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From Silence of the Lambs to Philadelphia: the best of Jonathan Demme

Take a look at some of the best movies from Jonathan Demme's movie career.
Director Jonathan Demme arrives at his tribute during the 12th International Marrakech Film Festival in Marrakech Dec. 6, 2012. (Abderrahmane Mokhtari/Reuters)

Director Jonathan Demme died today, April 26, at the age of 73 from complications from esophageal cancer. The Oscar-winner made a number of critically acclaimed films, including Rachel Getting Married, The Manchurian Candidate and of course, The Silence of the Lambs, among many others. Here are five of his best.


The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

The most popular of all of Demme's films, The Silence of the Lambs was a psychological thriller pitting Anthony Hopkins' serial killer (Dr. Hannibal Lecter) against Jodie Foster's FBI Agent Clarice Sterling. It was also Demme's most critically acclaimed film, winning five Oscars, including awards for best picture, best director and best actor and actress for Hopkins and Foster, respectively. ​

Stop Making Sense (1984)

One of the best music films of all time, Stop Making Sense captures the oddball cool of David Byrne and the Talking Heads at their creative peak, featuring the band members gradually coming on stage after each song.


Something Wild (1986)

What starts out as an innocent fling between Lulu (Melanie Griffith) and Charles (Jeff Bridges) takes a more serious turn once the icy Ray Liotta shows up in a breakthrough performance.


Married to the Mob (1988)

Demme showed off his comedic chops in this film starring Michelle Pfieffer, Alec Baldwin, Matthew Modine and Mercedes Ruehl. Pfieffer plays Angela DeMarco, whose attempts to extricate herself from the criminal underworld — and the amorous attentions of a mob boss — ensure hijinks ensue.


Philadelphia (1993)

Tom Hanks won an Oscar for his role as a man suffering from AIDS who seeks the counsel of Denzel Washington's lawyer character after unjustly losing his job. Neil Young, with whom Demme would foster an ongoing relationship, contributed the film's closing song.

— Del Cowie, q digital staff

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