The Hunt for Red October

  • Directors: John McTiernan
  • Producers: Mace Neufeld
  • Writers: Screenplay, Larry Ferguson, Donald Stewart, Novel, Tom Clancy
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Thriller
  • Actors: Sean Connery, Alec Baldwin, Scott Glenn, Sam Neill, James Earl Jones

Marko Ramius (Sean Connery), a Lithuanian, is captain of the Soviet Navy’s newest Typhoon-class ballistic missile submarine, the Red October, equipped with a revolutionary silent propulsion system known as a caterpillar drive. A naval veteran with nearly 40 years of experience, he was considered the best officer in the Soviet Navy. He has taken out the lead boat for each new submarine class, trained most of the officer corps, and has good political connections via his late wife. At the start of the movie, he is shown taking the boat out to sea, ostensibly for its first exercise with other units of the Russian Fleet. The captain, however, has another plan—to navigate the submarine to the coast of America in order to defect, as he considers the Red October to be a first-strike weapon that cannot be left in the hands of the Soviets.

To achieve this, he must murder Ivan Putin (Peter Firth), his political officer, who alone amongst his officers was not hand-picked in support of this action. With the ship’s doctor, Yevgeniy Petrov (Tim Curry), and cook, Igor Loginov (Tomas Arana), as witnesses, Ramius takes the late political officer’s missile key, granting him sole control over the ship’s missile systems. After this is done, Ramius reads substitute orders to his crew to support the mission (stating they will conduct missile drills off the coast of New York City and then sail to Havana for shore leave), and begins his long journey. He is at first discovered and tracked by the USS Dallas, an American attack submarine, but upon activation of the caterpillar drive he is able to break away. Meanwhile, Soviet authorities read a letter posted by Ramius prior to his departure, announcing his intention to defect. The Soviet Navy immediately puts to sea to locate and sink the Red October. One of the ships that joins in the hunt is the Alfa-class attack submarine V.K. Konovalov, commanded by Captain Tupolev (Stellan SkarsgÃ¥rd), a former student of Ramius. This causes a stir in Washington, D.C. when the activity triggers a reciprocal deployment of U.S. assets, as Russian intentions are unclear.

Concurrently, the saboteur, revealed to be Loginov, shoots at the captain, missing and instead fatally wounding the executive officer, Vasily Borodin (Sam Neill), along with damaging the fire control panel (leaving Red October unable to return fire). An alarm reveals that Loginov has headed into the missile launch area, and Ramius realizes that Loginov intends to ignite a missile launch mechanism, which would destroy the Red October. Ryan and Ramius go after Loginov, while Mancuso takes command of the Red October to deal with the external threat. As Ramius predicted, the Konovalov fires another torpedo which arms at launch. While chasing Loginov, Ramius is shot and injured, leaving Ryan to search for him in the submarine’s missile bay. As Loginov attempts to (and nearly does) detonate the launch mechanism of one of the missiles, he is gunned down by Ryan. Meanwhile, USS Dallas and Red October make a series of evasive maneuvers, causing the torpedo to target the Konovalov instead and destroy it. The crew of the Red October who had evacuated and were on board a U.S. Navy rescue ship witnessed the explosion and believed it to be the Red October that had been destroyed. Ultimately the submarine finds haven in the Penobscot River in Maine, and Ryan flies home—too exhausted to consider his fear of flying as he had not had a decent night’s sleep since before the film begins—with a teddy bear that he had promised for his daughter.

Clear and Present Danger

  • Directors: Phillip Noyce
  • Producers:
  • Writers: Novel, Tom Clancy, Screenplay, Donald Stewart, Steven Zaillian, John Milius
  • Genres: Action, Thriller
  • Actors: Harrison Ford, Willem Dafoe, Anne Archer, Miguel Sandoval, Joaquim de Almeida, and, James Earl Jones

The film opens with a United States Coast Guard patrol boat stopping a suspicious yacht, finding that an American businessman and his family had been murdered by several men still operating the craft. The murdered man happens to have been a close friend of President of the United States. President Bennett (Donald Moffat) finds out that the man was murdered because of his ties to the Cali Cartel, having skimmed over $650 million from the Cartel for his own use. In his anger, the President tells James Cutter, his National Security Advisor, that the Colombian drug cartels represent “a clear and present danger” to the U.S., indirectly giving Cutter unofficial permission to take down the men responsible for his friend’s death.

Jack Ryan (Harrison Ford), meanwhile, is appointed Deputy Director (Intelligence) when his friend, mentor, and boss Admiral James Greer (James Earl Jones) is diagnosed with an aggressive, and ultimately fatal, case of pancreatic cancer. Upon his appointment, Ryan is asked to go before the United States Congress to request increased funding of $70 million for ongoing CIA intelligence operations in Colombia. Congress agrees to provide the funding, with Senator Mayo receiving Ryan’s word that “no troops” or black-ops will be used in Colombia. Needing to keep an unwitting Ryan out of the loop, Cutter turns to CIA Deputy Director of Operations Robert Ritter, who secures a document giving him permission to do what he sees fit to take down the cartel. Ritter then assembles a black-ops team with the help of John Clark (Willem Dafoe), a secret field operative. Clark and his team travel to Colombia and begin destroying the various Cartel gangs, their equipment and hidden drug lab facilities.

Back home, Ryan angrily confronts the President, who was indirectly responsible for all the carnage. The President smugly tries to convince Ryan that he now holds “a chip in the big game” â€” by being in the loop of what happened, Ryan can use the President for special favors, in return for keeping the debacle secret. The late Admiral Greer would be the scapegoat instead. Ryan is unable to bear dishonoring the black-ops team who died in the raid, the innocent civilians (whom Cutter called “collateral damage”) who died from the aerial bomb at the villa and the legacy of his mentor. He angrily tells the President that he intends to blow the whistle at a Congressional Oversight Committee session despite the damage it could do to his career, saying to the President, “Sorry I don’t dance”. He then walks out of the Oval Office, and the film ends with Ryan beginning his testimony to Congress.