The Hunt for Red October (1990)

hunt for red october poster 1990 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Solid political thriller

Some dated CGI, long

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Hunt for Red October

Studio: Paramount Pictures/Mace Neufeld Productions/Nina Saxon Film Design

Genre(s):  Action/Adventure/Mystery/Suspense

Release Date(s):  March 2, 1990

MPAA Rating:  PG

hunt for red october sean connery marko ramius

The Hunt is On

The Soviets have a new weapon in their arsenal.  A submarine capable of high speeds and little detection that could put a missile on the United States’ doorstep without ever being detected.  Captained by Marko Ramius (Sean Connery), the Red October has gone rogue.  Now, Jack Ryan (Alec Baldwin) must determine the Soviet’s intentions.  What is Captain Ramius planning?  Is the Red October intending to attack or staging a defection?  The Russians are watching closely, and the danger level is rising.

Directed by John McTiernan, The Hunt for Red October is a political action thriller.  The film is an adaptation of the novel 1984 by Tom Clancy and the first adaptation of Jack Ryan’s character.  It received an Academy Award for Best Effects-Sound Effects Editing with nominations for Best Sound and Best Film Editing.

The Hunt for Red October came out in the resurgence of Sean Connery following The Untouchables and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.  It was just as the Soviet Union was collapsing, but was set in the depths of the Cold War.  The Hunt for Red October is a taut thriller that still works.

hunt for red october submarine boarding jack ryan

This might not have been my best decision

Younger viewers might have a hard time recognizing the level of tension between the Soviet Union and the United States around this time, but current events have made the movie once again understandable.  The movie is a cat and mouse game.  The Red October is the wild card.  The U.S. wants defectors but the danger of a rogue sub can’t be accepted.  The Soviets wants the strength to be shown, and allowing a high powered sub to defect also cannot be permitted…meaning the Red October is being threatened by two factions…add a saboteur among Ramius’s men and there is danger everywhere which helps with the tension.

As a fan of Beetlejuice, I remember having a hard time accepting Alec Baldwin as a leading man in a serious role…and it is even harder now with all his comedic turns.  Connery by this point had entered his new role as mature leading man.  He wasn’t a James Bond anymore, but he also wasn’t close to going away (though it is weird to have the “Russian” with a Scottish accent).  They are both backed up a supporting cast of who’s who including Sam Neill, Stellan Skarsgård, Fred Thompson, Courtney B. Vance, Tim Curry, Peter Firth, Scott Glenn, Jeffrey Jones, Peter Jason, and James Earl Jones…but it is oddly an almost entirely male cast due to the make-up of the military factions at the time the story was set.

hunt for red october jack ryan gun

Who’s singing the Banana Boat Song, now?!?!

The movie looks good.  There is something about submarine movies that manage to milk the claustrophobia of being trapped in a metal tube that could sink and kill everyone onboard.  The movie has some dated special effects (especially in the final submarine battle), but it doesn’t detract from the movie.

The Hunt for Red October is a slow paced thriller that still has some solid action.  The movie is also quite long, so it is a bit of a commitment that not everyone can take.  The movie kicked off a series of Jack Ryan films that were slightly intertwined, but Baldwin was replaced by Harrison Ford for the follow-up film Patriot Games in 1992.

Related Links:

Patriot Games (1992)

Jack Ryan:  Shadow Recruit (2014)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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