This early 90s picture was made during the waning days of the Cold War, but it is set in a time when we were still on high alert. In 1984, the Soviet Union was still very strong, and nuclear subs on both sides of the world had to power to level cities. This is based on one of the very successful books in the Tom Clancy Jack Ryan series. In this story, Jack (Alec Baldwin) is working for the CIA as a consultant as his wife (Gates McFadden) works through her residency in London. At this time, a new wold has been put to sea out of Polijarny Inlet, and she is the Red October. Her captain is Marko Ramius (Sean Connery), and he has an agenda. it is up to Jack Ryan to find out what an old sea dog like Ramius could be up to with that much nuclear power in his hands, and why the best of the Soviet Fleet has been sent out of Leningrad and other major ports in the nation to hunt down this amazing sub with a magnetohydrodynamic drive that makes it run virtually silent.
Since Jack has the knowledge and the information about Ramius, the CIA brings him into a fact-finding mission to tell those in charge at the Pentagon just what this crazy guy be up to. Jack’s superior Admiral Greer (James Earl Jones) has confidence in him, and after much debate, he comes up with a conclusion that none of them can believe or understand. Ramius wants to defect. He has no ties with Russia. In fact, he is Lithuanian. He is a widower looking to retire into a more free nation that is willing to welcome him. He knows things, way too many things, and those at the Kremlin can’t let him loose, or their secrets will all be shared with their enemy. including the stats on the Red October. Jack gets the green light to look further into his speculation by Sen. Jeffrey Pelt (Richard Jordan), and is sent to give his findings to the crew of the Dallas, the one sub to get a line on the Red October.
Meanwhile, on the Red October, Ramius and his officers are of a like mind, with the exception of their slimy political officer, Ivan Putin (Peter Firth), and the clueless ship’s doctor, Dr. Yevgeniy Petrov (Tim Curry). Once Putin is taken care of, they do their best to keep Petrov just out of the way while they discuss their plans. Captain Vasili Borodin (Sam Neill), and the other officers are all in agreement, and will follow Ramius anywhere.
So the hunt and the race is on to find this amazing sub by the USS Dallas and her captain, Bart Mancuso (Scott Glenn), and the Russian Konovalov and her commander, Captain Viktor Tupolev (Stellan Skarsgård), one team to aid her, and other to sink her. There is so much high-tech tension in this Cold War thriller, you never really get tired of it, and it makes you want to the other great Clancy books, movies, and video games a try.
If you have never seen any of the many great movies based on Tom Clancy‘s books, this is a great one to start off with. It has a wonderful cast, and it’s full of action and second guesses as to who might be next in line to try to sabotage this intriguing and secretive operation. it just doesn’t get any better than this.
I give this film a Musing review of