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Manhunter (1986)



Average Rating: 7.6/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 0

No consensus yet.



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Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 51,746

My Rating

Movie Info

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


Mystery & Suspense, Action & Adventure

Michael Mann

Jan 30, 2001

Anchor Bay Entertainment

Watch It Now



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All Critics (34) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (31) | Rotten (2) | DVD (41)

Manhunter ushered in the age of empathy for the devil.

February 7, 2007 Full Review Source: Slate
Top Critic IconTop Critic

I'm intrigued by that stylistic envelope: simultaneously hypnotic and enervating, meditative and empty.

February 7, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
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One of the most impressive American thrillers of the late '80s.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The movie drives along with such intensity for much of the time that you can just let it work on your senses without worrying about whether it makes sense.

August 30, 2004 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An unpleasantly gripping thriller that rubs one's nose in a sick criminal mentality for two hours.

February 13, 2001 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Cox's Hannibal is a masterclass in moderation.

October 4, 2011 Full Review Source: Eye for Film
Eye for Film

At the very worst an intriguing misfire, and often much better than that.

June 11, 2009 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy | Comment (1)
Antagony & Ecstasy

Eminently worthy and stylish.

July 23, 2007 Full Review Source:

While Manhunter is absorbing and sometimes tense, it's unfortunate that Mann dedided to direct the film with the stylistic overkill of his Miami Vice.

October 9, 2005

gripping and creepy

April 5, 2005
Shadows on the Wall

Unlike Hannibal, [Mann is] able to balance style and substance with a late-night hearse pace.

August 9, 2004 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

A grim, stylish thriller.

July 30, 2003 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

One of the worst movies ever made. How do people think this is effective? It's so schmaltzy and sloppy and careless. No tension, no terror, and Hannibal does not put his feet up!

July 25, 2003 | Comments (22)

I was always expecting Don Johnson to pop up...

May 25, 2003

A slick and glossy thriller that still stands out.

May 2, 2003 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Its Miami Vice sheen hides one of the most effective thrillers in recent memory; a dramatically different counterpunch to the better-known Silence of the Lambs.

March 18, 2003
Flipside Movie Emporium

Michael Mann is in top form here helming this bone-chilling thriller based on the novel by Thomas Harris.

March 10, 2003 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

[An] engaging, thought-provoking and entertaining film that deserved its cult status.

February 10, 2003 Full Review

Hold out for Red Dragon.

December 29, 2002 | Comments (5)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Lean serial-killer thriller makes The Silence of the Lambs look sheepish.

November 7, 2002 Full Review Source: Netflix

You can see the birth of such popular forensics shows as CSI in this film's blend of the police procedural and the horror film.

February 28, 2002 Full Review Source: Goatdog's Movies
Goatdog's Movies

Audience Reviews for Manhunter

Granted the ensemble, award-winning cast of 'Red Dragon' squarely surpasses the B-list actors of this film and the neon-green font credits insinuate a hip vibe (although the blue filters would certainly substantiate that misconception), but 'Manhunter' is a supremely haunting adaptation of Thomas Harris first Hannibal Lecter novel. The discrepancies between 'Manhunter' and 'Red Dragon' are paramount at the beginning with the recruitment interaction between Crawford and Graham on the beach. In 'Red Dragon', the heinous crimes and retirement status of Graham are explicitly detailed whereas 'Manhunter' is more elliptical in the dialogue and more moody in the bleak tone ala a David Mamet screenplay. Before he reigned in 'CSI', Petersen starred in two of the most pulse-pounding movies of the 80's, 'Manhunter' and 'To Live and Die in L.A.'. Petersen is the tenacious moral compass who must venture into the brooding recesses of his psyche to entrap his prey. For example, he bellows at the Leeds' home videos as if he was Dolarhyde's accomplice. The verbal byplay between Graham and Lecter is almost verbatim, but 'Manhunter' really exploits the sociopathic symbiosis further such as when Graham races out of the prison hyperventilating when Lecter exhorts that "they are very much alike". Michael Mann bathes the terrifically meditative 'Mahunter' in lustrous, nocturnal fluorescence and he burrows deep within the vicarious, pathological rush of investigators who must tap into their demons for civic duty.
October 18, 2013
Cory Taylor

Super Reviewer

For anyone who has watched a crime-related television show, the premise hesitates in its level of familiarity. Will Graham (William Petersen) is an FBI specialist looking for a vile killer nicknamed the "Tooth Fairy". He is only known by this name, and he has a few relations with the incarcerated psychiatrist Hannibal Lecktor*** (Brian Cox), whom Graham uses as a medium to track down his suspect. The film, remade more recently and a bit less memorably, goes into a surprising amount of depth. No sequel had been written to Thomas Harris's source novel (Red Dragon) at the time of the film's release, but even so, the likelihood of director Michael Mann desiring a follow up work is quite dubious. Whereas the doctor's back story was spread out nicely throughout the latter works, we get a well-paced CliffsNotes copy from the less than two hours of Manhunter. The lack of extraneous details in both dialogue and plot make the character development excel. How insulted Peter Webber and Gaspard Ulliel would feel if they knew the megastupid narrative in Hannibal Rising had been boiled down to a single conversation scene (not a flashback) from over twenty years earlier.

Manhunter is 100% a B-movie with a partially A-list cast. The effect of the fairly low budget is hit and miss, but unfortunately more of the latter is noticeable. The opening sequences unfold just as John Carpenter's Halloween did in 1978, and with the same amount of success: spookiness created by hinting at most violence, filming through a handheld camera, etc. As the movie progresses, however, a more cheap, uninspired atmosphere gradually develops. Upbeat synthesizer music doesn't make much sense in a horror movie. The performances, though not as nonplussing, are delivered with very little care. This is the singular area in which Manhunter is outdone by its remake, but it doesn't make the former any less worthwhile.

read the rest at
September 20, 2012

Super Reviewer

Finally I get round to seeing Manhunter and thankfully all the good stuff I've heard is true. Manhunter represents the best of Michael Mann, the best of the 80's (blue tints and synth soundtrack) and one of the last great thrillers before modern technology made writers lazy because even 12 year old kids can hack into government sites and shoot nuclear missiles using their mobile phones and stuff it seems these days. It is intense, captivating and 'thrilling', Tom Noonan's Francis Dollarhyde is just as scary as Buffalo Bill (and is better than Ralph Fiennes) and with only one outing as Hannibal Lecktor compared to Anthony Hopkins three, Brian Cox's version is just as menacing. Makes you wonder what he would have done with it had he aappearedin the following films.
September 5, 2012

Super Reviewer

William Petersen carries the film with a brave and ambivalent portrayal of a disturbed detective obsessed with the psychopath he must catch . Mann's atmospheric storytelling helps to feel the heat, anguish and horror in the minds of the duellists. The sinister Tom Noonan is the counterpart of the deadly game,
April 15, 2012

Super Reviewer

    1. Will Graham: You've been watching these films. Haven't man.
    – Submitted by David M (45 days ago)
    1. Francis Dollarhyde: You owe me awe!
    – Submitted by Robyn N (2 years ago)
    1. Will Graham: I know I'm not smarter than you.
    2. Dr. Hannibal Lecktor: Then how did you catch me?
    3. Will Graham: You had disadvatages.
    4. Dr. Hannibal Lecktor: What disadvantages?
    5. Will Graham: You're insane.
    – Submitted by Dark Lord D (2 years ago)
View all quotes (3)

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Foreign Titles

  • Blutmond (DE)
  • Le Sixième Sens (Manhunter) (FR)
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