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The Hunt for Red October
Album Cover Art
1990 MCA
Sample Bootleg
Album 2 Cover Art
2013 Intrada
Album 3 Cover Art
Composed, Co-Orchestrated, Conducted, and Produced by:

Co-Orchestrated by:
Greig McRitchie
Richard Stone
Labels Icon
MCA Records
(June 12th, 1990)


Intrada Records
(October 28th, 2013)
Availability Icon
The 1990 MCA album is a regular U.S. release. The bootleg floated around the secondary market throughout the 2000's, always consistent in track selection and sound. The 2013 Intrada album is a limited product of unspecified quantities, originally available through soundtrack specialty outlets for $20.
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Decorative Nonsense
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   Availability | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... on the DVD and watch the film if you want to hear Basil Poledouris' intelligent blend of orchestra, synthetics, and choir in the dynamic, crystal-clear sonic environment in which they were intended to be heard.

Avoid it... if you expect much of the majesty of the score to carry over from the film onto the muffled and dry presentations on any of the currently available commercial and bootleg albums, including the official 2013 expansion.
Review Icon
WRITTEN 3/15/97, REVISED 1/30/14
The Hunt for Red October: (Basil Poledouris) Among the many major big-screen adaptations of Tom Clancy's novels about American intelligence agent Jack Ryan, The Hunt for Red October is almost unanimously considered the highest achievement. With both critical and massive popular acclaim as a summer blockbuster in 1990, the finely crafted John McTiernan film would stir Paramount's interest in creating a film franchise around the Ryan character, though by The Sum of All Fears over a decade later, the idea had arguably worn out its welcome. There were a plethora of reasons why The Hunt for Red October succeeded so well, both on campy pop levels and at highly skilled technical ones. Its story's intrigue speaks to the novel's bestseller status; in the waning days of the Cold War, the Soviets' top submarine commander violates orders and sails his revolutionary new and 'silent' nuclear submarine on a direct course for the United States, with the Americans not knowing whether he intends to launch his nuclear arsenal or defect for the cause of peace. The cast of the film begged early questions, especially with Sean Connery, Sam Neill, and Tim Curry in primary Soviet roles, but if you look past their sometimes waning control over their accents, the supporting players put the sequel ensembles to shame. A thrilling story and outstanding art direction are joined by an undeniably masterful job of sound production for film. Winning the Oscar for "Sound Effects Editing" and nominated for "Best Sound" and "Film Editing," the aural soundscape of the film was well beyond its time for a 1990 production, and part of the success in The Hunt for Red October's appeal to the ears is owed to composer Basil Poledouris, who won a BMI Film Music Award for his score for the picture. The assignment was a dream come true for Poledouris, whose capability in scoring raw action films and the threat of devastating Soviet attacks on America was only eclipsed by his love of the sea. It's no coincidence that many of Poledouris' most cherished scores exist for films that involve the ocean. His knowledge of sailing and desire to be oceanside have figured into some of his most creative film scores, and Red October rivals the lesser-known, sailing-inspired Wind as the pinnacle of these high seas inspirations.

Several unique challenges were posed to Poledouris when tackling The Hunt for Red October, ranging from the prestige of the Russian military to the techno-thriller elements begging for synthetic treatment. Add to this equation a director obsessed with the composer's prior music (which had been tracked into early edits of the film) and a dwindling music budget as the film's overall production costs ballooned, and there was ultimately procedural discontent expressed by the composer that led, in some part, to his eventual abandonment of the industry. His score ultimately balanced an ethnically appropriate chorus (to provide the Russian hymns) with a full orchestra and Poledouris' expected range of trademark electronics. Among these elements, the orchestra seems to simply be along for the ride, with the chorus and, primarily, the synthetic elements navigating the score's sound, the latter forced into a more pervasive role as studio money was pulled away from the recording sessions. The most remarkable aspect of Poledouris' efforts for Red October is the fact that he intentionally blurs the lines so effectively between a standalone melodramatic score and the kind of source music that a film like this requires. Not only does hymnal material receive a source-like performance in the context of the film's story, but Poledouris' array of synthetic sounds, developed over the course of the 1980's, merges with the sound effects so well that it's difficult to distinguish between the music and the effects in the film. The most memorable music from Red October for a majority of listeners will be the choral sequences, and the title hymn in particular. While speculation has raged for years that Poledouris used a Russian national anthem or a traditional Red Army hymn as the basis for the "Hymn to Red October," the fact is that Poledouris' material is his own. The director originally insisted upon the use of a traditional folk song as the inspiration for the theme, but Poleoduris eventually convinced him that originality, along with a better ability to integrate the theme into the remainder of the score, was a superior plan. Despite some typical references to classic Russian composers, such comparisons are expected given the constructs of the music, and Poledouris should be commended for both his melody and lyrics for the hymn, the latter a source of much toil. The falling "Oktyabreh" segment of the theme is used during the heroic moments of the Russian crew during the film, both with and without the choir, providing an effective and lyrical title identity for the film to revisit for grand occasions.

Ratings Icon
Average: 4 Stars
***** 6,346 5 Stars
**** 4,082 4 Stars
*** 1,857 3 Stars
** 954 2 Stars
* 838 1 Stars
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Film version tracks
Polo-fan - April 25, 2014, at 1:00 p.m.
1 comment  (1267 views)
Kaboom - film version?
new-englander - December 18, 2013, at 9:35 a.m.
1 comment  (1330 views)
Red October complete sometime in 2013??
new-englander - August 14, 2013, at 7:51 a.m.
1 comment  (1500 views)
Missing lyric
Coldwarshot - August 8, 2012, at 6:15 a.m.
1 comment  (1168 views)
Fingers crossed for complete Red October 2010
shockwave - December 18, 2009, at 6:17 a.m.
1 comment  (2658 views)
Hunt for Red October
soundwave - December 21, 2007, at 5:32 p.m.
1 comment  (3523 views)

Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
1990 MCA Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 30:11
• 1. Hymn to Red October (Main Titles) (5:04)
• 2. Nuclear Scam (7:17)
• 3. Putin's Demise (0:54)
• 4. Course Two-Five-Zero (0:21)
• 5. Ancestral Aid (2:10)
• 6. Chopper (2:52)
• 7. Two Wives* (2:41)
• 8. Red Route I (3:28)
• 9. Plane Crash (1:46)
• 10. Kaboom!!! (3:15)
* Contains music not used in film
Bootleg Albums Tracks   ▼Total Time: 61:25
2013 Intrada Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 70:01

Notes Icon
The inserts of the 1990 MCA and bootleg albums contain no additional information about the score or film. That of the 2013 Intrada album offers notes about the film, score, and recording, including an explanation for the lack of improvement in sound quality.

Unofficial Lyrics for the "Hymn to Red October:"

Lyrics and Music by Basil Poledouris
Russian Translation by Herman Sinitzen

Holodna hmoora. -- Cold, hard, empty.
Eemruchnoh v'doosheh -- Light that has left me,
Kak mohg znat ya shtoh tee oomriosh? -- How could I know that you would die?

Do svidonia, byehreg rodnoy -- Farewell again, our dear land.
Kak nam troodnag pridstahvit shtoh eto nyeh sohn. -- So hard for us to imagine that it's real, and not a dream.
Rodina, dom radnoy, -- Motherland, native home,
Do svidonia Rodina. -- Farewell, our Motherland.

Ay. Avepakhod, avepakhod, nass val nahmarskaya zhdyot nyehdazh dyotsyah. -- Let's go; the sea is waiting for us.
Nass zah vootmarskaya dah, ee preeboy! -- The vastness of the sea is calling to us, and the tides!

Salute otsam ee nashem dedum -- Hail to our fathers and forefathers.
Zahvietum eekh fsigdah vierney. -- We are faithful to the covenant made with the past.
Tepierre nichtoh, nee astanoivit, -- Now nothing can stop
Pabiedney shark, radnoy straney. -- Our Motherland's victorious march.

Tiy pliyvee, pliyvee bestrashna, -- Sail on fearlessly,
Gordest say viernykh marieye. -- Pride of the Northern Seas.
Revoluytziye nadezhdah sgoostk vierif sekh luydeye. -- Hope of the Revolution, you are the burst of faith of the people.

The last two stanzas repeat a couple of times, then:

V'oktyabreh, v'oktyabreh,-- In October, in October,
Rahpar tu ium miy nashe pabiediy. -- We report our victories to you, our Revolution.
V'oktyabreh, v'oktyabreh, Novie meeir fahli numnashy dehidiy. -- And to the heritage left by you for us.
Copyright © 1997-2021, Filmtracks Publications. All rights reserved.
The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from The Hunt for Red October are Copyright © 1990, 2000, 2013, MCA Records, Bootleg, Intrada Records and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 3/15/97 and last updated 1/30/14.
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