The Hunt for Red October (1990)


The Hunt for Red October is a 1990 film based on the novel of the same name by Tom Clancy. It was directed by John McTiernan and stars Sean Connery as Captain Marko Ramius and Alec Baldwin as Jack Ryan. It had mostly negative reviews at first but has received critical acclaim since, including 95% on Rotten Tomatoes. It was one of the top grossing films of the year, grossing $122 million in North America and $200 million worldwide. The film won the Academy Award for Sound Editing in 1991.


Captain First Rank Marko Ramius (Sean Connery) is the commanding officer of Red October, a new Soviet submarine whose caterpillar drive renders it undetectable. The year is 1984. Ramius receives orders to take the boat to sea for exercises with the submarine V.K. Konovalov, commanded by his former student Captain Tupolev (Stellan Skarsgård). Ramius murders political officer Ivan Putin (Peter Firth), the one man not under his command and the only man aboard besides himself who knows the sub's orders, then burns the orders and tells the crew they will conduct nuclear missile drills off America's east coast. The Dallas, an American submarine on patrol nearby, detects Red October but loses contact once Ramius engages the silent drive. The next morning, CIA analyst Jack Ryan (Alec Baldwin) briefs U.S. government officials on the departure of Red October and the threat it poses. Officials in the briefing, learning that the Soviet Navy has been deployed to sink Red October, fear Ramius may plan a strike against the U.S. However, Ryan thinks Ramius plans to defect and leaves for the North Atlantic to prove his theory before the U.S. Navy is ordered to sink Red October. Red October's caterpillar drive fails at sea and sabotage is suspected. No longer silent, the sub comes under attack by Soviet forces and begins risky maneuvers through undersea canyons. Petty Officer Jones (Courtney B. Vance), a sonar technician aboard Dallas, plots an interception course. Ryan arranges a hazardous mid-ocean rendezvous to get aboard Dallas, where he convinces its captain, Commander Bart Mancuso (Scott Glenn), to contact Ramius to determine his intentions. Ramius, stunned that the Americans guessed his plan to defect, accepts their cooperation. He then stages a nuclear reactor emergency and orders the bulk of his crew to abandon ship, telling Red October's doctor (Tim Curry) that he will scuttle the sub rather than let it be captured. Ramius submerges and Ryan, Mancuso and Jones come aboard via a mini-sub, at which point Ramius requests asylum in the United States for himself and his officers. Thinking their mission is complete, Red October's skeleton crew are surprised by a torpedo attack from Konovalov, which has followed them across the Atlantic. As the two Soviet subs maneuver, Red October's cook (apparently the saboteur) opens fire, fatally wounding Ramius's first officer, Vasily Borodin (Sam Neill) before retreating into the missile launch area. Ryan follows and guns down the saboteur just before he can detonate a missile and destroy the sub. Meanwhile, with help from Dallas, Red October makes evasive maneuvers, causing one of Konovalov's own torpedoes to circle around and destroy it. The evacuated crew of Red October on board a U.S. Navy rescue ship witness this explosion and, not knowing that there is a second Soviet sub, assume it was Red October. Their subterfuge complete, Ryan and Ramius sail Red October to the Penobscot River in Maine.