Manhunter (1986)

R   |    |  Crime, Horror, Mystery

Manhunter (1986) Poster

Former F.B.I. profiler Will Graham (William Petersen) returns to service to pursue a deranged serial killer named "the Tooth Fairy" (Tom Noonan) by the media.

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  • Manhunter (1986)
  • Manhunter (1986)
  • William Petersen in Manhunter (1986)
  • Brian Cox in Manhunter (1986)
  • Michael Mann and Tom Noonan in Manhunter (1986)
  • Manhunter (1986)

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User Reviews

10 February 2009 | freemantle_uk
| Above Average Thriller
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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Did You Know?


The scene where Reba McClane (Joan Allen) touches a sedated tiger features a real sedated tiger. The veterinarian is played by a real veterinarian.


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.


Towards the end of the movie, just as Dollarhyde is throwing Graham into the refrigerator, a person can be seen in the lower, left-hand corner. He is wearing a blue shirt. The victim is wearing a pink shirt and is later shown as still being on the table.

Alternate Versions

Anchor Bay Entertainment has released a special two-discs DVD edition with two versions of the film. On disc 1, there is a "version" of the Theatrical Edition, running at 121 minutes, in anamorphic 2.35:1 ratio, with Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. On Disc 2, there is the "Director's Cut" edition of "Manhunter", running at 124 minutes. It, too, is in anamorphic 2.35:1, but only has a bog-standard Stereo soundtrack. The Director's Cut featured on the second disc of the Anchor Bay DVD features the following additional scenes:

  • After visiting the Leeds house in the beginning of the film, Will takes a pause in watching their home movies and calls his wife and talks to her for a while.
  • A scene with Graham and Dr Chilton just before Graham goes to see Lecter.
  • Additional dialog during Grahams meeting with Lecter concerning how Graham caught Lecter.
  • A scene with Graham telling Crawford that he is bringing his wife and son to town.
  • An alternate ending, in which Graham visits the family that would be next in line for Dollarhyde, but who are now safe, thanks to Graham.


Performed by
Iron Butterfly
Written by Doug Ingle


Plot Summary

Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Crime | Horror | Mystery | Thriller

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