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Manhunter (film): Wikis


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Theatrical Release Poster
Directed by Michael Mann
Produced by Dino De Laurentiis
Richard A. Roth
Written by Screenplay:
Michael Mann
Thomas Harris
Starring William Petersen
Kim Greist
Brian Cox
Joan Allen
Dennis Farina
Tom Noonan
Paul Perri
Music by Michel Rubini
Cinematography Dante Spinotti
Editing by Dov Hoenig
Distributed by De Laurentiis Entertainment Group (DEG)
Release date(s) August 15, 1986
Running time 119 minutes/124 minutes (director's cut)
Country United States
Language English
Budget $15,000,000 (estimated)
Gross revenue $8,620,929 (USA)
Followed by The Silence of the Lambs

Manhunter is a 1986 thriller film based on Thomas Harris's novel Red Dragon. Written and directed by Michael Mann, it features Brian Cox as the popular character Hannibal Lecter (although the character's name is spelled "Lecktor" in this film) and stars William Petersen, Joan Allen, Kim Greist, Dennis Farina and Tom Noonan. The cinematographer was Dante Spinotti who also served as the director of photography on Red Dragon, the 2002 film version of the novel.



Red Dragon, the novel on which the film was based.

John Lithgow, Mandy Patinkin, and Brian Dennehy were all considered for the role of Hannibal Lecktor before Brian Cox was cast.[1] Cox based his portrayal on Scottish serial killer Peter Manuel, whom he stated "didn't have a sense of right and wrong."

The film was originally going to use the novel's title, Red Dragon. When Year of the Dragon (1985) bombed at the box office, Producer Dino De Laurentiis decided to change the title.[2] William Petersen has commented that the title was also changed to avoid being confused for a karate movie.[1]

During principal photography, Tom Noonan asked that no one in the cast, either people who are after him or whom he is after, be allowed to see him. The first time Noonan met William Petersen was when they filmed the scene where Graham crashes through the window of Dollarhyde's home.[1][3] Noonan admits that, because of his request, the atmosphere on set became so tense, people actually became afraid of him.[1] Noonan was lying in the corn syrup used for blood at the end of the film for so long that he became stuck to the floor.[1]

Because William Petersen's role was so emotionally exhausting, he did everything he could to rid himself of Will Graham after principal photography wrapped. Petersen shaved off his beard, cut his hair and dyed it blonde.[1]

Frankie Faison, who appears as Lt. Fisk, is the only actor to appear in the first four Hannibal Lecter films. Faison later had a significant role as Barney, the orderly, in The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Hannibal (2001), and Red Dragon (2002).

When the film was first broadcast on TV, the title was changed to Red Dragon: The Pursuit of Hannibal Lecter. This was done to capitalize on the success of The Silence of the Lambs; however, the changing of the title did not accurately reflect the movie's story, since when Manhunter begins, Lecter has already been captured and incarcerated.

After the film's completion, Dennis Farina, Bill Smitrovich, and Stephen Lang were all cast in Michael Mann's TV series Crime Story. That series also featured Ted Levine, who played serial killer Buffalo Bill in The Silence of the Lambs. Levine and Noonan also worked with Michael Mann again in the 1995 crime thriller Heat.


Manhunter (Music from the Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Soundtrack by Various artists
Released 1986
Genre Soundtrack
Label MCA
Professional reviews

The soundtrack album was released in limited quantities in 1986 on MCA Records (#6182), but the film's failure at the box office prevented a release on the then new compact disc format. Soon afterwards, the 12" record and audio cassette were deleted making them highly sought after by fans of the film. Currently, the film is a cult classic and can be viewed almost daily on various cable channels all over the world, while the soundtrack has become a huge collector's item. Recently, a 2-CD set entitled, Music from the Films of Michael Mann was release that features four tracks from Manhunter - The Prime Movers' "Strong As I Am", Iron Butterfly's "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida", Shriekback's "This Big Hush" and Red 7's "Heartbeat".

Track listing

  1. The Prime Movers - "Strong as I Am"
  2. Shriekback - "Coelocanth"
  3. Shriekback - "This Big Hush"
  4. Michel Rubini - "Graham's Theme"
  5. Shriekback - "Evaporation"
  6. Red 7 - "Heartbeat"
  7. The Reds - "Lector's Cell"
  8. The Reds - "Leed's House"
  9. Iron Butterfly - "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida"

In the film itself, screen credits were given for music not listed above, including:

  1. Klaus Schulze - "Freeze"
  2. Kitaro - "Seiun"


Despite generally positive critical reviews,[4][5] the film was a box office flop. After The Silence of the Lambs (which was never approached by Orion as a sequel to Manhunter due to said poor box office performance) was released in 1991, it experienced something of a revival on video and later as a DVD release. In 2002, another adaptation of the book, titled Red Dragon, was released to a generally positive critical reception. has said that Mann's original is the best of the Lecter series.[6] The film has a 94% "fresh" rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, from 33 reviews.[7] The remake, Red Dragon, currently has a 68% fresh rating from 183 reviews.[8]

Manhunter was listed at #41 on Film 4's 50 Films To See Before You Die.[9]

DVD availability

Anchor Bay Divimax DVD release.

Manhunter has been available in various versions on DVD. Anchor Bay released a Limited Edition 2-DVD set in 2000 that featured an erroneously labeled "Theatrical Cut" (it actually omits some footage from the theatrical version and features some material from the "Director's Cut"[10]) and Mann's "Director's Cut" along with some retrospective featurettes. A standard edition (an individual release for the first disc of the 2-disc set) was also released at the same time. In 2003, Anchor Bay released the "Restored Director's Cut" which is very close to the "Director's Cut" on the 2000 disc but omits one scene.[10] It does, however, feature a commentary track by Mann. In 2004, MGM (current holders of The Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal) released a pan and scanned version of the movie that was the one seen in theaters. Finally, in 2007 MGM released the theatrical cut in widescreen on DVD for the first time as part of "The Hannibal Lecter Collection" alongside The Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal. It was also released by itself on September 11, 2007.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Inside Manhunter: Interviews with Stars William Petersen, Brian Cox, Joan Allen and Tom Noonan
  2. ^ Trivia for Manhunter
  3. ^ Mann, Michael. Manhunter Restored Director's Cut audio commentary
  4. ^ manhunter
  5. ^ Film Critic
  6. ^ Hollywood blows it - again -
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Film4's 50 Films To See Before You Die - Channel 4 Film feature
  10. ^ a b Holland, Andrew. "The Director's Cut: Comparing the Theatrical Cut with the Director's Preferred Version". Manhunter — The Complete Resource Site (Mike Pitt). Retrieved 2008-06-24. 

External links

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