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Red Dragon (2002)

0:31 | Trailer
A retired FBI agent with psychological gifts is assigned to help track down "The Tooth Fairy", a mysterious serial killer. Aiding him is imprisoned forensic psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lecter.


Brett Ratner


Thomas Harris (novel), Ted Tally (screenplay)
483 ( 117)
4 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Anthony Hopkins ... Dr. Hannibal Lecter
Edward Norton ... Will Graham
Ralph Fiennes ... Francis Dolarhyde
Harvey Keitel ... Jack Crawford
Emily Watson ... Reba McClane
Mary-Louise Parker ... Molly Graham
Philip Seymour Hoffman ... Freddy Lounds
Anthony Heald ... Dr. Frederick Chilton
Ken Leung ... Lloyd Bowman
Frankie Faison ... Barney Matthews
Tyler Patrick Jones ... Josh Graham
Lalo Schifrin ... Conductor
Tim Wheater Tim Wheater ... Flautist
John Rubinstein ... Dinner Guest
David Doty David Doty ... Dinner Guest


After escaping death by the skin of his teeth while on the hunt for the elusive madman, Dr Hannibal Lecter, the now-retired and emotionally scarred FBI agent, Will Graham, finds himself back in action. Reluctantly, as yet another monstrous serial killer known as "The Tooth Fairy" terrorises Baltimore, Graham turns to Lecter, the evil mastermind who's been under lock and key for three long years, to lend a hand in this challenging and time-sensitive case. But, to delve deep into the demented mind of a killer, one must first face his inner demons, and Will already knows that his insane imprisoned assistant is a gifted manipulator. Can Graham find the horrifying Red Dragon in time before another family suffers? Written by Nick Riganas

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:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Harvey Keitel played a character originally played by Dennis Farina in Manhunter (1986). In Get Shorty (1995), Keitel played Farina's character during the "movie within a movie." See more »


(at around 1h 26 mins) At the point when Reba McLane is examining the sedated tiger her wristwatch watch reads 11:20 (though the hour hand is out of sync). However 30 seconds later on the same scene, the veterinary assistant's wristwatch watch reads just before 11 o'clock. 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 Epicurus's herd.
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Crazy Credits

Thanks to the village of Islamorada, Florada See more »


Referenced in Blackcatloner: Best of 2015 and a Happy New Year (2016) See more »


Lament for Javanette
Written by Barney Bigard and Billy Strayhorn
Performed by Barney Bigard and His Orchestra
Courtesy of The RCA Records Label, a unit of BMG Music
Under license from BMG Special Products
See more »

User Reviews

A great prequel to the mind blowing "The Silence of the Lambs"...
14 December 2009 | by lopcar1993See all my reviews

Red Dragon, while not as good as Silence of the Lambs, lives up to it's horrific roots exceedingly well and gives us a great look at evil contained.

Red Dragon is set prior to the events in the 1991 classic Silence of the lambs. In this we see how Lecter was captured and incarcerated at the Psych hospital it also introduces to us yet again retired FBI agent William "Will" Graham the man who captures the beast. After Lecter is tried and convicted of 11 murders an sentenced to 9 consecutive life terms, a new serial killer dubiously nicknamed "The Tooth Fairy" and later "The Dragon". emerges and murders two family in tow different cities a month apart. Naturally this catches the attention of the FBI and they immediately seek out Will Graham(Norton) to help track down this psychopathic mad man. Graham reluctantly agrees to help track down, "Red Dragon." Red Dragon is brilliant, dark, complex, sadistic, horrific and relentlessly suspenseful it's one of the best of the series. But the haunting similarities between this prequel and "The Silence of the Lambs" keeps it from being the truly terrifying epic it could have been. Brett Ratner(Director of X-3 and The Family Man) does amazing here directing season actor Anthony Hopkins at his terrifying best. Ratner understands the material and he understands what Lecter is and how he should be played out on screen. The film is well conceived and well played out in every way imaginable it works on some many levels that when your watching it you don't feel like your seeing a movie but living it. It's extremely nerve jangling. All in all "Red Dragon" is an amazing piece of film making that is sure to please fans of the series and new comers alike.

Anthony Hopkins is more terrifying and sinister than ever as the diabolical Hannibal Lecter but he is left mostly as a bit player. But the scenes he is in are truly terrifying and solidify that Hopkins is one of the best actor of our generation. Edward Norton is fantastic and at the top of his game in this twisty and mind blowing thriller. Norton's Will Graham is much more resourceful and more brilliant than William Petersen version of Graham in Michael Mann"s "Man hunter". Ed Norton use every inch of his genius acting ability to make the character believable and worth watch on screen . Ralph Fiennes steals the show as the malicious and psychotic Tooth-fairy, Fiennes almost outclasses Hopkins and Norton in his role which is sad to see but also amazing at the same time. Fiennes performance truly blows your mind it may also shock you at the same time how crafty and sinister he can be. It's truly a sight to see. But all in all the cast is truly brilliant and something to admire in this heart stopping psychological thriller.

Brett Ratner's "Red Dragon" is enthralling in the fact that it draws you into a world you think you know and then completely spin it around on you and gives you something you've never seen before. It's as mind boggling and it is intriguing it will engage you every minute and every second you watch it. It's one of those films that must be seen not for the characters or the action but for the psychological aspects it relays onto the audience. All in all Red Dragon is one manhunt you'll want in on.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Germany | USA


English | French

Release Date:

4 October 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Red Dragon See more »


Box Office


$78,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$36,540,945, 6 October 2002

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS


Color (DeLuxe)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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