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Red Dragon (2002)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Thriller  |  4 October 2002 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 195,230 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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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


Meet Hannibal Lecter For The First Time 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?


When asked to reprise his role of the film, Anthony Heald wasn't sure if he'd be able to. Tim Roth became a candidate for a younger Dr. Chilton and negotiations began. At the last second, Heald became available. Interestingly enough, Roth was also considered as a possible replacement for Anthony Hopkins in Hannibal (2001), had Hopkins declined. See more »


The Georgia state flag that appears in the movie was the current state flag of Georgia in 2002, but Georgia had a different flag in the 1980s - when the movie takes place. 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 »


References Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) See more »


(1843) (uncredited)
from "A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.61"
Written by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
Conducted by Lalo Schifrin
Concert music played during the opening scenes
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Not as good as "SILENCE...", but better than "HANNIBAL".
4 October 2002 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

Only having seen "Manhunter" once, years ago, and not remembering much about it, I won't attempt to compare that film to it's remake, "Red Dragon". I've also never read any of the Thomas Harris novels that they are based on, so I won't compare them to the books either. But I will compare it to the other, more recent films in the Hannibal Lecter series, "Silence of the Lambs" and "Hannibal".

I think most would agree that, "Silence..." is a classic. It's one of those movies where everything came together beautifully. The director, the actors, the story, etc. It's to serial killer, suspense films as "The Godfather" is to mafia movies. I feel the only other movie of it's type to have even come close after "Silence of the Lambs"' release was "Se7en" with Morgan Freeman & Brad Pitt. So, it was with a lot of disappointment that I left the theater after seeing the long awaited sequel to "SOTL", "Hannibal". Jodie Foster didn't return to play the part of Clarice Starling, Jonathon Demme didn't direct, and worst of all, Sir Anthony Hopkins' portrayal of Dr. Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lecter was almost cartoonish. On top of that, the film was just "ugly". It felt nastier and dirtier than it's predecessor. More concerned with gore and blood than telling a decent story.

Well, I'm happy to report that "Red Dragon" has put the series back on track. This time around, Hopkins plays Hannibal, more as we first remember seeing him in "SOTL". meaning more subtlety and slyness and less of the scenery chewing and over-acting that went on in "Hannibal". Edward Norton is just fine as FBI agent, Will Graham, who puts Lecter behind bars and then comes out of retirement to help solve the case of "The Tooth Fairy". Ralph Fiennes gives a very creepy and effective performance as Francis Dolarhyde, so good is he IMHO, that I expect him to get an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor next year. It helps that his character is more fleshed out, pardon the pun, than Ted Levine's serial killer in "SOTL".

The director, Brett Ratner, has done a fine job of ending, (hopefully), this series on a high note. I say, hopefully, because as much as I enjoyed "SOTL" and now, "Red Dragon", one more trip to this well, will probably produce nothing but mud.

The only thing that stands in the way of higher praise on my part, is that it's a sequel, er prequel, to a well loved and admired film. We've seen some of these characters and situations before. The meetings between Graham and Lecter are good, but they don't enthrall me the way they did between Starling and Lecter. All in all, a fine job on everyone's part. It may not be as groundbreaking as the original "SOTL", but it has helped to wash away the "bad taste", sorry, left behind by "Hannibal".

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