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critics consensus

Michael Mann introduces audiences to Hannibal Lecter for the first time in Manhunter, a modish thriller that fleshes out Thomas Harris' heinous creations with an elegant, chilling detachment. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

FBI criminal profiler Will Graham (William L. Petersen) is called out of early retirement to assist on a serial murder case involving a killer known as the "Tooth Fairy" (Tom Noonan). Graham enlists the help of imprisoned serial killer -- and cannibal -- Dr. Hannibal Lecktor (Brian Cox), who is the reason Graham took an early retirement. Soon, Graham and the FBI are entangled in a deadly cat-and-mouse game between the Tooth Fairy, Lecktor and an interfering journalist (Stephen Lang).

Cast & Crew

William L. Petersen
FBI Agent Will Graham (as William Petersen)
Kim Greist
Molly Graham
Dennis Farina
FBI Section Chief Jack Crawford
Joan Allen
Reba McClane
Brian Cox
Dr. Hannibal Lecktor
Stephen Lang
Freddy Lounds
Tom Noonan
Francis Dollarhyde
Bernard Williams
Executive Producer
Michel Rubini
Original Music
Klaus Schulze
Original Music
Dave Allen
Original Music
Barry Andrews
Original Music
Dante Spinotti
Cinematographer
Dov Hoenig
Film Editor
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News & Interviews for Manhunter

Critic Reviews for Manhunter

All Critics (41) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (38) | Rotten (3)

Audience Reviews for Manhunter

  • Nov 08, 2017
    Working better as an interesting procedural in the way it leads us through a criminal investigation, this film is however less efficient as a character study about a psychopath (or psychopaths if you include Lecktor), as it doesn't offer that much insight into their perverse minds.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Aug 29, 2015
    Manhunter doesn't hold up as well as I remember it doing so when I was young. Even then I remember thinking "Why'd they cut out all the best parts from the book?" But now it's even more obvious. And as much as I love an eighties soundtrack, I can't help but pick p on the missed opportunities in my maturing. I get the appeal, but it's not so golden as the times may have told you it is.
    Gimly M Super Reviewer
  • Oct 18, 2013
    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.
    Cory T Super Reviewer
  • Mar 11, 2013
    It's a clear product of the 1980s, especially when considering the music and corny final image, and it doesn't surpass its sort-of-sequel The Silence of the Lambs, but Manhunter is an exciting and stylish thriller that is a very good movie in its own right and boasts creepy performances from Brian Cox and Tom Noonan as Hannibal Lector and a deranged serial killer dubbed "The Tooth Fairy", respectively.
    Joey S Super Reviewer

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