The Secret Joke in Silence of the Lambs that Everyone Missed

by Howie Decker @HowardTheDeck on January 29, 2015

in Movies

For almost 25 years now, we’ve been quoting some of Dr. Hannibal Lecter’s more memorable lines from Silence of the Lambs. One such line has found sustained repeatability even among many who have never seen the movie, (perhaps due to the fact that Dumb & Dumber parodied the line as well)¬†Dr. Lecter’s iconic¬†“I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.”

What we didn’t know is that there’s a lot more to that line than just the top shelf creep factor. Lecter is delivering a serious message in a playful way. Mr C Chapman on Reddit posted the following analysis of the famous movie quote (and no, this Mr C Chapman is not our Mr. C Chapman:

Great line from Silence of the Lambs everyone knows. But most people don’t realise Dr Hannibal Lecter is making a medical joke.

Lecter could be treated with drugs called monoamine oxidase inhibitors – MAOIs. As a psychiatrist, Lecter knows this.

The three things you can’t eat with MAOIs? Liver, beans, wine.

Lecter is a) cracking a joke for his own amusement, and b) saying he’s not taking his meds.

Crazy right? Incredible depth. If this was a throwaway line in the film it wouldn’t be that surprising that a deeper meaning could lay dormant for almost 25 years. But the fact that it is one of the most repeated lines of one of the most influential films of our generation, and that it could hold a secret this long is quite impressive. Props to Mr C Chapman! Now go take your meds.

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