1990s The Hunt For Red October (1990)

Published on December 14th, 2007 | by Chris


The Hunt For Red October (1990)

Reviewed by:
On December 14, 2007
Last modified:October 6, 2012


somewhere on the border between average and great.

The Hunt For Red October (1990)Ah, submarine movies. (Deep Breath).  If you've followed the site for any length of time you probably know I've developed a soft-spot for the sub-genre (no pun intended!) and 1990's adaptation of the Tom Clancy novel The Hunt For Red Octoberis no exception.

In case you *haven't* actually seen "Red October", or read it, the plot goes something like this:  A Soviet sub commander, Marko Ramius (Sean Connery) takes a brand-new, experimental submarine on a mission to defect to the US with some of his officers.  As you can imagine this doesn't sit well with the rest of the Soviet Navy, and causes a fair amount of confusion on the US side of things.

That's where the venerable character of CIA analyst Jack Ryan (Alec Baldwin) comes in.  The resident expert on Ramius, he's dispatched to the submarine USS Dallas to actually meet with Ramius, prove his intention to defect, and bring him and the submarine home safely.  Natch, right?

Not exactly.  Nothing's ever that simple, is it.  Without spoiling any of details (which make the film interesting) the Soviets send one of Ramius' former prodigies after him, and to boot they've got a KGB operative on board.  Which of course complicates things severely.

One thing I find interesting about submarine movies is the way that technology is portrayed and used over the years.  Red October doesn't disappoint, blending the best of old-world sonar technology with such crazy concepts as magnetic propulsion and of course the entire nuclear hot potato.

And what's a good submarine movie without your cold-war Soviet paranoia?  Back in Washington the ambassadors of both governments duke it out in a humorous series of exchanges that probably have more truth to them than fiction.

If I have any complaints about Red October it'd be these:  The subs just don't feel as cramped and claustrophobic as they could, as in Crimson Tide; nor does it carry the same tension as other gems like The Enemy Below.  And the F/X, while still good leaves quite a bit to the imagination, as in you're mainly looking at a big black blob in a foggy dark blue expanse.  But, eh, not the point.  The point is the intrigue and twists that go on at a more political level.

Baldwin and Connery are as always brilliant.  Although I can't decide who makes a better Ryan, Baldwin or Harrison Ford.  Both have their quirks and fit into the role nicely.  (Yeah, lets forget about that other guy!)  Also making an appearance as a carrier commander is Fred Thompson, yeah that Fred Thompson.  Of course James Earl Jones is present as Admiral Greer, and Sam Neill and Tim Curry make appearances as officers on Ramius' crew.

I won't go out on a limb and lavish The Hunt For Red October with a heaping amount of praise, as Cold War epics go, it is just on the high-side of average, despite my above statements.  But its somewhere on the border between average and great.

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The Hunt for Red October The Hunt for Red October
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Based on Tom Clancy's bestseller, directed by John McTiernan (Die Hard) and starring Sean Connery and Alec Baldwin, THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER sweats with high-tech anxiety and the tension of men who hold Doomsday in their hands...

DVD Information

Binding: DVD
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audience Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Brand: Paramount Home Video
Manufacturer: Paramount
Original Release Date:
  • Sean Connery
  • Alec Baldwin
  • Scott Glenn
  • Sam Neill
  • James Earl Jones


  • Condition: New
  • Format: DVD
  • Anamorphic; Closed-captioned; Color; Dolby; DVD; Subtitled; Widescreen; NTSC


Customer reviews
Average Customer Review

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Holds Up Well To Repeated Viewing & Tests Of Time, Alec Baldwin Young & Slender!, November 19, 2017
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Hunt for Red October (DVD)
I continue to enjoy The Hunt For Red October. It just holds up well over the decades for me. The idea of a Soviet era submarine commander going rogue (I'm trying to not give anything away in case there is anyone left who hasn't see the movie!) and the implications that ensue are greatly entertaining in this movie.

The characters are key for me. A young and think Alec Baldwin plays Jack Ryan. The movie has based on the first Jack Ryan novel by John Clancy.

Sean Connery plays Soviet sub commander Marko Ramius who "goes rogue", Scott Glenn has a great performance as a US submarine commander. James Earl Jones does credit to his small time on screen as Vice Admiral James Greer and Sam Neill with more time in his role as Ramius' first office Vasily Borodin.

One of the things I find humorous throughout the movie is Connery's Scottish accent whether speaking English *or* Russian. Connery will be Connery.

Since The Hunt For Red October... Read more

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First class movie that is worth watching!, July 8, 2017
JJCEO (Greenwood, Indiana) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is an exceptional movie and you should see it. I own the Bluray version but we just watched the film using Amazon Prime to stream to my digital projector. The streaming worked perfectly and the video and audio quality were perfect.

This is an excellent story based on a novel written by Tom Clancy. To top it off the film features a strong cast of actors and it is directed well. It is one of my favorite movies with the character of Jack Ryan. The book was excellent and this film follows the book very closely.

I strongly recommend this film. I have probably watched it 5 times. This is a good film to have in your library of films. It features great acting and a good story line.

This was one of Tom Clancy's best books and the movie version was created in a very realistic and entertaining way.

This is a good film that you should have in your video library.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Favorite Sub Classic, November 4, 2017
real fussy (New Hampshire) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Great sub classic, equal to or better than Crimson Tide and U-571, and others. Great action and suspense, great acting, rewarding ending ... one of my favorites.

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The Hunt For Red October (1990) Chris

Summary: somewhere on the border between average and great.


User Rating: 0 (0 votes)

About the Author

I've been watching war movies for probably 25 years now. Since December 2006 I've been sharing my habit and passion for these movies here on this site.

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