The 1991 film The Silence of the Lambs, based on Thomas Harris's bestseller, was a game-changer in the fields of both horror and crime cinema. FBI trainee Clarice Starling was a new kind of heroine, vulnerable, intuitive, and in a deeply unhealthy relationship with her monstrous helper/opponent, the serial killer Hannibal Lecter.
Jonathan Demme's film skillfully appropriated the tropes of police procedural, gothic melodrama and contemporary horror and produced something entirely new. The resulting film was both critically acclaimed and massively popular, and went on to have an enormous influence on 1990s genre cinema. Crime and horror authority Barry Forshaw closely examines the factors that contributed to the film's impact, including the revelatory performances of Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins in the lead roles.