The film is considered "culturally, historically, or aesthetically" significant by the US Library of Congress and was selected to be preserved in the National Film Registry in 2011.
A young FBI cadet must confide in an incarcerated and manipulative killer to receive his help on catching another serial killer who skins his victims.
- Jodie Foster as Clarice Starling
- Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Hannibal Lecter
- Scott Glenn as Jack Crawford
- Ted Levine as Jame Gumb/"Buffalo Bill"
- Anthony Heald as Dr. Frederick Chilton
- Brooke Smith as Catherine Martin
- Diane Baker as Senator Ruth Martin
- Kasi Lemmons as Ardelia Mapp
- Frankie Faison as Barney Matthews
- Tracey Walter as Lamar
- Charles Napier as Lt. Boyle
- Danny Darst as Sgt. Tate
- Alex Coleman as Sgt. Jim Pembry
- Dan Butler as Roden
- Paul Lazar as Pilcher
- Ron Vawter as Paul Krendler
- Roger Corman as FBI Director Hayden Burke
- Chris Isaak as SWAT Commander
- Harry Northup as Mr. Bimmel
- Masha Skorobogatov as young Clarice Starling
- Don Brockett as cellmate and "pen pal"
- Lawrence A. Bonney as FBI Instructor
Synopsis (contains spoilers)Edit
Promising FBI Academy student Clarice Starling is pulled from her training at the FBI Training Facility at Quantico, Virginia by Jack Crawford, head of the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit. He greets her and reminds her of their first meeting. He presents her with an errand. He wants to task her with presenting a VICAP questionnaire to the notorious Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a brilliant forensic psychiatrist and incarcerated cannibalistic serial killer. After learning the assignment relates to the pursuit of vicious serial killer Buffalo Bill, Starling travels to the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane and is met by Dr. Frederick Chilton. After making several passes at Starling, he warns her of how dangerous Lecter is and tells her he once ate a nurse's tongue at the hospital. The orderly Barney warmly greets her and directs her to Lecter's cell. Although initially pleasant and courteous, Lecter grows impatient with Starling's attempts at "dissecting" him and viciously rebuffs her. He gives her an accurate, yet unflattering cold reading based on her appearance and demeanor. Shocked, Starling responses that Lecter should look at himself with that kind of accuracy. Lecter dismisses her, giving her a gruesome description on how a census taker tried to test him and ate the man's liver with fava beans and Chianti, then makes a vile slurping sound. As Starling departs, another patient, Miggs, flings fresh semen into her face, enraging Lecter who calls Starling back and offers a riddle containing information about a former patient, Miss Hester Moffat. The solved riddle (Miss The Rest of Me) leads to a rent-a-storage lot where the severed head of Benjamin Raspail is found. Starling returns to Lecter, who links Raspail to Buffalo Bill and who offers to help profile Buffalo Bill if he is transferred to a facility far from the venomous, careerist Dr. Chilton.
Miles away, Buffalo Bill abducts Catherine Martin, the daughter of United States Senator Ruth Martin. Bill abducts her by pretending to be injured and imprisons her in a well at his home. Starling is pulled from Quantico and accompanies Crawford to West Virginia, where the body of Bill's recently-discovered victim resides, and where Starling helps perform the autopsy and extracts the chrysalis of a Death's-head Hawkmoth from the victim's throat. They later find the same type of moth in Raspail's throat, confirming him a victim of Buffalo Bill. At Quantico, as news of Catherine Martin's abduction sweeps the country, Crawford authorizes Starling to offer Hannibal Lecter a fake deal promising a prison transfer if he provides information that helps profile Buffalo Bill and rescue Catherine Martin. Seemingly unimpressed with the deal, Lecter instead begins a game of quid pro quo with Starling, offering comprehensive clues and insights about Buffalo Bill in exchange for events from Starling's traumatic childhood. Starling reveals that at the age of 10, her father was murdered by two armed robbers and went to move onto a ranch with relatives. Lecter explains that Buffalo Bill is under the delusion of being a transsexual and has been turned down by all three major sex reassignment clinics. Unaware to both Starling and Lecter, Dr. Frederick Chilton tapes the conversation and after revealing Starling's deal as a sham, offers to transfer Lecter in exchange for a deal of his own making. Lecter agrees and following a flight to Tennessee reveals Buffalo Bill's name as Louis Friend, an accurate physical description and past address to Senator Martin and her entourage of FBI agents and Justice Department officials, but not before tormenting the Senator about Catherine.
As the manhunt begins, Starling travels to Lecter's special cell in a local Tennessee courthouse, where she confronts him about the false information he gave the Senator. Lecter refuses Starling's pleas and demands she finish her story surrounding her worst childhood memory. After recounting her arrival at a relative's farm, the horror of discovering their lamb slaughterhouse and her fruitless attempts at rescuing the lambs, Lecter rebuffs her, leaving her with her case file before she is escorted out of the building by security guards. Later that evening, Lecter escapes from his cell using an improvised handcuff key and brutally attacks his guards, biting Sgt Pembry on the face and knocking him unconscious; handcuffing the other, Sgt Boyle, to the bars and beating him to death. Shots are heard in the building, prompting the local police to storm the floor. The scene is one of carnage, discovering Pembry barely alive, his face mutilated, and Boyle disembowelled and strung up on the walls. Paramedics transport the survivor in an ambulance and speed off while a SWAT team searches the building for Lecter. On one floor they see the elevator shaft doors open. The officers find Lecter, with a gun by his side and copious blood pouring from his head, seemingly having committed suicide. One guard shoots him in the leg as a warning. At the same time, the ambulance guards discover blood dripping from the elevator ceiling. As they surround the area and release the door, they find it is not Lecter. Meanwhile, as a paramedic is giving information about the "victim" to the hospital, the "victim" sits up and removes his face, revealing himself to be Lecter.
After being notified of Lecter's escape and that he killed the paramedics and a tourist, Starling pores over her case file, analyzing Lecter's annotations before realizing that the first victim, Frederica Bimmel, knew Bill in real life before he killed her. Starling travels to Bimmel's hometown and discovers that Bimmel was a tailor and has dresses with templates identical to the patches of skin removed from Buffalo Bill's victims. Realizing that Buffalo Bill is a tailor fashioning a "woman suit" of real skin, she telephones Crawford, who is already on the way to make an arrest, having cross-referenced Lecter's notes with Johns Hopkins Hospital and finding a man named Jame Gumb. Crawford instructs Starling to continue interviewing Bimmel's friends while he leads a SWAT team to Gumb's business address in Calumet City, Illinois. Starling's interviews lead to the house of "Jack Gordon". After pleasant talk, Starling soon realizes that Gordon is actually Gumb, after seeing a moth fly past, and draws her weapon just as Gumb disappears into his basement. Starling pursues him, discovering a screaming Catherine Martin in the dry well just before the lights in the basement go out, leaving her in complete darkness. Gumb stalks Starling in the dark with night vision goggles and prepares to shoot her when Starling, hearing the machinations of his revolver, swivels around and shoots Gumb dead.
Days later at the FBI Academy graduation party, Starling receives a phone call from Hannibal Lecter, now in the Bahamas. As Lecter assures Starling he has no plans to pursue her, he excuses himself from the phone call, remarking that he's "having an old friend for dinner", before hanging up and following Chilton through the streets of the village.
|Trailer||Famous Clip - "I ate his liver"|