The Hunt for Red October

Corrected entry: Just as Red October turns to port after engaging the caterpillar, the camera pans from Red October's stern to the Dallas, which is visible. In the next shot, Jones (the sonar operator) says Red October was some 4,000 yards dead ahead. From the previous shot of the two subs, they are less than 4,000 yards (or some 3.6 km) apart. The large distance would lead to zero visibility. (00:28:00 - 00:30:00)

Christoph Galuschka

Correction: It's a movie convention to show visibility under water as much better than it actually is. A segment of shots showing nothing but black (or maybe some hull) would not be particularly exciting. Furthermore, showing the subs as they're supposed to be positioned is almost necessary to make the audience understand their relative positions and orientations, appreciate and see the action and achieve a dramatic effect.

Corrected entry: The boarding party would include Ryan and maybe the first officer. Not likely the Captain of The Dallas. But never a lowly sonar operator. What does he know about boarding other ships?

Correction: Jonesy is part of the boarding party in his capacity as sonar expert, and also as part of his reward for finding the boat in the first place. Unfortunately this part of the novel was taken into the movie without also including the full explanation.


Corrected entry: In the scene where the U.S. submarine Dallas is chasing the Red October in an underwater canyon, if you listen carefully you can hear an officer on the bridge yell out gravity anomaly values in milligals. This was an incredible breach of U.S. security at the time the movie was made, because it was a highly classified secret that gravity measurements were used to navigate by the U.S. navy. [The technology can "see" terrain passively and silently, without sending out a signal.] This technology was later declassified after the movie came out. However the mistake was that only large Trident submarines had this capability, not smaller hunter-killer subs.

Correction: I was on board both Trident and Polaris Subs in the 80's and it's not true that only Tridents had that capability. It was not classified then, nor is it now.

Corrected entry: In the scene where Ramius and Borodin are discussing what their intentions are when they each America, Jones yells out "Crazy Ivan", though Ramius does not give the order to perform a "Crazy Ivan" at any point in that scene, or the previous scenes.

Correction: Nope. Borodin says that he's ordered a 'routine clearing of the baffles'. Red October performs a Crazy Ivan to accomplish this.

Grumpy Scot

Corrected entry: In both the opening in Alec Baldwin's house and on the sub at Scott Glen's station, you can see an edition of Jane's date 1977-1978. Since this takes place in 1984, is this really the most recent edition of this important reference/information text? The sub commander might have an old favorite, but also a CIA employee would be referencing a 7 year old text?

Correction: This is not a mistake. Lots of people hang on to old or outdated editions of books or reference material.


Corrected entry: Captain Vasily Borodin's Russian uniform has American Navy captain rank (a gold star and four gold stripes) on the sleeves of his uniform. (01:09:15)

Correction: A Captain 2nd rank of the Soviet navy wears a upright gold star and 4 gold stripes on his sleeves, so it is correct. The American one has an upside down star.


Corrected entry: All submarine movies contain 1 inherent factual flaw: even on a clear sunny day, if you're submerged in several hundred feet of water, you simply can't see; much less see items a hundred meters away. North Atlantic seawater transparency dissipates after about 100 feet of depth.

Correction: An underwater scene consisting of strictly black frames wouldn't be very interesting. This is simply a standard movie convention (along the same lines as sci-fi movies having sound in space and historical movies where everyone speaks colloquial English) and therefore cannot be considered a mistake.

Corrected entry: In the scene when the Americans leave the Dallas to go to Red October the D.S.R.V. (rescue sub) they use to travel underwater is seen attached to the deck of the Dallas immediately in back of the sail. The D.S.R.V. is not there in the scenes when the Ryan arrives on the Dallas by helicopter, or in the scene when the Dallas is alongside Red October going to periscope depth.

Correction: There is a brief explanation given in that DSRV has been flown out to the rendezvous at the Laurentian Abyssal and attached to Dallas. You see Skip Tyler on board the frigate, and he says early in the movie that they can fly the DSRV anywhere it's needed, thus setting this up.

Corrected entry: As the Red October is being pursued by the torpedo dropped by the Russian Bear Foxtrot, Ramius (Sean Connery) orders "right full rudder, reverse starboard engine." to evade the torpedo. Immediately after Ramius gives this order, the scene cuts to a rear-aspect shot of the Red October from outside. The Red October is seen to be turning right, but both propellers are still turning in the same direction at the same speed.

Correction: Typhoons had counter-rotating screws, that is while running "ahead" one screw would turn clockwise, the other counter-clockwise. So in a sharp turn and with one screw reversing it would be shown as both screws rotating in the same direction. But the point is moot, as it is shown incorrectly in several shots in the movie.

Corrected entry: When the Dallas loses contact with Red October, why did they assume it "disappeared"? Wouldn't the more likely scenario be that it went silent (dead in the water) and they might be about to crash into them? Seems like an unlikely and risky assumption. When Ramius declared abandon ship, wouldn't the radio/comms operator break radio silence and contact the Russian fleet to declare an emergency, thus alerting the crew to the Captian's ruse and defection? If not, how would the fleet supposedly find them as the Captain implied to the doctor? Seems like an overlooked flaw in his plan.

Correction: You're listing two mistakes here, but I will only address the first one. No one actually thinks the sub "disappeared." Jones is stating that the sub disappeared from sonar, which was unexpected. They had never encountered a sub that had completely silent propulsion before, so they had no idea what to make of the fact that it suddenly disappeared from sonar.


Correction: If the sub was no longer visible on passive sonar all that means is they stopped making noise. The logical and far more likely assumption to be made is that the Red October went dead in the water (think the Crazy Ivan scene when the Dallas went dead in the water so the Red October could not see them on sonar), and they should have stopped and gone quiet, not continued on what was likely a collision course with the Red October. As you said yourself, they had never encountered a silent submarine before, so why would they make the assumption Red October had evaded their sonar instead of the very logical and likely explanation that they simply stopped their engines and were no longer moving? Major factual error in the film.

Correction: How would breaking radio silence ruin the plan? The crew thinks the ship's radioactive (thus they are willing to abandon) ; later they'll tell the Soviet leaders that same story (when finally returned home).

Corrected entry: In the scene where Ramius orders the use of the caterpillar drive, it shows the rear of the Red October to have one huge propeller. Later in the movie, they are being tracked by a torpedo in which they narrowly escape by making a sharp turn to the starboard just before crashing into an undersea rock formation. While making this turn Ramius orders right full rudder, reverse starboard engine, and it again shows the rear of the Red October, but this time there are two smaller propellers, not the one huge one shown earlier.

Correction: When Ramius orders the activation of the caterpillar drive, they switch to a close-up shot of the port side propeller coming to a stop and the port side aft caterpillar door opening. There are always two propellers, the shot in question is too tight to see the starboard propeller.


Corrected entry: This could be an error done on purpose to simplify the audience understanding. When the Russian Alpha fires on the Red October towards the movie's end, the torpedo's course is stated as 315. Ramius then tells Ryan to steer the sub to a course of 315 to head into the torpedo. That's wrong. If the torpedo were on a bearing of 315, the sub would need to be on a bearing of 135 to be heading directly into it.


Correction: The torpedo fired at Red October is reported at bearing 315. Then Red October seers a course of 315. That is accurate to set a collision course with the torpedo.

How? Both objects would then be on a heading of 315 thereby going in the same direction, not heading into each other. If the torpedo was traveling on a bearing of 315, the reciprocal heading would be 180° opposite, or 135.


When they detect the torpedo the Russian says there is a torpedo in the water bearing 315, meaning the torpedo is 315° from them, not that its course is 315. Ramius then orders the sub to head in the direction of 315 which is the direction they detected the torpedo as coming from.


The torpedo's bearing is 315 from the sub's position, but has a COURSE of 135, towards the sub.

Corrected entry: As Red October enters the river, a large sonar dispenser pod can be seen on the rudder. Typhoon class subs don't have those. The large tear-shaped towed array dispensers are present on Sierra II and Akula-class submarines, but not Typhoons.


Correction: The Red October is a brand new design, not a typical Typhoon class. She has many new features, such as the caterpillar drive, so it's entirely possible that she has such a sonar array.


Corrected entry: In the scene where Jack Ryan gives his brief to Jeffrey Pelt and the Joint Chiefs, they discuss how Ramius may be a madman set to launch his missiles on the United States, and that the Red October must be near the US coast to do so. This sets in motion a whole series of events to hunt for the Red October. One of the Joint Chiefs says "If it gets within 500 miles of the Coast, we'll have less than 2 minutes warning." However, doesn't the Red October carry ICBMs that can be launched from any location, not just the US Coast? And, if so, the "madman" could/would have already launched the missiles? This "madman" premise is put forward again by the Soviet ambassador when he meets with Jeffrey Pelt in Pelt's office. The ambassador wants to ask the President to assist in hunting down the "insane" captain who is going to launch his missiles on the US. But there appears to be no real explanation as to why a "mad" Captain Ramius would not have already fired the missiles.

Correction: It's not a plot hole, because the "mad-man" may want a short range missile shoot, to keep both sides from talking to each other and prevent the Holocaust from happening. If he fired from far away, they would have had time to talk.

Corrected entry: Jonesy identifies the sub contact as a typhoon-class ballistic missile submarine. They dub it the Typhoon-7 as they have six other typhoon submarines recorded in the computer. In reality, six typhoons were indeed built, with a 7th canceled under construction. However, in November 1984, which is when this is supposed to happen, only two had been commissioned and the third was near completion. Thus, the Dallas couldn't have had six typhoons in its computer at the time, only two.

Correction: Multiple encounters with the two commissioned typhoons could easily have been interpreted as encounters with six different typhoons. It is clear in the film that classifying acoustic signatures is more of an art than a science. In fact the Signal Algorithmic Processing System system, which is unable to find a match for Red October, is proved to be fallible later in the film.

Corrected entry: Ramius says that when Hernàn Cortés reached the new world that he burned his ships, which is historically inaccurate. Cortés actually sunk his sank his ships in July 1519 and that wasn't his first visit to the new world either. And he actually sunk his ships for militaristic reasons, not because he had no desire to return to Spain.


Correction: The idea behind Cortez sinking or burning his ships (nothing wrong with a little dramatic hyperbole) wasn't because he didn't want to go back to Spain, it was to motivate his men so that they knew that there was no way back except to obey his orders. Presumably, they'd build new ships later.

Captain Defenestrator

Corrected entry: In the October officer mess scene where the Doctor is ushered out to get the radiation figures, there is a cook in cook's hat with his back towards the camera standing at a bench top behind Ramius. Borodin shuts the door after the doctor is outside and the officers all sit to speak with Ramius, but the cook vanishes without leaving the wardroom.


Correction: You can see the cook leaving in the background behind Borodin, while the latter walks towards the doctor.

Corrected entry: In the pictures of the bow of the Red October, the doors for the Caterpillar Drive are shown as oval, yet in the close up shot of the door opening it looks more squared.

Movie Nut

Correction: The square looking door for the caterpillar drive are the rear doors, they're oval in front.

Corrected entry: After asking if Red October has opened its outer torpedo tube doors, Captain Mancuso asks Sonar to report all contacts. Sonar reports back that the only contact is Typhoon 7 bearing 195. The issue is that bearing 195º is very close to directly behind Dallas, whereas in the preceding exterior scene, Red October appeared in front of Dallas at a bearing between 030 to 045. Captain Ramius had directed "All Stop" for Red October, so it would not have progressed much further into its 'Crazy Ivan' circular path. After having exposed Dallas' presence, Captain Mancuso would likely have taken action to reposition Dallas in order to prevent Red October from achieving a position behind Dallas. (To minimize torpedo travel, Captain Mancuso would have kept his loaded torpedo tubes pointed roughly at Red October).

Correction: This is incorrect as when reporting this contact they gave off its direct via compass rather in relation to the boat. This is done to avoid confusion in reporting contacts over time. German subs did this as well, due to when being depth charged they would be turning constantly. in order to effectively track enemy destroyers they would use the compass rather than the boat for bearing.

Corrected entry: Near the beginning of the movie, Ramius is in his cabin with one of the crew members and they are getting ready to read their orders. The safe containing the orders has 2 locks, one on top of the other, requiring two separate keys. Ramius takes his key and puts it into the lower lock, then gets the key from his comrade for the upper lock. But the next camera shot shows a key already in the upper lock, and Ramius apparently using the key he had just gotten from the other guy to turn the lower lock.

Correction: He is turning both keys with both hands at the same time, the other hand is kind of obscured so it looks like he just put the key in the lower lock.

Look closely and you will see the political officer's key is a reddish color inserted into the lower lock, and the captain's silver key is in the top lock. Thus, it is a continuity mistake.

Character mistake: Characters refer to the Dallas and the Red October as "ships," but anyone stationed aboard a submarine would know to call it a "boat."

Cubs Fan

More mistakes in The Hunt for Red October

Vasily Borodin: I would like to have seen Montana.

More quotes from The Hunt for Red October

Trivia: The Alfa-class submarine Konovalov commanded by Captain Tupolev is named after Soviet Rear Admiral Vladimir Konovalov. In March 1945, he sunk the German luxury liner Goya in the Baltic Sea on its way to Kiel, killing 6220 East Prussian refugees out of 6385.

More trivia for The Hunt for Red October

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

More questions & answers from The Hunt for Red October

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