->'''Dr. Lecter''': What does he do, this man you seek?\\
'''Agent Starling''': He kills women.\\
'''Dr. Lecter''': ''No.'' That is incidental. What is the first and principal thing he does, what needs does he ''serve'' by killing?

''The Silence of the Lambs'' is a 1988 novel by Thomas Harris (''Literature/BlackSunday''), and the second after ''Literature/RedDragon'' to star Franchise/HannibalLecter.

There's another serial killer on the loose, "Buffalo Bill," who abducts women, kills and skins them, and shoves [[MacabreMothMotif chrysalitic moths]] down their throats. Behavioral Sciences, the section of the FBI that deals with violent crime, is stuck; section chief Jack Crawford has no idea how to stop this guy. The game-changer comes in the form of ambitious young trainee Clarice Starling. Pulled into the investigation almost by accident, she is sent to interview the incarcerated psychiatrist, Hannibal Lecter--"Hannibal the Cannibal"--for insight into Buffalo Bill's psychosis. Lecter agrees to help in exchange for Clarice's most traumatic memories, and the two develop a strange symbiotic relationship. And the clock is ticking, because Buffalo Bill's latest victim is the daughter of a US Senator, and if they can't get him now, all hell will break loose...

This book was a huge success, and was adapted into an even more successful 1991 film directed by Creator/JonathanDemme, starring Creator/JodieFoster as Clarice and Creator/AnthonyHopkins in a career-defining performance as Lecter; the film became the third, and to this day, the last film ever to win all five major Oscars (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Adapted Screenplay), which for a February-released thriller/horror film was astonishing. (The other two films to sweep the major Oscars are ''Film/ItHappenedOneNight'' and ''Film/OneFlewOverTheCuckoosNest''.) Of all the Hannibal Lecter books and films, ''The Silence of the Lambs'' is perhaps the only true classic, and indeed both series are often referred to as "The Silence of the Lambs Series". It was followed by a sequel, ''Literature/{{Hannibal}}'' (1999) and a prequel, ''Literature/HannibalRising'' (2006).

Overall, one of the most successful and widely popular book/film series of the modern era, blending the merits of crime novel and literature, detective thriller and art film, and permeating popular culture with its scenes, themes, and its characters who have become household names. Its influence on other works in the same genre can't be underestimated.

!!The Tropes, Clarice, tell me about the Tropes...

* AdaptedOut : Many of the minor characters and short scenes from the book are missing from the film, due to time constraints. One notably missing is the Johns Hopkins surgeon, whose scene with Crawford might have covered some of the more problematic representation of transgender people. As it is, a single line that "transsexuals are very passive" handwaves this in the film.
* AffablyEvil: The cannibalistic Dr. Hannibal Lecter is an interesting example in that nobody can be really sure if his affability is just an act, particularly as he's prone to sniping insults at visitors who displease him. The simple answer is that he is genuinely nice and respectful to people who are genuinely nice and respectful to him, exhibiting this both towards Clarice Starling and an orderly who broke his arm to stop him from attacking a nurse, but was otherwise always respectful and never rude. As the orderly points out at one point, Lecter "[[AssholeVictim prefers to eat the rude]]".
* AllGirlsWantBadBoys: Benjamin Raspail's infatuation with Jame Gumb, despite Gumb's penchant for "the bad thing" and wearing Klaus as an apron.
* AllMenArePerverts: You can count on one hand the number of men who ''don't'' hit on Clarice. And, arguably, the number who don't have some kind of psychosexual disorder, given the subject matter.
* AloneWithThePsycho: Clarice' confrontation with Buffalo Bill.
* AluminumChristmasTrees: There really are a couple of [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death%27s-head_hawkmoth types of moths]] that have skull shaped patterns on them.
* AmbiguousSyntax: Hannibal Lecter tells Clarice at the end of the film over the phone that he'd love to chat with her longer, but he's having an old friend for dinner.
* AMFMCharacterization: While in the prison cell in Tennessee, Hannibal Lecter listens to classical music just before his prison break. This tells the audience that even though he's a psychopathic cannibal, he's still WickedCultured.
* AnimalMotifs: Moths, as a symbol of transformation; lambs, as a symbol of innocence; starlings, as a symbol of youthfulness.
* AntiVillain: Lecter in his other appearances; a serial killer and cannibal who is [[FauxAffablyEvil unfailingly polite]], and helps Clarice even when she can no longer offer him anything in return but her story.
* AssholeVictim: Dr. Chilton is portrayed as sleazy, underhanded, uncooperative and a publicity hound, and almost costs Catherine Martin her life. At the end of the movie it's clear that Lecter will kill and eat him.
* AuthorAppeal: Hannibal's detailed knowledge of wines and foods apparently greatly reflects Harris' own expansive knowledge of food and wine.
* BerserkButton: Gumb hated his name being pronounced incorrectly. Jame rhymes with name.
* BigBadEnsemble: Hannibal Lecter and Buffalo Bill.
* BigDamnHeroes: Averted when the FBI successfully identify the killer only to [[spoiler: end up at the wrong house.]] In both cases the real climax comes when the hero is unexpectedly thrust up against the killer, unprepared and with no backup.
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler:Clarice kills Buffalo Bill, and she successfully rescues Catherine. However, Hannibal has already escaped from police custody, and he is now [[KarmaHoudini free and able to commit more carnage]].]]
* BlackBestFriend: Both Hannibal '''and''' Clarice have one. Hannibal's is a combination of BlackBestFriend, WorthyOpponent, and FriendlyEnemy.
* BlackComedy: After Clarice exposes Lecter to the most private and painful part of her past, which is her witnessing the slaughter of spring lambs and her inability to save them, Lecter thanks her and tears well up in his eyes. After she leaves he orders a second dinner: Lamb chops, extra rare.
* BreakThemByTalking: Hannibal, giving his psychiatrist background, is ''extremely'' good at this, to the point that he's easily able to talk Miggs into committing suicide following his disrespecting of Starling.
* BoxedCrook: Hannibal is offered much better accommodations if he helps the feds find Catherine.
* ChekhovsGun:
** Dr. Chilton warns Clarice not to leave anything in Hannibal Lecter's cell and mentions several objects, among them ''pens.'' He himself leaves one there, and there is a long shot of it. He later cannot find it for signing a document. Hannibal Lecter is then seen with a part of it in his hands... [[spoiler:He uses it to unlock his cuffs, allowing him to kill his guards.]]
** We also see Bill's night-vision goggles early in the movie, and they don't reappear until the end.
* ChekhovsSkill : In the book but not the film, Clarice's hand strength and firing speed are tested on the FBI range. It comes in handy later.
* ChessMaster: Hannibal Lecter, who manages to both help Clarice get Buffalo Bill and architect his escape.
* ClickHello: As Buffalo Bill [[NightmareFuel stalks Clarice through the darkened basement]], she has no idea where he is--until he pulls back the hammer of his gun. Hearing this, she instantly turns around and empties ''her'' gun into him.
* ColdBloodedTorture: Buffalo Bill enjoyed letting his captives loose in his basement, shooting their legs and watching them crawl around in the dark. However, [[PragmaticVillainy he stopped playing his "basement games" because the struggling women damaged their skins and ended up being unusable to him.]]
** ZigZagged when Lecter assesses that Bill is not a sadist, because the skins were removed post-mortem instead of flaying them alive.
* CombatPragmatist: Lecter In his deranged CrowningMomentOfAwesome he [[spoiler: bites a guard on the face, then pepper sprays him, then bludgeons the guard's friend to death with a truncheon--a friend who is unarmed, and has his hands handcuffed to the cage bars.]] Then he listens to a piece of classical music[[note]] Johann Sebastian Bach's ''The Goldberg Variations'', recorded by Glenn Gould in 1955[[/note]] that makes the cell kind of like a high-end restaurant. The scene also acts as a ghastly sort of BrickJoke. Lecter's face is serene, a callback to Chilton's line that Lecter's pulse "never got above 85," when attacking the nurse.
* CompositeCharacter:
** In the film, Benjamin Raspail, a flutist in the Baltimore Philharmonic Orchestra and a patient of Lecter's who was romantically involved with Jame Gumb, with Klaus, one of Buffalo Bill's victims and whose head is discovered by Clarice. The new film character has Raspail's name and history as a lover of Gumb, but the fate of Klaus of being killed by Gumb.
** Gumb himself is a composite of three RealLife serial killers. His WoundedGazelleGambit is a hallmark of Ted Bundy, his tactic of imprisoning women in his basement is that of Gary Heidnik (though unlike Heidnik, Gumb has no sexual interest in his captives), and his skinning the women in order to make a suit of them was part of Ed Gein's MO.
* ConsultingAConvictedKiller: The novel is the TropeMaker, along with ''Literature/RedDragon''. And most other depictions of this trope are intended as direct {{Homage}}s to the [[FilmOfTheBook film adaptation]], especially Anthony Hopkins' portrayal of Hannibal Lecter. In ''Lambs'', Clarice Starling visits Hannibal in his cell on multiple occasions for help with catching another serial killer called "Buffalo Bill". Hannibal ends up giving Clarice cryptic clues in exchange for information about Clarice's unhappy childhood. [[spoiler: Hannibal later uses an agreement to disclose Buffalo Bill's real name in exchange for a transfer to another asylum as an opportunity to escape.]]
* ContrivedCoincidence: The FBI asks Clarice to consult Lecter in the vague hope that his psychological expertise might give them some insight into Buffalo Bill's mind. By a complete coincidence, it turns out that Lecter ''already knows who Buffalo Bill is'', that he has personally met him at least once, and that his first victim (who the authorities never found out about) was one of Lecter's old patients. Fancy that.
* CreepyCrossdresser: Buffalo Bill, though it's not a straight example. Both the novel and movie go out of their way to tell the audience that being a transsexual, in and of itself, is not connected to violence--specifically, Clarice says (and Lecter agrees) that Bill ''cannot'' be a transexual because [[NoTrueScotsman transexuals are not violent]]. According to Lecter, Bill only ''thinks'' he's a transsexual due to his "hatred of his own identity." This reflects the FairForItsDay but [[ScienceMarchesOn out-of-date psychology]] that the book and film relied on. Transsexuality was conflated with transvestism (crossdressing) and was at the time thought to be a mental disorder, albeit a benign one. Which is kind of the point here: no records or proven cases indicated that transsexuality predisposed a person to violence, and so Bill is dismissed as not being a "true" transsexual. Nowadays a distinction is drawn between transvestism (crossdressing now considered a common lifestyle choice) and transsexuality (transgender people whose gender identity doesn't align with their physical sex). Neither of these, in and of themselves, can cause (or prevent) someone to become a homicidal maniac.
** More specifically, Bill is sexually aroused by the idea of himself as a woman. The film was heavily criticized in the trans community for portraying a transgender individual as a violent psychopath, and for its implications that Bill was turned down for surgery because he was too big and masculine to pass for a woman. The film left out a scene that clarified Bill was declined due to his psych assessment, because he had already murdered his grandparents and spent time in juvenile detention for the crime.
* CreepySouvenir: Buffalo Bill collects parts of the skin of his victims to [[spoiler: make a "woman suit".]]
* CutApart: Famously used to set up the AloneWithThePsycho climax.
* ADateWithRosiePalms: Miggs, the patient in the next cell over from Hannibal, does this and throws the results at Clarice when she's on her way out of the asylum basement. Hannibal is [[EvenEvilHasStandards so insulted]] that he agrees to help Clarice find Gumb to make up for it, and then talks Miggs into killing himself.
* DepravedHomosexual: Once again, handwaved away by the author in the novel, though not so much in the film. This resulted in a series of (perhaps justified) protests from the gay community about the insensitive portrayal of gay (or presumably gay) characters in cinema. Director Jonathan Demme, to his credit, [[Film/{{Philadelphia}} got the message loud and clear]].
* DidYouJustFlipOffCthulhu: While she still respects his analytical mind, Clarice isn't above doing this to Lecter when he tries to talk down to her once.
-->'''Lecter:''' What do your two disciplines tell you about Buffalo Bill?\\
'''Clarice:''' By the book, he's a sadist.\\
'''Lecter:''' Life's too slippery for books, Clarice. Anger presents as lust, lupus presents as hives. You mean Dr. Bloom's book. You looked me up in it, didn't you?\\
'''Clarice:''' Yes.\\
'''Lecter:''' How does he describe me?\\
'''Clarice:''' A pure sociopath.\\
'''Lecter:''' Would you say Dr. Bloom is always right?\\
'''Clarice:''' [[DeadpanSnarker I'm still waiting for the shallowness of affect]].
* DidYouJustScamCthulhu: Clarice actually manages to deceive Lecter with a fake proposal from Senator Martin – deceive ''a man who can guess her family history just from smelling the remnants of her perfume''. He doesn't even realize it until Chilton tells him, and even then, he doesn't bear much ill-will towards Clarice, with no more than a couple biting remarks near the beginning of their next meeting.
* DisproportionateRetribution: As a serial killer, Hannibal is known for killing rude people; he ''really'' doesn't like people who are rude. His definition of "rude" can often be different than a normal person's.
* DoubleMeaning: One of the most famous lines in the movie has a second meaning that [[GeniusBonus most people miss]]. Hannibal Lecter tells Clarice, "A census taker tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti. (Slurp sound effect.)" Now, Clarice – and most of the audience – believe Lecter is merely confessing to one of his crimes. What most people would not know is that a common treatment for Lecter's "brand of crazy" is to use drugs of a class known as [=MAOIs=] (monoamine oxidase inhibitors). There are several things one must not eat when taking [=MAOIs=], as they can case fatally low blood pressure, and as a physician and psychiatrist himself, Dr. Lecter would be well aware of this. These things include liver, fava beans, and red wine. In short, Lecter was telling Clarice that ''he was off his medication''. Not surprising, but very subtly done.
** A more blatant example comes after Hannibal has been moved to Memphis, and he and Clarice have a conversation while he's in the temporary cell. He tells Clarice the clue is "simplicity." (Butterick's) Simplicity is the name of a series of sewing patterns.
* DramaticGunCock: [[spoiler: Gumb does this purely out of habit, and it's what gets him killed.]]
* EmptyElevator: Played with. In search for Lecter, the police find an already empty elevator.
* EnemyRisingBehind: Hannibal does this to the paramedic inside the ambulance in the movie.
* EvenEvilHasStandards: While Crawford insisted that Lecter did it to amuse himself, after Miggs assaulted Clarice sexually, he not only gave her the first important clue to Buffalo Bill--he also made Miggs kill himself for the inappropriate attack that he made upon Clarice.
** The prisoners at Crawford's penitentiary call Migs a "stupid fuck" and a "freak" after he tosses a wad of his semen at Clarice.
* FailureKnight: Starling, with dead lambs forming the center of the story's central analogy.
* FakeoutEscape: Hannibal gets bonus points for not even escaping himself, but letting the guards load him into an ambulance, thinking he is their mutilated colleague.
* FanDisservice: The Buffalo Bill dance scene.
* FauxAffablyEvil: As respectful or even kind as Lecter can sometimes be, he is still a sadist. For a select few (Clarice, Barney and Sammie) he is genuinely nice, for the rest it is a sham to get him what he wants. Senator Martin is not only courteous to him but actually gives him the transfer he wants, unlike Clarice who deceived him. He expresses sympathy for Catherine, complains about Clarice and Crawford wasting time in the investigation and tells Senator Martin that he will help her without reading her affidavit so the investigation can go underway sooner. Of course, he has known Buffalo Bill's real name the entire time, has sat through six deaths, was perfectly content to let Catherine die until he was given a transfer and didn't actually give his real name anyway. He also needlessly taunted Senator Martin about Catherine's predicament and took pleasure in her pain.
* FBIAgent: Starling is in training to be one; she only gets her badge at the end of the story.
* [[Foreshadowing/LiveActionFilms Foreshadowing]]:
** In the FBI Academy training exercise scene Clarice Starling forgets to check behind her after entering a room and an instructor behind her puts a gun to her head and "kills" her. At the climax, when Buffalo Bill sneaks up behind her in the dark and does a ClickHello she hears the sound, turns and shoots him to death.
** Every step of Lecter's elaborate {{prison break}} foreshadows some aspect of Buffalo Bill's M.O., possibly hinting that he was trying to leave Starling a few clues before he vanished. First, he mutilates one of the guards by [[spoiler: tearing flaps of skin from his back and splaying them out like wings]] hinting at Bill's obsession with moths. Then he gets out of prison by [[spoiler: cutting off a guard's face and using it as a mask]], hinting at Bill's desire to [[spoiler: change his identity by making a suit from women's skin]]. Finally, he confuses the police by [[spoiler: switching clothes with one of the guards and throwing the guard's corpse into an elevator shaft]], much like Bill [[spoiler: moves into his victim's house to confuse anyone who finds ''his'' old house]].
** In his first scene, Lecter says that his drawing is the "Duomo, seen from the Belvedere." [[spoiler: Buffalo Bill is in Belvedere, Ohio]]. Makes you wonder just how much Lecter was aware of before Clarice showed up.
* ForTheEvulz: Gumb gets a kick out of going after Clarice at the end, as "he'd never hunted one that was armed before."
* FromACertainPointOfView: In the novel of ''Silence'', Starling tells Lecter that her father was a marshal. Later on, when she is recounting to him how he died, Lecter catches enough clues to deduce that the man had actually been a night watchman. Starling's defense is that the official job description had read "[[ExactWords night marshal]]". (Lecter doesn't press the point.)
* GeniusBruiser: Hannibal, who along with brains is strong enough to carry bodies.
* GenreShift: ''Red Dragon'' and ''Silence of the Lambs'' were cop thrillers with an emphasis on using forensics, profiling and detective work to track down a serial killer. ''Hannibal'' was blend of romance and revenge with the detective angle diminished.
* GenuineHumanHide: Buffalo Bill's ''modus operandi''.
* AGlassOfChianti: TropeNamer--although in the book, Lecter ate the liver and beans with "a big Amarone." [[FridgeBrilliance Both are dry reds that pair well with rich meats, such as liver.]]
* GlassyPrison: Hannibal Lecter's cell at the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane is the only one in the unit to have a glass wall facing the hallway whereas the others have normal bars, as he's by far the most dangerous inmate there. In the book, his cell was normal bars with an extra net behind them to keep visitors safe; the director of the film chose glass because [[PragmaticAdaptation it made it easier to shoot both actors clearly without bars covering their faces up.]]
* HairpinLockpick: Hannibal unlocks his handcuffs with a pen clip.
* HandCannon: Buffalo Bill's Colt Python.
* HandSignals: In the 1991 film a police officer and a SWAT team leader use them to communicate with other officers and each other when they think Lecter is nearby listening to them.
* HannibalLecture: TropeNamer.
* HeterosexualLifePartners: Clarice and Ardelia, with Krendler making the sort of comments you'd expect out of a FanBoy.
* HornyScientist: Clarice gets hit on by two; she may even have wound up in bed with one of them by the end of the book.
* HypocriticalHumor:
-->'''Starling:''' "[[UsefulNotes/AmericanAccents Much oblige]] [sic], Ardelia. I got to make one more call. If I can get done with that in time, I'll catch up with you in the cafeteria, okay?"
-->'''[[SassyBlackWoman Mapp]]:''' "I was ''so'' in hopes you'd overcome that ghastly dialect. Books are available to help. ''I'' never use the colorful patois of my housing project anymore. [[JiveTurkey You come talking that mushmouth, people say you eat up with the dumb-ass, girl.]]"
* IAteWhat: A common response of Lecter's dinner guests, which included prominent local politicians in Baltimore, apparently. Some of his guests ended up hospitalized for crippling anorexia.
* IdiotBall: Hannibal Lecter is so terrifying that he is escorted everywhere by multiple squad cars, forced to wear a straitjacket and a hockey mask when not in his cell, guarded by about 20 armed officers waiting outside--and when it's time to open the cage and feed him, [[BadCopIncompetentCop two slow-moving, dull-witted cops]] plus one set of handcuffs will apparently suffice for security purposes. This is explained more thoroughly in the book: Lecter agrees to the exchange of information solely for the chance to be subjected to the lesser security measures of the Tennessee state police, which he knows will not be as effective as Barney's. Barney is aware of this and offers to advise them on how to handle Lecter, but is turned down. The police don't know what he is capable of, so it only takes a bit of [[AffablyEvil chumminess]] and meek cooperation from Lecter to convince them to abandon Chilton's time-consuming and seemingly excessive security measures.
* ImAHumanitarian: Hannibal Lecter is a cannibal, probably the most famous one in fiction.
* ImprobableTaxonomySkills: Averted, in which identifying the species of an insect pupa found on the bodies of the victims is a plot point, and the professional entomologist consulted needs time and equipment to answer the question.
* InkblotTest : Rorschach is mentioned in passing as one test Billy likely took while seeking gender-reassignment. A whole scene is devoted to describing "House, Tree, Person."
* InsistentTerminology : Gumb refers to murder and mutilation as "The Bad Thing."
* InsufferableGenius: Lecter. Crawford tells Starling that this is "the only weakness I ever saw in him. He has to look smart, smarter than anyone." Given a CallBack at the end when Crawford and Starling are listening to the tapes confiscated from Benjamin Raspail's family, which reveal that Raspail told Lecter pretty much everything about Gumb except his shoe size. Crawford notes that Lecter "would have given you Gumb and looked like a genius if Chilton had stayed out of it."
* IronicEcho: "Ready when you are."
* ItAmusedMe: The motivation for a fair few of Lecter's actions. It is mentioned that Lecter treated unstable people and set them loose on society for kicks and Crawford says that Lecter killed Miggs to amuse himself.
* ItIsDehumanizing: Buffalo Bill uses this to address his victims ("It rubs the lotion on its skin, or else it gets the hose again!"). Discussed beforehand when Senator Martin delivers a televised plea to Buffalo Bill, repeatedly referring to her daughter by her given name "Catherine" in the hopes that he will have a harder time depersonalizing her. Given the above line, it clearly didn't have much effect, or he didn't watch the news.
** In the book, Bill thinks of Catherine as "the material." He also shines a flashlight on her back and tries to figure out how he's going to insert a zipper into his suit.
* JustDesserts: At the end, [[spoiler:Hannibal, while in hiding, informs Starling that he's "having a friend for dinner." He's staring right at an oblivious Dr. Chilton as he speaks the line.]]
* KarmicDeath: Some of Hannibal Lecter's victims (at least in Lecter's mind).
* KickTheDog: [[spoiler: Hannibal murders the pair of cops guarding him at his new cell by beating them to death with a nightstick. (Also, after macing one in the eyes) Hannibal is a psychopath, but unlike Chilton, those cops were really nothing but decent to him.]]
* KubrickStare: This is Lecter's default expression when revving up the creepy.
* LivingLieDetector: Downplayed. Lecter's ''very'' good at reading body language, but he does miss a few lies and [[FromACertainPointOfView half-truths]] Clarice feeds him.
* MacabreMothMotif: Buffalo Bill and his death's head moths. A moth flapping around is what makes Clarice realize that she has found the killer.
* MaleGaze: Played straight, even literal. A large portion of the film displays male gaze in close-up. Some critics consider this a [[DeconstructedTrope deconstruction]] of the male gaze.
* ManipulativeBastard:
** Hannibal Lecter; arguably also Chilton and Krendler, with their manipulations being wildly outclassed by Lecter's.
** Jack Crawford, who intentionally sent Clarice to Lecter with no clue as to why she was really doing it, because if she had known Lecter would have figured it out. He also entices Lecter with a phony deal from Senator Martin, and fakes a sexist attitude in front of the sheriff in order to get him to talk alone.
* MascotVillain: Hannibal Lecter is notably closer to this than VillainBasedFranchise. While definitely the series' mascot and quite evil, he could only be considered a flat-out villain in the film Hannibal, and instead usually acts as an adviser to help catch other villains.
* MeaningfulName: A starling is indeed a songbird, but if you live in New England, it is also a structure placed upstream of a bridge to intercept any large and dangerous objects that may damage it.
* MindGameShip: Clarice and Hannibal's relationship exemplify this. [[spoiler:They even get a RelationshipUpgrade in the third book.]]
* MonsterMisogyny: Buffalo Bill only kills women, although we discover he has his... er, reasons...Somewhat shaken up by the implication that Jame Gumb doesn't specifically hate women as much as he is bitter towards them due to jealously, as indicated by his last line in the novel. In the film it's hinted at further during the infamous skin lotion scene. He refers to Catherine Martin as "it" and refuses to address her directly. Finally, her pleas for her mother get to him and he starts crying before screaming at her to put the lotion in the basket, indicating that he felt a moment of guilt or remorse for what he's doing, a sensitivity he tries to restrain by treating his captives as objects. This is pointed out by Clarice when she comments on the Senator's plea, noting that she repeats the name to humanize her daughter, making it harder to tear her up.
* TheMountainsOfIllinois: During the raid of Buffalo Bill's alleged hideout in Calumet City, large hills can be seen in the background. (The scene was actually filmed near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.)
* NamedAfterSomeoneFamous: Hannibal Lecter takes his first name from Carthagian general Hannibal Barca. Buffalo Bill is nicknamed after Creator/BuffaloBill.
* NightVisionGoggles: In the 1991 FilmOfTheBook Buffalo Bill uses these while carrying out surveillance of Catherine Martin and while hunting Clarice Starling through his darkened house at the climax.
* NoKillLikeOverkill: Clarice [[RevolversAreJustBetter empties all six chambers of her revolver]] into Buffalo Bill's chest at point-blank range. As he's lying on the ground dying, she ''reloads''.
** This potentially qualifies as [[ShownTheirWork showing their work]], noting that police officers are often trained to immediately load an empty gun regardless of whether or not the fight is over.
*** Also, Clarice reloads her revolver by shifting the gun to her weak (left) hand and performing the actual reload with the strong (right) hand. This is a [[BoringButPractical boring but practical]] technique that usually gets missed in films, most preferring to go the wrist-flicking cylinder-twirling route. The rationale behind this technique is that the more dexterous of the two hands should be used for the critical bits of the reload; the off-hand is more likely to fumble and drop the speedloader.
%% * NotEvenBotheringWithTheAccent
* NothingIsScarier:
** Subverted, or at least played with, in the ''Silence'' film's climax, when [[spoiler:Clarice is in Buffalo Bill's house]]. He turns out the lights, plunging the basement into darkness. We then see the scene through [[spoiler:Bill's night-vision goggles]], as he watches her stumble around helplessly.
** Another version of this in the autopsy scene. When Clarice is taking note of the condition of the body, we don't actually see the body outside of a shot of the hand and some partial shots of its face. We know what condition it's in (rotting and with a bullet hole in the chest) because of Clarice's note-taking. Her facial expression says it all and makes it even more disturbing. [[spoiler: Then they flip the body over and we see exactly what it looks like and it is ''still'' fucking disturbing.]]
** The nurse that Lecter attacked during an EKG. Dr. Chilton shows Clarice a photo and describes the aftermath (and that Lecter ate her tongue). However, the camera never shows the photo, so the rest is left to the imagination.
* NotSoStoic: When "it places the lotion in the basket" fails to instantly become reality, Gumb's "it does this", "it does that" (third person statement as command) routine becomes:
-->'''Buffalo Bill:''' PUT THE [[PrecisionFStrike FUCKING]] LOTION IN THE BASKET!! [imperative]
* OffIntoTheDistanceEnding: [[spoiler:Hannibal Lecter]] walks away into the crowd.
* PhoneTraceRace: [[spoiler:After Hannibal Lecter escapes he calls FBI agent Clarice Starling. During the call he tells her "Don't bother with a trace, I won't be on long enough."]]
%% * PsychopathicManchild: Jame Gumb.
* RealityIsUnrealistic: Some people complained that during the night-vision view scene, shadows could be seen even though the room was pitch-black. However, if the night-vision technology uses infrared, shadows can be seen as infrared light can cast them.
* ReminiscingAboutYourVictims: Hannibal does seem rather fond of remembering that census taker whose liver he ate.
* RoomFullOfCrazy:
** Buffalo Bill's basement has several. The sewing room has a large black wardrobe filled with the skins of women. The doors are plastered with newspaper clippings.
** Jack Crawford has a heroic version, as his office features the same Buffalo Bill clippings as well as crime scene photos.
* ScaryBlackMan: Played with in the movie. Our first shot of Barney the orderly (from Starling's POV) makes him look pretty grim, but WhenHeSmiles...
* SceneryPorn: Ahh, Florence...
* SerialKiller: Some of the most famous examples. Buffalo Bill is a composite of several notorious serial killers--Ted Bundy (wearing a cast on his arm and claiming to need help), Gary Heidnik (imprisoning women in his basement), and Ed Gein (murdering women and flaying their skin in order to make a "woman suit").
* ShownTheirWork: A surprising amount regarding Buffalo Bill's choice of weapon. The narration, and medical reports, note that he likes firing .38 Special Wadcutters out of his Colt Python (a .357 revolver.) Not only is he is likely inexperienced with guns and the .38s provide less recoil than the standard .357, but the wadcutter wounds are well-known for causing minimal damage to pelts and skins due to not expanding. Given what Buffalo Bill's plans for them are, this makes total sense.
** Similarly, Starling's use of the SMith & Wesson Model 13 is accurate to the FBI's service weapon at the time.
* ShoutOut: Silence'' closes with a ToBeContinued. After the Copyright notice and MPAA logo, a logo appears with the text "A Luta Continua"--Portuguese for "The Struggle Continues" ("To be continued"). Which three other Creator/JonathanDemme films also have.
* SlidingScaleOfAdaptationModification: The film adaptation is a Type 4 (Near Identical Adaptation) and sticks close to the content of the book.
* SmallRoleBigImpact: Anthony Hopkins holds the record for the shortest amount of screen time to win an Academy Award for Best Actor: he's only in the movie for around 18 minutes.
* SoundtrackDissonance:
** Dr. Lecter beats the life out of two police officers while the movie plays Bach's ''The Goldberg Variations''.
** Buffalo Bill creepily dancing to 80's song "Goodbye Horses" while Catherine Martin is in his basement well.
* SparingTheAces: Put simply:
-->'''Hannibal:''' The world is more interesting with you in it.
* StalkerWithACrush: Lecter definitely counts in relation to Starling.
* StealthPun:
** When [[spoiler:Lecter escapes]] he murders two people and mutilates their bodies. One he strings up on the wall like a butterfly. He cuts the other's face off and wears it to disguse his identity. [[spoiler:Both of these things are references to Buffalo Bill's crimes. Also, Lecter wearing the guard's face as a disguise is {{foreshadowing}} to the reveal that Bill wears women's skins in an attempt to change his identity; one last clue to Clarice.]]
** In the novel, Lecter falsely identifies a man named Billy Rubin as Buffalo Bill. A search of Lecter's cell [[spoiler:after he escapes]] reveals a note floating in his toilet with Chilton's name on it with numbers after some of the letters. FBI lab technicians figure out it's the formula for a pigment called bilirubin, which is a chief coloring agent in feces – and is more or less the same color as Dr. Chilton's hair. Yes, Lecter basically called Chilton a shithead.
** At the FBI graduation party, when we see a shot of them slicing the cake shaped like the FBI logo, it's a good moment to shout out: "Justice is served!"/"Justice for all!"
* StepIntoTheBlindingFight: Jame Gumb turns off the lights and stalks Agent Starling while wearing night-vision goggles.
* TearOffYourFace: [[spoiler: Lecter does this to one of the guards as a component of his infamous escape sequence.]]
* ThemedAliases: Jame Gumb also goes by the name John Grant and identifies himself to Starling as Jack Gordon.
* ThereAreNoTherapists:
** Subverted, since Lecter is imprisoned in a psychiatric institution and has been visited by a number of shrinks. Since he's a brilliant psychiatrist himself, this [[CriticalPsychoanalysisFailure rarely works out right]].
** An even more interesting subversion is that Lecter mentions to Clarice that he's using his skills as a therapist to work with one of the other patients. He gives the impression that he's sincerely trying to help the man, though it's possible he's doing it out of sheer boredom (and more possible he made the whole thing up to screw with her head.)
* TimeshiftedActor: Young Clarice in the flashback to her father's funeral.
* TitleDrop: The phrase "the silence of the lambs" are actually the last words in the novel.
* TrivialTitle: It refers to an anecdote told in the story. It's also a TitleDrop as the last words of the novel (not of TheFilmOfTheBook).
* {{Transsexual}}: 'Buffalo Bill' thinks he is a trans woman, though if you trust Lecter, he's not. He doesn't want to be ''a'' woman: he wants to be ''his mother''.
* UncannyValley:
** Intentionally invoked by the acting of Ted Levine as Buffalo Bill, when he mocks Catherine's screaming. The flat, emotionless sound, combined with his completely blank facial expression create an effect that is entirely inhuman.
** Also employed by Hopkins, who did his best to never blink on camera.
* UnintentionallyNotoriousCrime: Buffalo Bill selects his victims based on [[GenuineHumanHide bodily measurements]], but his latest turned out to be a senator's daughter, giving his case far more attention than he'd wished.
* WakeUpGoToSchoolSaveTheWorld: In the book version of (the film mostly dropped the plotline) Clarice is juggling her hunt for Buffalo Bill with her FBI training, knowing she's in danger of being held back for non-attendance despite being a brilliant student who's busy doing Bureau work.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: Catherine, who lives in an apartment, is shown in the film to have a cat she didn’t have time to feed when she was abducted. It’s never made clear whether anyone else fed the cat instead of her.
* WorthyOpponent: Zigzagged a little. Chilton clearly feels like he is this to Lecter, but Lecter despises him and considers him an idiot; case in point, he faked going along with a psychological profile Chilton was trying to do on him, then had his ''own'' results, of what he had learned about Chilton, published first and made him a laughingstock. Lecter's ''true'' worthy opponent is Crawford; when Chilton blusters about Crawford not wanting to openly ask for Lecter's help because Crawford thought Lecter would fake helping for the entertainment, Lecter admits to himself that's what would have happened, and is impressed that Crawford thought of it.
** Could also be extended to Barney, one of Lecter's chief guards. Lecter has nothing but respect for his professionalism, to the point that [[spoiler: after his escape, he makes it completely clear that he bears no ill-will towards Barney and does not plan on coming after him.]] In fact, his escape is partially executed due to Barney not being there to keep security to its usually-high standards.
* WoundedGazelleGambit: "Buffalo Bill" uses a fake cast and an unwieldy object he's supposedly trying to put in a van to lure Catherine into position to kidnap her. Fun fact: This was frequently the M.O. of Ted Bundy when he was active as a serial killer in the 1970s (ImpersonatingAnOfficer being the other). He would put an arm in a sling to fake injury, approach his victims asking for help carrying something to his car, and then beat them unconscious and kidnap them.
* YouMonster: Dr. Frederick Chilton, the head of the insane asylum that houses the cannibalistic serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter, describes Lecter as a monster.
-->'''Chilton:''' [to Clarice Starling] 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.

!![[BrickJoke Thank you, Clarice...]]