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The Hunt for Red October (1990)


Average Rating: 7.8/10
Reviews Counted: 45
Fresh: 43
Rotten: 2

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Average Rating: 6.6/10
Reviews Counted: 5
Fresh: 4
Rotten: 1

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.


Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 171,031



Movie Info

The first of several films based on Tom Clancy's "Jack Ryan" technothrillers, Hunt for Red October stars Alec Baldwin as eccentric CIA analyst Ryan and Sean Connery as Soviet submarine commander Marko Ramius. Ramius sets the plot in motion when he murders his political adviser, burns his orders, and steers his sub Red October towards American waters, hoping to defect. The CIA, aware that the Red October was about to embark on an evasive mission to demonstrate its ability to avoid detection and … More

PG (adult situations/language, violence)
Mystery & Suspense , Action & Adventure
Directed By:
Written By:
Robert Garland , John Milius , David Shaber , Larry Ferguson , Donald Stewart
In Theaters:
Dec 1, 1998
Paramount Pictures


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Critic Reviews for The Hunt for Red October

All Critics (49) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (43) | Rotten (2) | DVD (29)

A skillful, efficient film.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

A leviathan bore, big, clunky and ponderously overplotted.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

A Reagan youth's wet dream of underwater ballistics and East-West conflict.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

One of the most delectably taut, racing thrillers of its generation.

Full Review… | January 18, 2014
Antagony & Ecstasy

The first Jack Ryan thriller adventure is a supremely mounted film, well acted by Alec Baldwin and Sean Connery, and vastly enjoyable.

Full Review… | August 6, 2012

It is a thriller in some sequences, action in others, but it depends on personal taste, how many thrills you believe a movie should have in order to be considered a thriller

Full Review… | May 13, 2009
Screen It!

As for the film's suspense credentials, you know it's time to get tense when James Earl Jones intones, 'Mother of God.' [Blu-Ray]

Full Review… | August 6, 2008
Groucho Reviews

The Soviet captain has a brogue. I'm okay with it. Sue me.

September 15, 2005

For all its flaws, it still holds water.

June 13, 2005

Exciting submarine adventure w/Connery, Baldwin

October 19, 2004
Kansas City Kansan

Regressive old-fashioned thriller of a sort that mostly died out 20 years earlier.

May 23, 2004
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Delivers its share of honest to goodness thrills.

Full Review… | January 15, 2004
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Solid if somewhat staid adaptation of the Clancy book.

July 27, 2003
Nitrate Online

Politics aside, however, The Hunt for Red October is a thrilling edge-of-your-seat trifle that has admirably withstood the test of time.

Full Review… | May 29, 2003
Slant Magazine

A superbly crafted cold war thriller, with excellent performances, cinematography and tension.

April 27, 2003
Sunday Times (Australia)

If any film in Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan series stands out as the best (or even a truly great movie), it's The Hunt for Red October.

Full Review… | April 26, 2003

A crackerjack Hollywood thriller that makes most other attempts look pathetic.

April 4, 2003
San Francisco Examiner

Competently made submarine action film, one of the better Clancy adaptations.

March 19, 2003

Great Tom Clancy adaptation

February 19, 2003
Henderson Home News (Henderson, NV)

At last, a thriller that assumes its audience is smart (nice "Russian" accent on Connery, heh).

January 9, 2003
New Times

The swan song for Cold War movies: a final, gripping trip against those pesky Russkies with first rate results.

November 1, 2002
Flipside Movie Emporium

Connery, Baldwin, a Tom Clancy novel; great fun.

August 20, 2002
Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)

McTiernan does a great job with this submarine thriller. Also features a stellar ensemble of character actors.

July 25, 2002

Audience Reviews for The Hunt for Red October


It bogs down in the technical stuff in its second half, but it's still a competent Cold War classic from the director of Die Hard, (who also directed duds like The 13th Warrior and The Thomas Crown Affair, but I digress). I enjoyed learning that Alec Baldwin and Sam Neill weren't always middle-aged, and I especially appreciated that the Russians didn't have ridiculous accents (the film uses a zoom to switch from subtitled Russian to English, letting you in to the artifice). It's overly long and a bit mechanical, but this big-budget game of Battleship compares favourably to a lot of similar films.

Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer


A thrilling action movie, adequately cast.

Christian C

Super Reviewer

Captain Ramius: You're afraid of our fleet. Well, you should be. Personally, I'd give us one chance in three. More tea anyone? 

"Invisible. Silent. Stolen."

The Hunt for Red October is a film that deserves its classification as a thriller. There isn't a lull in the 2 hour plus runtime. It's a nonstop thrilling ride beneath the sea. Part of the reason the movie works so well is because of an extraordinary cast of Sean Connery, Alec Baldwin, James Earle Jones, Sam Neill and Tim Curry. There's a bunch of great character actors in there too, that I know by their face, but if asked I couldn't tell you their names. 

Red October is the name of a Russian sub, which is the command of Captain Ramius. Under his command the sub defects and makes its way towards the United States. The plot has many turns and what you expect isn't always what you get. Sean Connery makes this movie with his terrific veteran presence. Every time I watch a movie with him in it; I am always stunned by how convincing the guy is onscreen. Alec Baldwin isn't one of my favorite actors, but he is pretty good as the hero.

This is a thriller that doesn't rely to much on action. There are long sequences where the excitement comes from listening to the characters talk instead of watching them run and shoot. Its a smart, well paced, cool film that I liked immensely. I'll take this over Die Hard any day.

Melvin White

Super Reviewer


Based on Tom Clancy's debut novel, The Hunt For Red October. This film is about a new type of Russian typhoon class submarine, being chased across the seas when the crew decides to defect to the Americans. This typhoon class submarine is named the Red October and the Russians have installed a secret propulsion system that could render the sub nearly silent to sonar. The thrills are nonstop, the story is top notch and is guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat. Alec Baldwin and Sean Connery deliver strong performances. The Hunt For Red October is one of the best films adapted from a Tom Clancy novel. This film is brilliant with great directing, pacing and acting. The Hunt For Red October is a different type of submarine film thats very enjoyable, despite the fact it's very different from previous films in the sub genre. This isn't a war film, this is more of a suspense / Thriller film and it delivers on both. For those who have read the book, they will be pleased to know that this film was very well adapted and the filmmakers stayed through enough to the source material. John McTiernan delivers a solid piece of cinema, and The Hunt For Red October is one of his best films since Die Hard. A superbly crafted thriller, The Hunt For Red October is a film that Tom Clancy fans will thoroughly enjoy, and as a person who's read Clancy's book, I can honestly say that the filmmakers did a terrific job at adapting this electrifying story.

Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

The Hunt for Red October Quotes

Jack Ryan:
Send him this.
Capt. Bart Mancuso:
Are you out of your mind?
Jack Ryan:
Just send it.
Capt. Bart Mancuso:
tell me one thing how did you know he was going to Starboard?
Jack Ryan:
I didn't. I had a 55/50 chance. I needed a break, sorry.
Capt. Bart Mancuso:
That's alright. Mr. Ryan My Morse is so rusty I could be sending him dimensions on Playmate of the Month.
– Submitted by Aaron P (18 months ago)
Capt. Marko Ramius:
Ryan some things in here don't react well to bullets.
– Submitted by Aaron P (18 months ago)
Capt. Bart Mancuso:
Are you out of your mind Ryan?
Jack Ryan:
Just send it.
Capt. Bart Mancuso:
My Morse is so rusty I could be sending him dimensions on Playmate of the Month.
– Submitted by Aaron P (18 months ago)
Capt. Bart Mancuso:
The hard part about playing chicken is knowing when to flinch.
– Submitted by Victor M (2 years ago)
Jeffrey Pelt:
Listen, I'm a politician, which means I'm a cheat and a liar, and when I'm not kissing babies, I'm stealing their lollipops, but it also means that I keep my options open.
– Submitted by Victor M (2 years ago)
Bill Steiner:
Your sub captain's going to make to America Mr. Ryan. And he's going to die within sight of it.
– Submitted by Aaron S (2 years ago)

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