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Francis Dolarhyde
Francis Dolarhyde
Known Aliases: The Great Red Dragon
Gender: Male
Portrayed By: Tom Noonan
Ralph Fiennes
First Appearance: Manhunter

Francis Dolarhyde is a fictional character and the primary antagonist of Thomas Harris's 1981 novel Red Dragon.

Character overview

Dolarhyde is a serial killer who murders entire families. He is nicknamed "The Tooth Fairy" due to his tendency to bite his victims' bodies, the uncommon size and sharpness of his teeth and other apparent oral fixations. He refers to his other self as "The Great Red Dragon" after William Blake's painting "The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun".

Graham laments that many serial killers are the victims of severe child abuse, and Dolarhyde probably started out as an abused, battered infant, who was transformed into a monster. This echoes Dr. Lecter's later remark in The Silence of the Lambs that Jame Gumb/"Buffalo Bill" was not born a monster but turned into one through years of systematic abuse. After Dolarhyde's apparent death the FBI recovers his warped journals, and indeed they recount that Dolarhyde suffered child abuse so severe that even Graham felt pity for him. Nonetheless, Graham insists that while Dolarhyde may have started out as an abused child, as an adult he's irredeemable, a monster who butchers entire families to fulfill his own trivial fantasies.

Film adaptations

Dolarhyde has been twice portrayed in film adaptations of Harris' novel: By Tom Noonan (in which he was called 'Dollarhyde') in 1986's Manhunter, and by Ralph Fiennes in 2002's Red Dragon. In deleted scenes in Red Dragon, Dolarhyde's Great Red Dragon personality is voiced by Frank Langella.

In Manhunter, Dolarhyde was filmed two different ways; shirtless with an elaborate tattoo covering his upper torso and back (as opposed to Dolarhyde's tattoos in the book, which only covered his back), and with a shirt on thus covering his tattoo. The former was not used in the finished film, partly because the tattoos were considered too distracting and similar to the ones that the Yakuza wore. The look, however, appeared on promotional photos for the film.

In the first movie, Graham kills Dolarhyde, while in the second, both he and his wife have a hand in Dolarhyde's death, with Graham firing the majority of the shots in a crossfire with Dolarhyde, and his wife finishing him off as Dolarhyde rises back up, even with the bullet wounds.

Francis Dolarhyde was voted the #18th Scariest Characters in Cinema with respect to both Tom Noonan's and Ralph Fiennes' respective portrayals.


Hannibal Lecter Films vte
Films ManhunterThe Silence of the LambsHannibalRed DragonHannibal Rising
Characters Hannibal LecterWill GrahamClarice StarlingFrancis DolarhydeBuffalo BillFrederick ChiltonJack CrawfordFreddy LoundsMason Verger

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