Patriot Games (film)

Patriot Games is a 1992 film based on the novel of the same name by Tom Clancy. It was released on June 5, 1992 and directed by Phillip Noyce. In the movie, Jack Ryan was played by Harrison Ford and Jack's surgeon-wife, Dr. Cathy Muller Ryan, by Anne Archer.


Jack Ryan is on a "working vacation" in London with his family, after having retired from the CIA. Here they witness a terrorist attack on Lord William Holmes, British Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and a distant member of the British Royal Family. Ryan intervenes in the attack and kills one of the terrorists and also incapacitates Sean Miller, one of the attackers. Ryan is wounded in the process but testifies in court against Miller, who is part of the Ulster Liberation Army—a breakaway group of the Provisional IRA. Ryan is awarded a knighthood—a KCVO: Knight Commander of the Victorian Order—and eventually returns to the United States.

While being transferred to Albany Prison on the Isle of Wight, Miller's escort convoy is ambushed by ULA terrorists who kill the police officers, and he escapes from custody. He unexpectedly goes to the United States with his team to kill Ryan, who killed his brother during the London attack. Miller is then tracked to North Africa (the location is not named in the film) where a number of training camps have operated for years.

After the assassination attempt on his family, Ryan decides to go back to work for the CIA, having earlier rejected the appeal of his former superior, Admiral James Greer. Their research and work eventually leads to an ambush on the camp in North Africa, though Miller is not there.

An ambush on the Ryan household takes place, despite tight security provided by the U.S. State Department's Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), as Lord Holmes visits them to present his KCVO. Miller, enraged and obsessed with revenge for his brother's death, kills his team members as they try to turn their boat back to where Lord Holmes and the Ryans (except Jack Ryan) are hiding on shore. Ryan and Miller fight hand to hand, and Miller is killed when he falls backward onto a boat anchor.

Credits roll just after Catherine Ryan learns the sex of the child she is going to have, and before she tells Jack and Sally.



Author Tom Clancy distanced himself from the movie because of a number of plot changes. Most significantly, the Prince became "Lord Holmes", the Queen Mother's cousin; and Sean Miller is killed at the end.

The movie was filmed in England and in the Washington DC area including Annapolis, Maryland. However, skyscrapers shown in Annapolis are fictitious. During the highway chase, Jack tells Cathy to meet him at the state police barracks on Houston Street. There is no such street in Annapolis or its suburbs.

Harrison Ford accidentally hit Sean Bean with a boat hook while shooting the final scene; Bean has a scar over his eye as a result. (In Bean's subsequent Sharpe series, this would be emphasized with makeup to add credibility to his character.)


The actors who played Jack and Carolyn Ryan in The Hunt for Red October, Alec Baldwin and Gates McFadden, were unavailable due to other commitments. At the time, Baldwin was performing A Midsummer Night's Dream on Broadway and McFadden had become a regular on the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation. Despite the film's plot and setting, Richard Harris, Patrick Bergin and Jonathan Ryan, are the only Irish actors to appear in the film.


The score by James Horner contains musical references to works by Aram Khachaturian (Adagio from "Gayane" Suite) and Dmitri Shostakovich (Symphony No. 5, 3rd mvt.). One particular sequence in the music accompanying the scene in which Ryan, Greer, et al view the live satellite feed of the SAS attack contains a nearly direct sampling from the latter.

A music video is shown in an early scene featuring Clannad's song "Theme from Harry's Game", originally made for an ITV drama about The Troubles in 1982. Patrick Bergin's character Kevin O'Donnell watches it during the scene where the Provisional IRA tries to kill him. Its appearance proved influential, and when the song was included on the Patriot Games soundtrack in 1992, it helped jump-start Clannad's popularity in the U.S.


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