Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 18
  • Crime, Horror
  • 1986
  • 119 mins

Manhunter

Manhunter

Synopsis

Hannibal the cannibal made his first appearance on screen in this prequel to The Silence Of The Lambs.

About

The original film based on Thomas Harris' Hannibal Lecter stories, Manhunter is superior to The Silence Of The Lambs, the sequel that made Lecter a household name.

Brian Cox's wonderfully menacing performance as Lecktor (as the bad doctor's name is spelt for this film) avoided the relative cuddliness of Anthony Hopkins, who promptly walked off with the Oscar that should have been Cox's. Peterson (To Live And Die In LA) is Will Graham, the ex-FBI man who can get under the skin of serial killers a little too easily (he's "eidetic").

Mann focuses on the family and consequently on Graham's decision, with only the reluctant blessing of his wife (Greist), to return to working for the FBI, leaving his blissful semi-retirement by the sea. His former bosses are stumped by the activities of a serial killer who targets families and carefully kills with each full moon. In order to track the killer (Noonan), Graham calls on Lecktor's services.

The encounter with the caged cannibal may be chilling, but it's the family dimension that is genuinely moving, this making the ending altogether more effective.

Mann's camera work and use of a pulsating soundtrack (arguably the most dated part of the film), together with his expressionist view of the world and a fascination for the mechanics of a nationwide police investigation, make Manhunter one of the most convincing and cinematic thrillers ever.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Tom Noonan, Kim Greist, William L Petersen, Stephen Lang, Joan Allen, Brian Cox, Dennis Farina
  • Director: Michael Mann
  • Screen Writer: Michael Mann
  • Writer: Thomas Harris
  • Producer: Richard Roth
  • Photographer: Dante Spinotti
  • Composer: Michael Rubini

In a nutshell

Later remade, with bombast and heavy-handed gothic trappings, as Red Dragon, Manhunter remains the most refined screen adaptation of Harris' books.

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4

    The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

    Lily Collins stars in Harald Zwart's fantasy action-adventure, based on the first novel in Cassandra Clare's bestselling series for young adults.

  • Film4

    The Rise

    Luke Treadaway, Neil Maskell and Timothy Spall star in this Leeds-set heist caper, the debut feature from writer-director Rowan Athale.

  • Film4

    This Is 40 on Film4

    (2012) 124 mins 15 Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann star in writer-director-producer Judd Apatow's relationship comedy-drama, a 'sort of sequel' to his second hit feature, Knocked Up.

  • Film4

    The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones on Film4

    The first installment from Cassandra Clare's bestselling YA franchise starring Lily Collins.

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Channel 4 announces major increase to Film4 funding

    Film4 funding has increased to a record £25m in 2016, with major new deals announced with Fox Searchlight and FP Films. Film4 will be backing new work from Lenny Abrahamson, Yorgos Lanthimos, Andrew H

  • Channel 4 Blog

    The 36th London Film Critics Circle Awards

    The Film4-backed 45 Years takes Best Actor, Best Actress and Best British Film at the 36th London Critics' Circle Film Awards Other prizes for Film4-backed films included Breakthrough Filmmaker for d

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Share