The Silence of the Lambs

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

28 corrected entries

(14 votes)

Correction: One psychotic cannibal. It's not much of a stretch to imagine he'd be able to overpower them. Remember, too, that up to this point Hannibal had been polite and cooperative, so they were caught off guard by his extreme behavior.

He starts his escape by handcuffing one of the guards to the bars, which puts things in Lecter's favour.

Corrected entry: Right after Hannibal attacks the ambulance crew, we see a nurse drop a telephone and sprint down a hospital corridor. Who the heck is that supposed to be? If she is the triage nurse in the emergency ward preparing for the ambulance, where is her clip-board or ANY paper to make note of what the paramedic is saying? And why is she using a pay-phone so far away from everything? And WHERE is she going? If there is any problem, she has a telephone in her hand to call the police.

Correction: A nurse? Total rubbish - that's clearly Ardelia, Clarice's fellow trainee agent - you can even make out the "FBI" on her shirt. Obviously somebody, probably Jack Crawford, has called to inform Clarice of Lecter's escape - Ardelia came to the phone, and is now running like hell to warn Clarice that a mass murderer with an interest in her is on the loose. She can be seen wearing the same distinctive cardigan in the next scene with Clarice.

Tailkinker Premium member

Corrected entry: When Hannibal handcuffs a cop's hand to the bars, he only handcuffs one hand. He could've used the other hand to shoot, tase or mace Hannibal or unlock himself with his keys.


Correction: The guard didn't have them on him. Before he enters the cell we see him pass them to his colleague who remains outside of the cell.

Corrected entry: How did Lecter know about Buffalo Bill in the first place? Yes he knows Buffalo Bill's real identity, but he's been in prison all those years, so he couldn't have known that's the name Jame Gumb would have been given by the authorities. He mentioned the newspapers, but it's highly unlikely Chilton would have let Lecter have access to a newspaper.

Correction: We know he has access to news because when he asks Clarice why they call the killer Buffalo Bill he says the papers won't say. As to how he knew, he likely recognized characteristics of the murders that made him realise it was the same person.

Corrected entry: Near the end of Silence of the Lambs, Jodie Foster has trouble seeing in the dark room, and the Buffalo Bill uses night vision to see her. Yet after he is killed, she is able to see him fine, even though no light switch is flicked on. How can she see him?

Correction: I believe she fires more than once and one of her bullets breaks one of the painted basement windows letting in a little light.

Grumpy Scot

Correction: If you do much turning of the wheel while driving in a straight line, you're doing it wrong.

Phixius Premium member

Not like in the western where it appears to move constantly.

Ssiscool Premium member

Corrected entry: A SWAT officer gets the go-ahead to use his Browning HP to shoot an unconscious Lecter (actually Pembry) in the leg to immobilize him. he fires the pistol extremely close in proximity to his face, something a real officer would not do, as the motion of the slide would harm or burn his face and he could very nearly go deaf. (01:24:05)


Correction: Can't really tell by the angle how close he is to his face. Slides only blow back about an inch or so, and wouldn't burn you either way. SWAT teams and police wear deep embedded ear plugs when in a probable situation that they'll most likely have to shoot their weapon.

Corrected entry: When Buffalo Bill is using his infra-red goggles on his next victim - the Senator's daughter - she's driving, and she drives the car straight at Buffalo Bill before turning the car into her carapace. Problem is: when using infra-red, you can't have light on the glasses, as in headlights; it should have blinded him, and he would have torn them off. But he doesn't.


Correction: It would have blinded him, yes, but only temporarily and only because the display would have been washed out and blocking his view effectively turning the goggles into a blindfold for a brief moment. It's just a monitor in there and it only gets so bright. It doesn't actually enhance the light, it only shows you an image that simulates enhanced light. There was no reason for Bill to have torn his goggles off.

Phixius Premium member

Correction: He didn't need to see it. He's been next to Miggs for a while, so knows the types of things he does. He may have done this same thing to other visitors.

Corrected entry: How the heck did Hannibal get ahold of the pen during his release from the mental hospital ? It was at least 4 feet away from him; he was bound and had a face plate over his mouth. Not only did he get the pen but somehow he got the internal portion of it which would have required freedom of movement to remove. This must be a mistake because aside from telekinesis, it should have been impossible.

Correction: We see Chilton leave the pen on the bed, then head for the exit to the cell, forgetting to pick it up, which is hardly implausible, given that he's rather agitated at the time. Barney then releases Hannibal, who simply picks the pen up and conceals it once his restraints have been removed.

Tailkinker Premium member

Yes, this hypothesis seems to be the most satisfactory one - it could also be possible that Barney himself was in on it, since they exchange looks and Lecter whispers his name, but it's not necessary.

Sammo Premium member

Corrected entry: When Hannibal chains one guard to the bars, he attacks the other one, presumably biting his tongue out. However when the guard falls to the ground it shows blood on his face, yet no bite marks, or missing skin. He also opens his mouth to scream and you can see that his tongue is completely intact and unharmed. What the heck did Hannibal bite?


Correction: Hannibal did not bite out the guard's tongue. He bit the side of the mouth, on the cheek. There is blood and also you can see the skin is missing as you can see the flesh under it.

Corrected entry: When Clarice is in Buffalo Bill's house, Bill moves his fingers twice before cocking the gun and attempting to shoot her. (01:49:00)

Correction: I believe he was lining up the gun to shoot her. Then, he cocked the gun and attempted to fire. However, Clarice heard him cock the gun behind her, and she fired in the direction of the sound and shot him several times.

Corrected entry: Clarice is told that Miggs is dead; he swallowed his tongue. That is impossible; the worst that can happen is a person can bite their tongue.


Correction: "Swallowed his tongue" is common parlance for choked on his own tongue, which is entirely possible. It does not mean he literally swallowed his tongue.

Phixius Premium member

Corrected entry: When Lector attacks the officers in the cage, and he bends over to pick up the knife to finish the second officer off, look closely at the one lying supposedly dead on the ground. If you watch his jacket buttons, you can see them go from light to dark; meaning that he's dead but still breathing, as his jacket is still moving from the reflection of the overhead lights.

Correction: We don't know for certain that Lector beat him to death right then. He may well have beaten him nearly to death and will finish him off after arranging the other guard's body.

Captain Defenestrator

Corrected entry: During the scene in the cage after Hannibal has handcuffed Sgt. Boyle, Hannibal kicks the cage door in the oncoming direction of Sgt. Petrie from a seated position. Exactly one second later, he is on his feet and attacking Sgt. Petrie from the same angle from which he kicked the door closed. It would then make sense that the door would still be closed since Petrie made no attempt to enter the cage. However, the cage door is now open to its original position when Hannibal starts attacking Sgt. Petrie. (01:16:44)

Correction: Watch it again: moments after the door hits Sgt. Pembry [not Petrie], he pushes it back. This explains why the door is open.

Corrected entry: In the scene where Jodie Foster leaves the mental hospital for the first time, you see two men wearing white clothes holding a man between themselves. In the next shot, the man is gone and the two men with white clothes are walking casually. What happened to the man that was evidently a mental-patient?

Correction: The two men escorting a pacient are wearing police uniforms and ARE NOT the same two men seen seconds later.

cinecena Premium member

Corrected entry: Hannibal says "I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti." He could get treatment with drugs called monoamine oxidase inhibitors - MAOIs, which he'd know, being a psychiatrist. However there are things you can't eat when taking MAOIs (potentially fatal), including liver, beans, and wine (also aged cheeses, if you're interested). So he's subtly letting on that he's not taking his medication, through the medium of a joke for his own amusement.

Jon Sandys Premium member

Correction: Psychopaths cannot be treated with medication and MAOIs are used for depression. Hannibal couldn't be treated even with antipsychotics or a mood stabiliser because antisocial personality disorder can't be medicated, and he would not be taking medications for his psychopathy regardless, because psychopaths have no remorse for their actions, so he wouldn't treat something he does not believe to be a problem.

Corrected entry: When Jodie Foster's character is being stalked in a supposedly unlit basement by a man wearing night vision goggles, why is there such a bright shadow behind her?

Correction: Some types of goggle use infra red light, so will have a source of infra red that lights up the surroundings like a normal torch when viewed by the right equipment, but is invisible to the naked eye, hence the shadow.

Correction: You may also be interested to know that the scene was actually shot fully lit. Jodi Foster did a great job with all the feeling around and the fear in her wide unblinking eyes eyes, reacting to the slightest sound every time she turned around. The effect of the green goggles view was added later in post processing. This may well explain the shadow. However, the explanation above provides a plausible reason it would be seen in real life.

Corrected entry: Author Thomas Harris has never watched the film because he's afraid that it'll influence his writing.

Correction: This is not true. Harris stated that he saw it when it was released and was very pleased with the movie.

White Lock

Correction: As it happens with stories "too good to be true" probably some details changed throughout the years; the idea is that he refused to watch the movie and told director Demme so citing the example of LeCarre and his experience with the adaptation of his books, sparking this 'myth', which was tough based on actual statements. But in the 1991 New York Magazine feature by Phoebe Hoban, Harris is reported to have watched the movie, indeed (even if I don't find the 'when it was released' claim of the correction), and in recent interviews his story has been that he refused to watch it but after the Oscars he just happened to stumble upon it flipping channels on TV.

Sammo Premium member

Corrected entry: In the scene where Lecter coughs up the pen piece in his cell in Memphis, he palms the small gold piece in his left hand. He then is handcuffed with his hands behind the bars. He produces the pen piece from his right hand to start unlocking the handcuffs.

Correction: This is incorrect. In the movie, one can watch as he removes the gold pin from between his 3rd and 4th fingers of his left hand, while using his thumb, and middle finger on his right, before attempting to pick the lock.

Plot hole: It makes absolutely no sense that there would be over a dozen cops and soldiers in the lobby of the courthouse and leave only two cops to guard Lecter regardless that he was locked in the makeshift cell. Yes the plot needs a reason for him to easily escape but this still goes against every conceivable protocol for such a dangerous prisoner especially when there were dozens of armed personnel just in the scene alone when he was being transferred from the plane.


More mistakes in The Silence of the Lambs

Hannibal Lecter: I do wish we could chat longer, but I'm having an old friend for dinner.

More quotes from The Silence of the Lambs

Trivia: None of the moths seen in the film are actual Death Head moths. In the interest of avoiding the hassle involved with actually shipping moth eggs over, then halting filming so they could be raised to the proper level of maturity, the production crew simply went with a similar looking domestic breed of moth, and glued false fingernails painted with the trademark skull like visage onto their bodies.

More trivia for The Silence of the Lambs

Answer: Knowing about her past gives him an advantage in how he can manipulate her - he understands her fears, weaknesses, strengths, and so on. A psychiatrist normally deconstructs a patient's psychological make-up to better understand and help them, but in Lecter's case, he uses this knowledge against his victims. However, as he learns about Clarice, he becomes sympathetic and protective toward her.

raywest Premium member

Answer: Also, he loves psychiatry and analyzing people. He is bored in his cell and this is a chance to do something he enjoys a lot.

Answer: Clarice's answers also enable Lecter to assess her honesty/ integrity and sincerity, as well as ascertain if she is trustworthy - or even worthy - enough for him to reveal certain kinds of information.


Answer: I remember a scene where he seems to roll his eyes in a kind of ecstasy as he comprehends, then thanks her, and shortly after touches her hand as he passes the folder. "People will say we're in love."

More questions & answers from The Silence of the Lambs

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