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on September 18, 2012
Where do I start? This review is for Restored Director's Cut.

Manhunter is the penultimate movie. Michael Mann's best ever. Without a doubt he took this adaptation and took it to an entirely different level. The art direction, cinematography and acting are all first rate. No, it did not have the biggest budget, no it did not do well in the box office. So what? Every character conveyed emotion and I must say that I cannot get the movie out of my head. Part of the reason is because it was partially shot in my town. Another reason has to do with the style the movie was shot in. Mann knows his stuff and he conveys the power of the Harris's novel with aplomb!

Fans of Miami Vice will recognize character actors who guest starred on the show. Dennis Farina, Michael Talbott and a few others as well. The colors and art direction were remarkable too. Will Graham is an FBI man, but comes across as a regular guy which makes him likeable. He even empathizes with the killer as a child, saying: (In Another Version Of DVD) "This started from an abused child, a battered infant..." There is no doubt that the cerebral nature of this film went over the head of those who reviewed it in 1986. Yet it was the first movie of its kind that dealt with forensic analysis of crime scenes.

The soundtrack of the movie was incredible. I'm lucky a buddy at work was able to download the soundtrack for me from the internet. The music has unfortunately been out of print for decades. Each song captures the essence and soul of every scene and prepares the viewer for the emotions the characters are experiencing. Heart Beat and In-A-Gad-Ad-A-Vida are the best songs from the soundtrack.

I have not seen the remake Red Dragon, but I will say this: Tom Noonan's Francis Dollarhyde cannot be beat. Simply put, he is the most terrifying non-horror character I have ever seen. He plays the sinister heavy with a flair that I've never before seen. He plays similar roles in The Pledge and in Mystery Train. But it is this role where he shines. Ironically, his character is not introduced until halfway into the movie, yet he more than holds his own and by the end of the movie he takes out two cops and seriously injures two more. Wow! Noonan's height, weight and speech add to his malevolence in this film. Yet he is also a sad man. His background is not discussed in the movie, yet it had to have been a savage childhood. But like Graham says in another cut, "As an adult he is irredeemable."

I like this movie so much that I plan to purchase the other DVD versions. Buy this DVD and you will not be too disappointed. The extra added scenes have some rough edges and sound dropouts, but for me they were a bonus as I'd not seen them before. A couple lines were taken out that I did not care for, but all in all this is still a Five-Star show. Get it and you won't be disappointed.

A. Nathaniel Wallace, Jr.
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on May 20, 2008
Although I have alot of respect for Sir Anthony Hopkins, I don't like his series of the Lector movies. That's because they are "movies". The difference between a movie and film is guality. Movies can be exciting and have actors who can and cannot act in them. Films are different. They have good writing, directing, editing and acting. Sir Anthony did his best, but one or two strong actors can do so much. SoTL and Hannibal became horror movies instead of thrillers. Of the players in these horror movies, I can only remember Sir Anthony and Jodie Foster.
With several relatively unknown actors and a TV director: Michael Mann, Manhunter was presented balanced and thrilling. I consider this film to be part of the "film" catagory.
William Petersen plays William Graham, a solitary man with left-over mental problems from capturing the serial killer Hannibal Lecter(Brian Cox). Graham has retired and he lives in a beach house with his wife;Molly(Kim Greist) and son; Kevin(David Seaman). Grahams peaceful existance is interrupted by his former partner Jack Crawford(Dennis Farina). Crawford manipulates Graham back into FBI service in the search for another serial killer(Tom Noonan). He shows Graham 2 photos of the two families who have been slaughtered already by the new killer who is governed by a lunar cycle.
There is a stark contrast between the characters of the killer and Graham. The rest of the world passes by without knowing the visousness of the killer. The killer goes to work, though shy, he enjoys friendships and at least one romantic relationship. Graham, on the other hand, is brooding as he returns to the dark mindset of the serial killer. As he goes deeper into this darkness even his partner Crawford becomes afraid. In his mutterings trying to understand the killer, we discover that Graham feels sorry for the child who became the serial killer, but feels the killer should be blown out of his *** socks. Then Graham asks Crawford is that feeling is a contradiction in terms, Crawford doesn't know what to say. Crawford stands with his back against the wall as Graham continues to mutter then shortly provides the reason for the killings and how the killer picked his victims.
As Graham, William Petersen is in his own little world. He is constantly talking to himself, asking questions and answering them. This brings a deep tenseness to the character. Very well done. All of the other actors except for Brian Cox take a back seat to the consumate performances of these two men. The chemistry between these two men is fantastic. One of the most terrifying moments of the film happens after Graham sees Leckter for the first time in 3 years. As Graham bangs on the cell door desperately to get out, Lecter tells him that the only reason he caught Leckter was because Graham was just like him. Petersen runs down the stairs as though the devil were chasing him and at the bottom must control what must have been the biggest anxiety attack of all time.
Cox provides a wonderful performance as Leckter. He comes across as a calm psychologist anyone would want to see. But through his clouded eyes the viewer can see the madness.
Dennis Farina has usually played the police officer in films that he does. He was a cop, so I guess it might be natural to cast him that way. I wish casting directors would try other roles, I think he could handle them. Kim Greist, David Seaman and Tom Noonan all are equally supportive.
This is not a block buster, but it is one of the best films I've seen. It was made in 1986 so you might have a problem finding it. I own it and have viewed it several times since I got it and I think a viewer who want strong performances instead of blockbusters would enjoy this film.
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on June 15, 2003
Let me start by saying this film, "Manhunter", is a fairly good adaptation of the book. Brian Cox portrays a mellower Hannibal Lecktor (as spelled in the ending credits, if I recall correctly). His performance is good, energetic, and he has the perfect face for an antagonist. His evil, however, does not show that much in this film, therefore he is not that scary, in my opinion. Obviously, he's killed people, and obviously his insanity comes back to haunt the semi-retired detective Will Graham, but I don't have any recollection of explanation about Hannibal's cannibalistic murders. Since we don't know much about the character, he is less scary, regardless of Brian Cox's good performance. Don't get me wrong; Hannibal is still really awesome in this movie! Will Graham, I thought, was portrayed well. He's haunted by his past with Dr. Lecktor, and now, working on this case again, he is disturbed because he must dig deep within the mind of the serial killer who is on the loose in order to figure out the mystery. The main problem that sticks out in this movie is the serial killer, Francis Dolarhyde, the Red Dragon. He is played well, but we don't have a real sense of his psyche. There isn't much explanation as to why he is brutally murdering people. And, his admiration of the Red Dragon painting is only mentioned about once or twice throughout the movie. Aside from these flaws, "Manhunter" is a well-made film, with some creepy images, and it is delightful entertainment. It's a strange, different thriller, that depends on implied violence rather than graphic violence. The problem with this is that we don't always get a full look into the horror of the story. Still, I'd recommend it, because it's fun to watch and see some of the little differences between this and the superior 2002 version "Red Dragon". Both are creepy and entertaining films.
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on February 27, 2016
I had low expectations for this early interpretation of Red Dragon however I was pleasantly surprised. This is an entertaining film with a great '80s atmosphere. An enjoyable first look at Hannibal Lecter on film.
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on February 24, 2001
People call "The Silence of the Lambs" the "First One," and "Hannibal" its sequel. Although 'Silence' is more consistent and probably has a better ending, I like this movie better in some ways. William Peterson plays an intense but monotonous Wil Graham. Forced out of retirement to find the killer of two families, Wil seeks the help of Hannibal Lector, played by Brian Cox. The plot is basically the same as Silence, although Cox doesn't have nearly as much screen time as Hopkins.
Wil tells his son that Lector killed women "in bad ways." As opposed to good ways? Since it was directed by Miami Vice's Michael Mann, Dennis Farina plays Jack Crawford, with his midwestern accent intact. The role was taken over by Scott Glen in 'Silence.' The first forty-minutes are perfect; gruesome crime scenes, a strong plot, a wheelchair-bound body engulfed in flames. Unfortunately, I think the movie sags in places and eventually runs out of gas. It would be much better without the horrible 80's music. "In a Gadda da Vida" you can take or leave. Another thing that bothers me is that they always have to make psycho killers superhuman. You have to shoot them 27 times for them to fall down. And Graham's semi-descent back to near insanity is unconvincing, almost cheesy. Despite its flaws, it remains one of the best thrillers around. Most thrillers aren't very thrilling. I first saw it as an impressionable teenager, and it's impact hasn't diminished. I hear they are going to remake and update it. Should be interesting.
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on December 30, 2014
i figure if you've never read Harris, in order, and also if you weren't alive in 1986 to see this in a theater, then you just missed out on one emotional scary read, followed by the most intense crime chiller movie of its time.

If you need alot of graphic violence gore and brain dead overcooked action to scare and entertain you in a movie, then this one is not for you.

if you're into character development and cinematography you may really like this.
Manhunter is as much a drama before it is anything else
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on November 8, 2014
I saw this movie for the first time in the 90s, and I loved it so much that I was afraid to watch it again. After re-watching it, it still remains one of the greatest thrillers of all time. Stylish, sleek, wonderfully crafted and acted. The story is told in equal parts by the screenplay and the cinematography. Dante Spinotti's overexposed images are haunting and precise like a blade. Michael Mann's direction is wonderfully tense, with few cartesian angles and lots of intensity. I love this movie.
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on September 11, 2014
This is such a great movie. I watched it many years ago, and I was thrilled when I saw that it was free through Amazon Prime. I love Amazon! :) Great acting all the way around, and I love all of Michael Mann's movies. The relationship between characters, music and just the right amount of action, suspense and thrill are classic Michael Mann. And I think Brian Cox was a lot creepier as Lecter than Anthony Hopkins was in The Silence of the Lambs.
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on April 1, 2015
Based upon the book Red Dragon this tells the story of the guy that put Dr. Hannibal Lector in jail. When the guy's son asks him why he had to go away for a while he explains that he was able to catch him because he had started to think like him. Yikes! Unforgettable.
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Based upon the wonderful, well written novel "Red Dragon" by Thomas Harris, this is a superior and chilling thriller. Grim and gripping, it features William Peterson in the role of taciturn, retired FBI agent, Will Graham, who is called back to service in order to track down a bizarre serial killer. It appears that Graham has the uncanny ability to get into a killer's mind set and figure out what his next move might be. It is as if he and the killer become one. In his preparation for this, Graham even consults the imprisoned Hannibal Lecter (yes, THE Hannibal Lecter), deliciously played by Brian Cox.

The movie is compelling and, at all times, gripping. Joan Allen affectingly plays a blind woman who unknowingly involves herself with the creepy serial killer who is chillingly played by Tom Noonan. It is her involvement with him that helps bring the film to its stunning conclusion. Good performances by Dennis Farina, Stephen Lang, and Kim Greist round out this fine, ensemble cast.

This film is a taut, unnerving psychological thriller that is deftly directed by Michael Mann and accompanied by a terrific, musical score used to great effect. Who ever would have thought that Iron Butterfly's heavy metal "In A Gadda Da Vita" could be used to such chilling effect in the final, climactic scene? This is a film well worth watching.
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