The Top 5 Scenes in Silence of the Lambs


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

Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Silence of the Lambs

Silence of the Lambs is the ultimate love story and arguably the greatest serial killer film of all time. The film depicts the development of one of the most intimate film relationships between the killer (Dr. Hannibal Lecter) and his pursuer (Clarice Starling). And theirs is a twisted story of mutual admiration, intimacy, brutal honesty, and fear as well. Some might call it love.

10 years ago while shopping at Barnes and Noble, one of my best friends bet me 50 bucks that I couldn’t walk up to the cashier and say, “It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again.” I could give no explanation to the cashier as to why I would say this. Despite trying many times, I burst into laughter each time and never won that $50. With that bet, I decided that Silence of the Lambs is my most favorite films to quote of all time. Here are my top 5 scenes.

Scene #5

Hannibal Lecter: “Plum Island Animal Disease Research Center.” Sounds charming.

Clarice Starling: That’s only a part of the island. There’s a very, very nice beach. Terns nest there. There’s beautiful…

Hannibal Lecter: [cuts her off] Terns? Hmm. If I help you, Clarice, it will be “turns” with us too. Quid pro quo. I tell you things, you tell me things. Not about this case, though. About yourself. Quid pro quo. Yes or no?


Hannibal Lecter: Yes or no, Clarice? Poor little Catherine is waiting.

Clarice Starling: Go,

Scene #4

Hannibal Lecter: First principles, Clarice. Simplicity. Read Marcus Aurelius. Of each particular thing ask: what is it in itself? What is its nature? What does he do, this man you seek?

Clarice Starling: He kills women…

Hannibal Lecter: No. That is incidental. What is the first and principal thing he does? What needs does he serve by killing?

Clarice Starling: Anger, um, social acceptance, and, huh, sexual frustrations, sir…

Hannibal Lecter: No! He covets. That is his nature. And how do we begin to covet, Clarice? Do we seek out things to covet? Make an effort to answer now.

Clarice Starling: No. We just…

Hannibal Lecter: No. We begin by coveting what we see every day. Don’t you feel eyes moving over your body, Clarice? And don’t your eyes seek out the things you want?

Scene #3

Hannibal Lecter: A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.


Scene #2

Hannibal Lecter: Tell me, Senator: did you nurse Catherine yourself?

Senator Ruth Martin: What?

Hannibal Lecter: Did you breast-feed her?

Paul Krendler: Now wait a minute…

Senator Ruth Martin: Yes, I did.

Hannibal Lecter: Toughened your nipples, didn’t it?

Paul Krendler: You son of a bitch!

Hannibal Lecter: Amputate a man’s leg and he can still feel it tickling. Tell me, mum, when your little girl is on the slab, where will it tickle you?

Senator Ruth Martin: Take this… *thing* back to Baltimore!

Hannibal Lecter: Five foot ten, strongly built, about a hundred and eighty pounds; hair blonde, eyes pale blue. He’d be about thirty-five now. He said he lived in Philadelphia, but he may have lied. That’s all I can remember, mum, but if I think of any more, I will let you know. Oh, and Senator, just one more thing: love your suit!


Scene #1

Jame “Buffalo Bill” Gum: It rubs the lotion on its skin. It does this whenever it is told.

Catherine Martin: Mister… my family will pay cash. Whatever ransom you’re askin’ for, they pay it.

Jame “Buffalo Bill” Gum: It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again.

[to his dog, Precious]

Jame “Buffalo Bill” Gum: Yes, it will, Precious, won’t it? It will get the hose!

Catherine Martin: Okay… okay… okay. Mister, if you let me go, I won’t – I won’t press charges I promise. See, my mom is a real important woman… I guess you already know that.

Jame “Buffalo Bill” Gum: Now it places the lotion in the basket.

Catherine Martin: Please! Please I wanna go home! I wanna go home please!

Jame “Buffalo Bill” Gum: It places the lotion in the basket.

Catherine Martin: I wanna see my mommy! Please I wanna see my…

Jame “Buffalo Bill” Gum: Put the fucking lotion in the basket!

Happy Valentines’ Day!

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