Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
January 30
The Silence of the Lambs January 30, 1991
The Silence of the Lambs premieres in New York

“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?” Those were FBI cadet Clarice Starling’s instructions when being sent to meet locked-up serial killer Hannibal Lecter in Jonathan Demme’s adaptation of Thomas Harris’s thriller The Silence of the Lambs, which premiered in New York on January 30, 1991. The two characters were played by Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins, who both won Oscars, as did the picture, director Demme, and screenwriter Ted Tally. A surprising box office and critical hit, The Silence of the Lambs skillfully worked audience’s sensibilities. Foster was enormously sympathetic, and Hopkins seductive in his portrayal of a murderer who savored his victim’s flesh like a gourmet meal. But the movie’s most chilling image may have been the close-up of a handshake Starling receives from FBI superior Scott Glenn at the film’s conclusion as she accepted into the male-dominated and highly politicized domain of federal law enforcement.


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