The Hunt for Red October

Corrected entry: As the rafts are casting off from the deck of Red October, during a close-up of one of the rafts, a crew member reaches out to the camera in an effort to steady himself.


Correction: The sailor reaches out for SOMETHING, but since we never see the camera we don't know what.

Jason Hoffman

Corrected entry: Towards the end, after the cook shoots at Sean Connery and Sam Neill blocks it, they open his jacket to look at the wound. His jacket is perfectly intact and his shirt only has a red stain - there is no visible hole.

Correction: When the first officer is shot, there is a visible hole in the jacket. Unfortunately the shot of the wound is a black-on-black shot making the damage to the jacket very very hard to see.

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 Premium member

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: In the scene when Ryan first meets the captain on the aircraft carrier, he explains that the uniform was Greer's idea, and the captain answers, "You work for Jim Greer?" After Ryan leaves, they discuss Ryan's ring, and the captain says, "Greer told me." He seems surprised Ryan works for Greer, but was briefed about the mission by Greer.

Correction: The discussion about the ring takes place several hours later. The captain was briefed by Greer while Ryan was sleeping.

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.

BocaDavie Premium member

Corrected entry: When the DSRV docks to the Red October, the crew let the October know they are docked by hitting the hatch with a hammer. However, the hammer used is a normal wood and steel hammer, the kind you could buy in any hardware store. Hammers, indeed, all tools on board submarines, are coated with a thin layer of plastic so as to minimize the amount of sound they make if they get banged around.

Correction: Not true. I had a friend stationed on the very DSRV used in the movie, and I have been in it myself. Since this type of vehicle is used for rescue the hammer is not coated. They want to make noise.


Corrected entry: In the scene where Ryan releases himself from the helicopter, the CO of the Dallas promptly sounds off, "Man overboard port side", then proceeds two levels down where he sees two personnel dragging in a very wet Ryan. Two levels down on a 688 class submarine is significantly below the waterline and there is no access overboard at that point.

Correction: True IF he'd gone down two decks of the hull, but he started out at the top of the conning tower, which is at least two decks tall. He's simply gone from the top of tower to the base of it. (And before we get into class-specific details of what is where on the real sub type it is stated to be, this is a fictional variant of such a sub in a Hollywood movie, not a replica in an historical re-enactment, and the film's makers are allowed artistic license in the design of their fake sub (short of having screen doors, of course).


Corrected entry: Jack dictates messages for the captain to send to Ramius. He writes down a message asking Ramius if he wants to defect and to meet them at...then searches for a map. He finds the name Laurentian Abyssal and rushes back to the captain - without writing it down - and the captain sends the written message. Laurentian Abyssal is not mentioned verbally and Ramius abruptly ends the dialogue.

Correction: As Ryan is running back to Captain Mancuso with his final message, you can see him jot down a few last letters or numbers on his notepad. This is most likely coordinates, as the name "Laurentian Abyssal" would not necessarily mean anything to the Russians. Coordinates would also take a lot shorter time to write down and send. Which also explains why Ramius "abruptly ends the dialogue" - he had gotten all the information he needed and no further communication was necessary. Ryan could have also written the letters L. A. The Russian's map did have Laurentian Abyssal in English. L. A. Could easily be used as locational shorthand considering the close proximity of both ships to that location.


Corrected entry: Wire guided torpedoes you can steer and provide input to as long as the wire doesn't break. Air dropped, ship fired, and ASROC's don't give you the option.

Correction: That's interesting, but this entry doesn't tell us which of the multiple torpedoes fired in the film was wire guided, and what the mistake is.


Corrected entry: When the DSRV disengages from the Dallas, the pilot floods the skirt and then reports that they have a 'soft seal', meaning they are still lined up with the Dallas's hatch but it's not watertight. When they dock with the Red October, he again reports a 'soft seal', and then the other guy goes to immediately open the hatch. Shouldn't they do a 'hard seal' or whatever they call it to seat the DSRV firmly against the Red October first and keep the water from rushing in when the hatch opens?

Correction: Hard seal refers to having interconnecting docking ports together. Soft seal means that one ship has made the connection witout a corresponding lock from the other vessel. Since the DSRV has a universal port that just goes around hatches it only ever has a soft seal on the Red October's hatch.

Corrected entry: When Jack Ryan is dropped to the Dallas there is no DSRV on it. Then it is there at the climax of the film. Given the time constraints it should not have been possible to get the DSRV to the Dallas.

Correction: The DSRV is located in Patuxent, Maryland when first seen. It is stated it can be anywhere in the world within 24 hours.meaning they can move it over 12,000 miles in 24 hours. Getting it from Maryland to the Grand Banks of Newfoundland (less than 1500 miles) would take less than 3 hours. The time between Ryan telling Ramius where to go via morse code and the arrival of Dallas at the same location was over 20 hours- plenty of time to get the DSRV to the Dallas.


Corrected entry: It is stated early in the movie that the Caterpillar drive, a magneto-hydrodynamic propulsion system, has no moving parts and simply uses magnets to squirt water out the back silently. Yet when Jonesy is investigating the disappearance of the Red October he plays a recording of the caterpillar drive at 10X speed and we hear banging of metal parts and pistons. The movement of these parts causes him to say "now that's gotta be manmade." (00:52:45)

Correction: Actually, Jonesy never says that he suspects it due to the nature of the sound; it only sounded like banging pistons because the speed of the sound had been increased so much in the playback (anything, natural or artificial, would sound like that if played back at sufficiently high speed). When played back at that high speed, he could easily tell that the slow sound was perfectly rhythmic, repeating at precise intervals. There is probably nothing natural in the ocean that could make a sound at that perfect frequency. This is made more clear in the book, but it was the perfect repetitiveness that tipped Jonesy off to its artificial nature.

Corrected entry: When we first see Sean Connery and Sam Neill, they're standing at the top of the Red October, looking out over the bleak Polijarnyj inlet, supposedly full of apprehension about the dangerous mission they're about to attempt. However, as Sam Neill says, "Pora tovarishch kapitan" ("It's time, Comrade Captain"), he's starting to smirk, and as the camera zooms back to focus on Connery's face, Neill cracks up completely and has to turn away. He partially regains control of himself after Sean Connery has said, "Nu, pora," and turns back to face the camera. What was he laughing about? Did they both feel funny about trying to speak Russian?

Correction: How is this a movie mistake? I make stupid jokes all the time to my boss to relieve tension, and we often have situations where we are trying (sometimes not very successfully) to control our mirth. Why should Russian sailors be any different?

Corrected entry: The Dallas submarine chasing Red October uses a very sophisticated sound analysis to localize the Russian sub because of its silent drive system. Red October does not notice the Dallas with its conventional propeller drive at all, until it deliberately reverses the propeller at full throttle at close distance. The Red October is not (deliberately) deaf however: the aircraft dropping a torpedo is signaled from great distance, but not the Dallas surfacing and picking up Jack Ryan from a helicopter. Furthermore, "crazy Ivan" turns are made to be sure no sub is following them, yet the encounter with the Dallas comes as a surprise.

Correction: The American sub has much better sonar, and the Dallas is in fact extremely quiet, even if it doesn't have the caterpillar drive. Torpedoes splashing into the water from a plane would be easy to detect.

Carl Fink

Corrected entry: When Ryan is being lowered to the Dallas from the helicopter, and until he releases the line to drop into the water, the Dallas is moving forward leaving a wake. Yet when the camera shot changes to show Ryan floating in the water amid ship the Dallas, the Dallas is completly stopped. The Dallas could not have stopped instantly when Ryan hit the water, even if the captain could have ordered it that quickly.

Correction: The camera never shows the full submarine, thus we cannot see if the sub is moving or not. There is still wake coming off the sides, so it is entirely possible that the boat was still moving, but the viewer cannot tell because of the way the camera was positioned.

Peter Vanicelli

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: Ryan says he doesn't know how long he has been without sleep because his watch is still on London time. If it's still on London time, then provided he can remember the simple fact of what time he got up the previous morning - which would also have been London time - shouldn't he know exactly how long it's been since he slept?

Correction: What he is saying is that lack of sleep is driving him crazy. Of course he knows how long it's been, when he says, "I don't remember how long it's been since I ..." is just an expression. He is making a joke about his watch being on London time, as if that explained his mental befuddlement. This is not a mistake.

Corrected entry: When Jack is chasing the cook in the missile area he climbs a ladder using both hands, in the next scene he flips himself onto a scaffold with a gun in his hand.

Correction: Actually the gun was tucked in the front of Ryan's pants, and when he lands on the scaffold he lands with one hand near his waist and immediately pulls the gun out.

Corrected entry: How in the world did Captain Tupolev, the commander of the soviet attack sub, know where to locate the Red October and the Dallas? In the vast Atlantic Ocean, only a few people know the location of where the crew exchange would take place. If Tupolev knows where to find them, how come the rest of the Soviet Navy does not?

Correction: Because the Soviet Navy had sent submarines to all the major ports to stop the Red October. It was just luck that Tupolev was guarding Norfolk (the destination of the Red October) Also, as Tupolev had been trained by Ramius he knew how Ramius thought.

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.

Factual error: When the USS Dallas submerges to attack the Red October, they rig for battle stations as well as rig for red. On a submarine, rig for red is only for periscope depth operations at night, to allow control room watchstanders eyes to adjust to the darkness topside. No other area on the boat rigs for red. Throughout the movie the lights darken along with battle stations. No naval ship would reduce visibility on purpose in a heightened state. (01:31:00)

More mistakes in The Hunt for Red October

Jeffrey Pelt: Mr. Ryan, I'm a politician. Which means I'm a cheat and a liar and when I'm not kissing babies I'm stealing their lollipops.

More quotes from The Hunt for Red October

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.

More trivia for The Hunt for Red October

Join the mailing list

Separate from membership, this is to get updates about mistakes in recent releases. Addresses are not passed on to any third party, and are used solely for direct communication from this site. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Check out the mistake & trivia books, on Kindle and in paperback.