Dec 242021

The Silence of the Lambs is easily one of my favorite movies of all-time (top 10) and is probably The Godfather of the suspense-thriller genre with incredible performances from Foster, Hopkins and Levine and an all-around great experience.



The Silence of the Lambs

Genre(s): Suspense/Thriller, Crime, Drama
The Criterion Collection | R – 118 min. – $39.95 | October 19, 2021

Date Published: 12/24/2021 | Author: The Movieman

Directed by: Jonathan Demme
Writer(s): Thomas Harris (novel); Ted Tally (screenplay)
Cast: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn, Ted Levine, Anthony Heald

Features: Commentary, Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, Outtakes, Promotional Material
Slip Cover: Yes
Digital Copy: No
Formats Included: 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 2

Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), English (DTS-HD MA 2.0)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.85
Subtitles: English SDH
Codecs: HEVC / H.265 (4K), MPEG-4 AVC (BD)
Region(s): A, B, C

Kino Lorber provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.


Here’s a news flash, The Silence of the Lambs is one f’ing amazing movie. I realize I’m on an island alone on this opinion, but hey, got to be honest. In all seriousness, I’ve probably seen this movie 3 or 4 times over the years and each viewing is as thrilling as the next; it’s downright a perfect movie on all fronts.

For those living under a rock, the plot follows F.B.I. trainee Clarice Starling (JODIE FOSTER) is given the assignment by her boss, Jack Crawford (SCOTT GLENN), to interview notorious, and refined, serial killer Hannibal Lecter (ANTHONY HOPKINS), hoping to probe his brain to get clues to the identity of one Buffalo Bill (TED LEVINE) who has been kidnapping and killing women with no signs of slowing down. It’s a race against time when Buffalo Bill kidnaps the daughter of a power U.S. Senator; add to that a subplot with Lecter utilizing every card he has, with his knowledge of the killer’s identity.

I think one of the reasons Lambs has stood out from other thrillers is that it’s less about shocking or disgusting audiences, and sure there are a few standout moments that can shock and disgust or about unraveling the mystery, and there are mystery elements for sure, but it’s at its core a character study: the innocent and green FBI agent, the mentally superior and controlled serial killer or the deranged and psychologically damaged killer, and each respective actor from Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins and Ted Levine were each pitch perfect, with Foster and Hopkins taking home the Academy Award.

Beyond the well defined trio of central characters, the film just works as a pure thriller including a tense finale that, even though I’ve seen it a few times now, still is absolutely gripping and ultimately satisfying. Credit goes to the source material by Thomas Harris, fittingly adapted by Ted Tally and helmed by Jonathan Demme, both taking home Oscars, as did the film itself.

I don’t think I’m being hyperbolic saying The Silence of the Lambs perhaps is The Godfather of the suspense-thriller genre. This isn’t just one of my favorite movies of all time, but one of the best with top-notch performances all around, although I know some prefer Brian Cox’s understated role in Manhunter as Lecter (or Lektor), amazing cinematography and just a tightly-wound, pitch-perfect story.



This two-disc release comes housed in a black HD keep case and a matted slip cover.

Audio Commentary – This pieced together track from separate interviews, and made for the original 1994 Criterion Collection release, features director Jonathan Demme, actors Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins, screenwriter Ted Tally, and former FBI agent John Douglas. It’s a good array as each one gives their perspective on the project.

Page to Screen (41:07) is a 2002 episode, hosted by Peter Gallagher, from the Bravo TV show with the film’s cast and crew discussing the source material and the production.

Understanding the Madness (19:33) is some more interviews, this time with retired FBI agents as they talk about profiling serial killers.

Scoring “The Silence” (16:00) – This 2004 interview with composer Howard Shore where he discusses the themes he utilized.

Behind-the-Scenes Featurette (8:07) is rather basic and was made around 1991.

Jonathan Demme and Jodie Foster (52:30) is a three-part documentary from 2005 and features interviews with the director and star discussing the process of how the film got off the ground, into production and the reception.

Deleted Scenes (37:58) – Here we get 22 scenes that were either cut down or removed and might not be in the best condition, but nice to get them here. Included is the outtakes reel and Anthony Hopkins’s phone message.

Trailer (1:49)


VIDEO – 5/5, AUDIO – 4½/5

The Silence of the Lambs comes to 4K Ultra HD from Kino Lorber. The back cover doesn’t mention where this 2160p transfer came from, but it’s possible it was provided by MGM as I doubt that the Criterion Collection would send over the restoration work they performed on their Blu-ray release from a few years back. Whatever the case, the picture here looks excellent, detail is sharp, colors well balanced though geared more toward the darker elements considering the tone and story, and the natural film grain and noise is still ever present.

The disc includes a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which I’m guessing was the original one from the Blu-ray releases. Even so, dialogue still comes across with good clarity and there is some fine depth for the score as well as the more suspense-filled scenes, particularly the great finale. I didn’t do a direct comparison with the Criterion Collection release, though based on my review the 2.0 track (which is available here) was the default option while 5.1 is the default for this release.

OVERALL — 4¾/5

The Silence of the Lambs is easily one of my favorite movies of all-time (top 10) and is probably The Godfather of the suspense-thriller genre with incredible performances from Foster, Hopkins and Levine and an all-around great experience that has held up incredibly well over the years.

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