5 Gruesome Hannibal Lecter Movies and TV Series Unleashed

Hannibal Lecter movies in order

The Hannibal Lecter movies based on the novel of the same name are considered one of the most chilling stories ever told. This article will take a look at all of them, from the first one in 1986 to the last one in 2007.

Hannibal Lecter is a fictional character, played by Sir Anthony Hopkins, in the 1986 film The Silence of the Lambs. He is a serial killer who is imprisoned at a federal prison, nicknamed “The Tooth Fairy”. In the film, Hannibal Lecter is said to have killed numerous people, including members of his family, and he becomes the prime suspect in the

Manhunter (1986)

hannibal lecter movies

Manhunter is a 1986 American crime thriller film directed by Michael Mann. It is based on the 1981 novel Red Dragon by Thomas Harris. The film stars William Petersen as FBI profiler Will Graham and features Tom Noonan as serial killer Francis “The Tooth Fairy” Dollarhyde, Dennis Farina as FBI superior Jack Crawford, and Brian Cox as incarcerated killer Hannibal “the Cannibal” Lecter.

After retiring from the FBI, former criminal profiler Will Graham is approached by his former supervisor Jack Crawford, who asks for his help in tracking down a new serial killer. However, his nemesis, serial killer Hannibal Lecter is asked for help to study the mind of the new serial killer who calls himself “The Tooth Fairy”.

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

hannibal lecter

The Silence of the Lambs is a 1991 psychological horror film directed by Jonathan Demme and adapted from Thomas Harris’ 1988 novel. The film is about a young FBI trainee (Jodie Foster) who becomes obsessed with tracking down a serial killer who preys on women. The killer, known only as “Buffalo Bill”, is a former medical student who is a cannibalistic serial killer.

Foster plays Clarice Starling, a young FBI trainee who is sent to interview Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), a brilliant but deranged psychiatrist, to find out what makes him tick. Lecter is held in a maximum security prison, and he and Clarice develop a rapport, leading to a grisly and terrifying confrontation.

Clarice Starling is pulled from her FBI training at the Quantico, Virginia FBI Academy by Jack Crawford of the Bureau’s Behavioral Science Unit. He assigns her to interview Hannibal Lecter, a former psychiatrist and incarcerated cannibalistic serial killer. Crawford believes Lecter’s insight could prove useful in the pursuit of a psychopath serial killer nicknamed “Buffalo Bill”, who kills young women and removes their skin from their bodies.

Hannibal (2001) 

hannibal cooking brains scene

Hannibal is a 2001 American psychological crime thriller film directed by Ridley Scott and based on the 1999 novel by Thomas Harris. It is the sequel to the 1991 film The Silence of the Lambs, which starred Jodie Foster as Clarice Starling and Anthony Hopkins as serial killer Hannibal Lecter. The film was produced by Scott Free Productions, Working Title Films, and Regency Enterprises. It was released theatrically in the United States on June 28, 2001.

 In this movie, one of Hannibal Lecter’s rich ex-patients and surviving victim Mason Verger plots his revenge against Hannibal for disfiguring his face. Clarice is hot on Hannibal’s trail as he again escapes capture. Little does she know that she is caught in the middle between Mason and Hannibal’s final confrontation.

Red Dragon (2002) 

red dragon back tatoo scene

Red Dragon is a 2002 American psychological thriller film directed by Brett Ratner and written by Ted Tally. The film is a prequel to the 1991 film The Silence of the Lambs and the first in a series of films that chronicle the relationship between FBI agent Will Graham (Edward Norton) and serial killer Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins). The film stars Edward Norton, Anthony Hopkins, and Ralph Fiennes as the titular characters.

Ex-FBI agent Will Graham is an expert investigator who quit the Bureau after almost losing his life in the attempt to capture the elusive Dr. Lecter. After a couple of unsolved murders, Graham realizes he needs to get into the mind of the serial killer by asking for help from his long-time nemesis Dr. Hannibal Lecter.

Hannibal Rising (2007) 

young hannibal lecter puts a mask for the first time

Hannibal Rising is a 2007 thriller drama film written and directed by Peter Webber. It is based on the Thomas Harris novel of the same name. The film stars Gaspard Ulliel as young Hannibal Lecter, who is now living in France under the name Gaspard de Mile, Gong Li as Murasaki Shikibu, the widow of his father’s physician, and Rhys Ifans as the British psychiatrist who treats him.

This is the prequel to all Hannibal Lecter movies and is set in 1941 where it shows a young Hannibal Lecter, suffering through war and going through an intensely traumatic experience under the hands of cruel soldiers. This leads him to take his revenge decades later as an adult but somehow develops a taste for human flesh because of his trauma. This is basically Hannibal Lecter’s origin story and is a grossly underrated film. 

Hannibal TV series

The Hannibal TV series was created by Bryan Fuller and based on the Thomas Harris novel Red Dragon. This TV show is a modern crime drama and horror film series that aired from 2009-2010 on NBC and then moved to CBS in 2011. Another reboot titled “Clarice” was created in 2021.

Hannibal (2013)

hannibal with clarice

Hannibal is an American psychological thriller television series created by Bryan Fuller. The series premiered on April 4, 2013, on NBC in the United States. It is set in present-day Baltimore, Maryland, and revolves around FBI special agent Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) and Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen), an internationally renowned psychiatrist and serial killer.

Clarice (2021)


Clarice Starling (Rebecca Breeds) is a young FBI trainee assigned to the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) in the Behavioral Science Unit (BSU) of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). She is a highly capable forensic psychologist and behavioral analyst who is assigned to work with serial killer Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen), a psychopathic cannibalistic psychiatrist, to assist in his capture.


The Hannibal Lecter movies are a staple of modern horror, offering up some truly unnerving imagery that continues to impact and scare us.

The Hannibal television series isn’t quite as good as the films but it does an excellent job of expanding on the franchise’s mythos in a way that we have never seen before.

The Hannibal Lecter film franchise by now has already achieved iconic status for terror and we might be seeing another iteration of the Hannibal movies in order really soon.

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