Over the last three decades, there have been five movies featuring Hannibal Lecter, and one TV show. In that time, four different men have played the cannibalistic doctor who expertly pairs his wines with his kills – some, better than others. While it’s hard to critique each actor considering the context of when they where playing the character, and the context in which the character is being played, there is definitely a hierarchy to the on-screen Lecters. But that doesn’t mean we should take anything away from any of the performances. The history of Lecter and the future of Lecter all work together to create the sociopath created by Thomas Harris that we know in love.
Take, for example, the highly-underrated Manhunter. Brian Cox didn’t have the voice or mannerisms of Lecter quite yet, but without him trailblazing, would Anthony Hopkins’ perfect portrayal of Lecter in Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal and Red Dragon (a remake/reboot/reimagining of Manhunter)? And if it weren’t for Hopkins, would Mads Mikkelsen have been able to nail his contemporary Lecter so well?
Lecters. Lecters everywhere.
If only there could be a Super Smash Bros. of Lecters, so we could figure who was the best Lecter in a winner-takes-all (livers) deathmatch. Or is it as simple as saying, “Hopkins”?