Broken Base: Brian Cox's portrayal of Lecktor is weird to see for someone who has seen Anthony Hopkins' Lecter first, but while Hopkins has an Oscar to back his version, more and more people are starting to let Cox's Lecktor in from the cold as Manhunter achieves cult status.
Manhunter (1986) vs Red Dragon (2002); which is better? The audience scores on Rotten Tomatoes and viewer ratings on IMDB for both films are essentially equal, so it's definitely a case where it's a matter of opinion varying from person to person.
Covered Up: This film, and specifically Brian Cox's take on the Hannibal "Lecktor" character, has been covered up by the later Thomas Harris adaptations and Anthony Hopkins' portrayal of Hannibal "Lecter".
Funny Moments: Falling asleep on an airplane with a folder full of crime scene photos on your tray? Bad idea.
After Will shuts him down, the way Lectkor pauses, looking at him, before asking him if he "dreams" much takes the very first time Hannibal Lecter ever did something like that and makes it the funniest moment in the movie.
Will's Eureka Momentwill have your blood pumping. No bells or whistles, just a quiet scene with two actors giving great performances, helped by a musical score slowly building up until you see Will's face lighting up with realization.
Doubles with a Heartwarming Moment: Will takes his son shopping and comes clean to him, telling him what he has to do for a living, and the effect it has on him. His son looks at him, then changes the subject, but it's clear that they've made it over a hurdle: Will's son understands and accepts what his dad has to do.
Nightmare Retardant: The revelation of what Hannibal's secret code to Dolarhyde is in the letter he sends happens shortly after the letter is published in the original book and 2002 film, and it's a very frightening moment. In Manhunter, it happens directly after the scariest scene in the movie, and in a ridiculously casual way (it's practically "Oh by the way, Will, Lecktor gave away your home address.")
It's likely that the re-positioning of the scene was to evoke a From Bad to Worse sensation. For some viewers (especially on rewatch), part of the problem is the knowledge that in this version Dolarhyde never gets the chance to use the information, making the subplot rather a waste of time and a Negated Moment of Awesome for Lecktor. However, it does result in a supremely tense Bait-and-Switch scene in which it seems like Dolarhyde is stalking Peterson's wife and son outside their beach house. (It's the cops.)
Three Scene Wonder: Lecktor appears in only three scenes, but he casts a pall over the entire film. Cox's take on him is a slimy, reptilian version, with cold, black eyes and a seemingly toothless mouth.
Vindicated by History: Didn't do very well at the box office and dealt with mixed reviews from critics upon initial release, now it's considered a classic in it's own right and left quite an impact on films and TV shows of the same or similar genre, and is generally regarded the best Hannibal Lecter related adaptation aside from The Silence of the Lambs.
Complete Monster: Walter "Walt" Pratt was the illegitimate son of the Justice Society heroes Phantom Lady and Iron Munroe. Growing up in a series of foster homes, Walt gained a streak of violent misogyny that manifested in brutally killing women later in life. Abusing and eventually murdering his own wife, Walt was sent to prison for the majority of his daughter Kate's life. When Kate was an adult with a young son, Walt returned to her life, revealing he was dying of bone cancer. Seeking to extend his life, Walt tried to kidnap his own grandson Ramsey to harvest his bone marrow to save his own life while paying the two supervillains he hired to do the transplant with Kate's ex-husband Peter, allowing the villains to torture him to death on camera. When he learned Ramsey was not a match, he tried to blackmail Kate to sacrifice herself in the transplant by threatening to beat Peter to death using Ramsey. When he realized there was no further way to survive, Walt proceeded to attempt to kill both Kate and Ramsey, just to ensure his whole bloodline would be extinct.