See this one first: Manhunter
This was the first Hannibal Lector movie ever made. It is a mindblowing work of art- very soulful and scary. Highly innovative and original, this was also the first movie with a plot where the agent needs the guidance of the psycho killer. This film is based on “The Red Dragon”, the first book Thomas Harris wrote in which Lector appears. Brian Cox plays Lector. William Petersen plays FBI profiler Will Graham and he’s spectacular (sexy too.) The movie was released in 1986.
Note: Thomas Harris wrote the Hannibal books in this order:
The Red Dragon (1981)
The Silence of The Lambs (1988)
Hannibal Rising (2007)
The film “Manhunter” is based on The Red Dragon novel. Do not watch the movie with the title “Red Dragon” however. It’s bad. they ripped most of the script off from “Manhunter” but it has none of the artistry or even entertainment value. It was just a money making vehicle, that’s it.
Here’s three Hannibal movies worth watching:
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
See this one second: The Silence Of The Lambs
The Silence of the Lambs
This movie is a modern classic and has gone down in history as one of the scariest (and most interesting) movies ever made. This film is based on the book “The Silence of the Lambs”, which is Thomas Harris’ second book about Hannibal. Watch this one after you’ve seen “Manhunter”, as it is technically a sort of sequel. Anthony Hopkins plays Lector in a brilliant, absolutely unforgettable performance.
See this one third: Hannibal
This movie is riveting and very very smart. Hannibal is one of those somewhat rare sequels that actually enlarge upon the first film’s story in a trippy and meaningful way. It didn’t do very well at the box office because it was marketed poorly and many people thought it was just going to be some cheap schlocky sequel. It has since received high reviews and is regarded by many as a great film. It’s based on Thomas Harris’ third book “Hannibal”. It is lushly photographed, brilliantly acted, and has a lot of sexy and darkly humorous undertones.
*Note: These three films are the only Hannibal movies that are really good. Again, “The Red Dragon” film sucked. Also skip “Hannibal Rising”, that movie was pretty weak. If you’re into the background of Hannibal the character, the actual book “Hannibal Rising” is better. Skip the corny “Hannibal” tv series too.