The Best Sean Connery Movie Ever Is Now On Netflix
Sean Connery may have become a household name with his portrayal of James Bond, and while fans can debate which of his spy outings is the best, the Scottish star’s greatest movie is The Hunt For Red October. Now available on Netflix, the 1989 submarine classic stars Connery as Captain Markos Ramius, a Soviet Naval Officer attempting to defect to the United States. The role earned him his second British Academy Film Award for Best Actor, just two years after his first win for The Name of the Rose.
The Hunt for Red October was the first big screen adaptation of author Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan novels, and it is arguably still the most successful. Alec Baldwin played the famous CIA analyst opposite Sean Connery, with the rest of the cast reading like a murderer’s row of actors, including Tim Curry (Clue), Sam Neil (Jurassic Park), Courtney B. Vance (Law & Order), Peter Firth (Spooks), James Earl Jones (Star Wars), Scott Glenn (The Right Stuff), Stellan Skarsgard (Thor), United States Senator Fred Thompson (Law & Order), and even Gates McFadden (Star Trek: The Next Generation) in an uncredited role. The level of talent on hand surpasses any of Connery’s other movies, even The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, yet the former Bond is able to command the screen whenever he appears.
Before production even began, screenwriters Larry Ferguson and Donald Stewart approached the United States Navy for approval, which was granted as most of the admirals were fans of the original novel. The approving officers were hoping The Hunt for Red October could do for the Navy what Top Gun did to popularize the Air Force. Several cast members had prior military experience, including Sean Connery with the Royal Navy, James Earl Jones with the United States Army, and Scott Glenn served in the Marine Corps.
Rounding out the crew of the various submarines on film were serving servicemen, as the producers found it easier to hire real sailors than training extras to act in the cramped quarters. Sean Connery was not the first choice to portray Captain Ramius, Klaus Maria Brandauer, known for the film Out of Africa, was cast in the role but dropped out just two weeks prior to filming. Adding to the casting issues, Alec Baldwin was not the first choice to play Jack Ryan, that was Kevin Costner, who turned down the role to star in Dances with Wolves instead.
Harrison Ford was the second choice for the role, which he turned down, only to ironically portray Jack Ryan in the follow up movies, Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger. Sean Connery did not return for the subsequent movies, as his characters story had already been told, but then again, the star almost never did a sequel, except for James Bond of course, but beyond that, there was never a sequel, not at all. If the story had allowed for it, a The Hunt for Red October sequel would have been greenlit, as the film was a massive success.
The Hunt for Red October is Sean Connery’s third highest-grossing film, behind The Rock and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, with a worldwide box office of $200 million. In bringing Captain Ramius to life on the big screen, Connery gave the best performance of his career, one that you can catch now on Netflix.