[Download] Every Movie & Show in the Franchise, Ranked The Talks Today | Latest Movie Review

The stories of Dr. Hannibal Lecter have crisscrossed decades of different viewer bases, each building upon the legend of the serial killer’s stunning exploits. While most audiences were introduced to him in The Silence of the Lambs, his character has made appearances within a variety of media sources since then, and even before that fateful film. Famously referred to as “Hannibal the Cannibal,” Anthony Hopkins’s interpretation of Lecter was ranked #1 on the American Film Institute’s 2003 list of the top villains in the movie world. Known for his insatiable hunger for ill-manned individuals and his cryptic omniscience, the far-reaching impact of this character has undoubtedly taken a bite out of the thriller, mystery, and horror genres.

The backstory of this fictional murderer has basis in reality – Alfredo Ballí Treviño, also known as “Dr. Salazar” and “Werewolf of Nuevo León” a real-life killer who cut up his boyfriend. Originally making his appearance in Thomas Harris’s novel Red Dragon, Hannibal Lecter’s characterization was absolutely inspired by true events. Building upon that, a series of films and TV programs have centered around this crucial antagonist throughout the years. Let’s count down every movie and show in the Hannibal Lecter franchise, ranked.

7 Clarice (2021)

Bringing the story of Hannibal smashing into a new decade, Clarice is a fresh-faced exploration of the protagonist we know from The Silence of the Lambs, After the events of that story, this series picks up the pieces, painting a portrait of a young woman unraveling as her psyche bears the weight of her encounters with Lecter. Required therapy sessions dredge up the past and continued chaos complicates her future, with the show expanding upon the criminal horror of the original films. Following relocation issues, the show isn’t expected to resume in a second season.

6 Red Dragon (2002)

Red Dragon is a second attempt at the adaptation of Thomas Harris’s novel that started it all, coming years after Manhunterthe first film in the Hannibal Lecter franchise that originally told the story on the big screen. Naturally, it reintroduces audiences to the creepy killer, played by a seasoned Anthony Hopkins. Red Dragon follows FBI agent Will Graham, played by Edward Norton, as he consults Lecter for advice on the case of a cannibal. Trying to track down the Tooth Fairy killer draws the two deeper into dangerous territory as Graham wrestles with the necessity of Lecter’s expertise.

Related: Hannibal Lecter Movies in Order: How to Watch Chronologically and By Release Date

5 Manhunter (1986)

As the first entry into the Hannibal series of films and TV shows, Manhunter is the original film adaptation of Thomas Harris’s book Red Dragon, Spelled differently here as Hannibal Lecktor, the iconic serial killer meets up with Will Graham again after his attempt at killing him, which left Graham mentally fragile. The story follows the winding trail that leads to the Tooth Fairy killer, as Graham and Lecktor cross paths again to close the case. As the premier introduction to this cannibalistic character, this film stands as more of a retrospective cult classic these days than at the time of its original theatrical opening.

4 Hannibal Rising (2007)

Throwing it back to the storied and secretive past that turned Lecter into the cannibal that viewers recognize today, Hannibal Rising explores the life of young Hannibal in his native Lithuania. Set against the backdrop of World War II, the film functions as a prelude to the events of the previously released films. Viewers watch his tragic backstory play out as we witness his first killing and his journey into the medical field. An extremely creepy performance from Gaspard Ulliel as young Hannibal, complete with the character’s trademark knowing smile, helps bring this story to life.

3 Hannibal (2001)

Not to be confused with the highly successful series of the 2010s, Hannibal The film is a continuation of the pulse-pounding events of The Silence of the Lambs. Clarice Starling continues to track down the elusive killer after his daring escape at the end of the previous film. This entry in the Hannibal series definitely capitalizes on the creep factor and body horror of these films more so than an expected air of mystery. Who could forget the horrifying sequence where Hannibal performs surgery on a fully awake Paul Krendler and serves him a section of his own brain?

2 Hannibal (2013-2015)

Hannibal, the series, adds a personal touch to the strenuous relationship between Lecter and Will Graham. The on-screen chemistry of Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy adds a new depth to the story, which expands upon the dark secrets held by the excellent psychiatrist turned cold hard killer. As the two team up to unravel and investigate murders, the exploits of the Chesapeake Ripper prove to be closer to home than Will realizes. The show has since been regarded as a cult classic with legions of fans. Brian Fuller, its creator, has said he wishes the story had delved deeper into romantic territory between the two.

Related: Will Hannibal Ever Get Its Long-Awaited Season 4?

1 The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

As the most successful movie to center around Lecter, The Silence of the Lambs broke barriers in the film world when it was released and continues to stand as a cult classic. With a young Jodie Foster playing an outwardly unassuming yet truly tenacious Clarice Starling, the film commences with a game of cat-and-mouse between her and Lecter. As she attempts to crack the case of Buffalo Bill, he reveals secrets to her and keeps her and the FBI guessing as the truth unravels. Winning five Oscars, the film captures both Jodie Foster’s and Anthony Hopkins’s best performances without a question.

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