The Harrison Ford Thriller On Netflix That Will Have You On The Edge Of Your Seat

By Sean Thiessen | Published

Clear and Present Danger

Nothing hits like a 90s action/thriller, especially when Harrison Ford is involved. Ford stars in Clear and Present Danger, the 1994 film that marked the actor’s second turn as Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan. The film is now clear and present on Netflix, primed to bring its 90s glory straight to your living room.

Harrison Ford‘s second time around as Jack Ryan in Clear and Present Danger is now available on Netflix.

Harrison Ford has played almost innumerable iconic characters. He took on the famous role of Jack Ryan in 1992’s Patriot Games and again two years later for Clear and Present Danger. Created by author Tom Clancy, Jack Ryan is a CIA analyst who often finds himself in the heart of dangerous political and military conflicts. 

Through the 20 books Clancy wrote about Jack Ryan, beginning with 1984’s The Hunt for Red October, the character rises through the ranks until eventually serving as the President of the United States.

Willem Dafoe and Harrison Ford in Clear and Present Danger

Harrison Ford depicts the character at the time of his appointment as acting Deputy Director of Intelligence at the CIA. As his first course of action in his new post, Ryan convinces Congress to fund Colombian resistance against a notorious drug cartel on the grounds that the operation would not involve the United States military.

Unbeknownst to Jack Ryan, his colleagues have different plans. With the backing of the president, U.S. military forces intervene in the Colombian conflict, and Jack Ryan becomes the fall guy for the mess that follows.

Harrison Ford delivers his classic gruff demeanor in Clear and Present Danger, but his character is more of a Boy Scout than most of Ford’s other characters. He typically brings a rebellious edge to his roles, but Jack Ryan is very by the book – until circumstances force him to get creative.

Alec Baldwin was the first actor to play Jack Ryan on the big screen in 1990’s The Hunt for Red October. Harrison Ford then took over to send the franchise to new box office heights. Clear and Present Danger improved on Red October’s $200 million total with a $216 million box office return; Patriot Games ranked lowest with $178 million.

Harrison Ford in Clear and Present Danger

Harrison Ford wasn’t the only major player to show up for the Jack Ryan adaptations; the team behind Clear and Present Danger is all-time. The film was written by Donald Stewart, who worked on all three early 90s Jack Ryan films. He was aided by screenwriters Steve Zaillian, whose writing credits include Schindler’s List and Moneyball, and John Milius, who wrote Apocalypse Now and Conan the Barbarian.

Harrison Ford’s Clear and Present Danger was the most successful of the original Tom Clancy film trilogy, outgrossing Alec Baldwin in The Hunt for Red October.

In front of the camera, Harrison Ford was joined by Anne Archer, Willem Dafoe, James Earl Jones, Henry Czerny, and more. At the helm of Clear and Present Danger was Phillip Noyce, the director behind the 2010 Angelina Jolie action flick Salt.

The 90s Jack Ryan films were big money makers, but that did not mean that making them was easy. Tom Clancy was not happy with the adaptation of Patriot Games, and it took some convincing to get him to allow more of his novels to be turned into movies. Money talks, and after a long negotiation and a big payout from Paramount, Clancy was back on board.

Clear and Present Danger

With Harrison Ford back, Clear and Present Danger was a go… almost. John Milius’s original script was rewritten by Donald Stewart. Clancy was not happy with Stewart’s draft of the film, so Steve Zaillian came on for another rewrite. Eventually, the movie made it to production.

Part of the film was set in Colombia. The studio and filmmakers felt a Colombia shoot would be too dangerous for a valuable star like Harrison Ford, so they opted to shoot those sequences in Mexico City. The move did not alleviate clear and present danger the way they intended.

Clear and Present Danger’s troubled production faced unique challenges, from a political uprising in Mexico to an earthquake.

The production was caught in the throes of the Chiapas conflict. The unrest in Mexico City slowed the production down, causing it to fall behind schedule. Things were hairy in the United States as well; some of the footage for the film was lost due to the Northridge earthquake.

As if 1994 hadn’t thrown enough at Harrison Ford and the crew of Clear and Present Danger, the studio ordered a series of reshoots after the film received poor ratings during a test screening. 

When the film finally hit theaters on August 3, 1994, it made a big splash, outperforming holdouts like The Mask and Forrest Gump. Fans showed up big for Harrison Ford, and even critics were mostly kind to Clear and Present Danger. Now the harrowing political drama is back and ready to stream safely on Netflix.