4.2 19
Director: Michael Mann

Cast: Michael Mann, William Petersen, Kim Greist, Joan Allen


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Red Dragon, the Thomas Harris novel that introduced serial killer Hannibal Lecter to the world, was adapted for the screen by Michael Mann as Manhunter. Ace criminal profiler Will Graham (William Petersen) is very good at his job because he has the ability to make himself think like the killers he tracks. Will has been in retirement since catching…  See more details below


Red Dragon, the Thomas Harris novel that introduced serial killer Hannibal Lecter to the world, was adapted for the screen by Michael Mann as Manhunter. Ace criminal profiler Will Graham (William Petersen) is very good at his job because he has the ability to make himself think like the killers he tracks. Will has been in retirement since catching Hannibal "the Cannibal" Lecter (Brian Cox), as being inside that particular deranged mind caused Will to have a breakdown. Will's boss Jack Crawford (Dennis Farina visits Will at his home, showing him pictures from a murder scene and asking for his help in catching a new killer they have dubbed "the Tooth Fairy" (Tom Noonan). In order to test his mental strength, Will visits Hannibal in his prison cell. Adding to the already substantial mental stress Will experiences when he returns to the job are nosy tabloid reporter Freddy Lounds (Stephen Lang), as well as Hannibal's attempts at seeking revenge through the Tooth Fairy. After two additional films that featured Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter (Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal) became box-office blockbusters, Manhunter was re-made as Red Dragon starring Hopkins and Edward Norton as Will Graham.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Chas Turner
Predating The Silence of the Lambs by five years, Michael Mann's madhouse of a serial killer flick is equal parts high-gloss visuals and offbeat, creepy acting. Three performances dominate the landscape: Brian Cox as the inimitable Hannibal Lecktor (as spelled in the credits), who adds a whiff more goony humor to the role than the later Anthony Hopkins interpretation; William Petersen as William Graham, the psychologically rich and morally corrupt FBI burnout; and Tom Noonan (What Happened Was...), who defines once and for all how to imbue a length of pantyhose with utter terror. Noonan's soft, boyish voice makes his Tooth Fairy character far more threatening than The Silence of the Lambs's Buffalo Bill. Manhunter is largely about how the investigation of a crime can turn from discovery to shocking empathy. Two versions of the film appear on the limited edition, two-DVD set: a pristine transfer of the theatrical release, running 121 minutes, and the 124-minute director's cut that has made the cable-network rounds. There are substantial differences in both films, particularly in soundtrack cues, and the way "Ina-gadda-da-vida" fits into the final confrontation scene. While not exactly a crowd-pleaser, Manhunter is more mournful and witty than The Silence of the Lambs and its latest successor, Hannibal.
All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
Manhunter is a visually assured psychological thriller. Michael Mann builds tension through color, framing, editing, and sound with such skill that his actors can underplay their emotions. This mix is unusual, but it works superbly. Although the characters in this film engage in extraordinary activities, the low-key performances make them seem like real human beings. Manhunter succeeds at making the viewer feel the consequences of chasing serial killers for a living. William Petersen wears a haunted look that elicits sympathy, as well as a touch of fear, in the audience. Like Christopher Walken in The Dead Zone, Petersen does a spectacular job of physicalizing the toll his mental condition is taking on him. We sense his tenuous grasp on mental stability thanks in part to Brian Cox's terrifying portrayal of Hannibal Lecter. The Lecter in Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal wishes for nothing more than comfort. His animosity is directed at those who inflict unpleasantness on him (or Clarice), characters always portrayed as unlikable people anyway. The Lecter of Manhunter has an enemy. Will has caught him, and Lecter hates him for it. Now the pure intelligent evil of Lecter is directed at someone the audience cares about, and we constantly fear for Will's safety because of it. Manhunter is an underrated film that deserves to stand alongside Seven and its younger sibling, Silence of the Lambs, as benchmarks of the serial killer genre.
New York Times - Elvis Mitchell
...The director most suited for Mr. Harris's work is Michael Mann, who handled his "Red Dragon," retitled "Manhunter" (1986). Mr. Mann showed a restraint that eludes "Silence" and "Hannibal." He never stated what Lecter did, which made the caged mastermind capable of anything. As portrayed by the powerfully talented Brian Cox, Lecter was brisk and businesslike -- even the dimple in his chin was fearsome -- and spoke as if his curiosity were engaged by a lower order.

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Product Details

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Mgm (Video & Dvd)
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[Wide Screen]
[DTS 5.1-Channel Surround Sound, Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
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Manhunter 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
At the height of the MIAMI VICE craze, Michael Mann released this 1986 thriller and everyone was probably wishing and hoping for a wide screen version of the MTV-cops. Instead, Mann presents a solid cerebral character study. William L. Petersen is a tortured FBI profiler and his pain is real. Dennis Farina as the lead FBI agent and the usual Mann players pace Mann's first rate adaptation of Thomas Harris' ''Red Dragon''. But Brian Cox as Dr. Hanibal Lecter steals the film in four unforgettable segments. You can bet Anthony Hopkins wore out his rewind button preping for ''Silence Of The Lambs.'' Get the 2 hour 20 minute Directors Cut if possible.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is a great movie, over looked at theaters when released, it's more spell binding than the rest of the Lektor fims. It's a must see.
Guest More than 1 year ago
''Manhunter'' is my all-time favorite movie; it's the one case I can think of where I felt the movie product actually surpassed the book in most respects. ''The Silence of the Lambs'' was a good book and movie, because the focus, although beginning to lean toward the omnipotent Lector, was still on the hunt for a killer using profiling methods. I saw ''Hannibal'' yesterday, just two days after its release. The magic was lost. Enough said about that. ''Manhunter'' is a movie that Michael Mann should be as proud of as Thomas Harris should be of the book, ''Red Dragon.''
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a classic psycho-thriller. It is intriguing and suspense filled. It completely overshadows Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal and it unquestionably a better film than both. Insight on FBI methodology and crime-fighting technology is the ''icing on the cake''. Watch it with the lights out and the sound up ... it will prove to be a very cerebral experience!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Having discovered Thomas Harris before any movies were made from his books, my husband and I had read THE RED DRAGON long before MANHUNTER was released. Being Michael Mann fans, we were not disappointed when we caught the movie. But I do have to admit, it is not as true to the book as SILENCE was. And Mann did a Miami Vice episode that borrowed heavily from this screenplay (with Don Johnson having to get inside the killer's mind - a killer who was also attracted to houses with a lot of glass and big yards). I have to agree that MANHUNTER is the best of the movies from the Harris ''Lector'' trilogy. Tense and edgy - it keeps you biting your nails all the way through. It made Tom Noonan a cult star, and we were really disappointed to find out Brian Cox wasn't going to reprise his role as Lector in SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. As far as my husband and I are concerned - Cox is the definitive Hannibal and William Petersen turned in a riveting portrayal of the FBI profiler. We had to laugh at up our sleeves at the neophytes who thought they had discovered something when SILENCE came out.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A film that takes a little too long to get trul interesting. I'm a big fan of The Silence, and I found this, and Hannibal, to be truly disappointing films. See this justto get an idea, but I definitely tend to see the new ''Red Dragon'' remake.--Joe.
Guest More than 1 year ago
''Manhunter'' is Michael Mann's version of Thomas Harris's ''Red Dragon.'' The movie was released in 1986 and was met with minimal success. It is the first movie to be based on the ''Lecter series,'' and is the first film to introduce Hannibal Lecter to the big screen, and not ''The Silence of the Lambs,'' as most people believe. Many people felt that the gritty subject of ''Silence'' was a new idea in film, while anyone who knows of ''Manhunter'' or Thomas Harris's works, knows otherwise. While ''Silence'' gives a much darker and gothic appearence, ''Manhunter'' is still a very chilling film in which a movie-goer with a true appreciation of film will not lose interest. It is full of suspense, dramatic tension, and truly remarkable performances from William Petersen, Brian Cox, and Tom Noonan. In my opinion, it is a better film than ''Silence'' and ''Hannibal'' in that it is more real and it is just as thrilling without having to give into such dark cinematography and scenes typical of some horror films. It may disappoint some due to the lack of Lecter as a strong character. However, the story involves Lecter as a link to catch a serial killer; he is not the story, which is what I am afraid will be the case in the upcoming movie ''Red Dragon''. I was dissappointed with ''Hannibal'' for the same reasons: it was just a play on the success of Hopkins's portrayal of Lecter (while the book did center on Lecter, it was more involved and done with better result). ''Manhunter'' is an interesting, thought-provoking film that is an absolute must see!
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Twas a tinkle of a film. Pure hodge-pogde to tickle the senses! Oh, happy days of yore! Super!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The reason I didn't give Manhunter 5 stars is Michael Mann's film version of the ending lacked the power of the original ending in Thomas Harris' novel. Plus the ''In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida'' song at the end seemed out of place with the mood of the film; too bizarre. Aside from that, this film has solid and believable performances all around, William Petersen's and Dennis Farina in particular. I don't understand exactly what Mr. Turner meant by his comment that the Will Graham character was ''morally corrupt''. But, if you like films of the suspense genre, give this one a try.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I liked this film alot even if it has an 80s feel to it. The ending to me was just fine. There realy wasnt much difference to it other than a women having power.
Guest More than 1 year ago
whoa baby is this a movie or what!Manhunter,the first movie of the Hannibal Lecktor series is first i only saw parts of it on tv,and the next day i went out and bought the restored directors cut.this movie is better then Silence, and all other movies that follow
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm not saying that the newer version of this story is bad, but I will watch this version 5 times to 1 over Red Dragon. Although the new version is more true to the novel, Manhunter is more enjoyable. William Peterson is, in my opinion, a much better Will Graham than Ed Norton. Norton's too goofy and naive, whereas Peterson has that quiet, brooding personality that fits the role. I loved the whole Miami Vice-like cinematography, thanks to Michael Mann of MV fame. I also think that Dollarhyde (Tom Noonan) is much more appropriate in this movie--much more intimidating and creepy than Fiennes. I also agree that Brian Cox is underrated as Lector--he does a great job, as does Hopkins.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is a choice that doesn't bode well for Mr. Mann, who is the most intelligent and meticulous of contemporary directors. The movie which I am reviewing is more for a director of a quicker and more based on pseudo sexual crime. Mann's type of directing is more for a gangland violence with sophisticated beaches and tactics and writing. The one thing of this movie that is lacking in the others is restraint with the characters and the inner depths of the psychopathy of the villains. Also, there is a realism to this film that adds to this unlike to the other collection.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My opinion, Manhunter is superior to Red Dragon. The script and the acting are more gritty. Petersen plays a better Will Graham.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
the dvd would not play... can't review it if i can't see it!