The Hunt For Red October – 4K UHD Review

The Hunt For Red October is a 1990 American espionage thriller film that was produced by Mace Neufeld, directed by John McTiernan, that stars Sean Connery, Alec Baldwin, Scott Glenn, James Earl Jones, and Sam Neill. The film is based on Tom Clancy’s 1984 bestselling novel of the same name.

The story is set during the late Cold War era and involves a rogue Soviet naval captan who wishes to defect to the United States with his officers and the Soviet Navy’s newest and most advanced nuclear missile submarine. An American CIA analyst correctly deduces his motive and must prove his theory to the US Navy before a violent confrontation between the Soviet and the American navies spirals out of control.

The film was a co-production between the motion picture studios Paramount Pictures, Mace Neufeld Productions, and Nina Saxon Film Design. Theatrically, it was commercially distributed by Paramount Pictures and by the Paramount Home Entertainment division for home media markets. Following its wide theatrical release, the film was nominated for and won a number of accolades. At the 63rd Academy Awards, the film was honored with the Academy Award for Best Sound Editing, along with nominations for Best Sound Mixing and Best Film Editing. On June 12, 1990, the original soundtrack, composed and conducted by Basil Poledouris, was released by MCA Records.

The Hunt for Red October received mostly positive reviews from critics and was the 6th top-grossing film of the year, generating $122 million in North America and more than $200 million worldwide in box office businesses. The film was the first in a series involving the fictional character Jack Ryan, played additionally by Harrison Ford, Ben Afleck, and Chris Pine. Jack Ryan is also played by John Krasinksi in the upcoming TV series titled Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan.

The Film Itself (4/5):

The Hunt for Red October is a film that feels as if it were perfectly cast as the cast and crew provide an old-fashioned thriller that’s absolutely loaded from top to bottom. It is said that Tom Clancy is known for writing some pretty difficult books; however, this movie takes an extremely absurd situation and makes it completely plausible. Loaded with tension, surely gives its audience one hell of a ride. Performances from the cast and crew were phenomenal, ultimately making this film one that will always be at the top of my personal list of favorites.

Picture Quality (5/5):

The 4K UHD copy of The Hunt for Red October looked absolutely beautiful as it played out across my television.  Everything from the scenic backgrounds to the more up close and personal shots really shined, allowing for everything to still feel like it did when I was younger.  Providing viewers with a decent amount of improvement over the 2008 Blu-ray release of the film, the overall utilization of HDR and Dolby Vision with this disc is where this release ultimately shines.  Colors are noticeably more crisp and clean, and the darker undertones are certainly presented much better.

Audio Quality (4.5/5):

Packaged with the same Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix as the 2008 release, the 4K UHD copy of The Hunt for Red October gives its viewers an absolutely powerful, lossless experience that absolutely roars through home theater systems.  While it’s not as immersive as it could have been with the inclusion of the surround channels, or even the elevation aspect, the track packaged with this release is clean.  The recognition of the viewers in relation to the screen was noticeable as the transitions from channel to channel were clean, and the dialogue was clean and clear, allowing for everything to be heard without having to adjust the volume levels as the movie progressed.

The Packaging (4/5):

The Hunt For Red October comes packaged in the Jack Ryan: 5-Film Collection.  This collection is packaged in a ten-disc, extra thick amaray case that contains the 4K UHD discs of all of the films within, as well as the standard Blu-ray copies of all of the films advertised within.  While there are no DVD copies of the films included with this bundle, there is a digital copy redemption pamphlet that contains the necessary codes to add the five movies to collections for the various streaming platforms.  There’s also a slipcover that’s been provided that has the same artwork that’s also been provided on the case art.


Special Features (3/5):

Unfortunately, the 4K UHD release of The Hunt for Red October doesn’t include any new additional features when compared to the previously released Blu-ray counterpart.  The nice thing is that the 4K UHD disc does include an audio commentary hidden within the menu’s, and that commentary track has been also made available on the Blu-ray copy.  Included with this release is:

  • Disk 1
    • Feature Audio Commentary By Director John McTiernan
  • Disk 2
    • Feature Audio Commentary By Director John McTiernan
    • Beneath The Surface – Cast and Crew Interviews
    • Theatrical Trailer

Technical Specs:


Codec: HEVC / H2.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

HDR: Dolby Vision + HDR10

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1, 2.35:1

Original Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1


English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1

German: Dolby Digital 5.1

Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1

French: Dolby Digital 5.1

Italian: Dolby Digital 5.1

Japanese: Dolby Digital 2.0

Portuguese: Dolby Digital Mono


English, English SDH, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, Arabic, Cantonese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Icelandic, Korean, Mandarin (Simplified), Norwegian, Slovak, Swedish, Thai


Original Film: 135 Minutes

Final Thoughts:

Overall, I was happy to sit down and revisit The Hunt for Red October as it has been quite some time since I’d last seen this movie.  The 4K UHD version offers a significantly better visual presentation over its previously released counterpart.  The audio track is the same exact one that’s been previously provided, which is a shame that they didn’t really take the time to put any kind of additional attention into.  The special features are pretty sparse, but the ones that have been provided were certainly appreciated.  If you’re considering this release for your collection, I’d definitely recommend grabbing it if you don’t already have the previously released Blu-ray copy of the collection.  The Jack Ryan 5-Film Collection is available on 4K UHD today.

Note: This Blu-ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.