Classic Review – Jonathan Demme’s “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991)


In 1991, dozens of happy accidents converged into one of the greatest thrillers of all time:  The Silence of the Lambs.  It is the most recent film to win Academy Awards in all five of the major categories (both leading actors, screenplay, director, and best picture).  As that distinction may suggest, practically every aspect of the film boasts superlatives.  The performances are exceptional.  Ted Tally’s adaption of the screenplay structures the film with the familiar beats of the hero’s journey, but provides enough twists to keep us on edge.  Jonathan Demme’s direction shows restraint and courage, and produces moments rife with tension, many of which do not exist on the page.  The characters, technical work, and writing all cooperate towards a single goal:  championing a theme of female strength and intellect in a world dominated by men, and the courage that it takes to confront true evil.

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“The Silence of the Lambs” Script Analysis: Scene-by-Scene Breakdown

Over the last week, has been walking through a script analysis of The Silence of the Lambs based on a scene-by-scene breakdown that I wrote.  I have decided to re-produce that breakdown in its entirety here, and provide a link to the rest of the script analysis near the end of this piece.  The goal here is to summarize the entire script scene by scene, which will make further analyses easier.  Enjoy!

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