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."

Question: I can not figure out how in the world agent Starling makes the connection about where Buffalo Bill lives. I don't understand the connection she makes at the house where she finds the pictures and says "you covet what you see" It has driven me crazy for years and I need help. How does she figure it all out?

Answer: In Frederika's bedroom Clarice sees the dress being made and recognises that the pieces of material are the same shape as the pieces of skin missing from the victims' bodies. In the bank, where Clarice meets Frederika's friend, Stacy tells her the address of 'Mrs Lippman' whom Frederika used to work with. Presumably Buffalo Bill is related to, or is, Mrs. Lippman since that is where Clarice finds him.


He's not Mrs Lippman. He did, however, kill her. As Clarice chases him through the cellar, the woman's decomposing body is in a tub.

Answer: "You covet what you see": Agent Starling looks out the window of the girl's house to see who the neighbors are, who may have been watching the girl.

Question: What was that rotting corpse lying in the bath at Buffalo Bill's basement, minutes before the light is shut down? Who did it belong to and what has happened to it?

Answer: The body in the bathtub is Mrs. Lippman, the previous owner of Jame Gumb's home. Notice the long grey hair coming from the scalp. He would have wanted someone young, large, and whole.

Question: If Hannibal Lecter knew all along who Buffalo Bill really was, then why didn't he just come right out and say it?

Answer: Because that would be boring for the doctor. He gets the opportunity to play his twisted mind-games with agent Starling, and manipulate her into revealing her own secrets to him, so he draws the game out for as long as he can.


Answer: He tells Clarice he knows he'll never be let out of that cell while he's alive and that he wants to be relocated away from Dr. Chiltern. He's using his knowledge of Buffalo Bill to secure better living conditions for himself and/or get to a situation where it's possible for him to escape.

Answer: Sociopaths are egocentric and focus on getting what they want; they are not likely to provide information or be helpful to others unless there is some benefit to be derived. The information that Lecter had would be used as a means to an end, not for the purposes of assisting the authorities in capturing someone. Lecter reveals tidbits - the minimal amount deemed necessary at a particular time - and saves as much information as possible for future manipulations and/or self-satisfaction.


Question: How did Lecter know that there was something inserted into Fredrica Bimmels' throat? He had heard about Buffalo Bill in the papers but not much information about him.

Answer: Because he knew that the dead man in the storage unit had one in his throat. He guessed that Buffalo Bill was the former patient of his who had killed the dead man in the storage unit.


Answer: He didn't know until Clarice told him. After being told he asked "Was it a butterfly?'.

"Was it a butterfly?" means he did know. It's the kind of question that contains its own correct answer.

Sammo Premium member

Question: Where Lecter did find the flag to swathe the policeman's corpse?

Answer: It's not a flag - it's a red, white and blue banner which is high up on the walls of the room where Lecter is being held. You see it when Starling visits him and looks around the room.

Sierra1 Premium member

Question: In the climactic scene with Starling at the killer's house, the house is plunged into darkness. Did Jodie Foster actually act this scene in total darkness or is she just really good at pretending to be blind?

Answer: Jodie Foster has said they shot this with light, and that she had to pretend to act in darkness. You can tell because of the shadow cast by Buffalo Bill's gun - in actual darkness, it's impossible to cast a shadow.

Answer: It is not impossible to cast a shadow in light, darkness is infinite...this is proven by people who take night vision goggles deep into underground subway systems, their bodies cast shadows the goggles can see.

With night-vision goggles, you will only see shadows if there is enough local illumination (such as moonlight). In total darkness (and even outside where only starlight is present), there are no shadows. In an underground subway, the only way to see shadows with night-vision is if some lights are on.


Chosen answer: He did. At one point he says amusingly to Starling, "Anthrax Island, that was a nice touch, yours?" indicating he knew the deal wasn't real. That didn't matter to him since he was planning to escape, and the deal gave him an opportunity to do so.


Answer: The "nice touch" comment came only after Dr. Chilton revealed the fraud. But the part about escaping is very good.

Answer: The anthrax island, nice touch part seems like an in joke, like his anagrams but never worked out what it is?

Question: How do you know that Clarice meets Lecter on 23rd June?


Answer: Clarice, as a professional law enforcement officer tracking a serial killer, will make the date so she can get whatever information from Lecter she can get. She also knows from Dr. Lecter's criminal profile that he is a stickler at setting/honoring appointments, to the point he would kill and eat his tardy patients. Not that he would kill and eat her, but she also has established respect and rapport with him, so under those conditions she will make the date.


Chosen answer: In the book, yes, Starling knew that Senator Martin was not aware of the deal she and Crawford were offering Lecter. However she only inferred it because Crawford wanted her to be able to swear under oath she was not told this explicitly.

Sierra1 Premium member

Answer: In the movie, yes, she admits that the bio-research island was her idea.

Question: How did Hannibal Lector get that pen in his mouth when his whole body was under restraints?

Answer: When the curator of the insane asylum was in his cell, he had a pen and contract for him to sign. When he was called away, he forgot about it. Hannibal was restrained, when the curator left, the restrains were most likely taken off. That's when he grabbed the pen. He had only the metal clip in his mouth, which he used to pick the lock on his cuffs.

Question: After Clarice and Jack both find out that Jame Gumb is really Buffalo Bill, Jack tells Clarice that they want him for kidnapping, not murder. Shouldn't the F.B.I. want him for the murder of numerous women besides the kidnapping of Catherine Martin?

Answer: You're misunderstanding what Jack means. He means they want to arrest him before he kills the girl he's holding in the pit. Of course he'll eventually be charged with the other murders, but they don't want to tip him off and take the chance that he kills this girl.

Question: Has there ever been given an official answer as to whose body is in the bathtub in Buffalo Bill's house near the end? It's been a while since I have seen the film, but don't remember any mention of it.

Answer: I read it was the former owner of the house.

Answer: No, there's not been any official statement on the subject.

Tailkinker Premium member

Question: What was the girl in the well trying to do with the bone and the bucket?

Answer: She was trying to attract the dog with the bone, then pull it into the pit with the bucket (and she succeeded).

Brian Katcher

Answer: Clarice knew that he escaped before Hannibal called. There is a scene after he escapes with Clarice and her friend They found the ambulance in a parking garage at the airport. Crew was dead He killed a tourist, too. Got his clothes, cash By now he could be anywhere. - He won't come after me. Oh, really? - He won't. I can't explain it. He would consider that rude.

Answer: When Hannibal sits up in the ambulance and removes his skinned face, there is a quick cut to Clarice's roommate dropping the pay phone and running down the hallway. That's when she knows Hannibal has escaped.

Question: In the final sequence, Buffalo Bill turns off the lights. After agent Starling shots Buff Bill, the lights come back on immediately. How are they turned on?

Answer: She empties her revolver to kill Bill. As she does, she also shoots out of the window behind him. This is shown in the film.

Question: What is Hannibal doing on the fifth floor and what is he's shooting at when 3 shots were heard after he kills two guards and escape?


Answer: Hannibal swapped clothes with one of the guards (Pembry), cut his face off, then threw him down the elevator shaft and fired several shots. He was trying to make the arriving police believe that Pembry had shot and hit Lecter as he tried to escape. He then put Pembry's face over his own, posing as him and was placed in an ambulance. As per his plan, the police believed it was Lecter on the roof of the elevator, until they opened the roof hatch and saw the removed face. By then it was too late, and Lecter had killed the ambulance crew and escaped.

Sierra1 Premium member

Question: How do they get all the restraints on Lecter?

Answer: It's never shown, though multiple people were involved. His regular handler, Barney, usually oversaw this, as he was the only one Lecter could not outwit when it came to adding or removing his restraints. When Lecter was moved to a different location and had inexperienced guards watching over him, he was able to fool them and escape.

raywest Premium member

Answer: They would take as many precautions as possible and not let down their guard. There was a scene where the guard made Lecter sit on the floor with his back against the cell bars and then put both hands behind him through the cell bars - then the handcuffs were put on Lecter (only Lecter's hands and the handcuffs were outside of the cell). Something similar to this would enable the guards to go inside the cell and/or bring the restraints into the cell and have Lecter help the guards "dress" him while at least one other guard is aiming a gun at Lecter in case he makes a "wrong move."


Answer: Presumably they would have several staff members doing it to get it done quickly and efficiently. Given his past attack on the nurse, they would also likely have several guards present to intervene in case he did something, which would likely dissuade him from trying.


Answer: She's only "assigned" to the case after Jack Crawford sends her to interview Hannibal Lecter; she goes thinking it's just a training exercise, though he (Crawford) really wants to see if Lecter spills anything about Buffalo Bill. When Lecter does reveal "Miss Hester Mofet" to Clarice, she follows the lead and discovers it is linked to the Buffalo Bill case, so at this point it's only natural that she would continue to work on it. Plus, Crawford has seen her potential and is her mentor/champion, so he's happy to bring her onboard...though, of course, she starts off still as an apprentice rather than a field agent, and no-one has any idea how deep she will get with Lecter or that she will be the one who apprehends Bill herself.

Answer: Clarice is never assigned to the case, she is just working with Crawford as a trainee and under his supervision. Crawford wanted to obtain information from Lecter (he being a notorious serial killer) that might help capture the Buffalo Bill killer. Crawford knows from past experience that sending a seasoned FBI agent to interview Lecter will yield few results as Lecter is too brilliant a psychiatrist to be manipulated into helping. Crawford instead sends a trainee and chose Starling because she is young, attractive, unpretentious, and somewhat emotionally transparent and vulnerable. He gambles that Lecter will be disarmed and intrigued by someone different from the usual law enforcement type. Lecter is taken with Starling and they form a bond which prompts him to provide clues to Buffalo Bill's identity. Based on that, Crawford knows Clarice's relationship with Lecter will be a continued asset during the case.

raywest Premium member

Question: What was the connection between Frederick and Mrs Lippman?

Answer: Presumably you are referring to "Fredrica," who was one of Buffalo Bill's victims, and previously his girlfriend. Both Mrs. Lippman and Fredrica were seamstresses and knew each other from a sewing/fabric store they patronized.

raywest Premium member

Revealing mistake: When Clarice is at the archive, she sees two articles, one entitled "Baltimore Psychiatrist Receives Highest Honor" and "New horrors in 'Cannibal Trial'." The column beneath both titles to the right is exactly the same, and in the first article, that same column is repeated at the leftmost and rightmost columns and in the second, is repeated at the rightmost column. That same column is scattered on every article she sees. (00:21:35)

More mistakes in The Silence of the Lambs

Jack Crawford: Believe me, you do not want Hannibal Lecter inside your head.

More quotes from The Silence of the Lambs

Trivia: In the cage scene right before Hannibal kills and eats the guards, he tells them to roll up the drawings. When the guard is doing that, you can see a copy of Bon Appetit magazine on the table.

More trivia for The Silence of the Lambs

Join the mailing list

Separate from membership, this is to get updates about mistakes in recent releases. Addresses are not passed on to any third party, and are used solely for direct communication from this site. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Check out the mistake & trivia books, on Kindle and in paperback.