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The Hunt for Red October (1990)

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In November 1984, the Soviet Union's best submarine captain in their newest sub violates orders and heads for the USA. Is he trying to defect or to start a war?



(novel), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
1,201 ( 395)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Larry Ferguson ...


Soviets create a new nuclear submarine that runs silent due to a revolutionary propulsion system. Russian sub captain defects, goal of taking it to the U.S.A. to prevent the Russians from using the sub to wreak nuclear (missile) war against the U.S. Lots of plot turns and twists in this high-tech thriller. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The hunt is on. See more »


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

2 March 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Jagd auf 'Roter Oktober'  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$17,161,835, 4 March 1990, Wide Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


A U.S. Navy yard oiler was used to escort the sub at the beginning of the movie. It was in Long Beach, California, and the Red October was built to look like it submerged by using two articulated barges and flooding the front one while being towed. See more »


In a discussion of Ryan wearing a uniform, Captain Davenport was schooled by Adm Painter referred to a "chopper accident" in Jack Ryan's background as well as his class ring from the Naval Academy in 1972. Generally Navy people, particular Naval Aviators, refer to helicopters as "helos". Somewhere I heard they do this to avoid referring to them as kitchen tools or modified. motorcycles. Hence this is not filed as a "factual error"' See more »


Beaumont: Won't he hear us?
Seaman Jones: Not if we stay in his baffles, Seaman Beaumont. Not if we stay in his baffles. Come up right behind his propellor and he'll be deaf as a post!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Stanley (Sally Ryan's stuffed bear) is credited as "Himself" See more »


Spoofed in EcoQuest 1: The Search for Cetus (1991) See more »


By Basil Poledouris
Courtesy of Orion Pictures Corp.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A submarine classic
28 August 2000 | by See all my reviews

'Red October' did for modern submarine warfare what 'Das Boot' did for WWII. It took a concept that is inconceivable to most people (living in a boat underwater with people trying to blow you up) and brought it up close and personal. The resulting suspense and excitement for this type of film is always extremely entertaining and this film delivers nicely.

Tom Clancy's thrilling novel converts well to the big screen. Clancy is a master of making improbable tales of international intrigue seem plausible. This story of a Soviet sub commander who is trying to defect to the U.S. adds a unique twist to the suspense normally associated with submarine films.

John McTiernan, who is building an enormous reputation in the action/adventure genre did a fabulous job as director. This film focused less on the submarine and its crew than its cousin 'Das Boot', and more on the international intrigue angle. McTiernan is very effective in keeping up the pace and giving the viewer riveting suspense as smart torpedos chase subs through the murky deep.

As always, Sean Connery was powerful as the defecting captain, determined not to allow this first strike weapon to start a nuclear holocaust. Connery gave his character both a conscience and a ruthless commitment, stopping at nothing to reach his goal.

Alec Baldwin turns in one of his better performances as Jack Ryan. Unlike Harrison Ford who made Ryan into an action hero in other Tom Clancy adaptations, Baldwin seemed better cast as the CIA nerd who was thrust into a field situation without any real experience. In this way, I felt he was a better representation of the character as Clancy originally wrote him.

This is a highly entertaining and engrossing film that will keep most action and suspense viewers on the edge of their seats. I rated it a 9/10.

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