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Red Dragon (2002)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Thriller  |  4 October 2002 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 195,139 users   Metascore: 60/100
Reviews: 758 user | 208 critic | 36 from Metacritic.com

A retired FBI agent with psychological gifts is assigned to help track down "The Tooth Fairy", a mysterious serial killer; aiding him is imprisoned criminal genius Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lecter.



(novel), (screenplay)
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4 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tim Wheater ...
Dinner Guest
David Doty ...
Dinner Guest


FBI Agent Will Graham has been called out of early retirement to catch a serial killer, known by authorities as "The Tooth Fairy". He asks for the help of his arch-nemesis, Dr. Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lecter, so that he can be able to catch "The Tooth Fairy" and bring him to justice. The only problem is that "The Tooth Fairy" is getting inside information about Graham and his family from none other than Dr. Lecter. Written by MovieWes

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


How It All Began! See more »


Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, grisly images, language, some nudity and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:







Release Date:

4 October 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dragón rojo  »

Box Office


$78,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$36,540,945 (USA) (4 October 2002)


$6,317,081 (Japan) (14 March 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


During filming, Michael Jackson made a surprise visit to the set. He and director Brett Ratner have known each other since Ratner's music video career. See more »


When Dolarhyde cuts the bindings on the tabloid, he uses a bolster-lock stiletto with a bayonet style blade. In the next shot of the knife in his hand, when he is confronted by the newspaper seller, it's a swinguard lockback (no "picklock" or liner lock mechanism is visible at the bolster, making it a lockback) stiletto with a "standard" style blade. See more »


[first lines]
Hannibal Lecter: Think to yourself that every day is your last. The hour to which you do not look forward will come as a welcome surprise. As for me, when you want a good laugh, you will find me in fine state, fat and sleek, a true hog of Epicuru's herd.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Thanks to the men and women of the Federal Bureau of Investigation See more »


Oriental Blues
Written by Jack Newlon (as Richard Newlon)
Performed by Tony DeSimone
Courtesy of MCA Records
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Great prequel.
12 July 2006 | by (London, Ontario) – See all my reviews

Red Dragon takes place just before the events of The Silence of the Lambs. In this movie, a deranged serial killer is killing entire families every month on the night of the full moon. Jack Crawford of the FBI calls in retired agent Will Graham to help catch the killer. Graham left the FBI after being critically wounded while capturing the cannibalistic Hannibal Lecter. Now, Graham must interview Hannibal, to see if he can shed any knowledge on the case. Meanwhile, the killer struggles with himself when he begins to fall in love with a fellow employee. This movie is closer to Silence of the Lambs than Hannibal in quality and style, and therefore is more entertaining.

This movie is basically a reworking of the film Manhunter, except with Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal, so it connects better with the others. This movie sticks closer to the book than Manhunter did, which will please fans, except that it ads way more Hannibal Lecter interview scenes than were in the book, most likely to bank on Anthony Hopkins' name. The movie has the same suspenseful style as Silence of the Lambs, making up for the fact that Hannibal hardly had any suspense at all. The dialogue and overall fast paced style of the movie made it really worth watching, and if this movie had been released a year before Silence rather than a year after Hannibal, they would be great together. The characters are great and engaging. They seem more realistic than they were in Manhunter. I'm glad this movie managed to be far more successful than Manhunter, because I don't think I could deal with two bad Red Dragon adaptations.

The acting is superb. I was kind of annoyed with Anthony Hopkins in Hannibal, because he played the role way too differently than the way he played it in Silence. Now, in this movie, he gets back to basics. Edward Norton is great as Will Graham. The role of the Red Dragon/Francis Dolarhyde was made for Ralph Fiennes. He takes the role and makes it his own. Whenever I think Ralph Fiennes now, I think Red Dragon.

Overall, this is an awesome psychological thriller, and any fan of Silence of the Lambs should definitely see this movie.


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