The Silence of the Lambs - 4K UHD

Movie review from Christopher Symonds' original write-up of 2013's Blu-ray Steelbook release

A small little underdog of a movie: it’s hard to believe but that’s exactly what Silence of the Lambs was. It was a film nobody wanted to make. Gene Hackman, who had paid for half the rights, bowed out, claiming it was too violent; Michelle Pfeiffer rejected the soon to be Oscar-winning role for the same reason. It was a follow up of sorts to Thomas Harris’s book, Red Dragon, which had already been adapted cinematically (Manhunter), and, although critically adored, did little to ignite the box office. Nothing about this project sent forewarning that a classic was about to be made.

"a masterwork in tension, in horror, in good vs. evil"

Jonathan Demme’s first foray into the thriller is considered by most to be a mould-breaker: here we’re presented with a strong female protagonist’s role, traditionally tailored for a male. Archetypal, it is her journey to walk into the lion’s den and rescue the princess. Because she is a woman—a role so easily made to fit the victim, not the victor—her fish out of water presence in this oppressively dark and violent world does with ease what a male protagonist must almost overdo to make his journey compelling: make the threat to them palpable.

Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) is a headstrong, diligent cadet in training at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. She is summoned by her mentor, Crawford, to interview the captured serial killer Hannibal ‘the Cannibal’ Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), under the unwitting pretext of a general profiling questionnaire. What this leads to is a showdown with an active serial killer by the name of Buffalo Bill, a sadistic butcher of women. During the course of this investigation, Clarice must let the utterly insane Dr Lecter further and further inside her mind to save the next abductee from becoming Bill’s next victim.

This film’s every frame oozes tension and terror. It’s unrelenting in its exposure of the crimes these offenders commit, the worlds they inhabit and the banality they prey from, with its choice of locations, its framing, and its drab, understated treatment of the visuals. It grounds the film in a reality of sorts that allows for these larger than life monsters to terrify characters we can instantly relate to, and it does it in such a masterfully subtle way you are never conscious of it. You’re completely immersed in Starling’s plight, both to catch the killer and to prove herself in a man’s world with dignity.The Silence of the Lambs - 4K UHD

Silence of the Lambs took out the ‘big five’ at the Oscars the following year, but it is ultimately Anthony Hopkins' iconic turn as Hannibal that wins the day here. It is Foster’s movie, narratively speaking, and she holds her own in each and every scene, but SOTL’s tantalizing moments with Dr Lecter are just enough to enthrall and keep you wanting more. He is pitch-perfect in the role and one of the greatest immersions of actor to character that has ever been seen.

In fact, all the actors in this cast play their parts with convincing relish, from Scott Glenn’s clinical Crawford and Ted Levine’s terrifying Buffalo Bill to Anthony Heald’s deliciously sleazy Dr Chilton. As we watch Starling navigate her way through them to save the day, everyone is so damn good they hold your attention.

The writing, adapted from Harris’s novel by Ted Tally, is succinct but never simple; its subtext is complex and open to many interpretations, while never getting bogged down in the police procedural element of the story. Deceptively simple in plot, the film’s many turns creep up on you and never fail satisfy.

This is a masterwork in tension, in horror, in good vs. evil. It possesses one of the greatest roles ever written for a woman, and gave birth to one of the 20th Century’s most iconic and beloved movie villains in Hannibal. There have been several instalments since this one, but none match its class and accomplishment.

A must see movie before you die.

5/5 stars


The Silence of the Lambs - 4K UHD

Blu-ray Details

Home Video Distributor: Kino Lorber
Available on Blu-ray
- October 21, 2021
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: English SDH
nglish: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set
Region Encoding: Blu-ray locked to Region A; 4K UHD region-free

Kino Lorber celebrates the anniversary of Jonathan Demme's Silence of the Lambs with a 30th Anniversary 4K UHD + Blu-ray release that hits us right in the Christmas holiday feels. Merry Christmas to all you Buffalo Bill fans!

This release, which comes in a two-sided black eco-case with cardboard slipcover, features Criterion's 1.85:1 4K master from 2018 in addition to a new commentary from film critic and historian Tim Lucas which blesses both the blu-ray as well as the 4K disc.

Also included on the blu-ray disc are a number of legacy bonus features from previous releases including a couple of documentaries, some deleted scenes and outtakes, a behind-the-scenes featurette, trailer and TV spots, and more. If you watch none of the other features, be sure to check out the film with Lucas' commentary as he points out much of the film's success as well as how it relates to today's cultural environment.


I'm a little bit disappointed to report that there's really very little to rave about in this new 4K UHD HDR: Dolby Vision presentation. That's not to say the picture doesn't look spectacular. It does. It's just that this release doesn't represent much of an upgrade with regards to picture quality, resolution, and color depth. It was done perfectly back in 2018 and remains a shining example of the format and will be a worthy addition to the collections of the HD connoisseurs out there.


Included with the release are two audio tracks: a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track and a English DTS-HD Master audio 2.0 track. it appears that both tracks were included on the '09 and '18 releases. it is worth noting that the 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio track is the original stereo mix that accompanied the film during its theatrical run. Both are well handled with Howard Shore's score stepping to the forefront throughout with a dark undercurrent that truly haunts.



  • Feature commentary audio track from film critic and historian Tim Lucas

Special Features:

As mentioned earlier, This is a port of previously released bonus material with the exception of film critic and historian Tim Lucas providing a sometimes heavy-handed, yet always educational running commentary of all aspects of the film's legacy. Definitely the highlight of this 30th anniversary release but hardly a reason to upgrade.

  • Inside the Labyrinth: Making of The Silence of the Lambs (66:29)
  • The Silence of the Lambs: Page to Screen (41:18)
  • Understanding the Madness (19:36)
  • Scoring the Silence (16:00)
  • Original 1991 “Making of” Featurette (8:07)
  • Jonathan Demme & Jodie Foster: The Beginning (52:31)
  • Deleted Scenes (35:47)
  • Outtakes Reel (1:46)
  • Anthony Hopkins Phone Message (:35)
  • TV Spots (5:56 total)
  • Teaser Trailer (1:06)
  • Theatrical Trailer (1:52)
  • Hannibal Trailer

Blu-ray Rating

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 4/5 stars
  Extras 4/5 stars

Composite Blu-ray Grade

4/5 stars

Film Details

The Silence of the Lambs - 4K UHD

MPAA Rating: PG-13 on appeal for crude sexual content and language.
94 mins
: Chris Addison
Mark Frost, Daniel F. Bacaner
Stanley Shapiro; Paul Henning; Dale Launer; Jac Schaeffer
: Comedy | Crime
They're giving Dirty Rotten Men a run for their Money.
Memorable Movie Quote: "I had no idea how small time I was until I met you."
Theatrical Distributor:
Official Site:
Release Date:
May 10, 2019
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
August 20, 2019.
Synopsis: A psychopath nicknamed Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine, Heat) is murdering women across the Midwest. Believing it takes one to know one, the FBI sends trainee Clarice Starling (Foster, The Accused) to interview a demented prisoner who may provide clues to the killer’s actions. That prisoner is psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Hopkins, Nixon), a brilliant, diabolical cannibal who agrees to help Starling only if she’ll feed his morbid curiosity with details of her own complicated life. As their relationship develops, Starling is forced to confront not only her own hidden demons, but also an evil so powerful that she may not have the courage—or strength—to stop it!


The Silence of the Lambs - 4K UHD