The Hunt for Red October

By: Taylor Bell, Jarrad Cisco, and Caleb Thompson


Book Characters:

  • Captain Marko Ramius

  • Gregoriy Kamarov

  • Ivan Yurievich Putin (Zampolit)

  • Aleksandr Ramius

  • Natalia Bogdanova Ramius

  • Viktor Tupolev

  • Vasily Borodin

  • Dr. Petrov

  • Chief Engineer Melekhin

  • Svyadov

  • Commander Wilson

  • Sasha

  • Grandmother Hilda

  • Nancy Cummings

  • Admiral James Greer

  • Sally & Jack

  • Admiral Charlie Davenport

  • Skip Tyler (Oliver Wendell Tyler)

  • Deke Franklin

  • Commander Quentin

  • Admiral Yuri Ilych Padorin (Uncle Yuri)

  • Ronald Jones

  • Commander Mancuso

  • Thompson

  • Lieutenant Pat Mannion

  • Lieutenant Charles Goodman


  • Judge Moore

  • Bob Ritter

  • Jeffrey Pelt

  • General Thomas Hilton

  • General David Maxwell

  • Admiral Daniel Foster

  • President of the United States of America

  • Ambassador Alexei Arbatov

  • Tony Parker

  • Vice Admiral John White the either earl of Weston

  • Sir Basil

  • Captain Carstairs

  • Captain Hunter

  • Commander Barclay

  • Admiral Painter

  • Admiral Blackburn

  • Admiral Pete Stanford

  • Vice Admiral Sam Dodge

  • Lieutenant General Edwin Harris

  • General Claire Barns

  • Captain johnnie Coleman

  • Commander Wood

  • Lieutenant Commander Tom Reynolds

  • Chief Engineer Vladimir Petchukocov

  • Senior Lieutenant Viktor Shavor

  • Andre Narmonov

  • Gorshkov

  • Mikhail Alexandrov

  • Commander Robby Jackson

  • Captain Randall Tait

  • Vasily Petchkin

Most of the “main” characters were present in the movie, but almost all of the “secondary” and support characters were not. Although most of the main characters were present in the movie, a few had some major changes. In the movie Jack Ryan was portrayed as a confident and abrasive man. In the book, Ryan is confident in his abilities as an analyst but is reserved and level-headed. In the book, Ramius is a middle-aged man who has lived a hard life, but in the movie he is an old man. One of the most troubling things about the character list, is that the president was not present in the movie at all, even though he was a vital part of the book. Many characters from the secondary plot lines, like that of Dr. Tait, were not present at all in the movie. Admiral Greer was pretty much the only official that showed up in the movie, yet in the book many officials came together to pull off the coup.

Movie Characters:

  • Captain Marko Ramius

  • Ivan Yurievich Putin (Zampolit)

  • Viktor Tupolev

  • Vasily Borodin

  • Dr. Petrov

  • Chief Engineer Melekhin

  • Admiral James Greer

  • Skip Tyler (Oliver Wendell Tyler)

  • Admiral Yuri Ilych Padorin (Uncle Yuri)

  • Ronald Jones

  • Commander Mancuso

  • Jeffrey Pelt

  • Ambassador Alexei Arbatov


The general plot line of the book is that a Russian Commander with imperialistic ideas devises a plan to defect to defect to America, and along the way he stirs up quite a bit of trouble. Because he makes off with a brand new submarine with a special technology called the “caterpillar,” they send their entire navy out to reacquire their stolen property. Jack Ryan, a CIA analyst, discovers this plot, and with the help of the CIA and the president, develops an ingenious plan full of deception and misdirection that will help the Red October to get to America safely, allow the crew to go back to Russia without knowing the plans of the defector officers, and to keep the Russians off their plan. The plan works perfectly and the Dallas manages to contact the rogue sub with the plan. The plan is executed almost perfectly except for a stowed away GRU who injures Williams and almost blows up the submarine. He is shot and killed by Jack Ryan. The sub is almost to Norfolk and Russian navy has been called back when one final Russian Alpha attacks the Red October but is eventually sunk, although there is major damage to the Red October in the process. The book ends with the KGB very confused, the defectors well taken care of, the U.S. in command of a very special Russian submarine, and a great ending to a great story.

In the book there were several side stories that developed such as that of Dr. Tait and the KGB officer, but the movie cut those out and stuck to the main plot line, leaving only the actions of Captain Ramius and Jack Ryan as the US attempts to secure the rogue boomer. The film also refrains from including Skip Tyler’s handicap in any form. The movie begins with a message saying that Gorshkov has come to power (in the book Gorshkov was the Admiral of the Soviet Navy and Andre Narmonov was in power over the soviet union) and has lost the Red October. The Dallas picks up its signal and begins to follow it, but when the Red October turns on the caterpillar system, the submarine disappears from the sonar system and the Dallas loses it. The movie then flips to Ryan who has received images of the Red October and is briefing James Greer. Greer then clears him to talk to Skip Tyler who informs him that the Russians have indeed created a successful caterpillar system. Ryan is then asked to brief some high level officials who send him to a warship to try and contact Red October. He gets to the ship where he is shipped off to the Dallas Submarine who has received a notice telling them to fire at Red October because it is a hostile vessel aimed at destroying the U.S. Ryan convinces the Captain of the of the Dallas to wait until contact is made. This also differs from the novel, in which Ryan is first ferried to the HMS Invicible to brief the British Commander there; then Ryan is transported to the Dallas after making contact with the Red October. Once that occurs, Mancuso realizes that the Red October does want to defect to America and they carry out a plan to get it to safety. Tupolev attempts to sink the ship but fails, and a GRU agent tries to blow up the ship but also fails. In the end, the Red October makes it American by way of a river in Maine.
The Hunt For Red October (1990) Trailer


The setting of the book and movie was pretty much the same. The only real difference was the ending point of the stories. The book ended in the Navy base at Norfolk, Virginia while the movie ended in a quiet little river by Maine, 50 miles from the nearest base.

Book: Moscow Russia, Washington D.C, Norfolk Virginia, Atlantic Ocean

Movie: Moscow Russia, Washington D.C., Maine, Atlantic Ocean


The central conflict is the same in the movie and the book, but there are secondary conflicts that are discussed in the book but either are not brought up in the movie or are highly down played.

  • Soviet Union vs. United States of America was a central topic in both book and movie. There is very clear deception, lies, and misgivings between the two countries that is strongly portrayed in both book and movie.

  • President of the United States vs. Ambassador Arbatov was central in the deception of the United States to Russia in the book, but in the movie, this was only one small scene that played down its significance. The American’s knew of Ramius’ plan pretty much from the beginning in the book and carefully placed routes of misdirection through the communications between the President and Arbatov. This conflict occurs differently in the movie. The president is not a part of the movie, so the conflict is between Jeffrey Pelt the President’s assistant and Ambassador Arbatov.

  • Senator Donaldson and Peter Henson vs. CIA (Ritter) was a leak that was discussed in the book and showed how the Russians were gaining classified intel. Senator Donaldson was utilizing his power as senator to gain classified information from the CIA and the president and would give it to Peter Henderson who would send it to the Russians for pay. This issue was resolved when the CIA planted a lie and caught Henderson with the “sensitive” intel and charging him with espionage. This forced the Senator to resign to a lower government position and gave the CIA a way to leak false information to Russia. This entire issue, which was very prominent in the book, was not present in the movie at all.

  • There is a conflict between Captain Ramius and Captain Tupolev. This conflict is portrayed differently in the movie than in the book. In the book, Tupolev feels betrayed by the actions of his mentor and is saddened by his orders to kill him and his ship, but feel obligated to due to his sense of duty to his country which he would never betray. This plays out in an American Bay as the Pogy and the Dallas watch. Tupolev torpedoes the Red October which survives, and the Red October ends up sinking the Russian Alpha by broadsiding it and tearing a hole in its hull. In the movie, Tupolev is highly offended by the betrayal of Ramius and has a strong desire to destroy him immediately. He becomes obsessed with this idea, and it leads him to make rash and unwise decisions to achieve his goal of outsmarting and killing his old teacher. His carelessness leads him to disable all safety features on his own torpedos, and because of this, he ends of being killed by his own torpedo and his old teacher goes free.

  • The central conflict in both the book and the movie is that a new Russian Submarine has disappeared and its intentions are questionable. The Americans are concerned that the sub may be attempting to start a war or invade America, but are also curious as to is they are trying to defect. The Russians fear that the sub is indeed trying to defect and will do everything in its power to destroy the sub and its defectors. Neither side can find or make contact with the Red October. The struggle of both sides to create a successful deception of what is going on and what their true intentions are.


The book and the movie convey a similar theme. In Tom Clancy’s book, The Hunt for Red October, he discusses the different facets of betrayal, deception, and trusting in one’s enemy to illustrate the complexity of the human nature. The movie, “The Hunt for Red October”, directed by John McTiernan, McTiernan shows the how betrayal and deception can lead to complete chaos, but can be salvaged by a mutual trust.

Missing Scenes in the Movie

  • The entire last part of the book. The movie ends with the Red October submarine coming into a river by Maine under the cover of night and giving the impression that everything is going to be just fine and dandy. In the book this eventually happens but not at all in that way. The Red October had a secret GRU agent that was aboard as the cook and tried to sabotage the boat by setting off a missile. The man ended up shooting Williams and Captain Ramius, but was killed by Ryan in the end. They then ran into a Russian Alpha submarine captained with one of Ramius’ old students that torpedoed the Red October, but was then rammed by the Red October and sunk to its grave. They finally made it to Norfolk where the Red October was taken into custody and the Russian defectors began their new life. There is a GRU agent in the movie, but his part is so minimal that it is not even noteworthy. It just provides stress as the Red October fights against the Alpha.

  • One of the major sections that was present in the book but was not covered in the movie was the nuclear melt-down of the Russian Alpha 3 as they attempt to pursue the Red October. In the book, this is a major part. The sinking of this submarine allows for the president of the United States to get mad at the Russian Ambassador putting him in a bad position and giving the Americans wiggle room for more deception. From this ship, the cook is the only one rescued. He is taken to an American hospital where he is cared for as he has radiation poisoning, hypothermia, and pneumonia. A KGB agent comes to oversee this and him and Dr. Tait get into a tussle about smoking in a hospital room where 100% oxygen, which is very flammable, is being pumped into a dying man. This entire section is neglected in the movie.

  • The crew from the Red October in the book are taken aboard an American ship and paraded around Washington D.C. before they are sent back to Russia. This part of the book provides a stark contrast to the dismal and underprivileged life that Russia has offered its citizens. In America everyone owns 1-2 cars, they have their own house, they have supermarkets full of food, and the planes are much much nicer. What happens to the crew that was “rescued” from the Red October is not known. They appear to watch, what they believe, a valiant fight between the Red October and the Americans, even though it was really the Russian Alpha piloted by Tupolev that torpedoed itself. This fight did not occur in the book. In the book, Red October did face off against the Russian Alpha, but it was out of the presence of the crew and the Alpha was sunk because the Red October broadsided it.

  • In the movie, Dr. Pelt, the president’s assistant, handles all interactions with Russian Ambassador Arbatov. The president is not seen once in the movie. In the book, the president is the driving force behind the deception that leads to the American’s acquisition of the Red October and the back story that goes to Russia. Pelt is merely in the meetings for diplomatic purposes like smoothing over some of the president’s comments.

  • Skip Tyler does not run his simulation on the computer giving the Americans an idea of what they are dealing with. In the movie, he does not play a significant role at all. He simply tells Ryan that the doors on the ship belong to a new technology that the Americans had failed at called a “caterpillar”. In the book, Caterpillar is a nickname that the Russians give the system, and it is not a common known technique. Skip also plays a major role in providing a plan for making it appear as though Ramius had sunk his own ship. An old U.S. submarine is sunk as the Red October sneaks away, which is what the crew of Red October witness in the book.

Director Approach

The director of the movie, John McTiernan, only had a 2 hour and 15 minute time allotment to get translate a very detailed and well written 600 page book into a hollywood worthy movie. McTiernan managed to keep the main idea of the movie and weave together the most important details to form a movie that mostly aligns with the book and conveys a similar theme even though some of the details have been cut out or redone in order to make a more successful cinema film. He approached the movie in this way to keep the main ideas of the book, but still create a successful and timely cinema film. No one would pay to watch a 30 hour movie. I could not have directed this movie better. While I wish a few scenes could have been added, I realize that those scenes would take away other portions that make this movie as successful as it is. I believe that McTiernan did a flawless job of casting a movie that was was worthy of the book it was inspired by.

Critical Acclaim

Tom Clancy is a phenomenal author who flawlessly weaves authentic details into captivating fictional stories. He has written twenty books, seventeen of which have become New York Times best sellers, five of which have been turned into movies, he sold over 3 million copies of just “The Hunt for Red October”, and at the time of his death his net worth was over $300 million. The Washington Post wrote a raving review for the book saying “The Hunt for Red October’ is a tremendously enjoyable and gripping novel of naval derring-do. Evidently submariners mean it when they say, ‘There are only two kinds of ships — submarines and targets.” It also has a rave review on Goodreads which rates the book a ⅘. Just from these quick facts, it is obvious that his book are well loved and quite popular. His movies are just as popular as his books. In the year 1990, the year the movie was released, it generated $122 million in North America and over $200 million worldwide in box office sales. It got very few negative reviews that are highly outweighed by the positive ones. It has an 86% rating on Rotten Tomatoes with the review “Perfectly cast and packed with suspense, The Hunt for Red October is an old-fashioned submarine thriller with plenty of firepower to spare.” IMDb gave the movie a 7.6/10. Overall, between movie and book, there is a 33% dissatisfaction rating, which is almost unheard of in the entertainment industry. In all, Tom Clancy captures the heart of the people, and it is very difficult to find fault in his stories which are so flawlessly woven.


Clancy, Tom. The Hunt for Red October. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute, 1984. Print.

The Hunt for Red October. Dir. John McTiernan. Paramount Pictures, 1990. DVD.

Beddow, Reid. "The Washington Post's Rave Review of." Washington Post. The Washington Post, n.d. Web. 17 May 2016.

"The Hunt for Red October." (1990). N.p., n.d. Web. 17 May 2016.