William Petersen

Manhunter (1986) - Michael Mann



Director: Michael Mann
Producer: Richard A. Roth
Writer: Michael Mann
Starring: William Petersen, Kim Greist, Joan Allen, Brian Cox, Dennis Farina, Stephen Lang and Tom Noonan
Studios: De Laurentiis Entertainment Group and Red Dragon Productions
Release Date: August 15th, 1986
Country: United States
Budget: $15 million
Box Office: $8.6 million

The soundtrack feels like a mix between traditional, moody pop that was popular in ‘86. It fits the movie well and provides a perfect setting for the mayhem that Manhunter provides. I would be very interested in a copy of this on vinyl.


Manhunter is an American slasher crime film from writer/director, Michael Mann and the De Laurentiis Entertainment Group. It’s the first film adaptation of the Thomas Harris novel Red Dragon. And serves as the first film to feature the Hannibal Lecter character. Starring William Petersen, Kim Greist, Joan Allen, Brian Cox, Dennis Farina, Stephen Lang and Tom Noonan. This is a very dramatic crime drama that leans heavily into the horror genre. Manhunter was released on August 15th, 1986 to a very tepid reaction and poor reviews. That reaction led to this movie becoming a cult classic. But it’s really much more than that.

William Petersen plays Will Graham, a recently retired FBI agent that was a master at criminal profiling. He was living the good life in Florida, when his old boss Jack Crawford had called him back into duty. A serial killer that has been nicknamed The Tooth Fairy has been killing whole families seemingly at random, during full-moons. He also has been known to leave bite marks on his victims. Graham delves deep into the psyche of a serial killer, using the expertise of former psychiatrist and now incarcerated cannibal-murderer, Dr. Hannibal Lecktor.

Tone is the driving force behind this horrific thriller. Director Michael Mann had used heavy shadows, intense driving music, and quality filmmaking to provide a dark and foreboding atmosphere. Masterfully designed to make the viewer uncomfortable. Tom Noonan's creepy performances coupled with this style make for one haunting story with believable, true-life horror. I felt heavy inspiration from noir classics. William Peterson was a great lead chasing Noonan. He is a very believable investigator that brings boat loads of intensity.

Manhunter is a movie for fans movies like Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer and shows like CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, also starring the lead actor, William Petersen. Fans of the modern films in the series like Silence of the Lambs, Red Dragon, Hannibal, etc... might have overlooked this picture based on a false understanding that this was a boring movie. It’s not. It’s a very slow and prodding thriller that builds with horrific tension. Very engaging with a genius soundtrack. I recommend this movie very highly.