Photo: From left: Bruce Mcbroom / Paramount / Kobal / Shutterstock, courtesy of Amazon Prime, Moviestore / Shutterstock
In the early 1980s, Tom Clancy worked for his family’s insurance company when he had an idea for a novel about a rogue submarine commander. “More than anything, I’m a technology freak,” he once said. “And the best things are in the military.” In his downtime he wrote The hunt for the red October, who would start his huge career.
Soon Hollywood came and called and turned its action thrillers into event movies. Clancy, who died in 2013 at the age of 66, was a self-styled red-blooded American – he loved Reagan – so it’s no wonder his plot turned out to be excellent support for pro-American tent poles, where rock-solid movie stars like Harrison Ford keep us protected against foreign threats.
Clancy’s books made for perfect fodder from the Cold War, which in part may explain why films based on his work can not help but feel anachronistic after 9/11. (Ironically, the biggest Clancy hit for years was the small screen Jack Ryan, who transplanted the hero of our war on terror era.) Med Tom Clancy is without remorse when we arrive at Amazon Prime, we think it’s a good time to look back through the highlights of the author’s film production. Not surprisingly, we discovered that the heyday of this franchise happened decades ago. In the 1990s, however, Jack Ryan was bigger than James Bond.