The Essential Tom Clancy Trilogy

1947 - 2013

Yesterday, celebrated American novelist, Tom Clancy, passed away at the age of 66.  Clancy's novels featuring American espionage and political thrillers sold millions of copies around the world and were staples in airport bookshops.  Naturally, his success eventually caught the eye of Hollywood, which produced a series of successful films based on his works, notably featuring his protagonist, CIA analyst Jack Ryan.  To honor the author, The Essential Films presents you the Essential Tom Clancy Trilogy.  RIP.


John McTiernan
1990 • 135 Minutes

Cast:  Sean Connery, Alec Baldwin, Scott Glenn, Sam Neil, James Earl Jones, Tim Curry
Screenplay:  Larry Ferguson, Donald Stewart (based on the novel)
Producer: Mace Neufeld
Cinematography:  Jan de Bont

Marko Ramius, a Soviet submarine captain, violates orders and directs his vessel, the Red October, towards the United States. CIA analyst Jack Ryan is dispatched to assess the situation. Is Ramius attacking or defecting? Despite his lack of Russian accent, Connery commands the attention of this film in a strategic chess game against Baldwin's Ryan.

Phillip Noyce
1992 • 117 Minutes

Cast: Harrison Ford, Anne Archer, Patrick Bergin, Sean Bean, Thora Birch, James Earl Jones, Richard Harris
Screenplay:  W. Peter Iliff, Donald E. Stewart, Steven Zaillian (based on the novel)
Producers: Mace Neufeld, Robert Rehme
Cinematography: Donald McAlpine

After Jack Ryan (this time played by Harrison Ford) stops an attempted assassination, the IRA vow revenge against him and his family. The film adds more espionage and action thrills than its predecessor and Ford plays a more active Jack Ryan.

Phillip Noyce
1994 • 141 Minutes

Cast:  Harrison Ford, Willem DaFore, Anne Archer, Joaquim de Almeida, James Earl Jones
Screenplay:  Donald E. Stewart, Steven Zaillian, John Milius (based on the novel)
Producers: Mace Neufeld, Robert Rehme
Cinematography: Donald McAlpine

Perhaps the most action-oriented of the series, this time Ryan gets involved in a drug war between the US government and an international Columbian drug cartel.  Willem DeFoe enters the story as Clancy's second most famous creation, John Clark, who helps create a black ops team to deal with the situation.