Five films have been made based on Dr. Hannibal Lecter, the cannibalistic fictional character created by Thomas Harris.
Five films have been made based on Dr. Hannibal Lecter, the cannibalistic fictional character created by Thomas Harris. Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter made his literary debut in 1981’s Red Dragon and would go on to star in numerous films and television series. Hannibal, starring Mads Mikkelsen as the serial murderer, was a short-lived yet widely regarded series on NBC.
Despite the fact that Dr. Lecter is a vicious, uncompromising psychopath, there are several reasons why he’s popular with fans. In most representations, Hannibal Lecter is portrayed as being infinitely sophisticated, and he despises rudeness and contempt. Hannibal’s main job is to kill and eat people, but he believes that his victims deserve what they’re getting since they’ve mistreated him or have repeatedly tried to obstruct his progress. When he’s not in prison, he’s a fashionista who enjoys the finer things in life.
Time to look back at Hannibal Lecter’s previous five big-screen excursions and determine which ones were the worst and the greatest. Which movies are worth seeing, and which should be thrown away? Continue reading for more information.
5. Hannibal Rising (2007)
Choosing Hannibal Rising, the widely panned prequel to 2007’s Hannibal, as the bottom of the list is a no-brainer. It’s not that Gaspard Ulliel is a horrible actor, but his young Hannibal just doesn’t seem like he will grow up to be Anthony Hopkins. A peek into Hannibal’s background that no one asked for, except for the film’s producer Dino De Laurentis, who is rumored to have forced Thomas Harris into writing the equally loathed novel, was included in the film.
4. Hannibal (2001)
This is Anthony Hopkins’ poorest performance as Hannibal Lecter, despite the fact that Ridley Scott’s 2001 film avoids the darkest portions of Harris’ novel. Hannibal and Clarice Starling (Julianne Moore) are shown conversing on a more level playing field in Italy. However, their relationship transforms an implied desire into Hannibal’s actual love for Clarice, and even if she doesn’t react like she does in the book, it still causes the normally calculating Hannibal to make some extraordinarily stupid and out of character decisions.
3. Red Dragon (2002)
One year after Hannibal’s popularity, Red Dragon greatly benefits from adapting an even better Thomas Harris novel, even though going from Ridley Scott to Brett Ratner behind the camera is a major step down for the film. This is easily Ratner’s best-made film, and as always Hopkins is a treat as Lecter in this flick. The rest of the cast, including Edward Norton as Lecter’s first enemy Will Graham, is also excellent. As much as they try to hide how long it’s been since The Silence of the Lambs, the fact that Red Dragon takes place before Hopkins’ Hannibal’s character appears in The Silence of the Lambs does give the plot an unsettling air of time lag.
2. Manhunter (1986)
The fact that filmmaker Michael Mann’s picture, Manhunter, came out before Hopkins was well established as Hannibal Lecter, means that many fans would argue that it deserves a higher position than Red Dragon. Mann’s colorful, stylish approach to shooting, as well as the film’s flashy synth score, give Manhunter a distinct feel from any of the other Hannibal Lecter films, and the scenes with The Tooth Fairy have a psychedelic sense to them (Tom Noonan).
1. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Unlike Hannibal Rising, 1991’s The Silence of the Lambs is the clear and logical top pick for the Hannibal movie cannon. To say that Silence of the Lambs is a horror picture would be an understatement; this film is truly a masterpiece from filmmaker Jonathan Demme.