The Silence of the Lambs Movie Poster

Goofs from The Silence of the Lambs

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  • When the cop holding the flowers is at the front door of the house in Illinois, shadows change direction on the doorframe between shots.
  • The plane carrying agents to Calumet City banks over mountainous terrain that looks like nothing near northern Indiana or northern Illinois.
  • The biologist identifies the moth found behind the murder victim's soft palate as Acherontia styx, the Deaths Head moth. The Deaths Head moth used in the poster is actually Acherontia atropos. (A third Deaths Head moth is called Acherontia lachesis.) While A. styx is native to Asia, as identified by the biologist, A. atropos is native to the Middle East and Mediterranean.
  • As Forensics comes to take photos of the victim's body, the "corpse" visibly blinks as hands touch its face.
  • As Clarice is looking through the microfilm, the pen in her mouth switches places several times.
  • West Virginia State Police uniforms have been forest green since the early 1900s. Their vehicles are blue with Old Gold and the State Seal on the door. The director asked the WV Department of Public Safety to use some State Police in the movie, but he didn't like the colors of their uniforms. When he asked them to change into the Brown uniforms, they refused and left the set.
  • When the FBI team is preparing to deliver the flowers, the ribbon is on both the upper and lower sections of the box. In the next shot, the ribbon appears only on the upper section of the box.
  • When Clarice is interviewing Lecter, a padlock on his cell door goes from locked to unlocked between scenes.
  • When Sgt. Pembry is preparing to handcuff Dr. Lecter to the bars of his cell while bringing in his requested second supper, he has Lecter sit with his back to the bars and his arms thrust behind him in order secure the shackles. It's obvious that Dr. Lecter has been waiting for a fair amount of time between his first meal and his second serving because his drawings and magazines are spread over the entire desktop surface. A closeup of the Lecter's arms shows red, discolored wrists.
  • Nearly all the vehicles in the film have inspection stickers in the windshield indicating registration in Pittsburgh, PA, where none of the action takes place.
  • U.S. Customs has a record of Buffalo Bill bringing the moths, found only in Asia, from Suriname, in South America. He may have used a re-shipper to disguise the shipment's origins.
  • Jack Crawford's collar pops in and out of his vest during a conversation with Clarice Starling.
  • When Clarice is researching Lecter in Quantico by reading old newspaper articles on microfilm, the same text regarding developments at some vague governmental conference appears over and over again surrounding the Lecter articles in all four separate newspapers she views.
  • When Clarice is talking to Buffalo Bill in his back room, a moth is filmed landing on a cotton reel. After the moth has settled, a thread is visible attached to it. Presumably the shot was filmed in reverse, and the moth was yanked off the reel.
  • During the autopsy scene, they remove the bug cocoon from the victim and insert it into a small jar with the bug antenna pointing to the bottom of the jar. The next next shot shows Clarice pouring fluid into the jar with the antenna pointing up.
  • When Catherine Martin drives into the parking area, the killer looks right into the headlights of her car while wearing night-vision goggles, but he isn't blinded. Goggles of that time might have been permanently damaged. Newer goggles have automatic protection mechanisms.
  • During Clarice's first visit to see Hannibal, she wore a skirt with belt on the waist when she was in Dr. Chilton's office and before entering the final corridor leading to Hannibal's cell. The belt was gone when she entered the corridor. She probably had to remove her belt before entering the maximum-security area, particularly if it had a metal buckle.
  • Lecter correctly refers to the moth pupa as a "chrysalis". Many moths, including the one in the film, pupate inside a chrysalis. "Cocoon" refers to a type of silky case spun by many types of insects, not just moths.
  • An Acherontia styx pupa is found behind the soft palate of Bill's 6th victim, The actual species depicted is Acherontia atropos.
  • Clarice says she double-majored in criminology and psychology at the University of Virginia. UVA has never offered a criminology major.
  • The autopsy scene contains at least eight errors. Among them, the body was fingerprinted without collecting evidence under the victim's fingernails, and the ink would have destroyed the evidence. You cannot get fingerprints from a body in that condition.
  • Sergeant Tate tells an officer to call in the SWAT team. Memphis has no SWAT team, but it has a TACT team.
  • Jack Crawford says Clarice graduated magna cum laude from UVA, but UVA does not award that distinction to psychology majors.
  • When Hannibal is imprisoned in Memphis, the sign outside the Shelby County courthouse is shown, in dim light, to be a museum.
  • When Clarice opens the music box, it plays and winds down. As it winds down, the musical pitch lowers. The music should slow down, but the pitch should stay the same.
  • The military aircraft heading toward Calument City has California Air Guard on the side, which is not likely for planes coming from Virginia.
  • Clarice runs a course on a Marine Corps Base in Quantico, VA, which is also home to the FBI Academy. The Endurance Course is about five miles long throughout the Quantico highlands, in the Marine part, not the FBI part. At the cargo net obstacle, she was nearly at the end of the course, about 2 to 3 miles from the FBI Academy. A road is to the left on the screen, and nothing but miles of woods is on her right, when the FBI agent comes out and says that Crawford wants to speak to her. It would've been faster and more logical for her to finish the course, not run 3 to 4 miles back through the woods to the FBI academy.
  • When Clarice visits the entomologists to identify the moth pupa, they say while examining the chrysalis that it must've been specially raised from imported eggs and fed "honey and nightshade". Deaths Head moth larvae, like most caterpillars, eat only vegetation; the adult moths eat honey.
  • A black string is attached to the back of the moth that lands on the red roll of string at Buffalo Bill's house. It's clearly visible in high definition.
  • When Clarice crawls under the door at the self-storage shed, the camera pans along the large unlighted interior. Although self storage units typically do not have windows, sunlight pours through windows on the far wall.
  • When Starling tries to get into the self-storage facility, the gloves disappear from her lap.
  • The film refers to "iron sulfide, also known as 'fool's gold'." Iron sulfide, more specifically, iron (II) sulfide or FeS, is an unstable chemical compound that's usually brown or black. The fool's gold they refer to is commonly known as pyrite, and its proper name is iron (II) disulfide (FeS2). Even if Agent Starling and Dr. Lecter knew enough about chemistry to know the chemical composition of fool's gold, she would have known it as either pyrite or iron disulfide.
  • During Lector's escape, the "swat" team arrives and jumps out of the police car at the courthouse with their Ithica 37 shotguns. All of them are shown chambering their rounds except the the officer on the right, who pulls back again on the fore stock and asks "ready?" That should've ejected a shell and left the gun unloaded.
  • Crawford tells Clarice that Miggs died by swallowing his tongue after Hannibal said something that made him cry. Literally swallowing one's tongue is impossible. However, an unconscious person's tongue may sag backwards and block their airway, leading to suffocation. This is what is usually referred to by the phrase. It is not a voluntary act.
  • When Clarice is shown in Belvedere, Ohio, she is on a bridge. Belvedere is not on a river, but Cross Creek runs through the town.
  • Jodie Foster has blue eyes. When she is at the funeral home she has a flashback and sees her father in the casket. Clarice as a little girl is supposed to be going to see her father in the casket. The little girl's eyes are Hazel, not blue. Adult Clarice could wear colored contacts.
  • In the closing credits, thanks is given to The "Behavorial" Science Unit. The correct spelling is behavioral.
  • The same newspaper clipping from the National Inquisitor with the headline "Bill Skins Fifth" appears on the wall of Jack Crawford's office at the beginning of the film, and on the wall of Buffalo Bill's trophy room at the end. The text of the article is actually not about Buffalo Bill at all: it is the story of how Hannibal Lecter was arrested for a "brutal murder" in which "reportedly acts of cannibalism were a factor in the death". The victim, named as Stuart Heart, is inconsistently described as a museum curator, as an entymologist, and as the creator of a liver disease drug. The story includes a quote from "Special Agent Jack Crawford". The story's text can be seen in its proper place during Clarice's research on the microfiche, in the Washington Dispatch story headlined "Renowned Psychiatrist Charged in Murder".
  • During the discussion Clarice has with Hannibal in the cage, she says "Now, please listen to me. We've only got five..." and Hannibal is supposed to interrupt her but it there is a brief pause before Hannibal speaks. It is clear that she stopped talking without being interrupted.
  • After Dr. Lector unlocks his handcuffs and puts them on Lt. Boyle, he then bites Sgt. Pembry just to the right of Sgt. Pembry's nose, leaving a noticeable wound. Later when Dr. Lector is in the ambulance wearing Sgt. Pembry's face, the wound is not there.
  • When agent Starling has her first interview with Hannibal Lector she is wearing colored nail polish. A shot of her hands after she runs out of the prison shows she is no longer wearing the nail polish.
  • In the novel "Hannibal", it is said that Clarice is 32, if that holds true for the movie that means that Clarice would have been 22 in "Silence of the Lambs", as this movie takes place 10 years before the "Hannibal" movie. Clarice would have been a year too young to apply for the FBI, as you must be 23 to apply.
  • During Lector's escape, a SWAT team officer climbs on the step ladder and prepares to open the elevator roof. He points his pistol at the trap door. The pistol is a Browning Hi-Power, which is a single action pistol, meaning that the hammer must be cocked for the pistol to fire. The hammer is not cocked in the scene.
  • The FBI is unable to find a pattern in the killings because the first victim was the third corpse they found, and it is not until Clarice goes over Lecter's notes that she realizes that Buffalo Bill must have known his first victim, something the FBI apparently never thought of. However, the FBI generally assume that serial killers start by killing people they know.
  • When Agent Terry uses tweezers to remove the bug larva from the West Virginia murder victim's throat, part of the larva is briefly visible protruding from her mouth before he puts the tweezers much deeper in her mouth to retrieve it.
  • Both Dr Chilton and Paul Krendler from Justice are shown speaking to the media about knowing the identity of Buffalo Bill and needing to apprehend him, while Catherine is still missing. This would be a huge mistake since if Buffalo Bill was watching the news, he would know they were close to apprehending him and more than likely kill Catherine and disappear.
  • When Clarice is chasing Bill through the house, the girl in the hole screams "I'm down here!". The girl would not know someone else was in the house since Clarice never announced herself until after she heard the girl screaming.
  • In their first encounter at the Asylum, Lecter makes his "fava beans--Chianti" crack, then slides the connecting tray back to Clarice with Crawford's questionnaire in it, rejected. But Clarice rises from her chair with her bag and starts to exit--without retrieving the questionnaire first.
  • When Buffalo Bill torments Catherine with the lotion, he consistently refers to her as "it," as is his usual practice. However, after threatening, "It puts the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again," he turns to address his dog, he says, "Yes, she will, Precious!"
  • When Jack Crawford is speaking to Clarice Starling from the C-130 traveling from Virginia to Illinois, the airplane banks to the left and "California Air Guard" is clearly on the side of the plane. It is highly unlikely that a plane from California would ferry anyone from Virginia to Illinois.
  • During the end credits, if you carefully track Hannibal as he walks up the busy street, just as the credit for "Roden" is about to scroll past him his hat blows off and a someone helps him pick it up. Only really visible on HD versions.
  • The famous line "I ate his liver with some fava beans and I nice chianti" is actually a mistake, since chianti wine does not pair well with liver, and a gourmet like Dr. Lecter should be well aware of that. In the book, the character says he drank Amarone wine instead. The change was made by filmmakers out of concern audiences would not understand it.

Spoilers

  • In the final phone call, as Lecter says "I have no plans to call on you, Clarice. The world's more interesting with you in it", his facial movements don't match the spoken words.
  • As Hannibal escapes, he kicks the cell door onto the guard, causing the door to be in between Hannibal and the guard. Yet in the very next shot, the guard is right in front of Hannibal so he can bite him.
  • Gumb's basement, while larger than the "red herring" house in Illinois, is proportional to his house in Ohio.
  • The red herring house is supposed to be in Calumet City, Illinois, but mountains are in the background. The closest mountain to Calumet City are the Appalachians, roughly 400 miles to the east.
  • At the end of the film, when Hannibal tells Clarice about having "an old friend for dinner", a camera crew can is reflected in Hannibal's sunglasses.
  • In the cut to the scene outside the Memphis Police headquarters, after Lecter has escaped, an ambulance with Hamilton County tags roars across the screen and stops. Memphis is in Shelby County, 400 miles west of Hamilton County.
  • When Buffalo Bill cocks his gun, the shadow of Bill's hand holding the gun is clearly visible on Clarice's back as he raises it to shoot her. Although it might be thought that there are no shadows in pitch blackness, Buffalo Bill is using night vision goggles, not thermal imaging. Either his device amplifies what little light there is, or it is shining infrared (invisible) light on the scene and converts the image to a visible light equivalent. In either case, shadows are possible because the image is produced by reflected light. This can be seen because Clarice is clearly recognizable, which she would not be with the thermal imaging that does not have shadows.
  • The body Clarice discovers in the basement, presumably Mrs. Lippman, is lit almost entirely by sunlight. Moments later, Buffalo Bill kills the power and whole room turns pitch black.
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