hour film.
When Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) first discovers Katherine Martin (Brooke Smith) in the well in Buffalo Bill's basement, Martin`s gown, wide-eyed fear, and holding Bill's white poodle Precious can be seen as a direct mirror of Starling's own childhood
In his first meeting with Clarice Starling, Lecter describes the drawing on his cell wall as "the Duomo, seen from the Belvedere" in Florence, Italy. In the sequel Hannibal (2001) Lecter is living in Florence as a fugitive.
Jodie Foster stated in Inside Story: The Silence of the Lambs (2010) that this is her favourite movie of her own.
After being cast as Buffalo Bill, Ted Levine developed his character by reading profiles of serial killers. Levine later said he found the material very disturbing. Since Bill was a cross-dresser, he went to a few trans* bars and interviewed some patrons.
As of 2016, the only horror film to win an Oscar for Best Picture. Only four others have been nominated: The Exorcist (1973), Jaws (1975), The Sixth Sense (1999), and Black Swan (2010).
Brooke Smith and Ted Levine were actually very close on the set, making Jodie Foster refer to Brooke Smith as Patricia Hearst, a kidnapping victim who later fell in love with her kidnapper.
Dino De Laurentiis, who had produced Manhunter (1986), passed on Silence of the Lambs because Manhunter had flopped. He gave the rights away free to Orion Pictures. He then went on to produce Red Dragon, its prequel.
When studying the character he played, Anthony Hopkins noticed similar characteristics in reptiles. Reptiles only blink when they want to, and do it consciously. Therefore, in the movie, Hopkins only blinks in special moments and very consciously.
In the novel Lecter has six fingers on his left hand.
In the book it is elaborated on that the name Jame Gumb was a clerical error on Buffalo Bill's birth certificate and the name was supposed to be James. It also mentions the offence to which Bill will take if anyone calls him James or Jamie.
When Agent Starling goes through Fredrica Bimmel's closet and closes the room's door, a promotional poster for Deborah Harry's 1989 solo album, "Def, Dumb & Blonde", can be seen on the bedroom wall. Director Jonathan Demme is a fan of Debbie Harry.
Ted Levine (Buffalo Bill) was born in Bellaire, Ohio. Bill's home in the movie is in Belvedere, Ohio, only 40 miles from Bellaire.
Anthony Heald has since gone on to play Dr Frederick Treves in a successful stage production of The Elephant Man, a role which Anthony Hopkins played in the movie of the same name.
Jame "Buffalo Bill" Gumb is based on real life serial killers Gary Heidnick, who kept his victims in a pit in his home, Edward Theodore Gein who would skin his victims and Theodore Robert "Ted" Bundy who wore a fake cast to lure his victims into his car.
Part of Jodie Foster's deal for doing this movie was that Orion Pictures would allow her to direct a film. She later directed Orion Pictures' film, Little Man Tate (1991).
Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
During the closing credits, if you look very closely to Hannibal when he's in the far distance, inside the crowd, his hat falls off his head and he quickly picks it up. This happens little before the screen fades to black.
Roger Corman: The veteran filmmaker and president of New World Pictures played the FBI Director.
George A. Romero: the bearded man who accompanies Chilton and the two guards who forcibly remove Clarice Starling after her final meeting with Lecter. In addition, Dave Early from Dawn of the Dead (1978) appears as one of the SWAT team.
Edward Saxon: head in jar
Ted Tally: the FBI tactical team member with the mustache and glasses, during the raid near the end of the movie.
Kenneth Utt: the coroner.
Jonathan Demme: wearing a blue cap at the end of the film.
In the movie it is said that Miggs died by swallowing his own tongue. This is physically impossible to do unless the tongue has been cut off.
Body Count: 8.
Jodie Foster claims that during the first meeting between Lecter and Starling, Anthony Hopkins's mocking of her southern accent was improvised on the spot. Foster's horrified reaction was genuine; she felt personally attacked. She later thanked Hopkins fo
When Anthony Hopkins found out that he was cast as Hannibal Lecter based on his performance as Dr. Frederick Treves in The Elephant Man (1980) he questioned Jonathan Demme and said "But Dr. Treves was a good man." To which Demme replied "So is Lecter, he
Buffalo Bill is the combination of three real-life serial killers: Ed Gein, who skinned his victims, Ted Bundy, who used the cast on his hand as bait to convince women to get into his van, and Gary Heidnick, who kept women he kidnapped in a pit in his bas
At a little over 16 minutes screen time (24 min 52 sec appearances) Anthony Hopkins's performance in this movie is the 2nd shortest to ever win an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, with David Niven in Separate Tables (1958) beating him at 15
The Silence of the Lambs was inspired by the real-life relationship between University of Washington criminology professor and profiler Robert Keppel and serial killer Ted Bundy. Bundy helped Keppel investigate the Green River Serial Killings in Washingto
After Lecter was moved from Baltimore, the plan was to dress him in a yellow or orange jumpsuit. Anthony Hopkins convinced Jonathan Demme and costume designer Colleen Atwood that the character would seem more clinical and unsettling if he was dressed in p
Jodie Foster spent a great deal of time with FBI agent Mary Ann Krause prior to filming. Krause gave Foster the idea of Starling standing by her car crying. Krause told Foster that at times, the work just became so overwhelming that it was a good way to g
When Clarice visits Dr. Hannibal Lecter in his new facility, Lecter insists she continue telling him about her childhood as part of the agreement. Jodie Foster, reluctantly, continues her story about running away. Midway through her confessions, she menti
Although when characters are talking to Starling, they often talk direct to camera, when she is talking to them, she is always looking slightly off-camera. Director Jonathan Demme has explained that this was done so as the audience would directly experien
The idea to use glass in Lecter's Baltimore cell as opposed to traditional bars came from production designer Kristi Zea. The idea came about because director Jonathan Demme was unhappy shooting the Lecter scenes through bars, as he felt they negated the
Anthony Hopkins invented the fast, slurping-type sound that Hannibal Lecter does. He did it spontaneously during filming on the set, and everyone thought it was great. Director Jonathan Demme became annoyed with it after a while, but denied his irritation
After working with John Douglas for some time, Scott Glenn thanked him and said how fascinating it was to have been allowed into his world. Douglas laughed and told Glenn that if he really wanted to get into his world, he should listen to an audio tape of
Jack Crawford was based on real-life FBI Special Agent John E. Douglas, an early member of the FBI's Behavioral Sciences Unit, who coached Glenn on his portrayal of a member of the BSU. Douglas, still an active FBI Special Agent during production, was in
As of 2015, one of three films to win the top five Oscars: Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Picture, and Best Screenplay (Adapted). The others are It Happened One Night (1934) and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975). Moreover, they were th
Originally, the film was to open with Clarice Starling and a male FBI agent in the middle of a drug bust. They were to burst into the room and make a number of arrests, then the bust would be revealed as a training exercise. Jodie Foster was able to convi
Gene Hackman bought the rights to "The Silence of the Lambs." He planned to direct the film and play either Lecter or Jack Crawford. He withdrew after watching a clip of himself in Mississippi Burning (1988) at the The 61st Annual Academy Awards (1989), w
When Ted Tally was writing the screenplay for the film, he suggested Jodie Foster for role of Clarice Starling. Foster had been lobbying hard for the part, but when Jonathan Demme was hired to direct, he wanted Michelle Pfeiffer instead. Pfeiffer turned t
The filmmakers were prepared to go to Montana to shoot a flashback sequence depicting Clarice's runaway attempt. After filming the dialogue between Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins, director Jonathan Demme realized it would be pointless to cut away from t
Contrary to popular rumour, writer Thomas Harris saw the film shortly after it came out. According to a New York Magazine profile of Harris, "The Silence of the Writer," by Phoebe Hoban (15 April 1991), he called it "a great movie. . . I've been surrounde
Like Casablanca (1942), this movie contains a famous misquoted line: most people quote Lecter's famous "Good evening, Clarice" as "Hello, Clarice." This line did, however, appear in the sequel, Hannibal. In Hannibal, when Dr. Lecter and Clarice (now playe
Jodie Foster, Jonathan Demme and Scott Glenn, and a few other cast and crew members did a great deal of research at the FBI training facility in Quantico, Virginia. They studied under criminal profiling agents, learned about firearms and agent training, a
The Tobacco Horn Worm moths used throughout the film were given celebrity treatment. They were flown first class to the set in a special carrier, had special living quarters (rooms with controlled humidity and heat), and were dressed in carefully designed
Most of the film was shot in Pittsbugh, which was chosen for its large variety of landscapes and architecture. Some of the film's interior scenes, including the Baltimore jail scene in the beginning and the ballroom scene of Lecter in his cage, were shot
Thematic parallel: The tune played by the music box in Bimmel's bedroom is from the Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart opera "The Magic Flute." Also from a music box, the magic tune releases the heroine from the clutches of a lecherous character who 'covets' her thr
An early decision on the part of Jonathan Demme was to film at Quantico itself, the FBI's own training environment which had always closed its doors to film crews. Visiting Quantico for the first time, production designer Kristi Zea was struck by how bori
During location scouting for the house in which the serial killer Buffalo Bill was living, Ted Levine, who played Buffalo Bill, was amazed to discover that the house being considered was not only in the town where he grew up but was literally next door to
John Hurt, Christopher Lloyd, Dustin Hoffman, Patrick Stewart, Louis Gossett Jr., Robert Duvall, Jack Nicholson, and Robert De Niro were all considered for the role of Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Jeremy Irons turned down the role; he'd just played Claus von Bulo
Orion's decision to promote this film as a 1991 Oscar contender resulted in having to choose between two other releases later in the year: Little Man Tate (1991) and Blue Sky (1994). As Orion executives planned to promote Jodie Foster as a Best Actress no
John Douglas, on whom the Jack Crawford character was based, achieved some fame of his own a few years after this film. He was hired by the parents of Jonbenet Ramsey to investigate her death and apparent murder. Up until that point, the parents had been
According to Jonathan Demme, there were 300 applicants for the role of Clarice Starling. Meg Ryan and Michelle Pfeiffer turned the role down because of the disturbing subject matter. Brooke Smith (who ended up playing Catherine Martin) and Nicole Kidman b
Lecter said he ate a victim's liver with "some fava beans and nice chianti". Liver, fava beans, and wine all contain a substance called tyramine, which can kill a person who is taking a certain class of antidepressant drugs known as MAO inhibitors. MAO in
The film was originally scheduled for release in fall of 1990. Orion Pictures delayed its release until late January 1991 so they could focus on promoting Dances with Wolves (1990) for Oscar consideration. This film won all five major Academy Awards, a no
The events in this film occur after the events in Manhunter (1986). Although there are several characters common to both films, there are only two actors who appear in both movies. Both actors play different characters in both movies. Frankie Faison plays
Australia's Office of Film & Literature Classification (OFLC) originally gave the film an "R" rating. The distributors lobbied for it be rated 'M' without editing. The "R" remained for 2 years, until the OFLC created a new film rating, "MA15+", meaning pe
At the beginning of the movie, when Clarice Starling is looking for Jack Crawford, who is investigating the killer known as "Buffalo Bill," the first office she goes to has what appear to be notes about the investigation on a blackboard. Among them are t
Sean Connery was director Jonathan Demme's first choice to play Hannibal Lecter, but he turned the part down. Connery later did a similar serial-killer thriller called Just Cause (1995), where Ed Harris plays a sort of bible-bashing, redneck rip-off of Ha
For the film's sequels, characters appearing in the mental hospital were never recast: Anthony Heald returned in Red Dragon (2002), and Anthony Hopkins and Frankie Faison returned for both that film and Hannibal (2001). All the FBI employees, however, wer
In the second draft of Ted Tally's screenplay, the names of three characters had to be changed from Thomas Harris's novel for legal reasons: Jack Crawford became Ray Campbell, Frederick Chilton became Herbert Prentiss, and Hannibal Lecter became Gideon Qu
Dan Butler plays a role in two movies based on novels by Thomas Harris surrounding Dr. Lecter. The first was in Manhunter (1986) based on Harris' novel "Red Dragon" where he played an FBI fingerprint analyst. Here, he plays Roden, the university entomolog
The three male leads (Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn' and Ted Levine) have all worked with Jodie Foster's replacement, Julianne Moore. Levine appeared with her in Evolution (2001), Glenn in The Shipping News (2001), and Hopkins in Surviving Picasso (1996),
Anthony Heald was originally cast as Roden though he initially sought the role of Dr. Frederick Chilton, a character that was written as being older than Heald. However, after a table reading with Jodie Foster where he filled in as Hannibal Lecter, he was
Hannibal mentions the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius to Clarice in the asylum. Marcus Aurelius, played by Richard Harris, was a character in Ridley Scott's Gladiator (2000). Jonathan Demme won the Best Director Oscar for The Silence of the Lambs (1991), be
As of 2015, The Godfather: Part II (1974) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) were the only sequels to win Best Picture. One could argue that this film qualifies as well, since it is arguably a sequel to Manhunter (1986). Even if one
Michelle Pfeiffer was Jonathan Demme's first choice to play Clarice Starling, after the two worked on Married to the Mob (1988), becoming close collaborators. After a long 'courting' period of Demme in persuit and Pfeiffer considering playing the role, th
This is the only movie where Clarice actually uses the media nickname that they gave Dr. Lecter. When she is talking with Jack about who the subject she is to interview is, she says "Hannibal the Cannibal" but throughout the rest of the movie and in the m
The real life american astronaut Alan Shepard - the first american in space - was played by both Scott Glenn and Ted Levine. Glenn played Shepard in the 1983 movie The Right Stuff and Levine played him in the 1998 HBO mini-series From the Earth to the Moo
In one scene, Catherine Martin is shown speeding along in her car singing American Girl by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Brooke Smith, who played Catherine Martin, was a fan of the New York hardcore scene and had wanted the producers to use a Bad Brain
During the film, in a televised announcement by the U.S. Senator, Ruth Martin, the Senator pleads for her daughter's life and repeatedly mentions her name, Catherine. The FBI agents/trainees who are watching the announcement remark that her repeated menti
Clarice Starling was one of the biggest influences for creating the character of Dana Scully according to The X Files creator, Chris Carter. There is also a tribute to The Silence of the Lambs in the last episode of the 9th season when Scully visits Mulde
The FBI was very impressed by the film's accuracy in depicting criminal investigations, serial killers, and their victims. However, they protested against Clarice discovering Buffalo Bill on her own because inexperienced agents are never sent alone on dan
Lecter's drawing of Clarice (shown in his temporary cell in Memphis) features three crosses in the background, with only one showing a man crucified. The drawing purposefully makes Clarice look older with jowls, creases under her eyes, and a gray streak i
In the film, Lecter tells Senator Martin that Buffalo Bill's real name is "Louis Friend", an anagram of iron sulfide, or fool's gold. In the novel, he gives the name "Billy Rubin". This is a play on bilirubin, a pigment found in feces and the color of Dr.
As revealed on the Blu-Ray documentaries, "Breaking The Silence" and "From Page To Screen", both the film's beginning and ending were altered. Ted Tally's screenplay called for the film to begin with an FBI Raid not unlike the one featured in the opening
During Clarice's first meeting with Dr. Chilton, he mentions that when Hannibal Lecter attacked a nurse, his pulse 'never got above 85'. While Lecter is escaping in the ambulance, the paramedic mentions over the intercom that the patient has a pulse of 84
When Clarice Starling first discovers Katherine Martin in the well in Buffalo Bill's basement, Martin's gown, wide-eyed fear, and holding Bill's white poodle Precious can be seen as a direct mirror of Starling's own childhood memory of trying to save a la
The film has many "cat" clues in the first victim's house that seem to lead Clarice to the identity of the killer and to where Catherine Martin might be. There's a photo of Frederika (the first victim) and her cat, and then a cat figurine by the jewelry b
The final lines are not delivered by Clarice as she repeats, "Dr. Lecter?... Dr. Lecter?... Dr. Lecter?... Dr. Lecter?", but rather, it is Dr. Chilton who delivers the last dialogue: "Hey, what? Oh, excuse me. I'm sorry. Is the security system all set up?
In preparation for his role, Anthony Hopkins studied files of serial killers. Also, he visited prisons and studied convicted murderers and was present during some court hearings concerning gruesome murderers and serial killings.
Jodie Foster claims that during the first meeting between Lecter and Starling, Anthony Hopkins's mocking of her southern accent was improvised on the spot. Foster's horrified reaction was genuine; she felt personally attacked. She later thanked Hopkins for generating such an honest reaction.
When Anthony Hopkins found out that he was cast as Hannibal Lecter based on his performance as Dr. Frederick Treves in The Elephant Man (1980) he questioned Jonathan Demme and said "But Dr. Treves was a good man." To which Demme replied "So is Lecter, he is a good man too. Just trapped in an insane mind."
Buffalo Bill is the combination of three real-life serial killers: Ed Gein, who skinned his victims, Ted Bundy, who used the cast on his hand as bait to convince women to get into his van, and Gary Heidnick, who kept women he kidnapped in a pit in his basement. Gein was only positively linked to two murders, and suspected of two others. He gathered most of his materials through grave-robbing, not murder.
With 24 minutes and 52 seconds of screen time, Anthony Hopkins's performance in this movie is the 2nd shortest to ever win an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, with David Niven in 'Separate Tables' beating him at 23 minutes and 39 seconds.
The Silence of the Lambs was inspired by the real-life relationship between University of Washington criminology professor and profiler Robert Keppel and serial killer Ted Bundy. Bundy helped Keppel investigate the Green River Serial Killings in Washington. Bundy was executed January 24, 1989. The Green River Killings were finally solved in 2001, when Gary Ridgway was arrested. On November 5, 2003, in a Seattle courtroom, Ridgway plead guilty to 48 counts of aggravated first degree murder.
After Lecter was moved from Baltimore, the plan was to dress him in a yellow or orange jumpsuit. Anthony Hopkins convinced Jonathan Demme and costume designer Colleen Atwood that the character would seem more clinical and unsettling if he was dressed in pure white. Hopkins has since said he got the idea from his fear of dentists.
Jodie Foster spent a great deal of time with FBI agent Mary Ann Krause prior to filming. Krause gave Foster the idea of Starling standing by her car crying. Krause told Foster that at times, the work just became so overwhelming that it was a good way to get an emotional release.
Jodie Foster stated in Inside Story: The Silence of the Lambs (2010) that this is one of her many favorites movie of her own.
When Clarice visits Dr. Hannibal Lecter in his new facility, Lecter insists she continue telling him about her childhood as part of the agreement. Jodie Foster, reluctantly, continues her story about running away. Midway through her confessions, she mentions taking a lamb with her. If one listens closely after she says, "I thought if I could save just one..." a distant sound of something being dropped can be heard in the background. A crewman dropped a wrench during filming. Director Jonathan Demme panicked, thinking it would ruin the scene completely. However, Foster remained in character and continued the story, ultimately convincing Demme to keep the footage. After "Cut" was said, Foster turned her head to the crew and yelled, "What the Hell was that!"
The idea to use glass in Lecter's Baltimore cell as opposed to traditional bars came from production designer Kristi Zea. The idea came about because director Jonathan Demme was unhappy shooting the Lecter scenes through bars, as he felt they negated the sense of intimacy between Lecter and Starling which he was trying to achieve.
Anthony Hopkins invented the fast, slurping-type sound that Hannibal Lecter does. He did it spontaneously during filming on the set, and everyone thought it was great. Director Jonathan Demme became annoyed with it after a while, but denied his irritation.
When characters are talking to Starling, they often talk directly to the camera. When she is talking to them, she is always looking slightly off-camera. Director Jonathan Demme has explained that this was done so as the audience would directly experience her POV, but not theirs, hence encouraged the audience to more readily identify with her.
After being cast as Buffalo Bill, Ted Levine developed his character by reading profiles of serial killers. Levine later said he found the material very disturbing. Since Bill was a cross-dresser, he went to a few trans bars and interviewed some patrons.
After working with John Douglas for some time, Scott Glenn thanked him and said how fascinating it was to have been allowed into his world. Douglas laughed and told Glenn that if he really wanted to get into his world, he should listen to an audio tape of serial killers Lawrence Bittaker and Roy Norris torturing, raping, and murdering two teenage girls. Glenn listened to less than one minute of the tape, and has since said that he feels he lost a sense of innocence in doing so, and that he has never been able to forget what he heard.
As of 2015, one of three films to win the top five Oscars: Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Picture, and Best Screenplay (Adapted). The others are It Happened One Night (1934) and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975).
Originally, the film was to open with Clarice Starling and a male FBI agent in the middle of a drug bust. They were to burst into the room and make a number of arrests, then the bust would be revealed as a training exercise. Jodie Foster was able to convince Jonathan Demme to change the scene because it had been done so many times before. Foster came up with the idea of opening with Starling running through the assault course. The drug bust training idea was still used, but after Clarice's first conversation with Lecter.
Jack Crawford was based on real-life FBI Special Agent John E. Douglas, an early member of the FBI's Behavioral Sciences Unit, who coached Glenn on his portrayal of a member of the BSU. Douglas, still an active FBI Special Agent during production, was in the midst of tracking Gary Ridgway, the Green River Killer, who was believed to have killed more than 90 women in Washington state between 1982 and 1998. Ridgway was arrested 2001, and plead guilty to 48 counts of aggravated first degree murder on November 5, 2003.
Gene Hackman bought the rights to "The Silence of the Lambs." He planned to direct the film and play either Lecter or Jack Crawford. He withdrew after watching a clip of himself in Mississippi Burning (1988) at the The 61st Annual Academy Awards (1989), which made him uneasy about taking more violent roles.
When Ted Tally was writing the screenplay for the film, he suggested Jodie Foster for role of Clarice Starling. Foster had been lobbying hard for the part, but when Jonathan Demme was hired to direct, he wanted Michelle Pfeiffer instead. Pfeiffer turned the part down because she felt the film was too violent. Demme then agreed to meet Foster. He hired her after only one meeting because he said he could see her strength and determination for the part, and he felt that was perfect for Clarice.
The filmmakers were prepared to go to Montana to shoot a flashback sequence depicting Clarice's runaway attempt. After filming the dialogue between Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins, director Jonathan Demme realized it would be pointless to cut away from their performances and announced, "I guess we aren't going to Montana."
Contrary to popular rumour, writer Thomas Harris saw the film shortly after it came out. According to a New York Magazine profile of Harris, "The Silence of the Writer," by Phoebe Hoban (15 April 1991), he called it "a great movie. . . I've been surrounded by it, so I wanted to see it. I admire Jonathan Demme, and we were very fortunate to have him and Ted Tally, and we were very lucky with the cast."
Like Casablanca (1942), this movie contains a famous misquoted line: most people quote Lecter's famous "Good evening, Clarice" as "Hello, Clarice." This line did, however, appear in the sequel, Hannibal. In Hannibal, when Dr. Lecter and Clarice (now played by Julianne Moore) speak on the phone for the first time, he does in fact say "Hello Clarice". This was possibly put in by the writers of Hannibal as an inside joke in reference to the misquoting of the original movie.
During location scouting for the house in which the serial killer Buffalo Bill was living, Ted Levine, who played Buffalo Bill, was amazed to discover that the house being considered was not only in the town where he grew up but was literally next door to the house of his grade school girlfriend.
Jodie Foster, Jonathan Demme and Scott Glenn, and a few other cast and crew members did a great deal of research at the FBI training facility in Quantico, Virginia. They studied under criminal profiling agents, learned about firearms and agent training, and sat in on a number of classes.
Thematic parallel: The tune played by the music box in Bimmel's bedroom is from the Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart opera "The Magic Flute." Also from a music box, the magic tune releases the heroine from the clutches of a lecherous character who 'covets' her throughout the opera.
The Tobacco Horn Worm moths used throughout the film were given celebrity treatment. They were flown first class to the set in a special carrier, had special living quarters (rooms with controlled humidity and heat), and were dressed in carefully designed costumes (body shields bearing a painted skull and crossbones)
An early decision on the part of Jonathan Demme was to film at Quantico itself, the FBI's own training environment which had always closed its doors to film crews. Visiting Quantico for the first time, production designer Kristi Zea was struck by how boring and prosaic the location was. She expressed her concern to Demme who replied that he wanted the place to look as mundane as possible.
Most of the film was shot in Pittsbugh, which was chosen for its large variety of landscapes and architecture. Some of the film's interior scenes, including the Baltimore jail scene in the beginning and the ballroom scene of Lecter in his cage, were shot in Soldiers and Sailors Memorial located on Fifth Avenue in the Oakland area of Pittsburgh.
John Hurt, Christopher Lloyd, Dustin Hoffman, Patrick Stewart, Louis Gossett Jr., Robert Duvall, Jack Nicholson, and Robert De Niro were all considered for the role of Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Jeremy Irons turned down the role; he'd just played Claus von Bulow in Reversal of Fortune (1990) and didn't want to play another dark character.
Ed Harris turned down the role of Jack Crawford because he didn't find the role interesting, and would rather have played Hannibal Lecter. He partially got his wish when he played a jailed serial killer who assists in solving a murder in Just Cause (1995)
Orion's decision to promote this film as a 1991 Oscar contender resulted in having to choose between two other releases later in the year: Little Man Tate (1991) and Blue Sky (1994). As Orion executives planned to promote Jodie Foster as a Best Actress nominee, they decided to give her some extra exposure by releasing the former picture, which she both appeared in and directed. Foster ended up winning Best Actress. Blue Sky ended up waiting three more years to be released, but when it did, it resulted in Jessica Lange also winning a Best Actress Oscar.
According to Jonathan Demme, there were 300 applicants for the role of Clarice Starling. Meg Ryan and Michelle Pfeiffer turned the role down because of the disturbing subject matter. Brooke Smith (who ended up playing Catherine Martin) and Nicole Kidman both read for the part. A then-unknown Halle Berry actively pursued the role but never got the chance to audition, later complaining in a 1995 New York Times article that producers would not consider her because of her race.
The film was originally scheduled for release in fall of 1990. Orion Pictures delayed its release until late January 1991 so they could focus on promoting Dances with Wolves (1990) for Oscar consideration. This film won all five major Academy Awards, a notable exception to the conventional wisdom that films released early in a calendar year are forgotten by Oscar time.
Lecter said he ate a victim's liver with "some fava beans and nice chianti". Liver, fava beans, and wine all contain a substance called tyramine, which can kill a person who is taking a certain class of antidepressant drugs known as MAO inhibitors. MAO inhibitors were the first antidepressants developed, and were used primarily on patients in mental institutions. Lecter worked in, and was committed to, a mental institution.
John Douglas, on whom the Jack Crawford character was based, achieved some fame of his own a few years after this film. He was hired by the parents of JonBenét Ramsey to investigate her death and apparent murder. Up until that point, the parents had been the chief suspects in the case. While Douglas did not fault the local police for investigating the family first--as in the film, investigators usually assume that victims know their killers--he became the first public official to proclaim their innocence.
The events in this film occur after the events in Manhunter (1986). Although there are several characters common to both films, there are only two actors who appear in both movies. Both actors play different characters in both movies. Frankie Faison plays Lt. Fisk in Manhunter and Barney in Silence of the Lambs, and Dan Butler plays an FBI fingerprint expert in Manhunter and an entomologist in Silence of the Lambs.
At the beginning of the movie, when Clarice Starling is looking for Jack Crawford, who is investigating the killer known as "Buffalo Bill," the first office she goes to has what appear to be notes about the investigation on a blackboard. Among them are two short quotations from the E.E. Cummings poem "Buffalo Bill's / defunct": "1-2-3-4-5" and, near the bottom of the board (the right side of the board isn't visible): "how do you like -- blue-eyed boy now --" The latter appears to be quoting (slightly misquoting, actually) the final lines of the poem: "how do you like your blue-eyed boy / Mister Death."
For the film's sequels, characters appearing in the mental hospital were never recast: Anthony Heald returned in Red Dragon (2002), and Anthony Hopkins and Frankie Faison returned for both that film and Hannibal (2001). All the FBI employees, however, were recast in the sequels: Jodie Foster was replaced by Julianne Moore, Scott Glenn with Harvey Keitel, and Ron Vawter with Ray Liotta.
Australia's Office of Film & Literature Classification (OFLC) originally gave the film an "R" rating. The distributors lobbied for it be rated 'M' without editing. The "R" remained for 2 years, until the OFLC created a new film rating, "MA15+", meaning persons under 15 years must be accompanied by a parent of guardian. The film was re-rated in 1993.
Dan Butler plays a role in two movies based on novels by Thomas Harris surrounding Dr. Lecter. The first was in Manhunter (1986) based on Harris' novel "Red Dragon" where he played an FBI fingerprint analyst. Here, he plays Roden, the university entomologist who helps identify the Death's Head Moth.
Clarice Starling was one of the biggest influences for creating the character of Dana Scully according to The X Files creator, Chris Carter. There is also a tribute to The Silence of the Lambs in the last episode of the 9th season when Scully visits Mulder in the jail and he tells her "I smelled you coming, Clarice".
Sean Connery was director Jonathan Demme's first choice to play Hannibal Lecter, but he turned the part down. Connery later did a similar serial-killer thriller called Just Cause (1995), where Ed Harris plays a sort of bible-bashing, redneck rip-off of Hannibal Lecter. The film was neither a critical or commercial smash like The Silence of the Lambs (1991) was.
Michelle Pfeiffer was Jonathan Demme's first choice to play Clarice Starling, after the two worked on Married to the Mob (1988), becoming close collaborators. After a long 'courting' period of Demme in persuit and Pfeiffer considering playing the role, the actress ultimately turned it down as she thought the film to be too dark and violent.
This is the only movie where Clarice actually uses the media nickname that they gave Dr. Lecter. When she is talking with Jack about who the subject she is to interview is, she says "Hannibal the Cannibal" but throughout the rest of the movie and in the 2002 movie "Hannibal," she always calls him Dr. Lecter, except when she says Hannibal Lecter to Pazzi to tell him who she is looking for. She respects him so she always says Dr. Lecter, even when she's not speaking to him directly.
In the second draft of Ted Tally's screenplay, the names of three characters had to be changed from Thomas Harris's novel for legal reasons: Jack Crawford became Ray Campbell, Frederick Chilton became Herbert Prentiss, and Hannibal Lecter became Gideon Quinn.
The three male leads (Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn' and Ted Levine) have all worked with Jodie Foster's replacement, Julianne Moore. Levine appeared with her in Evolution (2001), Glenn in The Shipping News (2001), and Hopkins in Surviving Picasso (1996), on account of which he recommended her for the role in Hannibal (2001). Dan Butler also worked with her in Crazy, Stupid, Love. (2011).
Anthony Heald was originally cast as Roden though he initially sought the role of Dr. Frederick Chilton, a character that was written as being older than Heald. However, after a table reading with Jodie Foster where he filled in as Hannibal Lecter, he was then cast as Dr. Chilton.
Jodie Foster avoided Anthony Hopkins during their scenes together because she was terrified of him.
During the film, in a televised announcement by the U.S. Senator, Ruth Martin, the Senator pleads for her daughter's life and repeatedly mentions her name, Catherine. The FBI agents/trainees who are watching the announcement remark that her repeated mentioning of Catherine's name is 'smart', with Clarice Starling adding that the Senator's repeated use of her daughter's name could influence her kidnapper to see her daughter as a person and not as a thing or object. This notion is in direct (and possibly deliberate) contrast with the way in which Buffulo Bill addresses Catherine during another scene by saying lines such as: 'IT rubs the lotion on ITs skin. IT does this whenever IT's told', and 'IT places the lotion in the basket'.
In one scene, Catherine Martin is shown speeding along in her car singing American Girl by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Brooke Smith, who played Catherine Martin, was a fan of the New York hardcore scene and had wanted the producers to use a Bad Brains song instead. The other song in consideration for that scene was Rufus & Chaka Khan's "Tell Me Something Good".
As of 2015, The Godfather: Part II (1974) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) were the only sequels to win Best Picture. One could argue that this film qualifies as well, since it is arguably a sequel to Manhunter (1986). Even if one does not accept this argument, there are some parallels between this series and the two others. Like The Return of the King, it is scored by Howard Shore, and won three of the same Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director, and Best (Adapted) Screenplay. Both feature a former child star (Jodie Foster, Elijah Wood and Sean Astin), and both have a climax in which that character confronts a villain (Buffalo Bill, Gollum) who is threatened by the loss of his "Precious" (in this film, a dog; in the other, a ring). Sean Astin's father is John Astin, who played Foster's father in Freaky Friday (1976) and The Addams Family. He also appeared in the parody film, The Silence of the Hams (1994). Both films were followed by prequels (Red Dragon (2002); The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012), both of which feature a dragon as the villain. Richard Armitage, who appeared in The Hobbit films, also played Francis Dolarhyde (the Red Dragon himself) on 'Hannibal (2013)(TV)'. Roger Corman appears in both this film and The Godfather: Part II (1974), while Gianni Russo, who played Carlo Rizzi in The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather: Part II (1974), appears briefly in Red Dragon.
Plum Island Animal Disease Research Centre is apparently a real facility near Montauk.
The real life american astronaut Alan Shepard - the first american in space - was played by both Scott Glenn and Ted Levine. Glenn played Shepard in the 1983 movie The Right Stuff and Levine played him in the 1998 HBO mini-series From the Earth to the Moon.
Chris Isaak: SWAT team commander.
The FBI was very impressed by the film's accuracy in depicting criminal investigations, serial killers, and their victims. However, they protested against Clarice discovering Buffalo Bill on her own because inexperienced agents are never sent alone on dangerous assignments. When Jonathan Demme explained to them that he wouldn't change it because it was the movie's psychological climax, they agreed, saying that it would be the most improbable course of action of all time, never to be repeated again.
Lecter's drawing of Clarice (shown in his temporary cell in Memphis) features three crosses in the background, with only one showing a man crucified. The drawing purposefully makes Clarice look older with jowls, creases under her eyes, and a gray streak in her hair. Of course, in her arms is the lamb she had tried to rescue. In essence, Lecter is trying to suggest the statue The Pieta, which features Mary holding the body of Jesus (the Lamb of God) in her arms, with him immediately thereafter received his specially-ordered second dinner of lamb chops. Shortly thereafter, Lecter leaves Officer Boyle crucified and disemboweled on the outside of the cell.
During Clarice's first meeting with Dr. Chilton, he mentions that when Hannibal Lecter attacked a nurse, his pulse 'never got above 85'. While Lecter is escaping in the ambulance, the paramedic mentions over the intercom that the patient has a pulse of 84, again showing Lecter's icy calmness despite performing horrible acts.
In the film, Lecter tells Senator Martin that Buffalo Bill's real name is "Louis Friend", an anagram of iron sulfide, or fool's gold. In the novel, he gives the name "Billy Rubin". This is a play on bilirubin, a pigment found in feces and the color of Dr. Chilton's hair.
As revealed on the Blu-Ray documentaries, "Breaking The Silence" and "From Page To Screen", both the film's beginning and ending were altered. Ted Tally's screenplay called for the film to begin with an FBI Raid not unlike the one featured in the opening sequence of Hannibal (2001). Thomas Harris' book ends with Lecter writing a threatening letter to Dr. Chilton. Ted Tally and Jonathan Demme decided it would be necessary for Lecter to track Chilton to a tropical island for a more dramatic and audience-pleasing closing, plus an all-expense studio-paid trip to shoot somewhere warm. (The final scene was shot on the tiny island of Bimini, which is part of the Bahamas.)
When Clarice Starling first discovers Katherine Martin in the well in Buffalo Bill's basement, Martin's gown, wide-eyed fear, and holding Bill's white poodle Precious can be seen as a direct mirror of Starling's own childhood memory of trying to save a lamb. Katherine refuses to give up the dog after being rescued.
In the movie it is said that Miggs died by swallowing his own tongue. This is physically impossible to do unless the tongue has been cut off. It's not particularly fatal, either. This is a figure of speech referring to an unconscious person suffocating because his tongue has blocked his airway, being used incorrectly.
The film has many "cat" clues in the first victim's house that seem to lead Clarice to the identity of the killer and to where Catherine Martin might be. There's a photo of Frederika (the first victim) and her cat, and then a cat figurine by the jewelry box with Polaroid photos. And the pet cat seems to lead Clarice to the wardrobe with the diamond-shaped dress taping that resembled the skinning of one of the victims. Notably, the name Catherine has the word cat in it.
Except for Starling and Lecter's fingers touching during the case file exchange in Tennessee, the two characters have absolutely no physical contact throughout the entire movie.
The final lines are not delivered by Clarice as she repeats, "Dr. Lecter?... Dr. Lecter?... Dr. Lecter?... Dr. Lecter?", but rather, it is Dr. Chilton who delivers the last dialogue: "Hey, what? Oh, excuse me. I'm sorry. Is the security system all set up?....Thank you. I appreciate that."
When Buffalo Bill grabs the gun in his bed, right after Catherine hijacks his dog, you can see that the bed sheet has two stitched nazi swastikas, showing another layer of the killer's character. Sometime after that, there is yet another swastika half hidden by a picture on the wall.
Sergeant Pembry's tie pin is a tiny pair of handcuffs.
When Clarice is researching Lecter's background, Crawford is mentioned in the articles, but Will Graham, who actually identified and captured him, is not. It is unlikely that the press would have reported Crawford's role more prominently than Graham's, since both Manhunter (1986) and Red Dragon (2002) show that Freddy Lounds (Stephen Lang/Philip Seymour Hoffman) incurred both Graham's and Crawford's wrath for photographing him while he was recovering in the hospital.
Released 8 days away from director Jonathan Demme's 47 birthday.
The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list.
In the scene near the end of the film, when Jack Crawford is speaking to Clarisse from a plane before she enters the killers house, you can see that the three men shown in the scene on the plane are all left handed.
Dr. Lecter gives many clues in the as to who the killer is, where he is located, and what he is up to: When Dr. Lecter tells Senator Martin "Love your suit", this may be a reference to Buffalo Bill making a woman suit, and also when he is speaking to Clarice about the drawing of Florence, he tells her that it's seen from the Belvedere, thus giving her the exact location of Jame Gumb.