When Hollywood adapted Thomas Harris’s Hannibal Lecter series, the movies became overnight successes, spawning a golden age of psychological thrillers. Hannibal Lecter’s quotes are both disturbing and mesmerizing. Whether he’s played by Brian Cox (Manhunter, 1986), Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal TV series), or Anthony Hopkins, Hannibal Lecter remains the most quotable serial killer in the history of the silver screen.
Here are twenty Hannibal Lecter quotes that will keep you up at night.
- And if one does what God does enough times, one will become as God is. – Manhunter
- God’s terrific! He dropped a church roof on 34 of his worshippers in Texas last Wednesday night, just as they were groveling through a hymn to his majesty. Don’t you think that felt good? – Manhunter
- Have you ever seen blood in the moonlight, Will? It appears quite black. – Manhunter
- Save yourself, kill them all. – Manhunter
- A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti. – The Silence of the Lambs
- We begin by coveting what we see every day. Don’t you feel eyes moving over your body, Clarice? And don’t your eyes seek out the things you want? – The Silence of the Lambs
- Amputate a man’s leg and he can still feel it tickling. Tell me, mum, when your little girl is on the slab, where will it tickle you? – The Silence of the Lambs
- You know how quickly the boys found you… all those tedious sticky fumblings in the back seats of cars… while you could only dream of getting out… getting anywhere… getting all the way to the FBI. – The Silence of the Lambs
- You still wake up sometimes, don’t you? You wake up in the dark and hear the screaming of the lambs. – The Silence of the Lambs
- Quid pro quo. I tell you things, you tell me things. Not about this case, though. About yourself. Quid pro quo. Yes or no? – The Silence of the Lambs
- All good things to those who wait. I’ve waited, but how long can you and Jackie-boy wait? Our little Billy must already be looking for that next special someone. – The Silence of the Lambs
- Could he daily feel a stab of hunger for her and find nourishment in the very sight of her? I think so. But would she see through the bars of his plight and ache for him? – Hannibal
- Bowels in or bowels out? – Hannibal
- But now, alas, you’re in bad odour with the FBI. Do you imagine your daddy being shamed by your disgrace? Do you see him in his plain pine box crushed by your failure; a sorry, petty end of a promising career? What is worst about this humiliation, Clarice? Is it how your failure will reflect on your mommy and daddy? – Hannibal
- On a related note I must confess to you, I’m giving very serious thought . . . to eating your wife. – Hannibal
- Do you know what a roller pigeon is, Barney? They climb high and fast, then roll over and fall just as fast toward the earth. There are shallow rollers and deep rollers. You can’t breed two deep rollers, or their young will roll all the way down, hit, and die. Officer Starling is a deep roller, Barney. We should hope one of her parents was not. – Hannibal
- Remarkable boy. I do admire your courage. I think I’ll eat your heart. – Red Dragon
- Shh. Don’t move. You’re in shock now. I don’t want you to feel any pain. In a moment, you’ll begin to feel light-headed, then drowsy. Don’t resist, it’s so gentle, like slipping into a warm bath. I regret it came to this, Will, but every game must have its ending. – Red Dragon
- A robin red-breast in a cage, puts all of Heaven in a rage. Think to yourself that every day is your last. The hour to which you do not look forward will come as a welcome surprise. As for me, when you want a good laugh, you will find me in fine state . . . fat and sleek, a true hog of Epicurus’s herd. – Red Dragon
- First he kills the pet, and then the family. Freddy was your pet, Will. – Red Dragon
And that doesn’t even include quotes from the brilliant Hannibal TV series. I’ll include a list of those soon.
What are your favorite Hannibal Lecter quotes?