February 9th, 2001

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Still of Anthony Hopkins and Ray Liotta in HannibalStill of Anthony Hopkins in HannibalThora Birch at event of HannibalStill of Julianne Moore in HannibalStill of Anthony Hopkins and Ridley Scott in HannibalStill of Anthony Hopkins and Julianne Moore in Hannibal

Hannibal returns to America and attempts to make contact with disgraced Agent Starling and survive a vengeful victim's plan.

Release Year: 2001

Rating: 6.5/10 (102,172 voted)

Critic's Score: 57/100

Director: Ridley Scott

Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Julianne Moore, Gary Oldman

The continuing saga of Hannibal Lecter, the murdering cannibal. He is presently in Italy and works as a curator at a museum. Clarice Starling, the FBI agent whom he aided to apprehend a serial killer, was placed in charge of an operation but when one of her men botches it, she's called to the mat by the Bureau. One high ranking official, Paul Krendler has it in for her. But she gets a reprieve because Mason Verger, one of Lecter's victims who is looking to get back at Lecter for what Lecter did to him, wants to use Starling to lure him out. When Lecter sends her a note she learns that he's in Italy so she asks the police to keep an eye out for him. But a corrupt policeman who wants to get the reward that Verger placed on him, tells Verger where he is. But they fail to get him. Later Verger decides to frame Starling which makes Lecter return to the States. And the race to get Lecter begins.

Writers: Thomas Harris, David Mamet

Anthony Hopkins - Hannibal Lecter
Julianne Moore - Clarice Starling
Gary Oldman - Mason Verger
Ray Liotta - Paul Krendler
Frankie Faison - Nurse Barney (as Frankie R. Faison)
Giancarlo Giannini - Insp. Renaldo Pazzi
Francesca Neri - Allegra Pazzi
Zeljko Ivanek - Dr. Cordell Doemling
Hazelle Goodman - Evelda Drumgo
David Andrews - FBI Agent Pearsall
Francis Guinan - FBI Asst. Director Noonan
James Opher - DEA Agent John Eldridge
Enrico Lo Verso - Gnocco
Ivano Marescotti - Carlo
Fabrizio Gifuni - Matteo

Taglines: Never Forget Who He Is


Official Website: MGM Studios [United States] | MGMawards.com [United States] reviews |

Release Date: 9 February 2001

Filming Locations: Asheville, North Carolina, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $87,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $58,003,121 (USA) (11 February 2001) (3230 Screens)

Gross: $165,092,268 (USA)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Originally, it was hoped that this film would re-unite the principal players from The Silence of the Lambs. It turned out that only Anthony Hopkins and Frankie Faison returned for this film. However, it turned out to be a reunion for Hopkins anyway, as he had previously worked with Julianne Moore in Surviving Picasso and Gary Oldman in Dracula.

Audio/visual unsynchronized: The voiceover "reading" Hannibal's letter to Clarice is very different from the written version we see.

Hannibal Lecter: Are you by any chance trying to trace my whereabouts, you naughty girl?

User Review


Rating: 8/10

It's frustrating reading so many negative IMDb comments and media reviews of "Hannibal", because the problems lie not with the film itself but expectations of it. It is also obvious that few critics and commentators are familiar with or fans of Thomas Harris' books; most have only seen the film version of "Silence of the Lambs" which, while very good, was a carve-up of Harris' book, that eliminated or mauled several key sub-plots and moments of character interplay. Rather than the fascinating cerebral relationship Lecter and Starling have in the book, the film SOTL was pretty much a clichéd horror film: dark corridors, cellars, etheral music, a bit of gore. Most probably watch Hannibal expecting more Lecterisms, more I-ate-his-liver quotes, more spooky music and low lighting. What they've got is a much closer interpretation of Harris' work, and they consequently haven't liked it.

In Hannibal we see much more of what Harris intended Lecter to be: a figure of paradox, representing the highest order of human intelligence and the most despicable elements of human behaviour. Lecter is both likable and detestable; at many times in "Hannibal" you find yourself rooting for him, while knowing that you shouldn't. It's this morality twist which makes Harris' work, and this film, truly uncomfortable. Starling has been reduced to a slightly smaller role in this film, as she was in the book (this possibly figured in Jodie Foster's decision to turn down the role). Hopkins, this time given greater scope than dungeon-dwelling abomination, explores the character to great effect. Moore is adept if sometimes overly keen, while Liotta is fairly wooden, though in the final "head-opening" scene he does a good job of evoking grotesque pity in cohort with black comedy.

The film is visually stunning, if a trifle excessive. The Florentine scenes are a swirl of colour and movement; the excellent operatic score underpins the concept of Lecter as cultural, refined and sophisticated. The screenplay was a workmanlike adaptation of Harris' novel, with very few changes. Overall I thought the film was a fine one and should be destined for a few award nominations. It is just a shame that Hannibal has essentially been judged in comparison to SOTL, rather than in its own right - and its reputation has therefore been affected by a silly expectation that sequels should provide more of the same, rather than exploring new ground.

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