Hannibal Lecter is a... complex fellow. He is smart, well-educated (that is something of an understatement), incredibly refined, and a cannibalistic serial killer. Most of his crimes are marked by their extremely theatrical design or execution, but never seem to enter into the reign of stylistic overkill. Cold and methodical, Hannibal does not seem to be driven by any particular compulsion and rather seems to commit his crimes in order to fulfill a public service. Hannibal determines his victims by a general pattern of discourtesy that they may display in their everyday conduct. Thus, almost all of Hannibal's victims have been either crass, obnoxious individuals or extremely incompetent ones. With this noted most individuals whom encounter him would recognise that, as long as you are civil, Doctor Lecter will be civil to you.
The Doctor will see you now
Lecter, despite being portrayed as an extreme sociopath, does have a compassionate side. His profession (psychiatry) would suggest that he has deep sympathy for those whose minds are not entirely well-ordered (order, given Lecter's reverential attitude towards social etiquette, is the one thing we definitely know drives Lecter), or at least that he wants to understand more clearly minds that, due to their less ordered design, he would not understand. He also acts as a father figure for Agent Clarice Sterling (though she we would be the last to admit it) and goes to great lengths to avoid having to face situations where he must hurt her.
The Man Who Caught Lecter... say thank you
The first film in the 'Silence of the Lambs' trilogy begins with Hannibal Lecter as a respected psychiatrist whom regularly helps FBI Special Agent Will Graham catch serial killers. While Graham talks with Lecter about a cannibalistic serial murderer, Will begins to believe that Lecter is the killer he is looking for when he notices that the good doctor is proactively trying to get him to dismiss a theoretical pathology for the mysterious cannibal. Will attempts to leave the house, but Lecter (having noticed Will's suspicious expressions) attacks him. Graham, through a stroke of amazingly good luck, incapacitates Lecter.
A few years later, Graham (after coming back from retirement to find a serial killer known as 'the Tooth Fairy') requests Lecter's help once again to find the killer. Although Lecter does help him, the doctor also reveals the location of the Graham family house to 'the Tooth Fairy' and, by doing so, almost causes the death of the Graham family. By the film's end, Lecter is informed by the head of the asylum (Dr. Frederick Chilton) that a young woman wants to see him.
The Silence of the Lambs
That young woman is revealed to be FBI trainee Clarice Starling, who has been sent to try and receive information from him concerning the pathology of serial killer 'Buffalo Bill'. Hannibal, by happenstance, met 'Buffalo Bill' once and is now willing to divulge his identity, but only through riddles and clues that are present to Clarice after she reveals certain details about her past. She reveals these details, and Lecter ultimately leads her to 'Bill', whom she kills.
Lecter ponders the situation
However, because Frederick Chilton was upset that Clarice was seeing Lecter so often without telling him anything about what the meetings pertained to, the asylum directer manages to discredit Starling by recording her sessions with Hannibal and presenting them to Senator Ruth Martin (the mother of Bill's most recent kidnap victim). The Senator makes a deal with Lecter for the identity of the serial killer and for the successful recovery of her daughter (Bill is known to keep his victims alive for a short period before killing them) in exchange for better accommodation. Lecter takes advantage of the lax security of his new residence and escapes, killing two policeman, a few paramedics, and a tourist in the process. After Starling is commended for her on the 'Buffolo Bill' case by the FBI, Lecter contacts Clarice from the Bahamas and tells her he has 'no plans to call on you, as the world is more interesting with her in it'. He then follows the holidaying Dr. Frederick Chilton (his "nemesis") through the sunny streets.
Lecter is now living in Florence, Italy under the name 'Dr. Fell', imminently to become curator of the Capponi Library. One of Lecter's old victims, the wealthy and hideously deformed Mason Verger, decides to seek revenge against Lecter and offers a large reward for any information to that would lead to his capture by Verger's hired Italian goons. Chief Inspecter Rinaldo Pazzi manages to obtain an impression of one of Lecter's fingerprints and thereby informs Verger's cronies of the good doctor's whereabouts. The bounty-hunters move in, but Lecter alludes them after cutting the throat of one of them and disemboweling Pazzi in a particularly theatrical manner. Lecter leaves Italy.
During his time in Italy, Lecter wrote to Clarice Starling after she had been disgraced after a drug bust that she had overseen went bad. Lecter travels to America to continue his relations with Starling and track down Verger. After following Starling through a supermarket, Lecter is kidnapped by Verger's men. He is brought to Verger's estate and prepared for a 'feeding' with wild boars. Clarice Starling, having witnessed Lecter's kidnapping, suspects that Verger is behind it and goes into the Verger mansion alone to investigate (she was on suspended leave at the time). She successfully frees Lecter and kills Verger's men, but is rendered unconscious by a stray bullet. Lecter persuades Verger's nurse, Cordell, to feed Mason to the wild bulls to avoid being implicated in the whole sordid affair. Lecter leaves the mansion.
Lecter's icy stare
Lecter brings Starling to the house of Paul Krendler, whom had been working with Verger to get Hannibal to his deformed victim before the authorities captured him. Lecter incapacitates Krendler and drugs Starling. Under her stupor, Starling has dinner with Hannibal and Krendler, with the main course being Krendler's brain. After some difficulty, Clarice manages to contact the authorities and inform them of her predicament. After Krendler dies, Clarice attempts to apprehend Lecter, and almost succeeds after handcuffing her hand to his. Pressed for time, Lecter cuts of his own hand in an act of generosity most have not known him to be capable of. Lecter escapes and is last scene on a plane with one of his arms in a sling eating some of the leftover parts of Krendler's brain matter. A child sitting next to Lecter asks if he can try this mysterious substance, and Lecter gladly obliges.
Mason after a session with Lecter
- Census Taker (disputable) - An unidentified census taker whom Lecter cornered and cannibalized, eating their remains with some fava beans and a nice Chianti for trying to dissect his personality (which Lecter evidently thought very rude). Whether Lecter actually committed this murder is unknown, as he did mention it to Clarice Starling specifically to scare her after she quietly reprimanded Lecter.
- Mason Verger (survived) - One of Lecter's patients, Verger was selected by Lecter for molesting children. Lecter did not proactively hurt Verger, though. Instead, he drugged his affluent patient and persuaded him to cut of his own face. Verger became a quadriplegic and, due to the nature of how he obtained his injuries, could not file a complaint against Lecter. Verger tried to kill Lecter almost two decades after the incident, but Lecter ultimately persuaded Mason's nurse to feed him to the wild boars that Verger had originally intended to eat Lecter.
- Benjamin Raspail (disputable) - Raspail was one of Lecter's patients, and the reason for Lecter's decision to murder him was made on the fact that he was a terrible flutist. Lecter credits Raspail's murder to Buffalo Bill, but it is unknown whether Clarice Starling was mistaken in the film 'Hannibal' about Lecter murdering Raspail, or if Lecter was simply lying. Lecter's murder of an unidentified member of the Baltimore Philharmonic Orchestra, though, is a bit too much of a coincidence.
- Will Graham (survived) - Special Agent Will Graham often consulted Lecter for appraisals of the pathology of unidentified killers before one brainstorming session led Graham to suspect that Lecter was in fact the latest killer that he had been looking for. Lecter tried to kill Graham by cutting open his abdomen, but Graham ultimately subdued him. Lecter still holds a grudge against Graham for bringing about his apprehension and makes many further attempts to bring about the retired special agent's death. Nevertheless, Lecter does not consider Graham to be a particularly rude and therefore makes no effort to pursue him after escaping prison. Lecter even admits to having a grudging respect for the young fellow, and is shown to attempt to make Graham's death relatively quick.
- Female Nurse (survived) - One year after being incarcerated in a Baltimore asylum, Lecter complained of chest pains and was admitted into the infirmary. After his restraints were removed, he bit into her face and consumed her tongue. The doctors managed to save one of her eyes and reset her jaw ("more or less"). Lecter's motive for this attack is left ambiguous, though it is possible that it was done to spite Dr. Chilton.
- 'Multiple' Miggs - Miggs occupied the cell next to Lecter in the asylum and was driven to suicide by Lecter's 'skills of communication' after he had thrown semen (after a session of rigorous masturbation) into Clarice Starling's face. He killed himself by biting off his own tongue and swallowing it, thereby bleeding to death.
- Sergeant Boyle - Boyle was one of two policemen assigned to guard Lecter during his stay in Tennessee, and spent much of that time being impotent towards Lecter. When Boyle and Sergeant Pembry brought Lecter his dinner, Lecter picked the lock of his handcuffs and chained Boyle to a bar in his prison cell. He then preceded to bludgeon Boyle with his own nightstick ferociously, though also coolly. Boyle's body was found strung up against the cell wall, his chest cut open to form the outline of an angel. This was likely done as a final humiliation to Pembry.
- Sergeant Pembry - Pembry was one of two policemen assigned to guard Lecter during his stay in Tennessee. Lecter kills Pembry and escapes his prison by cutting off Pembry's face and wearing it while the paramedics rush the apparently injured police officer to the nearest hospital. His faceless body is left atop an elevator.
- Paramedic - Whilst in an ambulance, Lecter pealed Pembry's face off his own and killed the paramedic who was attending to him in an unspecified manner.
- Ambulance Drivers - Clarice Starling's friend Ardelia notes how the ambulance "crew" were found dead, indicating that Lecter also killed the drivers.
- Unidentified Tourist - It is also noted by Ardelia that Lecter, after attending to the ambulance, killed a tourist nearby an airport and took his clothes and passport in order to run off to another country.
- Dr. Frederick Chilton (disputable) - Chilton ran the asylum that Lecter was incarcerated in, and would have been killed based on his obnoxious behaviour and lascivious behaviour towards Clarice Starling. The films do not outright state that Chilton has died or even disappeared, but do strongly imply it.
- Signore de Bonaventura (disputable) - The former curator of the Capponi Library, Bonaventura 'mysteriously disappeared', leaving the enigmatic Dr. Fell (Lecter in disguise) to take his place. One of the few times Lecter may have killed purely to attain a higher status.
- Mugger - Hired by Pazzi to obtain an imprint of 'Dr. Fell's' fingerprints on a bracelet by way of staging a mugging, this young mugger is successful at his task... but is regrettably stabbed in the testicles by the good doctor after clumsily following Lecter for quite some time. He dies of blood loss. Lecter's motives for killing the mugger are difficult to determine, as it is not known as to whether Lecter was aware of the mugger's motives for tracking Lecter. Most assume he merely killed the mugger because of his discourteous effort to mug him.
- Chief Inspector Rinaldo Pazzi - Pazzi became a loose acquaintance of Lecter's in an effort to obtain a fingerprint sample. Lecter ultimately cornered him and threw him off a cathedral balcony with his stomach cut open and a noose around his neck. Pazzi had led Verger's henchmen to Lecter and had been killed only after he provided Lecter with the details of how many henchmen were waiting for the good doctor outside the building. Pazzi's execution was designed by Lecter to mirror that of the execution of one of Rinaldo's ancestors, Francesco de Pazzi.
- Junior Bounty Hunter - After killing Pazzi, Lecter slits the throat of one of Verger's henchmen after the man enthusiastically enters the cathedral to corner and capture Lecter personally. Needless to say, Lecter thought that very rude.
- Paul Krendler (may, or may not, have survived) - Paul Krendler was a senior FBI official whom collaborated with Mason Verger for the effort to bring Lecter into Verger's clutches before the proper authorities have a chance of getting to him. After Lecter escaped from Verger's estate with the help of Clarice Starling, Lecter invaded Krendler's holiday house and drugged Krendler upon his arrival at said house. Lecter then cut the top off of Krendler's skull and removed part of his prefrontal cortex to cook and serve to the insensate Krendler and Starling. Lecter targets Krendler for three reasons: 1) He worked with Verger; 2) He was bullying Clarice Starling; 3) He was generally unpleasant. Though Lecter is not shown killing Krendler, he does leave his brain exposed to infection after throwing a dirty towel on it. The chances of his survival are extremely slime.