Morality in The Hunt for Red October
While hundreds, even thousands of excellent movies have been made over the years since motion pictures were invented, there are some movies that stand out among the best. There are various reasons for these standouts, sometimes incredible acting, sometimes impeccable story lines, but in many cases, it is the issues addressed by the movie. Most of the greatest movies contain commentaries or analyses of certain issues, be they moral, social, or otherwise. John McTiernan directed one of these films, The Hunt for Red October, based on the similarly titled best-selling novel by Tom Clancy. The Hunt for Red October, a product of the anti-communist attitudes of the 1980’s, is above all a commentary on morality. It follows a critical moral decision made by one man, Soviet Captain Marko Ramius, portrayed by Sean Connery, and follows the consequences of that moral decision to their conclusion. While this is not the only instance of morality being questioned in this movie, it is the most important, as it is the decision upon which the story is based. Other characters, like Alec Baldwin’s character of Jack Ryan, and Scott Glenn’s character Captain Bart Mancuso also have to make moral decisions that will have important effects on Ramius’ decision.
The storyline of this movie is a result of Ramius’ moral dilemma. While he has served the Soviet Union faithfully for years, he must now decide between patriotism and what he believes is right. He is made captain of a new nuclear missile submarine with a silent drive capability that would enable it to quietly approach the American coast and shower the United States with multiple nuclear missiles. Ramius realizes that this submarine has no other purpose than to take lives and to start, and finish, a war. He decides to defect with the submarine to the United States, betraying the Soviet Union. He knows that his defection will be considered treason, and that the Soviet navy will hunt him and attempt to sink him. Despite this, he decides to defect, choosing what he believes is right over what he is told is right by the Soviet navy. This is a direct commentary on the idea of doing what you feel is right instead of what you are told to do. Through the course of the movie we see the effects of this decision. The Soviets try to convince the Americans that he is intending to attack the United States, and the Americans, once they realize Ramius is trying to defect, try to help him defect. The officers of Ramius’ crew have also had to make their own moral decisions as they assist Ramius’ defection. They, too, have had to follow the beliefs of right and wrong instead of the morality that has been given to them by their naval superiors.
There is also a moral decision to be made by the KGB agent loyal to the Soviet Union on Ramius’ submarine, the cook’s assistant Loginov. When he discovers that Ramius...