Hannibal Rising (film)

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Hannibal Rising
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Peter Webber
Produced by
Screenplay by Thomas Harris
Based on Hannibal Rising 
by Thomas Harris
Music by
Cinematography Ben Davis
Edited by
Distributed by
Release dates
  • 7 February 2007 (2007-02-07) (France)
  • 9 February 2007 (2007-02-09) (Italy/US/UK)
  • 22 February 2007 (2007-02-22) (Czech Republic)
Running time
121 minutes[1]
  • France
  • United Kingdom
  • United States[2]
Language English
Budget $50 million[3]
Box office $82.2 million[4]

Hannibal Rising is a 2007 horror film and the fifth film of the Hannibal Lecter franchise. It is a prequel to the previous three films: Red Dragon, The Silence of the Lambs, and Hannibal. The film is an adaptation of Thomas Harris' 2006 novel of the same name and tells the story of Lecter's evolution into a cannibalistic serial killer.

French actor Gaspard Ulliel portrays Lecter. Anthony Hopkins played the role in three previous films, and Brian Cox portrayed him in Manhunter (1986).

Hannibal Rising was directed by Peter Webber from a screenplay by Harris, and was filmed in Barrandov Studios in Prague. It was produced by the Dino De Laurentiis Company and was released on 9 February 2007. Theatrical distribution in the United States was handled by The Weinstein Company and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The DVD was released on 29 May 2007.


In 1941, an eight-year-old Hannibal Lecter lives in Lecter Castle in Lithuania. Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union turns the Baltic region into part of the bloodiest front line of World War II. Lecter, his younger sister Mischa, and their parents travel to the family's hunting lodge in the woods to elude the advancing German troops. After three years, the Nazis are finally driven out of the countries soon to be occupied by the Soviet Union. During their retreat, however, they destroy a Soviet tank that had stopped at the Lecter family's lodge looking for water. The explosion kills everyone but Lecter and Mischa. They survive in the cottage until six former Lithuanian militiamen, led by a Nazi collaborator named Vladis Grutas, storm and loot it. Finding no other food in the bitterly cold Baltic winter, the men look menacingly at Lecter and Mischa.

By 1949, Lecter Castle has been turned into a Soviet orphanage and is ironically housing the interned orphan Hannibal Lecter. After dealing violently with a bully, Lecter escapes from the castle orphanage to Paris to live with his widowed aunt, the Lady Murasaki. While in France, Lecter flourishes as a student. He commits his first murder as a teenager, killing a local butcher who insults his aunt. He is suspected of the murder by Inspector Popil, a French detective who also lost his family in the war. Thanks in part to his aunt's intervention, Lecter escapes responsibility for the crime.

Eventually, Lecter becomes the youngest person ever admitted to medical school in France. He receives a working scholarship at a hospital in Paris, where he is given a job preparing cadavers. One day, Lecter witnesses a condemned war criminal receiving a sodium thiopental injection, allowing him to recall details about his war crimes. Consequently, in an attempt to recall the names of those responsible for his sister's death, Lecter injects himself with the solution. His subsequent flashback reveals to the viewers the men who had killed Mischa, had also cannibalized her as well. Lecter returns to Lithuania in search of his sister's remains. He excavates the ruins of the lodge where his family died, and upon finding Mischa's remains, he gives her a proper burial. He also unearths the dog-tags of the deserters who killed his sister. One of them, Dortlich, attempts to kill him but is incapitated by Lecter. After he buries Mischa's remains, Lecter forces Dortlich to reveal the whereabouts of the rest of his gang, then decapitates Dortlich with a horse-drawn pulley. Dortlich's blood splashes on Lecter's face, and he licks it off.

Lecter then visits Kolnas' restaurant in Fontainbleau. He finds his young daughter and notices Mischa's bracelet on her. He gives her Kolnas' dogtag. Dortlich's murder puts the rest of the group on alert and, because of the similarity to the first murder, places Lecter under renewed suspicion from Popil. Grutas, now a sex trafficker, dispatches a second member of the group, Zigmas Milko, to kill him. Lecter kills Milko instead, drowning him in formaldehyde inside his laboratory. Popil then tries to dissuade him from hunting the gang. During a confrontation with Lady Murasaki, Lecter almost has sex with her, but relents after Lady Murasaki begs him not to get revenge, claiming that he made a promise to Mischa. He attacks Grutas in his home but Grutas is rescued by his bodyguards.

Grutas kidnaps Lady Murasaki and calls Lecter, using her as bait. Lecter recognizes the sounds of Kolnas' birds from his restaurant in the background. Lecter goes there and plays on Kolnas' emotions by threatening his children. Kolnas gives up the location of Grutas' boat, but Lecter kills him when Kolnas goes for Lecter's gun. Lecter goes to the houseboat. In a final confrontation, Grutas claims that Lecter too had consumed his sister in broth fed to him by the soldiers, and he was killing them to keep this fact secret. Enraged, Lecter eviscerates him by carving his sister's initial into his body. Lady Murasaki, finally disturbed by his behavior, flees from him even after he tells her that he loves her. The houseboat is incinerated, but Lecter, assumed to be dead, emerges from the woods. Lecter hunts down the last member of the group, Grentz, in Canada.



Critical response[edit]

Hannibal Rising received generally negative reviews from film critics, though Ulliel's performance as Lecter was generally praised.[citation needed] The film garnered a 15% approval rating from 143 critics—an average rating of 3.9 out of 10—on the review-aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, which said, "Hannibal Rising reduces the horror icon to a collection of dime-store psychological traits."[5] Metacritic provides a score of 35% based on reviews from 30 critics, which indicates "generally unfavorable" reviews.[6] The film was nominated for, but did not win, two Golden Raspberry awards. They were for Worst Prequel or Sequel (lost to Daddy Day Camp) and Worst Excuse for a Horror Movie (lost to I Know Who Killed Me).

Box office[edit]

The film opened at #2 in the United States with $13.4 million, less than half of the $33.7 million opening of Norbit[7] which was released during the same week as Hannibal Rising. In its second week of release, Hannibal Rising dropped to #7 at the U.S. box office, making $5.5 million, a 59% drop from the previous week. It dropped out of the top 10 U.S. grossing films in its third week of release at #13 with $1,706,165 in revenue, a 69% drop from the previous week. After a theatrical release of 91 days, the final total North American domestic gross of the film was $27,669,725, less than the opening weekend gross of both Hannibal and Red Dragon ($58,003,121 and $36,540,945, respectively).

Home media[edit]

The DVD was released on 29 May 2007 and sold 480,861 units in the opening weekend, generating revenue of $10,574,133. As of August 2009, the film has grossed $23,242,853 from DVD sales alone. Blu-ray sales or DVD rentals are not included.[8]


  1. ^ "HANNIBAL RISING (18)". British Board of Film Classification. 15 January 2007. Retrieved 10 September 2013. 
  2. ^ Harvey, Dennis (8 February 2007). "Hannibal Rising". Variety. Retrieved 8 December 2013. 
  3. ^ Hannibal Rising, The Numbers
  4. ^ Hannibal Rising, Box Office Mojo
  5. ^ Hannibal Rising at Rotten Tomatoes Flixster
  6. ^ Hannibal Rising at Metacritic CBS Interactive
  7. ^ Gwyneth Paltrow finds "Country Strong" a struggle (Reuters), 21 December 2010 Yahoo! Movies: Movie News
  8. ^ Hannibal Rising – DVD Sales. The Numbers. Retrieved on 2010-12-22.

External links[edit]