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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.


Michael Mann


Thomas Harris (based on the book "Red Dragon" by), Michael Mann (screenplay by)
1,874 ( 323)
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
William Petersen ... Will Graham
Kim Greist ... Molly Graham
Joan Allen ... Reba McClane
Brian Cox ... Dr. Hannibal Lecktor
Dennis Farina ... Jack Crawford
Tom Noonan ... Francis Dollarhyde
Stephen Lang ... Freddy Lounds
David Seaman David Seaman ... Kevin Graham
Benjamin Hendrickson ... Dr. Frederick Chilton
Michael Talbott ... Geehan
Dan Butler ... Jimmy Price (as Dan E. Butler)
Michele Shay Michele Shay ... Beverly Katz
Robin Moseley Robin Moseley ... Sarah
Paul Perri ... Dr. Sidney Bloom
Patricia Charbonneau ... Mrs. Sherman


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


Will Graham Has The Mind Of A Psychopath - Thank God He's On The Right Side Of The Law See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

15 August 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Red Dragon: The Curse of Hannibal Lecter See more »

Filming Locations:

Atlanta, Georgia, USA See more »


Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,204,400, 17 August 1986, Wide Release

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (director's cut) | (video)

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Dolby (35 mm prints)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


When Tom Noonan brings blind Reba to "see" (feel with her hands) the sedated tiger, that is also reference to William Blake, i.e. to his poem "The Tyger" (Tiger, tiger, burning bright; In the forests of the night). See more »


FBI man Will Graham attempts (sucessfully) to play a 3/4-inch video tape in a VHS machine. 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 »

Alternate Versions

Also, the British theatrical, home video/DVD and TV versions, are different to the Theatrical Edition that Anchor Bay has released. Whilst the British versions run at approximately 111 minutes, and are uncut, one scene is missing, that have appeared in the Anchor Bay "Theatrical Edition". It is Chapter 15 (52m 22s to 54m 49s), Will and wife Molly, discuss their love for one another, the case, and their past. See more »


Performed by Shriekback
Written by David Allen, Martyn Barker, Barry Andrews and Carl Marsh
Published by POINT MUSIC, LTD.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Above Average Thriller
10 February 2009 | by freemantle_ukSee all my reviews

When watching Manhunter I was a little underwhelmed, I was hoping for more. Saying that it is above average and a solid serial killer/cop thriller.

Manhunter was based on the book Red Dragon by Thomas Harris, the first film about Hannibal Lector. and led to the films of Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal, Red Dragon (a remake) and Hannibal Rising. This was Michael Mann's baby-steps into theatrical film making after television work, and led he to direct excellent films like The Last of the Mohians, Heat, the Insider and Collectial.

The plot of film was Will Graham (William Petersen), an expert profiler, who is called out of retired by the FBI to investigate a serial killer, the Tooth Fairy, who had brutally murdered two families in the Deep South of America. Graham is reluctant at first but he scene of duty makes him get involved with the case. After some early success, the case becomes stuck and the intelligence serial killer Hannibal Leckter (Brain Cox) is enlisted to help. Things take a further twist when the the Tooth Fairy starts to communicate with Leckter and the FBI investigation becomes a race against time because the Tooth Fairy kills his victims on the full moon.

The acting is top-notch. I thought William Petersen was better suited to the role of Will Graham then Ed Norton was. Brain Cox was chilling as Hannibal and did do well in the role, and overall I think Cox is a better actor then Anthony Hopkins. Other good actors were involved in this film, such as Joan Allen, Tom Noonan and Dennis Farina. The tone of the film was more understated then the other entries in the series, and realistic in performances. You get to see the psychological battle within Graham, but I thought the dream scene wasn't needed. Michael Mann also shows that he is a good set-piece director, to gun battle, to the attempted police set-up and the torture scene of a reporter. Some other aspects I like was you didn't get to see the Tooth Fairy until the middle of the film and you done get to see what drives him or even much about him. Compared to Red Dragon their is a scene when you hear the Tooth Fairy getting psychologically tortured by his guardian when he is doing weight and that felt clichéd. Also in Manhunter, it attempts to humanize the villain and show he was intelligence; like a serial killer in real life you most possibly wouldn't know of what he gets up to. However, watching the film, it felt a little heartless and therefore you lose some of the feelings of engagement with the characters and the events. Also, the soundtrack was awful.

Grade: B-

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