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The Sum of All Fears (2002)

PG-13  |   |  Action, Drama, Thriller  |  31 May 2002 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 82,562 users   Metascore: 45/100
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CIA analyst Jack Ryan must thwart the plans of a terrorist faction that threatens to induce a catastrophic conflict between the United States and Russia's newly elected president by detonating a nuclear weapon at a football game in Baltimore.


(novel), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ian Mongrain ...
Russell Bobbitt ...
Al Vandecruys ...
Richard Cohee ...
Philip Pretten ...
Alison Darcy ...
Fowler's Aide
Ostap Soroka ...
Zorkin's Translator
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When the president of Russia suddenly dies, a man whose politics are virtually unknown succeeds him. The change in political leaders sparks paranoia among American CIA officials, so CIA director Bill Cabot recruits a young analyst to supply insight and advice on the situation. Then the unthinkable happens: a nuclear bomb explodes in a U.S. city, and America is quick to blame the Russians. Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


27,000 Nuclear Weapons. One Is Missing.


Action | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for violence, disaster images and brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




| | | |

Release Date:

31 May 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La suma de todos los miedos  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$68,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$31,178,526 (USA) (31 May 2002)


$621,647 (South Africa) (27 September 2002)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The lines, "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss," are from The Who's, "Won't Get Fooled Again," written by Pete Townshend. See more »


When Ryan tries to summon help after his helicopter crashes, he reaches into the cockpit and turns a knob on the radio transmitter. The film has been flipped and the word "frequency" under the knob is clearly spelled backwards. This would also explain why Ryan reaches through the cockpit window with his right arm, but it's his left hand that adjusts the radio frequency. See more »


[first lines]
Title Card: In 1973, Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack against Israel. By Day Two, Israeli ground forces appeared on the verge of defeat. In the event that their ground forces were overrun, an Israeli A-4 jet took off on patrol with one nuclear bomb.
See more »


Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Ben Affleck/Nelly (2004) See more »


Invocation to Nature (from La Damnation de Faust)
Composed by Hector Berlioz
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Well Made Thriller
10 March 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Sum of All Fears is an enjoyable thriller and the type of movie the Hollywood studios have always been good at making. It's slick, expensive-looking, well-acted and two hours of far-fetched fun. Ben Affleck plays CIA Agent and superman Jack Ryan PhD. Ryan is a former marine, linguist and all-round polymath who saves the world from impending disaster. Affleck is youthful and convincing as Ryan and makes him seem fallible and likable. Ryan becomes a confidant of the wise and sensible CIA Director Bill Cabot (Morgan Freeman) and acquires a beautiful and successful girlfriend (Bridget Moynahan) who believes he's a historian.

The plot is complicated and involves a new Russian leader (Ciaran Hands) who spouts anti-U.S. rhetoric. A Russian chemical attack on Chechnya increases the tension between the two countries. An Israeli atomic bomb is found in the Egyption desert,a relic of the 1973 Arab-Israeli conflict. Neo-Nazi terrorists (led by Alan Bates) want to provoke a nuclear conflict between America and Russia. They acquire the bomb from a South African arms dealer and explode it in Baltimore. The U.S. blames the Russians and the two countries are about to commence all-out nuclear war until Ryan works out what is happening and it all ends happily. The message is that the new Russian leaders are reasonable men signifying that the world has moved on from the Commie bashing flicks of the 1980s.

The idea of a terrorist nuclear attack is topical, but unfortunately the Neo-Nazi villains seem very 1970s. The film has good character actors in supporting roles (e.g., Liev Schrieber, James Cromwell). I much prefer Afflek's Ryan to that of the 52 year-old Harrison Ford who by 1994's Clear and Present Danger seemed too old and surly for the role.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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