Patriot Games
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A Note Regarding Spoilers

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Patriot Games can be found here.

While in London, retired CIA analyst Jack Ryan (Harrison Ford) thwarts an assassination attempt on Lord Holmes (James Fox), a member of the Royal Family. In doing so, he kills young Patrick 'Paddy' Miller (Karl Hayden), brother to Sean Miller (Sean Bean), the leader of the terrorist group. Once a member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), Sean has split from the IRA and joined a splinter group headed by Kevin O'Donnell (Patrick Bergin). Although Kevin's focus is on killing Lord Holmes, Sean targets Jack, his wife Cathy (Anne Archer) and daughter Sally (Thora Birch). Consequently, Jack decides to return to duty in the CIA in order to find the terrorists.

Patriot Games is a 1987 novel by American author Tom Clancy. The novel was adapted for the movie by screenwriters W. Peter Iliff, Donald E. Stewart, and Steven Zaillian. Patriot Games is the second Clancy novel to feature CIA analyst Jack Ryan, who was introduced in the novel The Hunt for Red October (1984) and in the film The Hunt for Red October (1990).

No. There is so little continuity that the two movies can be watched as stand-alones.

In the book series, The Hunt for Red October (1984) was Clancy's first novel featuring Jack Ryan. In that book, Ryan has a son and a daughter. Clancy's second book, Patriot Games (1987), goes back in time to show how a previously retired Jack Ryan returned to the CIA and ends with the birth of his son. In other words, Patriot Games, although written after The Hunt for Red October, is a prequel. However, in the film version of The Hunt for Red October (1990), Jack only has his daughter. His son is born at the end of Patriot Games. This, along with the fact that Harrison Ford is clearly older than Alec Baldwin, establishes the filmed Patriot Games as a sequel to The Hunt for Red October.

That is a memorial for the CIA agents that died over the years. It is located at their headquarters in Virginia. It only shows numbers and letters to protect the identities of the agents.

Peregrine Cliffs in North Beach on the coast of Maryland, about 30 miles south of Annapolis on the Chesapeake Bay.

On the surface it was just a simple way for the barrister to discredit Jack and make him look bad to strengthen Sean Miller's defense. However, the deeper implication is that Jack was doing the work of a covert agent when he stopped Miller and his brother from kidnapping the British Lord and his family.

What is a Fenian?

While he is being interrogated by the police, Sean is slapped in the face and called a 'Fenian'. Fenian is a generally derogatory term applied towards supporters of Irish nationalism, most often denoting a Catholic or a member of the IRA. The name comes from the Fianna, warrior bands in early medieval Ireland.

Who are the Sinn Féin?

Irish spokesman Paddy O'Neil (Richard Harris) is referred to as Sinn Fin, an Irish political party closely allied with the IRA. The name is Irish for 'we ourselves'. Their members were often, but not exclusively, made up of former IRA operatives but were never directly involved with violence. However, since the signing of the Good Friday peace agreement, Sinn Fein, along with the Provisional IRA, has denounced terrorism, and its Vice President is actually deputy first Minister of Northern Ireland in the Northern Irish power-sharing assembly.

Sean and his companions had already fled the camp before the SAS strike and were on their way to the US to stage their next attack on Lord Holmes.

'The sun did not shine; it was too wet to play; so we sat in that house all the cold, cold wet day' is from The Cat in the Hat (1957) by Dr Seuss.

When all the electricity in the house went out, everyone assumed it was due to the storm until Jack looked outside and saw that the lights to the boat house were still on. Since the electricity to the house and the boathouse were served by the same main, the electricity to the house must have been cut from inside the house. Jack then saw Watkins (Hugh Fraser) coming up from the basement (where the main switch was located) and realized that he was the only person away from the others and in the vicinity of the basement when the power was cut. This was enough for him to suspect that Watkins was a mole. His suspicions were confirmed when he found the silenced gun, saw the blood from the shot security guard, and finally saw the dead guard.

How does the movie end?

Sean and his companions stage the attack on the Ryan house, hoping to kidnap Lord Holmes, but Jack leads Holmes and his family out of the house. They head for the cliff where Watkins had revealed ropes and boats would be waiting for Sean's getaway. Sean, Kevin, and Annette follow him, arriving at the cliff just in time to see one of boats speeding away. Believing that Holmes is in the boat with Jack, they jump into the other boat and give chase, unbeknownst to them that Holmes, Cathy, and Sally are hiding under the cliff and that Jack is alone in the boat. Upon realizing that Jack is alone and Holmes must be back on shore, Kevin tries to persuade Sean to turn around, but Sean is intent on killing Jack and shoots both Kevin and Annette (Polly Walker). He catches up with Jack's boat, jumps on board, and they fight each other until Jack manages to knock Sean to the floor, where he is impaled on a boat anchor. Because the boat is on fire, Jack leaps into the water, the boat explodes, and Sean is killed outright. The explosion alerts the rescue team, and Jack (along with everyone still on shore) is rescued. In the final scene, Cathy is talking on the phone to her doctor, awaiting the results of her amniocentesis. When asked whether she would like to know the gender of the child, she first asks Jack and Sally whether they want to know. Jack and Sally waiver back and forth between 'yes' and 'no'. The movie ends without revealing the sex of the baby.

You'll have to see Clear and Present Danger (1994) to find out, since the baby's sex was not given at the end of the movie. However, if you just have to know NOW, it's a boy, Jack Jr.

Those who have both seen the movie and read the book say that the movie follows the novel fairly closely. The biggest difference appears to be in the passage of time. Scenes that seem to span a few days in the movie last for months in the book. For example, Sally's recovery, Sean Miller's stakeout of Sally and Cathryn before the attack, and a chapter where Ryan spends just about every day at a Marine shooting range. Another notable difference in the books is that the member of the Royal Family who was nearly captured was the Prince of Wales. It was toned down for the movie, probably because the idea of the prince and his family being that vulnerable might look a bit outrageous. In addition, Annette does not appear in the book. The girl that Jack spots in the satellite picture is a female member of Action Directe who is not involved whatsoever in the attacks to the Prince and the Ryan family. Other key-characters missing from the book: Dan Murray (FBI agent), Alex (American terrorist), Gunny (Sergeant).

Clancy disowned the film after he read the script, which he felt beared little resemblance to his novel. Despite Paramount Pictures releasing a statement saying they are confident that Clancy will like the movie when it is released, the author asked that his name be removed from production and said he will not work with Paramount again.

So far, Clancy has written 12 novels that feature Jack Ryan. They are: The Hunt for Red October (1984), Patriot Games (1987), The Cardinal of the Kremlin (1988), Clear and Present Danger (1989), The Sum of All Fears (1991), Without Remorse (1993), Debt of Honor (1994), Executive Orders (1996), Rainbow Six (1998) (mention only), The Bear and the Dragon (2000), Red Rabbit (2002), and The Teeth of the Tiger (2003). Of the 12 books in the Ryan-universe, five have so far been made into movies -- The Hunt for Red October (1990), Patriot Games (1992), Clear and Present Danger (1994), The Sum of All Fears (2002), and Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014). Without Remorse is currently in development without an expected release date.

Page last updated by bj_kuehl, 2 months ago
Top 5 Contributors: bj_kuehl, tfilm78, hkchris, myturn21, Nikolaevna_Romanov

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