Retired FBI agent Will Graham (William L. Petersen) returns to action to hunt down a serial killer by using his ability to get inside the psychopath's mind. However, it was this ability that drove him into retirement in the first place. The process of tracking and capturing the infamous Hannibal Lecter (Brian Cox) took a tremendous psychic toll on Graham, causing him to spent time in a mental hospital. With another madman on the loose, Graham has no choice but to return to duty, though he knows that it might cost him his family and his sanity.
To get the old mind-set back, Graham visits Hannibal Lecter in his high-security jail cell. However, the manipulative Lecter plays both sides and warns the new killer that Graham is on his trail, telling him to destroy Graham's family to protect himself. In order to save his own family, Graham must risk everything to once again enter into the mind of the criminally insane.
With MANHUNTER, Mann raises the bar for serial killer films, imbuing his killer with an almost sympathetic quality while keeping him extremely menacing and clearly dangerous. Based on the Thomas Harris novel RED DRAGON, which serves as the prequel to THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, MANHUNTER is a masterpiece of gripping storytelling and psychological horror.
Dino De Laurentiis
Joan Allen - American actress, THE ICE STORM
Chris Elliott - Actor, GET A LIFE
Dennis Farina - American TV/film actor, CRIME STORY (1985)
Frankie R. Faison - American Supporting Actor
Frankie Faison - American Supporting Actor
Michael Mann - American Director/Producer
Brian Cox - British Actor, L.I.E. (2000)
Kim Greist - Star, HOMEWARD BOUND II: LOST IN SAN FRANCISCO (1995)
Kimberly Greist - Star, HOMEWARD BOUND II: LOST IN SAN FRANCISCO (1995)
Brian Kelly - Star, mostly horror films, mid '70s-late '90s
Thomas Harris - American Novelist
Dante Spinotti - Director of Photography
William L. Petersen - American Actor
William Petersen - American Actor
Stephen Lang - American Supporting Actor
Based on the Thomas Harris novel RED DRAGON, MANHUNTER has all the ingredients of a great thriller. Will Graham is a former FBI agent who has the uncanny ability to enter the minds of psychopaths. When a maniac begins killing entire families, Will is drawn out of retirement to use his skill once again--but at great personal cost.
Released theatrically in the U.S. on August 15, 1986. The film was also screened at the 1987 London Film Festival in November. Shot in Atlanta, Georgia; Washington, DC; Chicago, Illinois; St. Louis, Missouri; and Captiva, Florida; and at Wilmington and DEG Film Studios, North Carolina. Filming began on September 9, 1985. Estimated budget: $14 million. The film was retitled RED DRAGON: THE PURSUIT OF HANNIBAL LECTER for its television debut. MANHUNTER was originally entitled RED DRAGON, like the novel, but producer Dino De Laurentiis ordered the name change because YEAR OF THE DRAGON bombed at the box office. He suspected the word "dragon" meant box-office death and wanted no part of it. Mann lost his DGA membership when he ordered real ammunition to be used on a bus full of extras. MANHUNTER was followed by Jonathan Demme's THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, also based on a Thomas Harris novel. Even though the Harris novels and SILENCE call the serial killer "Hannibal Lecter," MANHUNTER referred to him as "Hannibal Lecktor." However, in new video and DVD releases, the spelling is changed to the more familiar Hannibal Lecter.
"...[Noonan] burns up the frame...[as] one of the freakiest madmen Hollywood has ever given us....You'll never listen to IN-A-GADDA-DA-VIDA without locking the doors again..." -- Rating: B+ - 06/21/1996 Entertainment Weekly, pp.72-3
"...Brian Cox has some delicious moments as a brilliant, depraved criminal....Stephen Lang is outrageously despicable..." - 08/13/1986 Variety
"...[Mann] mounts his film with the speed of a bullet train and virtually defies us to get off while it's in motion..." - 08/15/1986 Los Angeles Times, p.C1
"...Gripping and packed with director Michael Mann's visual stylistics..." - 04/01/2001 Total Film, p.112