Tom Clancy - on the Screen

The Hunt for Red October (1990) poster
The Hunt for Red October (1990) poster
The Sum of All Fears (2002) poster
The Sum of All Fears (2002) poster
Tom Clancy (in The Simpsons)
Tom Clancy (in The Simpsons)

Tom Clancy is a best-selling author best known for his techno-thrillers, military dramas and action adventure tales set after the Cold War, he was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1947.

He wrote his first novel The Hunt for Red October in 1984, President Reagan was a fan of the book and it shot straight into the New York Times Best Sellers list. Ten of his books have hit the number one spot on the best sellers chart. His novel Clear and Present Danger was published in 1989 and sold nearly 2 million copies, it was the best-selling novel of the 1980’s.

The main hero of Clancy’s novels is Jack Ryan, who starts off as a CIA analyst, eventually becomes vice-president and than in Debt of Honor, when a crazed Japanese seeking revenge flies his 747 Jumbo Jet into the Capitol Building killing the President and everyone in there, Jack Ryan becomes President of the United States.

John Clark an Ex-Navy SEAL and CIA operative is Clancy’s other hero. Only three Tom Clancy novels do not feature Jack Ryan or John Clark, they are – Red Storm Rising, SSN and Against All Enemies.

In 1995 Tom Clancy along with Steve Pieczenik created the Op-Center series of novels, the books were written by Jeff Rovin and concern an agency called ‘The National Crisis Management Center’. In 1998 Clancy and Pieczenik created the Net Force series of novels, the books were written by Steve Perry.

Tom Clancy died on 1st October, 2013, he was 66.

Bibliography –

1984 – The Hunt for Red October
1986 – Red Storm Rising
1987 – Patriot Games
1988 – The Cardinal of the Kremlin
1989 – Clear and Present Danger
1991 – The Sum of All Fears
1993 – Without Remorse
1994 – Debt of Honor
1996 – Executive Orders
1996 – SSN
1998 – Rainbow Six
2000 – The Bear and the Dragon
2002 – Red Rabbit
2003 – Teeth of the Tiger
2010 – Dead or Alive (with Grant Blackwood)
2011 – Against All Enemies (with Peter Telep)
2011 – Locked On (with Mark Greaney)
2012 – Search and Destroy (with Peter Telep)


Sean Connery and Alec Baldwin in The Hunt for Red October (1990)
Sean Connery and Alec Baldwin in The Hunt for Red October (1990)
The Hunt for Red October (1990)
The Hunt for Red October (1990)
The Hunt for Red October (1990)
The Hunt for Red October (1990)
The Hunt for Red October (1990) poster
The Hunt for Red October (1990) poster

The Hunt for Red October (1990) directed by John McTiernan, starring Sean Connery, Alec Baldwin, Scott Glenn, Sam Neill, James Earl Jones, Joss Ackland, Richard Jordan, Peter Firth, Tim Curry, Stellan Skarsgard and Jeffrey Jones. 134mins.

Russian Captain Marko Ramius (Connery) defects to the West, taking with him the Soviet Union's most advanced submarine, the Red October.

Alec Baldwin plays Jack Ryan in the first movie based on a Tom Clancy novel, first published in 1984. Kevin Costner and Harrison Ford were considered for Ryan and Klaus Maria Brandeur for Ramius.

Oscar nominated for Best Film Editing and Best Sound, winning for Best Sound Effects Editing.

The Hunt for Red October cost $30m and has grossed $200m worldwide.

IMDB rating 7.6

Harrison Ford, Anne Archer and Thora Birch in Patriot Games (1992)
Harrison Ford, Anne Archer and Thora Birch in Patriot Games (1992)
Sean Bean in Patriot Games (1992)
Sean Bean in Patriot Games (1992)
Patriot Games (1992) poster
Patriot Games (1992) poster

Patriot Games (1992) directed by Phillip Noyce, starring Harrison Ford, Anne Archer. Thora Birch, Sean Bean, Patrick Bergin, James Fox, Samuel L. Jackson, Polly Walker, James Earl Jones and Richard Harris. 117mins.

Harrison Ford took over the role of Jack Ryan when Alec Baldwin was unavailable to reprise the role.

When Ryan thwarts an attack in London by an IRA splinter group he and his family are targeted in revenge. Based on Tom Clancy's 1987 novel of the same name.The novel was actually a prequel to the events in Hunt for Red October.

Patriot Games cost $45m and has grossed $178m worldwide.

IMDB rating 6.9

Harrison Ford and Willem Dafoe in Clear and Present Danger (1994)
Harrison Ford and Willem Dafoe in Clear and Present Danger (1994)
Clear and Present Danger (1994)
Clear and Present Danger (1994)
Clear and Present Danger (1994) poster
Clear and Present Danger (1994) poster

Clear and Present Danger (1994) directed by Phillip Noyce, starring Harrison Ford, Willem Dafoe, Anne Archer, Thora Birch, Joaquim de Almeida, Miguel Sandoval, Henry Czerny, Harris Yulin, Donald Moffat and Benjamin Bratt. 141mins.

Based on Clancy's 1989 novel. The US President plans covert action against a Colombian drug cartel which killed his friend. Ryan discovers there is dirty work afoot, a conspiracy which leads all the way to the White House.

Nominated for two Oscars - Best Sound and Best Sound Effects Editing.

Clear and Present Danger cost $62m and has grossed $215m worldwide.

IMDB rating 6.8

Op-Center (1995) poster
Op-Center (1995) poster



OP Center (1995) directed by Lewis Teague, starring Harry Hamlin, Patrick Bauchau, Kabir Bedi, John Savage, Bo Hokins, Rod Steiger, Kim Cattrall and Wilford Brimley. 170mins.

TV movie based on the OP Center series of novels created by Tom Clancy and Steve Pieczenik.

Nuclear missiles are stolen from the Soviet Union by terrorists, the OP center team must find out who did it and where the missiles are heading.

Won an Emmy Award for Sound Editing.

IMDB rating 5.5

Net Force (1999) poster
Net Force (1999) poster


Net Force (1999) directed by Robert Lieberman, starring Scott Bakula, Joanna Going, Xander Berkeley, Brian Dennehy, Kris Kristofferson, CCH Pounder and Judge Reinhold. 200mins.

TV movie based on the Net Force series of novels created by Tom Clancy and Steve Pieczenik.

The Net Force police the internet, they hunt down a hacker who can access any computer in the world and plans to gain control of the internet.

Emmy nominated for Sound Editing.

IMDB rating 5.1

The Sum of All Fears (2002)
The Sum of All Fears (2002)
Ben Affleck and Morgan Freeman in The Sum of All Fears (2002)
Ben Affleck and Morgan Freeman in The Sum of All Fears (2002)
The Sum of All Fears (2002) poster
The Sum of All Fears (2002) poster
Ben Affleck in The Sum of All Fears (2002)
Ben Affleck in The Sum of All Fears (2002)

The Sum of All Fears (2002) Directed by Phil Alden Robinson, starring Ben Affleck, Morgan Freeman, Bridget Moynahan, James Cromwell, Liev Schreiber, Bruce McGill, Ciaran Hinds, Ron Rifkin and Alan Bates. 124mins.

Based on Clancy's 1991 novel of the same name. Affleck is playing a younger version of Jack Ryan but set in 2002 when going by his age should have been set in the early 1980s.

A terrorist faction plan to explode a Russian nuclear missile, which went missing in 1973, on a US city thus provoking a war between the US and Russia. CIA analyst Jack Ryan tries to avert a catastrophe.

In the novel the villains were Muslim extremists, this was changed to Neo-Nazi terrorists in the film. On the commentary track the director said this had nothing to do with 9/11 and thought it would be more realistic if European terrorists were the villains.

The Sum of All Fears cost $68m and has grossed $194m worldwide.

IMDB rating 6.3

Jack Ryan - Shadow Recruit (2014) poster
Jack Ryan - Shadow Recruit (2014) poster
Chris Pine as Jack Ryan
Chris Pine as Jack Ryan
Kevin Costner
Kevin Costner
Kenneth Branagh
Kenneth Branagh

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014) Directed by Kenneth Branagh, starring Chris Pine, Kevin Costner, Keira Knightley, Kenneth Branagh, Lenn Kudrjawizki and Colm Feore. 105mins.

So far there have been 5 Jack Ryan movies and 4 different actors playing the role! Chris Pine (1980-) is the latest actor to play Jack Ryan on film. Pine has starred in two successful Star Trek movies as young Jim Kirk.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit uses characters from Tom Clancy's novels but is not based on any of his books. It serves as a prequel to the Jack Ryan novels. Tom Clancy died in October 2013, before the filming had been completed.

Kevin Costner had been offered the role of Jack Ryan way back in 1989 for The Hunt for Red October, but turned it down to make Dances With Wolves.

Chris Pine had co-starred with the previous actor to play Jack Ryan, Ben Affleck, in Smokin' Aces (2006).

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit cost $60m to produce and opened with $18m at the US box office.


IMDB rating 6.5

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014) Japanese poster
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014) Japanese poster

Highest Grossing Tom Clancy Films

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Comments 8 comments

A.A. Zavala profile image

A.A. Zavala 4 years ago from Texas

I loved this movie, and what it every time it comes on TV in addition to "Clear and Present" danger. Tom Clancy has a huge following in the military community.


Flora Breen Robison 4 years ago

So far, I've seen few of Tom Clancy-based movies.

In the order listed of those with descriptions and photos and imdb rankings, I have seen:

Hunt for Red October-this is my favourite and I've seen it the most often. It is also one of my favourite Sean Connery films of his career.

Patriot Games

Clear and Present Danger

Regarding the movies you discuss in detail:

Actors who have worked with him I admire, alphabetically over their careers are: Joss Ackland, Sean Connery, Tim Curry, William DaFoe, Harrison Ford, Morgan Freeman Rod Steiger

As for the directors, I'm embarrassed to say that the names are unfamiliar to me. Likely if the names of other films they directed were listed, I would recognize some of the names even if I haven't seen them.

As for the others, the one I've seen advertised on TV recently is The Sum of All Fears. It's not a high ranking film, but I do enjoy Morgan Freeman. I can see me watching that film. I might check out Debt of Honor too which I haven't seen. Yes, they will be seen in the wrong order. (Ouch)

I'm not familiar with the films listed in the bibliography that are not discussed in greater detail elsewhere. I've not heard of the titles.

As for the posters, I prefer the first one: Sean Connery's portrait in red against a black background and a red bottom for The Hunt For Red October.


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 4 years ago from London, England Author

Zavala, thanks for the comment, the military love Tom Clancy eh? I'm not surprised. :)

Flora hi, thanks for the comments, remarks and choices, always appreciated.

Firstly, you've seen 3 of the 4 films made from Crichton's novels, that's all they did, 4 films. A 5th movie is being planned possibly with Chris Pine as Jack Ryan.

The only movie you missed is The Sum of all Fears, which in my opinion isn't as good as the others. Phil Alden Robinson was not the right director for the job.

That Sean Connery poster is my favourite too.

Thanks for posting. John Grisham up next.


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 4 years ago from London, England Author

Flora, I meant Clancy's novels not Crichtons, sorry for the confusion.


Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 4 years ago from Virginia

I find it surprising that more of his books have not made it to the big screen. If you take out the Jack Ryan novels/movies the other ones have been tv movies.

I have seen and own all of the Jack Ryan movies. I would rank them best to worst Red October, Clear and Present Danger, Patriot Games and finally The Sum of All Fears. Although I would rank my favorite Jack Ryan in this order....Ford, Baldwin and then Affleck....the power of Indy still works on me....lol.

Favorite moments in the movies....Ford tells the President he does not dance, Scott Glenn and Connery working together in Red October, Ford stopping Miller at the beginning of the Patriot Games....and nothing from Sum of All Fears except for Morgan Freeman who never seems to give a bad performance.

Voted up and interesting.....another nice addition in the Steve Lensman Hub Page Catalog.


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 4 years ago from London, England Author

Thank you Bruce, totally in agreement with your comments regarding the films, stars, moments and Morgan Freeman. :)

They should have made more Tom Clancy films, they should choose a different actor each time for the role of Jack Ryan and than they can see who's tops by the box office grosses. Bruce Willis plays Ryan in one film, than Nic Cage, than Denzel Washington, than Will Ferrell, than Angelina Jolie, than Robert Downey Jr, than Jet Li etc etc each Jack Ryan different from the last, would have been interesting.

Thanks for posting.


thatmovieguy71 4 years ago

Hunt for Red October is still my favorite of the Clancy movies, but I do think Harrison Ford made the best Jack Ryan.


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 4 years ago from London, England Author

Well that seems to be the general consensus of opinion around here. :)

Thanks for commenting.

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