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Manhunter (1986)

August. 14,1986
| Horror Thriller Crime

FBI Agent Will Graham, who retired after catching Hannibal Lecter, returns to duty to engage in a risky cat-and-mouse game with Lecter to capture a new killer.


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This is a coming of age storyline that you've seen in one form or another for decades. It takes a truly unique voice to make yet another one worth watching.

Neive Bellamy

Excellent and certainly provocative... If nothing else, the film is a real conversation starter.

Erica Derrick

By the time the dramatic fireworks start popping off, each one feels earned.

Fatma Suarez

The movie's neither hopeful in contrived ways, nor hopeless in different contrived ways. Somehow it manages to be wonderful


This is the lesser known Hannibal Lector film(to Silence of the lambs) but some consider it as good or even better than that film. I happen to feel that both have their plus points and this Michael Mann film has many strong points including an amazing soundtrack and great performance by William Peterson as Det. Will Graham. Brian Cox is chilling in his own way as Lector and his interactions with Peterson just show the kind of magnitude two capable and talented actors can bring to a scene. This is a must watch film.


A killer, dubbed the 'Tooth Fairy' by the police has murdered two apparently unconnected families; one on Atlanta, the other in Birmingham, Alabama. He strikes each month on the night of the full moon so the race is on to catch him. With no other leads the FBI call in Will Graham, a former profiler, who retired after a particularly traumatic, high-profile case. In order to get his mind back in the game he goes to visit Dr Hannibal Lecktor, the infamous killer he put behind bars. This meeting gets reported in the gutter press and ultimately puts his family in danger. As he reviews the crime scenes Will starts to get into the head of the killer; working out how he operates and ultimately how he selects the families he intends to kill.This is a gripping thriller with Nietzschean undertones. Will Graham is an interesting central character; a man who as looked into the abyss before and felt it looking back and now he is being asked to do it again. We don't see the killer until a scene where he is clearly identified; this isn't about the viewer figuring out who did it ahead of the detective it is about seeing how the detective closes in on the killer. Director Michael Mann keeps everything very stylish; not surprising that he'd previously given us the TV series 'Miami Vice'; the epitome of '80s cool. William Petersen does a really fine job as Will Graham; an interesting character with a history. Brian Cox may only have a small part as Dr Lecktor but he manages to be menacing in a subtle manner. Tom Noonan is suitably menacing as the killer, especially in the scenes where he takes a blind colleague on a date and later gets jealous when he sees her talking to another man. The supporting cast is pretty solid too. Given the subject matter there could be plenty of disturbing content; thankfully it is more restrained and apart from a brief shot of crime scene photographs and blood stains in a house there is little in the way of disturbing material; it is described but not shown. Overall this is a really solid thriller that I'd certainly recommend.


I didn't know that my last movie with Kim was about this degenerate (as David Lynch told) character of Hannibal! But while all the others movies are famous, this one is rather leftover and it's a pity because it's a very tense thriller and very cautious movie: Unlike the nauseating Scott movie that keeps on talking and showing the thing, here it's always unexposed and you don't see anything. So on the other hand, the psychological tension is really high and with Mann stylized directing (big frame, slow pace), the movie keeps on playing with your nerves and sometimes it's even very ironic: Manhunter talks about Hannibal with his son in a grocery store! The next female victim drinks with a long, thick glass in front of this sexual pervert! ...The cast is really excellent: the Manhunter is a newcomer for me and he is really good to play his torments; Noonan is always impressive with his dark nutty parts and if Kim is indeed totally wasted in her small part, she is always this same cute girl! So this movie is just a best example when less means more!


Although THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS is the film that everyone remembers for Anthony Hopkins' portrayal of the cannibal Dr. Hannibal Lector, I find that in most cases the general public don't realise that Hopkins was not the first actor to play Lector. No, that dubious honour goes to Brian Cox, whose brief but powerful turn as Lector in MANHUNTER is just one of the film's many highlights. I didn't really know what to expect when I watched this film; I'd heard that it was good, but little did I realise just HOW good it was. MANHUNTER is one of the very best films about a serial killer I've seen; this is an intelligent, exciting and thought-provoking story which I actually preferred to THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS in some respects.This is a disturbing film too, although without the grossness of the film that followed it. Here, the violence is left to the imagination, which makes it all the more effective. Usually the police investigations in these films are dry and boring, but here, as the characters doing the investigating are very human, it becomes interesting and watchable. The cast is first rate; especially good is Peterson as the slightly disturbed FBI man haunted by his previous encounters with Cox. He is equalled by the underrated Tom Noonan, who is simply brilliant as the killer, Francis Dollarhyde. Noonan would forever be typecast as a baddie after this performance, but his work here is excellent as he creates a childish, sympathetic man who cannot control the urges or what he does.The strong supporting cast includes Joan Allen (very good) as a blind victim; Dennis Farina as a fellow cop (wait, doesn't he always play that role?), and Stephen Lang as a nerdy reporter who meets a fate worse than death. Michael Mann's assured direction keeps the film believable and interesting at all times; MANHUNTER is exciting when it needs to be and very disturbing at other times (especially that scene with Dollarhyde with the stocking over his head... an image guaranteed to give you nightmares). Odd scenes like the burning wheelchair victim are unexpected and help to keep you on your toes. A rare film that doesn't underestimate the intelligence of the audience, MANHUNTER is a perfectly-made film that should be rewatched in the days of populist stuff like SEVEN and THE BONE COLLECTOR just to remember how good it is.