The Silence of the Lambs is an American psychological horror movie from 1991. It was written by Ted Tally and directed by Johnathan Demme, and in this article, we are sharing with you the best and most chilling The Silence of the Lambs quotes.
The movie is an adaptation of the 1988 novel by the same name that was written by Thomas Harris, and stars Anthony Hopkins, Jodie Foster, Ted Levine, Lawrence A. Bonney, Kasi Lemmons, Scott Glenn and others.
The movie follows Clarice Starling (played by Jodie Foster) who is an FBI trainee and her efforts to hunt a serial killer known as “Buffalo Bill” (played by Ted Levine). In order to catch him, Clarice seeks the assistance of the imprisoned Dr. Hannibal Lecter (played by Anthony Hopkins), a very bright psychiatrist who’s also a serial killer and a cannibal.
The Silence of the Lambs was a huge success, with production budget amounted at $19 million, the movie grossed more than $272 million in theaters all over the world, making it the fifth highest grossing movie in the year 1991.
Empire ranked the movie on the 48th place on their list of the 500 greatest movies of all time, and The American Film Institute ranked it as the fifth greatest and most influential thriller film. The Silence of the Lambs was also selected in 2011 by the U.S. Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry.
The Silence of the Lambs won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Actress in a Leading Role, and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published.
And now ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, it’s time for the quotes…
Table of Contents
- Dr. Hannibal Lecter Quotes from The Silence of the Lambs
- Clarice Starling Quotes from The Silence of the Lambs
- Dr. Frederick Chilton Quotes from The Silence of the Lambs
- Jame “Buffalo Bill” Gumb Quotes from The Silence of the Lambs
- Honorable Mentions Quotes
- Interesting Facts about The Silence of the Lambs Movie
Dr. Hannibal Lecter Quotes from The Silence of the Lambs
Dr. Hannibal Lecter: Well, Clarice – have the lambs stopped screaming?
Dr. Hannibal Lecter: I do wish we could chat longer, but… I’m having an old friend for dinner. Bye.
Dr. Hannibal Lecter: A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.
Dr. Hannibal Lecter: Look for severe childhood disturbances associated with violence. Our Billy wasn’t born a criminal, Clarice. He was made one through years of systematic abuse. Billy hates his own identity, you see, and he thinks that makes him a transsexual. But his pathology is a thousand times more savage and more terrifying.
Dr. Hannibal Lecter: I have no plans to call on you, Clarice. The world’s more interesting with you in it.
Dr. Hannibal Lecter: Amputate a man’s leg and he can still feel it tickling. Tell me, mum, when your little girl is on the slab, where will it tickle you?
Dr. Hannibal Lecter: You know what you look like to me, with your good bag and your cheap shoes? You look like a rube. A well-scrubbed, hustling rube with a little taste. Good nutrition’s given you some length of bone, but you’re not more than one generation from poor white trash, are you, Agent Starling? And that accent you’ve tried so desperately to shed: pure West Virginia.
Dr. Hannibal Lecter: You’re very frank, Clarice. I think it would be quite something to know you in private life.
Dr. Hannibal Lecter: Memory, Agent Starling, is what I have instead of a view.
Dr. Hannibal Lecter: Brave Clarice. You will let me know when those lambs stop screaming, won’t you?
Clarice Starling: If you didn’t kill him, then who did, sir?
Dr. Hannibal Lecter: Who can say. Best thing for him, really. His therapy was going nowhere.
Dr. Hannibal Lecter: Closer, please. Clo-ser…
Dr. Hannibal Lecter: All good things to those who wait.
Dr. Hannibal Lecter: Yes or no, Clarice? Poor little Catherine is waiting.
Dr. Hannibal Lecter: You fly back to school, now, little Starling. Fly, fly, fly…
Dr. Hannibal Lecter: I would not have had that happen to you, discourtesy is unspeakably ugly to me.
Clarice Starling: Doctor, we don’t have any more time for any of this now.
Dr. Hannibal Lecter: But we don’t reckon time the same way, do we, Clarice?
Dr. Hannibal Lecter: I’ve been in this room for eight years, now Clarice, and I know they’ll never let me out, not while I’m alive. What I want is a view where I can see a tree or even water. I want to be in a federal institution far away from Doctor Chiltern. I’ll help you catch him, Clarice.
Dr. Hannibal Lecter: Plum Island Animal Disease Research Center. Sounds charming.
Dr. Hannibal Lecter: Don’t you feel eyes moving over your body, Clarice? And don’t your eyes seek out the things you want?
Dr. Hannibal Lecter: Terns? Mmh. If I help you, Clarice, it will be “turns” with us too. Quid pro quo. I tell you things, you tell me things. Not about this case, though. About yourself. Quid pro quo. Yes or no?
Dr. Hannibal Lecter: Enthrall me with your acumen.
Dr. Hannibal Lecter: You think if Catherine lives, you won’t wake up in the dark ever again to that awful screaming of the lambs.
Dr. Hannibal Lecter: Garden-variety Manic Depressive. Tedious, very tedious. I did not kill him; I assure you just tucked him away, very much as I found him after he’d missed three appointments.
Dr. Hannibal Lecter: Whenever feasible, one should always try to eat the rude.
Dr. Hannibal Lecter: Oh, Clarice. Your problem is you need to get more fun out of life.
Dr. Hannibal Lecter: Jack Crawford sent a trainee to me?
Clarice Starling Quotes from The Silence of the Lambs
Dr. Hannibal Lecter: Why do you think he removes their skins, Agent Starling? Enthrall me with your acumen.
Clarice Starling: It excites him. Most serial killers keep some sort of trophies from their victims.
Dr. Hannibal Lecter: I didn’t.
Clarice Starling: No. No, you ate yours.
Clarice Starling: You see a lot, Doctor. But are you strong enough to point that high-powered perception at yourself? What about it? Why don’t you – why don’t you look at yourself and write down what you see? Or maybe you’re afraid to.
Clarice Starling: He won’t come after me.
Ardelia Mapp: Oh really?
Clarice Starling: He won’t. I can’t explain it… he, he would consider that rude.
Jack Crawford: Starling, when I told that sheriff we shouldn’t talk in front of a woman, that really burned you, didn’t it? It was just smoke, Starling. I had to get rid of him.
Clarice Starling: It matters, Mr. Crawford. Cops look at you to see how to act. It matters.
Clarice Starling: Your anagrams are showing, Doctor. Louis Friend? Iron sulfide, also known as fool’s gold.
Clarice Starling: Hester Mofet. It’s an anagram, isn’t it, Doctor? Hester Mofet, “The rest of me”. “Miss the rest of me,” meaning that you rented that garage?
Murray: He’s some kinda vampire?
Clarice Starling: They don’t have a name for what he is.
Clarice Starling: I graduated from UVa, Captain; it’s not exactly a charm school.
Jack Crawford: I remember you from my seminar at UVA. You grilled me pretty hard, as I recall, on the bureau’s civil rights record in the Hoover years. I gave you an A.
Clarice Starling: A-minus, Sir.
Clarice Starling: If Lecter thinks you’re his enemy, maybe we’d have better luck if I went in by myself.
Dr. Frederick Chilton: You could have mentioned this in my office and saved me the time.
Clarice Starling: Yes, but then I would have missed the pleasure of your company.
Clarice Starling: Lambs. The lambs were screaming.
Clarice Starling: I don’t know. I didn’t have any food, any water, and it was very cold, very cold. I thought, I thought, if I could save just one, but… he was so heavy. So heavy. I didn’t get more than a few miles when the sheriff’s car picked me up. The rancher was so angry he sent me to live at the Lutheran orphanage in Bozeman. I never saw the ranch again.
Dr. Frederick Chilton Quotes from The Silence of the Lambs
Dr. Frederick Chilton: Do not touch the glass. Do not approach the glass. You pass him nothing but soft paper – no pencils or pens. No staples or paperclips in his paper. Use the sliding food carrier, no exceptions. If he attempts to pass you anything, do not accept it. Do you understand me?
Dr. Frederick Chilton: Oh, he’s a monster. A pure psychopath. So rare to capture one alive. From a research point of view, Lecter is our most prized asset.
Dr. Frederick Chilton: I am going to show you why we insist on such precautions. On the evening of July 8th, 1981, he complained of chest pains and was taken to the dispensary. His mouthpiece and restraints were removed for an EKG. When the nurse leaned over him, he did this to her. The doctors managed to reset her jaw more or less. Saved one of her eyes. His pulse never got above 85, even when he ate her tongue.
Dr. Frederick Chilton: We’ve tried to study him, of course, but he’s much too sophisticated for the standard tests.
Dr. Frederick Chilton: Crawford is very clever, isn’t he, using you?
Clarice Starling: What do you mean, sir?
Dr. Frederick Chilton: A pretty young woman to turn him on. I don’t believe Lecter’s even seen a woman in eight years. And oh, are you ever his taste. So to speak.
Dr. Frederick Chilton: You know, we get a lot of detectives here, but I must say I can’t ever remember one as attractive.
Dr. Frederick Chilton: You still think you’re going to walk on some beach and see the birdies? I don’t think so. I called Senator Ruth Martin. She never heard of any deal with you. They scammed you, Hannibal.
Dr. Frederick Chilton: Oh my, does he hate us. Thinks I’m his nemesis.
Jame “Buffalo Bill” Gumb Quotes from The Silence of the Lambs
Jame “Buffalo Bill” Gumb: It rubs the lotion on its skin. It does this whenever it is told.
Jame “Buffalo Bill” Gumb: It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again.
Jame “Buffalo Bill” Gumb: Now it places the lotion in the basket.
Jame “Buffalo Bill” Gumb: YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT PAIN IS!
Jame “Buffalo Bill” Gumb: Would you fuck me? I’d fuck me. I’d fuck me hard. I’d fuck me so hard.
Honorable Mentions Quotes
Ardelia Mapp: Hot damn, Clarice.
Jack Crawford: Believe me, you don’t want Hannibal Lecter inside your head.
Jack Crawford: Just do your job, but never forget what he is.
Miggs: I bit my wrist… LOOK AT THE BLOOD!
Interesting Facts about The Silence of the Lambs Movie
Now, it’s time for some interesting facts about The Silence of the Lambs. See if you knew these fun facts or whether they surprise you. And most of all, enjoy them.
- The Third Movie to Win The “Big Five” – I’ve mentioned it in the beginning of the article, but The Silence of the Lamb is only the third movie to ever win all of the 5 most important Oscars (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Screenplay). The other two movies that previously won all big 5 awards are “It Happened One Night” (1935) and “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1976).
- It Should Have Been Gene Hackman – It was all set, as both Orion Pictures and Gene Hackman were ready to pay in order to purchase the rights for the movie. However, Hackman decided to drop from the project as he didn’t want to play a dark role of a psychopath. If he would have gone through as planned, Hackman would have played the role of Hannibal Lecter and also direct the movie.
- It Should Have Been Michelle Pfeiffer – Here is how it went: First and foremost, Jodie Foster actually planned to buy the film rights to the book The Silence of the Lambs, but Gene Hackman was able to do it before her. So, Foster decided to fight for the role of FBI agent Clarice Starling, only director of the movie Jonathan Demme, preferred that Michelle Pfeiffer will play the role of agent Starling. As it turned out, Pfeiffer just like Hackman wasn’t sure about the theme of the movie, being so dark. So, how did Foster eventually got the part? Well, Demme didn’t like Foster’s Boston accent, but after he met her twice, he changed his mind and Jodie Foster became FBI agent Clarice Starling.
- James Bond was the First Choice to Play Lecter – Yes, I’ve just said that Hackman was supposed to both direct the movie and play the role of Hannibal Lecter. However, the first choice to play the role of Lecter was none other than Sean Connery. So, what happened? Sean Connery read the script and believe it or not, found it to be revolting. Other actors that were considered for the part of Lecter were Derek Jacobi and Daniel Day-Lewis.
- The Quote That Never Was – Many people for some reason remember and quote Lecter saying in the movie: “Hello, Clarice”. However, Hannibal Lecter never said it to Clarice Starling, not even once during the movie. What he actually said and the correct quote is: “Good evening, Clarice.”
- Buffalo Bill’s House in Movie Was the Home of a High School Physics Teacher – The house of Buffalo Bill in the movie actually belonged to Harold Lloyd, a physics teacher in Bentworth High School. According to him, some of the crew members were rude and some of his belongings were even stolen. A security guard was even fired because he used to run tours through the house during the nights. The house was eventually sold for the price of $300,000.
- Buffalo Bill Was Based on Three Serial Killers – The character of Buffalo Bill in the movie was based on at least three real-life serial killers: Ted Bundy, Ed Gein, and Gary M. Heidnik. Author of the book Thomas Harris attended court at times during Bundy’s murder trial and even sent him a copy of his book “Red Dragon.”
- The Dance of Buffalo Bill Was Not Part of the Script – The dance of Buffalo Bill in the movie was not in the script, but it was in the book. So, actor Ted Levine who played Buffalo Bill insisted to add this dance scene in the movie, as according to him, it helps explain the character of Buffalo Bill better. In order to perform the dance scene smoothly, Levine took some tequila shots, as he was nervous before the shot.
If you’re interested in more quotes from powerful, award-winning movies, please visits our pages dedicated to The Shawshank Redemption quotes, Braveheart quotes, Gladiator quotes, and Iron Man quotes.