Hannibal is a 2001 American psychological horror thriller film directed by Ridley Scott, adapted from Thomas Harris's 1999 novel of the same name. It is the sequel to the 1991 Academy Award–winning film The Silence of the Lambs in which Anthony Hopkins returns to his role as the serial killer, Hannibal Lecter. Julianne Moore co-stars, in the role first held by Jodie Foster, as FBI Special Agent Clarice Starling.
Ten years after tracking down serial killer Jame Gumb, FBI Special Agent Clarice Starling is unjustly blamed for a botched drug raid. She is later contacted by Mason Verger, the only surviving victim of the serial killer Hannibal Lecter. A wealthy child molester, Verger was paralyzed and brutally disfigured by Lecter during a therapy session. He has been pursuing an elaborate scheme to capture, torture, and kill Lecter ever since. Using his wealth and political influence, Verger has Starling reassigned to Lecter's case, hoping her involvement will draw Lecter out.
After learning of Starling's public disgrace, Lecter sends her a taunting letter. Starling detects a strange fragrance from the letter. A perfume expert later identifies a skin cream whose ingredients are only available to a few shops in the world. She contacts the police departments of the cities where the shops are located, requesting surveillance tapes. In Florence, one of those cities, Chief Inspector Rinaldo Pazzi is investigating the disappearance of a library curator. Pazzi questions Lecter, who is masquerading as Dr. Fell, the assistant curator and caretaker.
Upon recognizing Dr. Fell in the surveillance tape, Pazzi accesses the ViCAP database of wanted fugitives. He then learns of Verger's US$3 million personal bounty on Lecter. Blinded by greed, Pazzi ignores Starling's warnings and attempts to capture Lecter alone. He recruits a pickpocket to obtain Lecter's fingerprint to show Verger as proof. The pickpocket, mortally wounded by Lecter, manages to get the print and gives it to Pazzi. Lecter baits Pazzi into an isolated room of the Palazzo Vecchio, ties him up, then disembowels and hangs him. Lecter then heads back to the United States.
Verger bribes Justice Department official Paul Krendler to accuse Starling of withholding a note from Lecter, leading to her suspension. Lecter lures Starling to Union Station. Verger's men, having trailed Starling, capture and bring Lecter to Verger. Verger intends to feed Lecter alive to a herd of wild boars bred specifically for this purpose. After her superiors refuse to act, Starling infiltrates Verger's estate. After neutralizing the two guards and freeing Lecter, she is shot by a third guard who was in hiding. Lecter picks up an unconscious Starling just before the boars break through the doors. Verger orders his physician Cordell Doemling to shoot Lecter, but, with Lecter's suggestion, Cordell shoves his hated boss into the pen. Lecter carries Starling and watches the boars eat Verger alive.
Lecter takes Starling to Krendler's secluded lake house and treats her wounds. When Krendler arrives for the Fourth of July, Lecter subdues and drugs him. Starling, disoriented by morphine and dressed in a black velvet evening gown, awakens to find Krendler seated at the table set for an elegant dinner. Weakened by the drugs, she looks on in horror as Lecter removes part of Krendler's prefrontal cortex, sautés it, and feeds it to him.
After the meal, Starling tries to attack Lecter, but he overpowers her. She handcuffs his wrist to hers. Hearing the police closing in, Lecter threatens to sever her cuffed hand to escape. Lecter is later seen on a flight with his own boxed lunch, his bandaged arm in a sling. As he prepares to eat his meal, including what is assumed to be part of a cooked brain, a young boy seated next to him asks to try some of his food. Lecter shares the brain with the boy, saying it is important "always to try new things."
- Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Hannibal Lecter
- Julianne Moore as Clarice Starling
- Gary Oldman as Mason Verger
- Ray Liotta as Paul Krendler
- Frankie R. Faison as Barney Matthews
- Giancarlo Giannini as Chief Inspector Rinaldo Pazzi
- Francesca Neri as Allegra Pazzi
- Željko Ivanek as Dr. Cordell Doemling
- Hazelle Goodman as Evelda Drumgo
- Robert Rietti as Sogliato
- David Andrews as FBI Agent Pearsall
- Francis Guinan as FBI Asst. Director Noonan
- Enrico Lo Verso as Gnocco
- Ivano Marescotti as Carlo Deogracias
- Danielle de Niese as Beatrice
In 1994, a Rolling Stone magazine interviewer asked The Silence of the Lambs director Jonathan Demme about a possible sequel. Demme responded that Thomas Harris, author of The Silence of the Lambs, had been working on the follow-up for "seven or eight years". Demme had an idea even at that time that it would not be a straight follow-up. Harris had told Demme: "I imagine Doctor Lecter going somewhere in Europe ... strolling round the streets of Florence or Munich, gazing in the windows of watchmakers ..." Demme stated his intention to be involved in the film adaptation of Hannibal in 1998, less than a year before the novel was published.