Red Dragon

  • Review Date: May 20, 2003
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Release Year: 2002
  • Running Time: 124 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Great, but too scary and violent for most teens.
  • Review Date: May 20, 2003
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Release Year: 2002
  • Running Time: 124 minutes





What parents need to know


Very graphic violence, many deaths.


Nudity and sexual references and situations.


Strong language.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drinking and smoking

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.

Parents say

Kids say

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.

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:October 4, 2002
DVD release date:April 1, 2003
Cast:Anthony Hopkins, Edward Norton, Ralph Fiennes
Director:Brett Ratner
Studio:Universal Pictures
Run time:124 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:graphic, intense violence and some nudity

This review of Red Dragon was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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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 book too. if you haven't seen the movie, read the book first, you'll love it ;D
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 stars instead of five is becuase it grows just a tad weary near the middle, but the excellent twist and sequences in the end make up for it. Bravo, especially to Anthony Hopkins and Edward Norton, and Kutos to Ralph Fiennes, Emily Watson, Harvey Keitel, and everyone else in the film! PARENTS: The violent images in this film are quite horrific and almost nothing is left to the imagination.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex


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