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Manhunter (1986)

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Former FBI profiler Will Graham returns to service to pursue a deranged serial murderer named "the Tooth Fairy" by the media.



(based on the book "Red Dragon" by), (screenplay)
2,723 ( 142)
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
David Seaman ...
Benjamin Hendrickson ...
Jimmy Price (as Dan E. Butler)
Michele Shay ...
Robin Moseley ...


Will Graham is a former FBI agent who recently retired to Florida with his wife Molly and their young son. Graham was a 'profiler'; one who profiles criminal's behavior and tries to put his mind into the minds of criminals to examine their thoughts while visiting crime scenes. Will is called out of his self-imposed retirement at the request of his former boss Jack Crawford to help the FBI catch an elusive serial killer, known to the press as the 'Tooth Fairy', who randomly kills whole families in their houses during nights of the full moon and leaves bite marks on his victims. To try to search for clues to get into the mind of the killer, Will has occasional meetings with Dr. Hannibal Lecktor, a charismatic but very dangerous imprisoned serial killer that Will captured years earlier which nearly drove him insane from the horrific encounter that nearly cost Will's life. With some help and hindrance, Will races against the clock before the next full moon when the 'Tooth Fairy' will ... Written by matt-282

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


(reissue) Hannibal Lecter's legacy of evil begins here. See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

15 August 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Red Dragon  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)


$8,620,929 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (director's cut) | (video)

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Curiously enough, Michael Mann had initially considered fellow filmmaker William Friedkin for the part of Hannibal Lecktor, but when Brian Dennehy - also a prospective Hannibal - insisted that Mann see Scotsman Brian Cox in the acclaimed 1984 off-Broadway production of "Rat in the Skull," Mann was instantly won over by Cox's award-winning performance. Cox's scenes as Lecktor were shot over a three-day period. See more »


In the final raid on the house, the elastic bungee cord used to propel a policeman is clearly visible against the ground. See more »


[first lines]
Jack Crawford: We should have talked at the boatyard. You don't wanna talk about it here.
Will Graham: I'm not fallin' all over myself to talk about much anywhere, Jack.
See more »


Remade as Miami Vice: Shadow in the Dark (1986) See more »


Performed by Kitarô
Written by Kitarô
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Pretty Good!
21 April 2003 | by (Edmonton, Canada) – See all my reviews

I have a problem with a lot of people's review of "Manhunter". Every single bad review that criticizes Cox or Noonan invariably mentions the movie "Red Dragon" in the same breath. How about being a little objective?

On its own as the original Hannibal Lecter movie, Manhunter is a good movie. Cox plays Lecter convincingly, and you can read from other reviewers who praised his work shows that with a little objectivity we can see an alternative representation of Lecter. It is true, as one other reviewer says, Hopkins acts Lecter, Cox *IS* Lecter. Cox never seems to be acting, he really plays the part with mystery and ambiguity not like the distinctly maniacal Lecter that Hopkins portrays.

Cox plays a true psychopath - one devoid of feelings, and yet a consummate actor. Some of the world's best actors are in fact psychopaths. A psychopath is not necessarily a killer - a psychopath is simply someone who does not feel for other human beings, which is often why the psychopath killers of this world were in fact convincing actors - for example Geoffrey Dahmer and Charles Manson.

So when we analyze the profiles of true psychopathic serial killers, we can quite clearly see that Cox plays the better Lecter than Hopkins. We can see Cox is devoid of compassion, and yet acts like a normal person. Hopkins on the other hand, never passes the creepy stage - he is too creepy and doesn't have the "acting" ability of a true psychopath to mask that image from the public eye. Cox shows that he could blend into normality without being caught.

And therein lies the problem with the negative reviews. We read countless negative reviews of this movie bemoaning the fact that Cox is not as creepy as Hopkins - but my dears, that is exactly why Cox plays the better Lecter!

208 of 279 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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