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The Hunt for Red October is a 1990 thriller film based on Tom Clancy's novel of the same name. It was directed by John McTiernan and stars Sean Connery as Captain Marko Ramius and Alec Baldwin as Jack Ryan. The film received highly positive reviews from critics and 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 Best Sound Editing in 1991.


In 1984, Soviet submarine captain Marko Ramius [Connery] commands the Red October, a new Typhoon-class nuclear submarine which featured a drive system known as a magnetohydrodynamic (or caterpillar) drive, which could render the Red October virtually undetectable to standard sonar. At the start of the movie, Red October leaves port on orders to conduct battle exercises with the submarine V. K. Konovalov, an Alfa-class submarine commanded by Ramius' former student Viktor Tupolev [Skarsgård]. Once at sea, Ramius kills political officer Ivan Putin [Firth], the only man aboard besides himself who knows the submarine's true orders. He then burns the true orders, replaces them with counterfeit orders, and commands the crew to head toward America's east coast to conduct missile drills. The American submarine USS Dallas, patrolling the area around Red Route One in the North Atlantic, briefly detects Red October but loses contact once Ramius orders the engagement of the caterpillar drive.

The next morning, CIA analyst Jack Ryan [Baldwin] briefs 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 an unauthorized strike against the United States. Ryan, however, hypothesizes that Ramius instead plans to defect, and leaves for the North Atlantic to prove his theory to National Security Advisor Jeffrey Pelt [Jordan] before the U.S. Navy is ordered to sink Red October. On board Red October, Ramius explains to the officers in on the plan to defect that he sent a message to Red Fleet Admiral Yuri Padorin [Zinner,] his late wife's uncle, of the intention to defect, in the process destroying all chances of reentry into the Soviet Union should the mission fail.

Red October's caterpillar drive suddenly fails at sea and sabotage is suspected by the defecting officers. No longer silent, the submarine comes under a surprise attack by Soviet air forces and begins risky maneuvers through undersea canyons near Iceland. Petty Officer Jones [Vance], a sonar technician aboard the Dallas who has discovered a way to detect Red October, plots an intercept course to the bottom of Red Route One, knowing that the Dallas couldn't be able to catch the Red October in the canyons. Meanwhile, Ryan arranges a hazardous mid-ocean rendezvous on board a modified helicopter to get aboard the Dallas, where he attempts to persuade its captain, Commander Bartolomeo "Bart" Mancuso [Glenn], to try and contact Ramius and determine his intentions.

Soviet Ambassador Andrei Lysenko [Ackland], who earlier claimed that Red October was lost at sea and requested U.S. assistance in a rescue mission, informs Pelt that the sub is a renegade and requests U.S. naval forces to help to sink it. An order to do this is communicated to the U.S. Fleet, including the Dallas. Mancuso implements the orders, but Ryan convinces him at the last second to make contact and offer to assist Ramius in his defection, acting on a hunch that Ramius always performed a Soviet sub tactic known as a "Crazy Ivan" every half hour. Ryan then uses the Morse code signal light on the Dallas to ask Ramius if his intentions were, in fact, to defect, and if so, any assistance they might require.

Ramius, stunned that the Americans correctly 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. At the surface, a U.S. naval frigate, the Reuben James, shows up and demands that Ramius hand himself over. Knowing that this was a chance for his crew to be rescued, Ramius tells the doctor and next in command Yevgeni Petrov [Curry] that he and the other officers will scuttle the sub rather than let it be captured by the Americans while the rest of the crew escapes in the life rafts. Ramius submerges and Ryan, Mancuso, and Jones come aboard via a Mystic-class rescue submarine, 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 the Konovalov, which had followed them across the Atlantic. As the two Soviet subs maneuver, one of Red October's cooks, Igor Loginov [Arana], an undercover GRU agent who has hidden himself on board, opens fire at the fire control, fatally wounding Ramius's first officer, Vasily Borodin [Neill], before retreating into the missile launch area, followed closely by Ramius and Ryan. Loginov shoots Ramius in the shoulder, wounding him, but Ryan shoots Loginov before he can detonate one of the missiles and destroy the Red October.

Meanwhile, with help from the Dallas, Red October makes evasive maneuvers, diverting one of the Konovalov's own torpedoes back towards the Konovalov, destroying the sub and killing Tupolev. The evacuated crew of Red October, about to be taken on board the Reuben James, witness this explosion and, not knowing that the Konovalov's destruction caused the explosion, assume it was Red October that exploded. The subterfuge complete, Ryan and Ramius sail Red October to the Penobscot River in Maine.


Sean Connery as Captain First Rank Marko Ramius, captain of the Typhoon-class submarine Red October and the mastermind of a plan to defect to the United States

Alec Baldwin as Jack Ryan, a CIA analyst who discovers Ramius' intention to defect to the United States

Scott Glenn as Commander Bart Mancuso, captain of the USS Dallas

Sam Neill as Captain Second Rank Vasily Borodin, first officer of the Red October

James Earl Jones as Admiral James Greer, the former commanding officer of Jack Ryan who aids Ryan's plans to help Ramius to defect

Courtney Vance as Petty Officer Ronald Jones, the sonar technician of the Dallas who first detects the caterpillar drive through sonar

Peter Firth as Captain Second Rank Ivan Putin, the political officer of the Red October

Stellan Skarsgård as Captain Second Rank Viktor Tupolev, the captain of the Alfa-class V. K. Konovalov and a former pupil of Ramius'

Tim Curry as Captain Doctor Yevgeni Petrov, the medical officer of the Red October

Jeffrey Jones as Skip Tyler, a former submarine engineer that first determines that the Red October was equipped with a caterpillar drive

Joss Ackland as Andrei Lysenko, the Soviet ambassador to the United States

Richard Jordan as Jeffrey Pelt, the National Security Advisor to the President of the United States

Tomas Arana as Igor Loginov, an undercover GRU agent posing as a cook's assistant on board the Red October