silence of the lambs quotes

“The Best Quotes from Silence of the Lambs”


Silence of the Lambs is a thriller movie that was released in 1991, directed by Jonathan Demme. The movie talks about an FBI agent who seeks the help of a former psychiatric patient, Hannibal Lecter, to catch a vicious serial killer. Hannibal Lecter is a cannibal and one of the most intelligent criminals of all time. The movie’s plot features several quotes that have been used in conversations, songs, and movies.

One of the popular quotes from Silence of the Lambs is when Hannibal Lecter says “Hello Clarice,” which has been used in several different contexts. It’s an iconic line from the movie and has been parodied by other movies and TV shows for a long time, making it even more popular.

Another famous quote from the movie is when Hannibal Lecter says, “I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.” This quote has become iconic and is often used to describe a serial killer or any situation that is creepy or unsettling.

The importance of these quotes lies in their ability to capture the essence of the movie and make it even more memorable. They have become part of popular culture and are recognized and used by people all over the world. Furthermore, these quotes have helped in keeping the movie alive in the minds of the people and have played a significant role in its continued success.

In conclusion, Silence of the Lambs quotes have become a part of our popular culture and will continue to be used for years to come. Their popularity is a testament to the quality of the movie and the brilliance of the characters.


Silence of the Lambs is a classic 1991 psychological thriller that has become a cultural icon over the years. Directed by Jonathan Demme, the film is an adaptation of Thomas Harris’ novel of the same name and stars Jodie Foster as Clarice Starling and Anthony Hopkins as the infamous Dr. Hannibal Lecter.

The plot follows Starling, an FBI trainee, as she is tasked with interviewing the cannibalistic Lecter in order to gain insights into the psyche of another serial killer, known as Buffalo Bill. The movie’s plot is intriguing and its characters well-developed, making it not just your average thriller but a masterpiece.

The movie is significant because it features an intellectual and cultured serial killer in Lecter, who is charming yet immensely dangerous. His performance earned Mr. Hopkins an Academy Award, making him one of the most memorable and iconic movie villains of all time. Additionally, the film’s portrayal of a female protagonist as strong, capable, and smart in the male-dominated field of law enforcement is another powerful aspect that has earned it praise over the years. This movie paved the way for many famous psychological thriller movies, such as Seven.

Silence of the Lambs has had a significant impact in pop culture even after all these years. The film’s quotes have become part of the modern lexicon. They are frequently quoted and referenced in movies, television shows, and in everyday life discussions. The film has also spawned a spin-off TV show and two sequels, Hannibal and Red Dragon.

The reason for its continued success and cult status is how it manages to balance the suspense of a crime thriller with elements of horror and drama that keeps the audience engaged until the very end. Silence of the Lambs manages to be both frightening and captivating, without losing to one side of the horror-thriller spectrum. For those that haven’t seen the film yet, we recommend you watch it. It’s a classic that should be on every cinephile’s watchlist.

The most famous Silence of the Lambs quote

Silence of the Lambs is a gripping psychological thriller and one of the most iconic movies in cinema history. It has numerous unforgettable scenes and quotes, but undoubtedly the most famous line uttered in the movie is “Hello, Clarice.”

The eerie voice of Hannibal Lecter greets Clarice Starling, the young FBI agent, with these infamous words in their first face-to-face meeting. It is a moment of intense anticipation and drama that sets the tone for the rest of the movie, making the viewers feel uneasy and intrigued.

The utterance has gained such an enormous cultural significance ever since. Everyone who has seen the film knows the line by heart, and even those who haven’t, have probably heard it uttered in parodies and references to the movie. It stands for many things, such as suspense, horror, mystery, and psychological depth.

Anthony Hopkins’ performance as Hannibal Lecter has won multiple awards and widespread acclaim. His portrayal of the brilliant but twisted psychiatrist is nothing short of a cinematic masterpiece. The “Hello, Clarice” quote is especially memorable because of his measured, sinister tone that conveys both charm and foreboding.

What is equally interesting is that the line doesn’t exist in the exact same form in the movie. Hannibal Lecter never says the exact phrase “Hello, Clarice.” He does greet her, but the greeting is different. However, the phrase was used in the sequel, Hannibal, and has subsequently taken on a life of its own.

Its impact is immense in pop culture, as well. The “Hello, Clarice” line has been referenced and parodied in countless movies, TV shows, and music videos, making it one of the most famous quotes of all time. It has even been used in marketing campaigns, merchandise, and internet memes.

Overall, the “Hello, Clarice” quote has transcended the boundaries of just a dialogue from a movie and has become a pop culture symbol that everyone can recognize. Its eerie, foreboding tone makes it one of the most memorable moments in cinema and ensures that it will continue to spawn references and homages for years to come.

“A census taker once tried to test me…”

One of the most iconic lines in the movie “Silence of the Lambs” is the infamous quote spoken by Dr. Hannibal Lecter, “A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.” The origin of this line can be traced back to the original novel written by Thomas Harris, but it gained popularity due to Anthony Hopkins’ chilling performance as the cannibalistic psychiatrist in the movie adaptation.

In the context of the movie, this line is significant because it not only shows the audience how dangerous and unpredictable Dr. Lecter truly is but it also serves as a pivotal moment in the plot. Prior to this scene, Clarice Starling, the main protagonist of the movie, has been tasked with interviewing Dr. Lecter to gain insights into the mind of another serial killer who is on the loose. However, when Starling first meets Lecter, he immediately sees through her facade and begins testing her as if she were his prey.

This quote comes from one of those tests, where Lecter recounts a past experience to Starling. In doing so, he reveals his brutal nature and, as the scene comes to a close, he makes a daring escape from his cell. This sets off a chain of events that drives much of the movie’s plot, including Lecter’s subsequent game of cat and mouse with the FBI and the pursuit of Buffalo Bill, the killer whom Starling is trying to catch.

Furthermore, this quote is also an example of how Hannibal Lecter’s character is portrayed. His sophisticated and eloquent manner of speaking is a direct contrast to his gruesome actions, which only adds to his off-putting demeanor.

All in all, the quote “A census taker once tried to test me” is a memorable and chilling moment from “Silence of the Lambs” that highlights Dr. Lecter’s savage nature and sets off a series of events in the movie’s plot.

“It puts the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again”

When it comes to disturbing movie quotes, this one from Silence of the Lambs stands out as one of the most unsettling and memorable. The line is spoken by the character Buffalo Bill as he’s holding captive a woman he intends to kill and skin, and he’s demanding that she apply lotion to her skin to make it easier for him to complete his macabre project. The chilling thing about this quote is the way it highlights the total control Buffalo Bill has over his victim, reducing her to an object and stripping her of her humanity. The line has had a lasting impact on audiences, inspiring countless references and parodies and cementing itself as part of pop culture history.

Part of the reason this quote is so memorable is its frank, unflinching portrayal of violence and brutality. It doesn’t shy away from the disturbing nature of Buffalo Bill’s actions, and it forces the audience to confront the reality of the situation. This quote doesn’t allow for any easy distancing or detachment from what’s happening onscreen. Instead, it places the audience right in the middle of the horror and forces them to confront their own reactions to it.

Another reason this quote has resonated so strongly with audiences is its connection to real-life crimes. The character of Buffalo Bill was reportedly inspired by a number of real-life serial killers, including Ted Bundy and Ed Gein. Knowing this information adds an extra layer of horror to the quote, as it reminds us that such atrocities are not purely fictional and have real-life counterparts.

The line “It puts the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again” has also become something of a meme or catchphrase in internet culture. It’s often used humorously or ironically, with people incorporating it into memes or social media posts as a way to comment on various aspects of life. While this dilutes the original horror behind the quote, it also speaks to the lasting impact it’s had on popular culture.

Ultimately, the quote “It puts the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again” has become a cultural touchstone, representing both the disturbing nature of Silence of the Lambs and the ways in which horror movies can infiltrate our collective consciousness. While it’s certainly not an easy quote to forget, its impact on audiences has helped solidify Silence of the Lambs’ place in the pantheon of horror films.

“I do wish we could chat longer, but I’m having an old friend for dinner”

When it comes to memorable movie lines, Hannibal Lecter’s words from “The Silence of the Lambs” are right up there. The moment when he tells FBI trainee Clarice Starling that he can’t chat for much longer because he has an “old friend for dinner” has stayed with audiences for more than three decades. But what is it about this line that makes it so iconic?

Firstly, the use of the word “chat” is significant. It’s a polite, almost friendly word that you might use with an acquaintance or casual acquaintance. Yet, coming from Lecter, it’s immediately imbued with menace and danger, especially as he’s already shown himself to be a cannibalistic serial killer.

The next key element is the word “longer.” This implies that Hannibal and Clarice have already been chatting for some time, which adds to the tension – how long has he been interrogating her? Is she in danger of becoming his next meal? The word also implies that, in Lecter’s view, Clarice has already been given more time than she deserves – a sense that is only deepened when he reveals his dinner plans.

It’s the final phrase, though, that makes the line truly memorable: “I’m having an old friend for dinner.” On the surface, this seems like a simple statement of fact – Hannibal is going to enjoy a meal with someone he knows well. However, as audiences quickly realize, there’s a dark double meaning. Hannibal is actually saying that he’s going to kill and eat a former acquaintance. The contrast between the mundane phrasing and the horrifying implications is what makes the line so chilling.

Of course, there’s also the fact that the line is a pun. “Having someone for dinner” is a common enough phrase, but in this context, it takes on a very sinister tone. Hannibal’s use of the word “old” is also clever – it gives the impression that he’s talking about a long-time friend, but the word can also imply that the person in question is old in age or past their prime. It’s a subtle touch, but it adds to the sense that Hannibal is always thinking a few steps ahead of his opponents.

In conclusion, the line “I do wish we could chat longer, but I’m having an old friend for dinner” is a masterclass in wordplay and subtext. It’s a simple enough sentence on the surface, but the layers of meaning and the way they’re conveyed through language and performance make it one of the most memorable quotes in movie history.

“I can smell your c**t”

One of the most memorable quotes from the movie Silence of the Lambs is when Dr. Hannibal Lecter says, “I can smell your c**t” to FBI trainee Clarice Starling. This line caused quite a bit of controversy when the movie was released in 1991.

Many people were outraged at the use of such crude language in a mainstream Hollywood movie, and there were calls for the movie to be banned. However, others defended the use of the line, arguing that it was essential to the character of Lecter and added to the disturbing nature of the film.

So, what was the purpose of this line in the movie? Some have argued that it was simply a way to shock the audience and add to the horror of the film. Others have suggested that it was a deliberate attempt to unsettle Clarice Starling and establish Lecter’s dominance over her.

Either way, it’s clear that the line serves a purpose in the movie. It’s one of the most memorable moments from the film and has become a part of popular culture. However, it’s important to remember that it’s just one small part of a much larger story.

The controversy surrounding this line has continued long after the release of the movie. Some people still find it offensive and argue that it should never have been included in the film. Others defend it as an important piece of the movie’s overall message.

Overall, whether you find this line offensive or not, there’s no denying the impact that Silence of the Lambs has had on popular culture. It’s a masterpiece of horror filmmaking and one that will continue to be studied and debated for many years to come.

“Quid pro quo”

“Quid pro quo” is a Latin phrase, which means “something for something” or “this for that.” It is a term used in the legal world and often applies to the exchange of goods or services or the granting of a favor in return for something else. In the 1991 American thriller movie “The Silence of the Lambs,” the phrase is a metaphor that signifies the relationship between Dr. Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling.

Dr. Hannibal Lecter is a former psychiatrist and serial killer who is incarcerated in a high-security facility for the criminally insane. Clarice Starling is an FBI trainee who is sent to question him for her investigation into another serial killer who has been terrorizing the country. From the moment they met, Dr. Lecter starts to play mind games with Clarice and manipulates her into revealing information about her life in exchange for information about the serial killer.

“Quid pro quo” takes on a more important meaning in the context of their relationship. Dr. Lecter uses the phrase to represent an exchange of information, a form of psychological manipulation. By revealing something deeply personal about herself, Clarice is essentially giving something to Dr. Lecter, enabling him to gather more insight into her personality and character. In return, he gives her a small piece of information to help her solve the case.

The phrase “quid pro quo” also highlights the unequal power dynamics in their relationship. Dr. Lecter is in jail and has nothing to lose, while Clarice is a vulnerable young woman trying to make a name for herself in the FBI. Dr. Lecter uses this power imbalance to his advantage and manipulates her into playing his game. He takes control of the conversation and forces her to reveal things about herself that she might not otherwise have shared.

Furthermore, “quid pro quo” underscores the duality of Dr. Lecter’s personality. On the one hand, he is a cold-blooded killer who shows no remorse for his crimes. On the other hand, he is a highly intelligent individual who is well-versed in literature, art, and culture. He uses his vast knowledge and wit to manipulate Clarice into revealing more about herself, and what follows is a game of psychological chess that only serves to increase his enjoyment of the situation.

As the movie progresses, the power dynamic between the two characters begins to shift, and Clarice starts to gain the upper hand. She starts to outsmart Dr. Lecter and uses her skills as an FBI agent to get the information she needs to solve the case. However, their relationship remains rooted in the concept of “quid pro quo,” and it is only at the end of the movie that the audience realizes the true significance of the phrase.

“Quid pro quo” is not just a meaningless phrase that Dr. Lecter uses to manipulate Clarice. It is a metaphor for the power dynamics and the psychological games that are at play between the two characters. It is a reminder that every interaction between two individuals can be a form of negotiation, and it is up to the participants to decide whether they are the ones in control or whether someone else is controlling them.

Overall, “quid pro quo” is a critical phrase in “The Silence of the Lambs,” as it signifies the complex relationship between Dr. Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling. It represents the unequal power dynamics, the duality of Dr. Lecter’s personality, and the psychological games that are being played between the two characters. It is a metaphor for the inherent ambiguity and uncertainty that underlies all human interactions and a stark reminder that those who seek to control us can do so in many subtle ways.


Throughout the years, Silence of the Lambs has remained a classic movie that has had a significant impact on pop culture. The film, based on the novel by Thomas Harris, was renowned for its suspenseful plot, talented cast, and truly unforgettable quotes that have stood the test of time.

From Hannibal Lecter’s chilling one-liners to Clarice Starling’s powerful dialogue, here are some of the most iconic Silence of the Lambs quotes that have earned their place in pop culture:

1. “Good evening, Clarice.”

Perhaps one of the most memorable quotes in the movie, this line was delivered by Sir Anthony Hopkins’ character, Hannibal Lecter. It is known for its sinister tone and is often imitated in movies and popular culture. The line has become almost synonymous with the character of Hannibal Lecter and has become a popular catchphrase among fans of the movie.

2. “I’m having an old friend for dinner.”

Another iconic quote from Hannibal Lecter, this line is ominous and foreshadows the fate of Dr. Chilton, who had wronged Lecter in the past. This quote has become so famous that it has been referenced in various pop culture mediums, including TV shows, movies, and even commercials.

3. “It puts the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again.”

This quote was delivered by Buffalo Bill, the antagonist in Silence of the Lambs, as he holds his captive in a well. The line has become synonymous with the character and is often referenced in pop culture. Notably, it was sampled in the Eminem hit song, “Buffalo Bill.”

4. “If I help you, Clarice, it will be “turns” with us, too. Quid pro quo.”

Another memorable quote from Hannibal Lecter, this line is a warning to Clarice Starling that if he helps her, he expects something in return. The use of the Latin phrase “quid pro quo” has become a popular catchphrase thanks to this movie.

5. “Well, Clarice – have the lambs stopped screaming?”

This line was repeated twice in the movie, first by a young Catherine Martin, a previous victim of Buffalo Bill, and later by Lecter himself. The line has become iconic and has been referenced in other movies and TV shows. It perfectly captures the movie’s themes of trauma and psychology.

6. “A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.”

This line has become one of the most memorable Hannibal Lecter quotes in the movie. It is dark, twisted, and showcases the character’s love for fine dining. This line has become so famous that it has been referenced in various movies and TV shows throughout the years.

7. “The world’s more interesting with you in it.”

Delivered by Hannibal Lecter to Clarice Starling, this line is a testament to the strange connection the two shared throughout the movie. It was a defining moment in the plot and has become a favorite among fans of the movie.

8. “I do wish we could chat longer, but I’m having an old friend for dinner.”

This iconic line is the last one delivered by Hannibal Lecter in the movie. It has become synonymous with the character and has been referenced in popular culture ever since. Lecter’s calm demeanor and delightfully sinister tone in delivering the line are truly unforgettable.

In conclusion, these iconic Silence of the Lambs quotes have left a resounding impact on pop culture. They have been referenced in everything from movies and TV shows to music and commercials. It’s a testament to the movie’s lasting impact and the exceptional performances delivered by the cast, particularly Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster.

FAQ and Conclusions

If you’re a fan of psychological thrillers, then you must have heard of the movie and book “Silence of the Lambs.” As with any popular media, there are always questions that people have. Here are some frequently asked questions related to “Silence of the Lambs” followed by their answers.

1. What mental illness does Hannibal Lecter have?

Dr. Lecter is portrayed as having Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD) – also known as sociopathy, which is characterized by a lack of empathy for others and disregard for social norms and the law.

2. Is “Silence of the Lambs” based on a true story?

While the movie and book were inspired by real-life cases, they are not based on a true story.

3. What is Clarice Starling’s job in “Silence of the Lambs”?

Clarice Starling is a trainee FBI agent who is tasked with interviewing imprisoned serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter in order to gain insight into a current case.

4. Is “Silence of the Lambs” gory?

While there are certainly scenes of violence and gore in the movie, they are not the focus of the story. Instead, the film relies on psychological suspense and tension.

5. Who said the famous quote “Hello, Clarice”?

Contrary to popular belief, the line “Hello, Clarice” is never actually spoken by Dr. Lecter in “Silence of the Lambs.” The closest he comes is saying “Good evening, Clarice” in one scene.

6. What is the significance of the moth in “Silence of the Lambs”?

The movie and book make several references to the Death’s-head Hawkmoth, a species of moth known for its distinctive skull-like markings. This serves as a symbolic representation of both death and transformation.

7. Does Hannibal Lecter escape from custody?

Yes, in the sequel “Hannibal,” Dr. Lecter escapes from a high-security facility and goes on the run. However, he is recaptured at the end of the novel.

8. What is Buffalo Bill’s real name?

While not explicitly stated in the movie or book, the character of Buffalo Bill is often believed to be based on real-life serial killer Gary M. Heidnik.

9. Is “Silence of the Lambs” scary?

The movie is certainly tense and suspenseful, and there are scenes that may frighten some viewers. However, it is not a typical horror film and does not rely on jump scares or excessive gore to scare its audience.

10. What happens at the end of “Silence of the Lambs”?

We won’t give away any spoilers here, but suffice to say that the ending of “Silence of the Lambs” is both tense and satisfying.

In conclusion, “Silence of the Lambs” is a complex and intelligent work of psychological suspense that has remained a classic of the genre for over 30 years. The iconic characters of Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling, as well as memorable quotes like “A census taker once tried to test me…” have become pop culture touchstones. If you haven’t seen the movie or read the book, it’s definitely worth checking out.

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