Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Manhunter (1986)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Manhunter (1986)

In Michael Mann's original version of Red Dragon - the prequel to The Silence of the Lambs (1991):

  • the skin-crawlingly creepy prologue in which a hand-held videocamera "stalked" a family and then cut to titles shortly after one of the victims awakened in her bedroom
  • the character of retired FBI forensic expert Will Graham (William L. Petersen - later starring in CSI onTV) who vividly described a macabre crime scene (by entering the mind-set of the killer), including details of the killer's features: ("blonde hair, strong, size 12 shoe imprint, blood AB positive")
  • the scene of Graham's tense interview with the first incarnation of "insane" Dr. Hannibal "Lecktor" (Brian Cox) in a stark, antiseptic, harshly-lit white cell where Graham was reminded when Lecktor asked: ("Do you know how you caught me? The reason you caught me, Will, because we're just alike. Do you understand? Smell yourself")
  • the 'eureka moment' profiler Graham had about the serial killer's modus operandi as he climbed a tree outside the Jacobi house: ("When night came, you saw them pass by their bright windows. You watched the shades go down, and you saw the lights go out one by one. And after a while, you climbed down and you went into them, didn't you? (shouting) DIDN'T YOU, YOU SON OF A BITCH! YOU WATCHED THEM ALL GODDAMN DAY LONG!! That's why houses with big yards")
  • the character of tall, crazed, near-albino serial killer Francis "Tooth Fairy" Dollarhyde (Tom Noonan) with a cleft-palate and scraggly white hair, and wearing a ladies' sheer stocking mask over his head and eyes - who ambushed pushy tabloid reporter Freddy Lounds (Stephen Lang) in an underground parking garage, and then forced Lounds to watch a slideshow - beginning with a painting of William Blake's The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in the Rays of the Sun, with further pictures of his transformed female victims (Mrs. Leeds, Mrs. Jacobi); he delivered a scary speech: ("Before me, you are a slug in the sun. You are privy to a great becoming, and you recognize nothing. You are an ant in the afterbirth. It is your nature to do one thing correctly, tremble. But fear is not what you owe me. No, Lounds, you and the others, you owe me awe")
  • the spectacular murder scene - when Lounds was set ablaze in a wheelchair and rolled down a steep underground parking garage ramp towards the camera - and died later in a hospital
Murder Scene of Freddy Lounds
  • the sexually-charged scene in which Dollarhyde took a blind, fiercely independent lab technician co-worker Reba McClane (Joan Allen) to feel an anesthetized tiger
  • Graham's scene with his son Kevin (David Seaman) while grocery shopping when he had to answer questions about his job and what he did for a living (including how he had been inducted into a mental institution due to his association with Lektor): ("I tried to build feelings in my imagination like the killer had so that I would know why he did what he did, because that would help me find him...But after my body got okay, I still had his thoughts going around in my head")
  • the climactic scene in which Graham explosively burst through a glass doorway to save Reba from the Tooth Fairy, as Iron Butterfly's In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida throbbed rhythmically; Graham revived and emptied his gun with six shots into Dollarhyde, who fell down dead on the kitchen floor, with his blood spread out under his body (like the wings of the demon in the Blake painting)
  • the concluding scene when Graham returned to his Florida home after the nightmarish ordeal had ended, to see his pretty blonde wife Molly (Kim Greist) and admit: "I thought I had to work things out and call you after." She responded: "I thought I wouldn't wait"; they stood at the ocean shore together, as he asked about the turtles: "How many of them made it?" - as Red 7's tune "Heartbeat" played

Dr. "Lecktor" in Cell

Serial killer Francis "Tooth Fairy" Dollarhyde
(Tom Noonan)

Kidnapped Reporter Freddie Lounds

Reba with Tiger

Graham's Murder of Dollarhyde

Graham with Wife Molly


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