Want personalized picks that fit your family?

Set preferences to see our top age-appropriate picks for your kids.

Get age-based picks

Red Dragon

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Red Dragon Movie Poster Image
Great, but too scary and violent for most teens.
  • R
  • 2002
  • 124 minutes
Parents recommend

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 7 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.


Very graphic violence, many deaths.


Nudity and sexual references and situations.


Strong language.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drinking and smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie has extreme peril, including a child in danger, and explicit graphic violence. The overall tone of the movie can be deeply disturbing for some audience members and viewers of all ages should carefully consider whether it is appropriate viewing. There are some sexual references and situations.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMovie Man September 6, 2009

Excellent, Horrific Thriller is Better than Silence of the Lambs!

This was a really great film; the performances were uncanny, the storyline was well-written, and the suspense is top-notch. The only reason I give this four sta... Continue reading
Adult Written byravenboy April 9, 2008
Teen, 13 years old Written byandielabeouf July 5, 2009


Its one of favorites, its just great, amazing. Edward Norton's interpretation its amazing. Anthony Hopkins interpretation its just MAGNIFICENT. I loved the... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byWayTooDramatic April 9, 2008

Almost as good as the first!

I don't think Common Sense Media really went into detail in their review. Some things they left out that I thought should be there are there is nudity, alt... Continue reading

What's the story?

Hannibal Lecter is back in RED DRAGON. This time, FBI agent Will Graham (Edward Norton) consults Lecter on a series of murders and then is responsible for his capture, after Lecter tries to kill him. Graham retires from the FBI, but is called back in to consult when another serial killer has murdered two families. Graham visits Lecter in prison to ask for his help tracking down a killer known as "The Tooth Fairy." Unbeknownst to Graham, Lecter is communicating with the killer, who is Francis Dolarhyde (Ralph Fiennes). Meanwhile, Dolarhyde is drawn to his blind coworker Reba (Emily Watson), and he struggles with the demons that tell him to kill and the tender feelings he has for her. Graham must work quickly to uncover the killer's identity, because Dolarhyde's next intended victims are those closest to the FBI agent's heart.

Is it any good?

As engrossing as it is to track down the new killer, the real thrill of Red Dragon is the interaction between Graham and Lecter. Norton's character is more of a challenge for Lecter than novice Clarice Starling (from Silence of the Lambs), and the history between them – and some similarities between them – make for some electric moments on screen. At first, the effort to explain Dolarhyde's compulsion seems overly simplistic, but the way it is used in the movie's climax makes it work.

Every single part of Red Dragon is meticulously cast and brilliantly performed. Among many notable appearances, particular standouts are Harvey Keitel and Ken Leung as FBI agents and Philip Seymour Hoffman as a tabloid reporter. But the primary pleasure here is just being so scared that you might forget to breathe.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how this series and the character Hannibal glorifies the idea of serial killers. Families can also talk about Graham's conversation with Reba. How was what he said important to her? If the FBI comes back to Will to ask him to help again, what should he do? Why? Why are people so fascinated with the Hannibal Lecter character?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate