If you like going into the minds of people who commit bizarre crimes, you need to check out The Silence of the Lambs (1991) —it’s the crown jewel of psychopath movies. The film introduces us to one of the most complex, memorable characters in cinema, Hannibal “the Cannibal” Lecter, played by Anthony Hopkins in a career-defining performance. Lecter is captivating because while he’s obviously monstrous, he’s also the most perceptive and insightful character in the film. And his rapport with Jodie Foster’s character, young FBI trainee Clarice Starling, is truly fascinating to watch. The best scenes in the movie are the conversations between these two as they suss each other out and form a strange connection.
Ultimately The Silence of the Lambs is so chilling because of its realism. It’s a horror movie that scares us but also makes some profound psychological observations. All this may explain why it’s one of just three films ever to win the Big Five at the Academy Awards—Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay. So if you’re in the mood for a psychopath movie that also happens to be critically acclaimed, this is it. The movie is now out on Criterion Collection—you can buy The Silence of the Lambs on Criterion here. And look out for our Silence of the Lambs video essay coming soon.