- Directors: Phil Alden Robinson
- Producers: Mace Neufeld
- Writers: Tom Clancy, Paul Attanasio Daniel Pyne
- Genres: Action, Drama, Thriller
- Actors: Ben Affleck, Morgan Freeman, James Cromwell, Liev Schreiber, Bridget Moynahan, Michael Byrne
The film begins with a sequence inspired by the novel’s prologue set during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, in which a single Israeli A-4 jet carrying a nuclear weapon is shot down over the Syrian desert. The bomb, over time, is consumed by the sand and disappears.
The film narrative then shifts forward 29 years and inside a secret government bunker in Mount Weather, Virginia, where President J. Robert Fowler (James Cromwell) and some of his senior national security advisors, including Central Intelligence Agency Director William Cabot (Morgan Freeman), are conducting a top-secret wargame, simulating a Russian nuclear attack against the United States.
In 2002, the bomb is found in Syria by a couple of scrap dealers and unwittingly sold to an arms dealer named Olson (Colm Feore), who in turn sells it to an Austrian neo-Nazi named Richard Dressler (Alan Bates) for 50 million dollars on the black market.
Meanwhile, the United States becomes concerned when Alexander Nemerov (Ciaran Hinds) becomes the new president of the Russian Federation. Nemerov is seen as a hard-liner with regards to his control over the Russian military. The Director of Central Intelligence seeks the opinion of young CIA analyst Jack Ryan (Ben Affleck), who has done extensive research on Nemerov’s life and career. While on a routine inspection of Russia’s nuclear weapons facilities, Cabot and Ryan are invited to the Kremlin to meet with Nemerov personally. Tension arises when Nemerov likens the United States’ involvement in Russian-Chechen affairs to “sleeping with another man’s wife”, with Russia playing the part of the betrayed and vengeful husband. Nonetheless, Nemerov appears to like Jack Ryan (Affleck) after Ryan complements Nemerov in Russian.
The final scene takes place in Washington, D.C., where Presidents Fowler and Nemerov address the Baltimore tragedy and the future of Weapons of Mass Destruction during a speech on the White House lawn. In a nearby park, Ryan and Cathy Mueller are having a picnic when they are approached by Grushkov. It is revealed that Grushkov is Spinnaker: Cabot’s covert source in Moscow. Grushkov gives Dr. Muller a “modest gift” for her engagement to Ryan. Muller and Ryan are perplexed, as they have not told anyone of their engagement. Ryan asks Grushkov how he could possibly know this secret, but he simply smiles, shrugs and walks away.