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The Hunt for Red October

Invisible. Silent. Stolen. 

Year: 1990 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.20:1 (70mm) 
Certificate: BBFC PG Cert – Parental guidance 
Subtitles: This film is expected to have certain elements which are subtitled, but it is not expected that the entire film will contain them. 
Directed by John McTiernan 
Starring: Sean Connery, Alec Baldwin, Sam Neill, Scott Glenn, Tim Curry, Stellan Skarsgård  
An image from The Hunt for Red October

Jack Ryan (Baldwin) has a hunch. A hunch that Russian submarine captain, Captain Marko Ramius (Connery) is planning to defect to the United States. The problem is that his superiors don't believe him. They think Ramius is attempting to use new stealth technology to bring himself in range, undetected, of American soil to release nuclear weapons. Ryan is given forty eight hours to find the submarine and establish the truth. However he is not the only one; the Russian's are also searching for the submarine, with the intention to see it sunk to the bottom of the ocean sooner than let it fall into the hands of the Americans. At the same time, deep under the sea, Ramius himself experiences battles with loyalty amongst his crew, whilst the might of the two super powers are converging on his position...

The Hunt for the Red October is a masterful piece of cold war tension. Alec Baldwin's portrayal of Jack Ryan is an intelligent study in the art of knowing your enemy. Baldwin transfers from nervous analyst to the thick of the action with plausibility. Connery's Ramius is perfect as the enemy who could be a friend and exudes the authority and stature that the captain of a nuclear submarine should possess. A quick-witted, thinking person's action film that keeps you engaged throughout.

Helen Appleyard


Marko Ramius (Connery) is the captain of the Russian submarine Red October, a new class of submarine able to move almost undetected beneath the surface of the water. Ramius is also perhaps the most respected captain in the whole of the Russian Navy, and so is able to hand pick most of his crew for the submarine's inaugural mission. Both the East and the West are therefore surprised when Ramius and the submarine disappear, leaving behind the threat of an imminent global war.

The USA is particularly worried that Ramius will use the submarine's powers to launch an all out attack on them, but is persuaded by CIA analyst Jack Ryan (Baldwin), who has made a special study of Ramius, that he might actually be trying to defect. The tension builds up as the submarine remains hidden for longer and longer, bringing closer and closer the possibility of war. Ryan has to go out to sea himself in a bid to convince the authorities of the validity of his theory.

Although now a political anachronism, the film is nevertheless gripping and tense, as well as being highly entertaining to watch. It was adapted from a novel by Tom Clancy, which in turn was based upon true events. It is a story of what might have happened. A superb film, it's well worth going to see.


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Screenings of this film:

1992/1993 Spring Term (16mm)
1993/1994 Autumn Term (70mm)
1995/1996 Autumn Term (35mm)
1999/2000 Summer Term (35mm)
2004/2005 Spring Term (70mm)
2011/2012 Autumn Term (70mm)