Director: Jonathan Demme
Stars: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Ted Levine, Scott Glenn, Anthony Heald, Brooke Smith, Diane Baker, Kasi Lemmons, Frankie Faison, Charles Napier

A horror movie winning the Academy Award for Best Picture? That seems like an impossibility, yet The Silence of the Lambs managed to sweep all five of the main Oscar categories (including Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay) back when it was first released. An anomaly? Sure, but it was also a matter of undeniable quality—The Silence of the Lambs is a gruesome, no-punches-pulled masterpiece of suspense.

Playing the now-iconic serial killer Hannibal Lecter, Anthony Hopkins took a character from author Thomas Harris' novel of the same name (released in 1988) and turned him into the world's most charismatic flesh-eater. With intelligent discourse and a velvety smooth pitch, Lecter is the most dangerous kind of villain: A brilliant charmer who's also a skin-wearing baddie. —MB