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The Hunt for Red October

Question: When Mancuso is sending morse code to Ramius, why does Ramius need to use a sonar ping to communicate back (possibly raising the suspicions of his crew) instead of discreetly flashing his periscope light back?

Answer: It's faster than clicking out a response in morse code, and the captain suddenly flipping the periscope light on and off repeatedly would be just as suspicious to the bridge crew, so why not save time?

Question: Why does the Red October take the difficult way through the canyons? Is it faster/shorter? If so, how can the Dallas be at the end of the canyons and wait for Red October? The Dallas might be faster, but would it not have to take a considerable detour in order to avoid detection by the Red October?

Answer: Red October is taking the deeper route ostensibly to deter pursuit, but in reality, it's so that once the plan goes through and they "scuttle the ship" it will be in waters too deep to make a search for the wreckage (that won't be there) practical.

Question: In the sonar room on the Dallas, there is a roll of what looks like toilet paper next to the monitor. Is there some special purpose for that?

Answer: They use it to wipe the grease pencil markings off the screens.

Question: After being asked to go to periscope depth, why would Mancuso bring the Dallas along side of the Red October rather than remain behind him and keep his advantage?

Answer: Everything both captains are doing is a gesture to the other. Ramius keeps his torpedo tube doors closed to show he doesn't want to fight. Mancuso moves along side him as a gesture of trust.

Jason Hoffman

Question: In the scene near the end of the movie, when Tupelov's sub fires on the Red October for the first time, how did the torpedo manage to miss the mini-sub sitting right on top of the October?

Answer: Torpedoes home in on a target via sonar. The mini sub was too close to the October to show up as a separate target. Further, the Alfa's captain misjudged the distance from his boat to Red October and the torpedoes armed themselves and started looking for the boomer after they had already passed her.

Grumpy Scot

Question: Is it really possible for submarines and other naval vessels some distance away to hear the music coming from someone's headphones, as in the story the COB tells? I know water channels sound quite well, but this seems a stretch to me.

Answer: He was using the sub to play the music into the water, but listening to it through the headphones. So the sound emanated from the sub, not his headphones.

JC Fernandez

Question: Does "Vilnius Nastavnic" really translate to "Vilnius Schoolmaster"?

Answer: The literal translation is "Vilnius Principal", but that doesn't sound as imposing.

Question: When talking to Ramius via Morse code, why does Jack tell Ramius to turn south to the Laurentian Abyssal?

Answer: The trench is too deep to recover anything from the bottom of the trench. They were going to fake destroying the Red October, so they need some way to explain the lack of evidence of its destruction (because the remains were on the bottom of this deep trench).

Bruce Minnick

Question: What are countermeasures?

Answer: Countermeasures refer to objects of varying types that would be used to distract missiles or torpedoes away from their intended target. So, in the case of a submarine being chased by a torpedo that's homing in on the noise made by the sub, they'd eject something making a louder noise in the hope that the torpedo would then go after that instead.

Tailkinker

Question: Is it ever explained how Ramius' wife died?

Answer: According to the book Natalia Ramius was in hospital for an apparently routine operation. The surgeon was drunk, botched the operation and she died. The surgeon couldn't be prosecuted as he was protected by his father - a Party high-up - which led directly to Ramius' decision to steal the Red October. His reasoning was that, if the doctor could not be made to pay, then the State that protected him would.

Tailkinker

Question: Do Russian sailors not use port and starboard? A few times Sean Connery used left and right.

Answer: Russians say "pravy bort" and "levy bort" (right board, left board), and "pravo rulya"/"levo rulya" (steer right, steer left). There are no special naval terms for right and left.

Question: In the scene in which Jack is asking himself how Ramius is going to get his men off the Red October, how does he figure out what Ramius is going to do?

Answer: Thinking out loud, Jack says, "how do you make men want to get off a nuclear submarine..." the word "nuclear" made him realize that the easiest way to make the crew WANT to leave the sub is to fake a reactor/radiation accident.

Grumpy Scot

Question: What does the Russian say when the Americans are going to board the Red October?

Answer: He asks him if he likes bologna sandwiches.

Question: During the ending sequence (with the Alpha) the Red October is running on the screws instead of the caterpillar. Now, we know the "reactor leak" was fake...and we know that the caterpillar was working normally (right after Ramius says "let us turn South" you see the Red October dive over a canyon wall with the screws not moving hence the caterpillar running). Wouldn't it have been wiser to run on the caterpillar during the ending?

Answer: No, (mentioned in the book, not the film), the caterpillar can only drive Red October at a little over 1/2 her top speed. Speed is far more important than silence at this point.

Grumpy Scot

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Quotes

Jack Ryan: "Ryan, some things in here don't react well to bullets." Yeah, like me. I don't react well to bullets.

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Mistakes

Morse code takes a lot longer to type out than the captain of the Dallas seems to need.

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Trivia

Paramount Studios essentially rented a US submarine to be in the movie. The USS Houston (SSN 713) played the USS Dallas and the surface scenes were filmed off of Long Beach, CA and Port Angelas, WA. Two crewmembers off the Houston were actually given very small speaking parts in the movie.

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