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2,501 Ratings


Directed by Michael Mann
United States, 1986
Crime, Thriller


FBI criminal profiler Will Graham is called out of early retirement to assist on a deadly case involving a murderer known as the “Tooth Fairy”. After enlisting the help of imprisoned serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lecktor, Graham and the FBI are soon entangled in a menacing cat-and-mouse game…

Our take

From the master American filmmaker Michael Mann, Manhunter is a truly experiential foray into two opposing minds. Belying its 80s neon hues and (welcome!) pop music cues, the film grows into a complexly woven inquiry into the origins of serial murder and its amorphous relation with domesticity.

Manhunter Directed by Michael Mann
Michael Mann’s first true masterpiece, the film where he successfully balances a hugely emotional story with bold use of his trademark style.
October 04, 2018
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It’s Mann’s most perfect film, a cold, gleaming diamond that combines the highest craftsmanship possible with a genuine beating heart. In an airtight two hours, Mann propels the film through the exacting investigation to reveal the humanity that resides in both good and evil.
October 19, 2016
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Mann’s focus is so esoteric that he slowly turns the garish thriller into a kind of poetry. Slow motion is frequently employed, though the director uses it less to call attention to any detail than for its musical cadence… Mann finds in [some] moments a bold form of character expression, prefiguring an entire career of revealing psychological depth in pulp terms.
May 25, 2016
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What are people saying?

  • Nicholas Gregory's rating of the film Manhunter

    Some obtrusive rock songs, but a mesmerizing, moody film. Mann's direction lingers on details, creating an atmosphere and giving all central character's dimension: Petersen subtly plays his character's inner turmoil to create a profound sense of anguish of past demons, while Noonan is a soft-spoken, lonely killer, and Cox is Hannibal sans Hopkins dark humor: more ice cold, less playful, but just as sinister.

  • Dominic Simard-Jean's rating of the film Manhunter

    The sheer beauty of the cinematography, especially in its superb color palettte (the opening sequence with the ocean and the moon lit room), combined with fantastic editing are enough to make this a grand piece of art. But a thrilling story, backed with amazing music (In A Gadda Vidda!), a spot on creepy atmosphere all throughout and an inspired performance by Petersen make this one of the best film I've seen.

  • Duncan Gray's rating of the film Manhunter

    The work of a technological fetishist seen 30 years later, and an earnest, basic prototype for a whole subgenre that would get massively played out over the next decade or two. But it retains a formal beauty and thrill beyond mere nostalgia. Happy realization: Mann is skilled not just with style, but subtext. Frightening realization: the psycho loner serial killer's apartment is more furnished than mine is.

  • Warren Spratley's rating of the film Manhunter

    Masterpiece. All about seeing, about its centrality to our intellectual and sensorial relationships to ourselves and the world. Mann almost resembles Straub at times here in his presentation of myth, his compositions, and in the way his actors pose, betray their emotionality through theatricalization, self-reflect, and endeavor to hit at something sacred. Compression vs. clarity. It's not perfect, but who cares?

  • robertsandu's rating of the film Manhunter

    I admire the way Mann deals with his characters. He is not judgmental, nor patronising with them. He finds the human part even in the most gruessome of killers. It's easy to portray a serial murderer as merely a monster. It's a lot harder to do what Mann just did with Francis.

  • Malkin's rating of the film Manhunter

    The moment when Graham stands over Dollarhyde and points his gun at a corpse. We play out the same scene enough times, we convince ourselves it's a reality. What's the tableau here? A victory over evil, over the demons within? Or is it power? Is it having someone helpless at his hands, someone that he's allowed to kill? The happy ending that follows is hollow artificial. Let the demons in and they don't just go away.

  • Pierluigi Puccini's rating of the film Manhunter

    William Petersen carries the film with a brave and ambivalent portrayal of a disturbed detective obsessed with the psychopath he must catch . Mann's atmospheric storytelling helps to feel the heat, anguish and horror in the minds of the duellists. The sinister Tom Noonan is the counterpart of the deadly game,

  • Zachary T.'s rating of the film Manhunter

    A towering achievement for Mann and a template for his later works. "Manhunter" is so rich (stylistically and emotionally) in its rain-soaked, cathartic, violent journey of self-discovery -- and, credit where it's due to Mr. Hopkins -- Brian Cox is one hell of a Hannibal Lector.

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