The Ryan Family
The National Security Advisor to the President of the United States.
- Deadpan SnarkerPelt: Andre, you've lost another submarine?
- Reasonable Authority Figure: He listens to Ryan's theory and gives him the courses to go out there and try to make contact with the submarine.
- Self-Deprecation: Claims that, as a politician, he is either kissing babies or stealing their candy, to explain that he's willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done.
Crew of the Red October
A Lithuanian Soviet Captain 1st Rank, and the Commanding Officer of the Red October. He intents to desert to the West with the submarine.
- The Ace: Has been this to the Red Banner Fleet for decades. He has also trained most of their senior submarine officers, and has enough clout to hand-pick his subordinates for any assignment. This allows him to ensure that most of Red October's officers are men who will help him.
- Adaptational Heroism: The movie implies that the real reason for Ramius defecting was less anger and revenge over his wife's avoidable death and more concern over the fact that the Red October's primary purpose would be to start a nuclear war due to its stealth. In that context, Ryan's comments about Ramius's wife mean that he no longer has any reason to go back home.
- Badass Beard: Post-Bond Sean Connery. Of course.
- Benevolent Boss:
- Even though he tricks his crew into abandoning ship, he still makes sure that they'll be rescued.
- After revealing to his officers that he told Moscow about their plans to defect, he allows them to vent their shock at him (including Slavin accusing him of being an egotist) before calmly explaining that he has his reasons, just like everyone else.
- Chest of Medals: Wears almost every medal the Red Fleet had, minus Hero of the Soviet Union.
- Cultured Warrior: A Soviet Navy Captain with nearly half a century of experience; he also breaks a mans neck with no hesitation. Besides his military and combat credentials, he is a cultured and well-read gentleman, especially when it comes to the history of naval warfare; he actually read a book that Ryan published.
- Cunning Linguist: Fluent in English, [evidently for the same reason that Jack Ryan had studied Russian.
- Married to the Job: Confides in Borodin that he regrets it, even saying of his wife that "I widowed her the day I married her."
- Nerves of Steel: Quizzes Ryan about Ryan's books while a torpedo is homing in on their sub.
- Nice Hat: His ushanka◊ when he goes outside of the submarine.
- Officer and a Gentleman: A senior officer in the Soviet Navy with decades of experience. He is held in very high regard by just about everyone who knows him and for good reason. He is a perfect picture of what a seasoned military officer should be; calm under pressure, respectful of his men and an all around honorable warrior.
- Old Master: His nickname is "the Vilnius Schoolmaster". As he himself points out when discussing the Soviet Navy coming after them, "I know their tactics. I have the advantage."
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Decides to defect, in part, because he recognizes the Red October as a ship that can only serve one purpose: To start a nuclear war.
- The Smart Guy: Navies-related military literature has no secret for him.
- We Used to Be Friends: With Tupolev. Subverted, in that Tupolev believes they were friends and holds Ramius in high regards, while Ramius appears rather disdainful of Tupolev.
The Captain 2nd Rank and Executive Officer of the Red October.
- Death by Adaptation: In the book, Borodin is among the surviving defectors.
- Defector from Decadence: Seems just as silently fed up with the USSR as his captain. The book mentions that he's been denied promotions for filing an unflattering report against the son of the fleet's chief political officer.
- Eagleland: Imagines a very type one version of America.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Taking the Bullet for Ramius when the GRU mole opens fire
- Nice Guy: A warm and affable man. When he has doubts of his own about Ramius' decision to tell the Kremlin about their defection to keep them from turning back, he waits until everyone else is gone to voice them, stating that he wouldn't question Ramius in front of his crew.
- Number Two: Second in command of The Red October and very involved in its runnings.
- Retirony: "I would have liked to have seen Montana."
- Sacrificial Lion: The most well-developed character out of all of Ramius's officers, and the only one fatally shot by the saboteur.
- Undying Loyalty: To Ramius.
The chief medical officer of the Red October.
- Anti-Villain: A genuinely decent man, who is only an antagonist because he is a loyal Soviet citizen and Party member. This is why he was allowed to live, unlike Putin.
- Butt-Monkey: Particularly the way he's more or less thrown out of the officer's mess during dinner so the conspirators can discuss their plans in private.
- Chummy Commies: He's the only senior officer who's a staunch party loyalist, and thus he's the only one not in on Ramius' plan. He is visibly unnerved when Ramius takes the political officer's missile key for himself, giving him sole authority to launch the missiles.
- Locked Out of the Loop: He and Putin are the only officers on Red October who are not in on the plot to defect to the US. Although unlike Putin, the officers don't actually seem to think poorly of him.
- Nice Guy: He may be a party loyalist, but he's a friendly and good-natured guy who takes his job seriously and is genuinely concerned for the well-being of the crew. When the (fake) reactor meltdown happens, his first instinct is to convince Ramius to order an evacuation of the ship.
- The Only Believer: Notably the only member of the Red October's officer staff who doesn't think Communism is a load of bull (it's made obvious that Putin is in it only for the power). Because of this, he's kept in the dark by the rest of the conspirators and, in a bit of heavy Irony, he tells Ramius that he will make sure Ramius gets the Order of Lenin for the faked Heroic Sacrifice the officers will do when Ramius says they will scuttle the Red October to "prevent it from falling to enemy hands".
- Only Sane Man: Averted in that he is the only officer to make the (100% valid) point that one man (even the captain) taking control of both nuclear keys is a bad idea, and a clear violation of protocol. But of course, the other officers arent protesting because they know something he doesn't.
The chief engineer of the Red October.
- Composite Character: In the book there are two other engineering officers, Surzopoi (who is another of the defectors) and Svyadov (a junior officer unaware of the plan, but too much of a novice with engines to realize that they're faking the radiation leak). The film has Melekhin as the sole engineer of note.
- The Engineer: His role on the submarine.
- Everybody Smokes: Melekhin is frequently shown smoking whenever he's not in the engine room.
- Passed-Over Promotion: According to the novel, he's more than qualified to be captain of his own submarine but was denied the promotion because fleet headquarters found him to be too useful of an engineer.
- Smart People Wear Glasses: He's the only Russian officer who wears glasses, and he's the chief engineer of a nuclear submarine.
- The Stoic: He is the only officer who doesn't share in the Heroic BSoD after Ramius says he announced their defection to Red Fleet Command. In fact, despite the extremely tense situation surrounding him the entire movie, the only event that gives him any visible distress is the sabotage to the caterpillar drive, as it was the first sign that they had a genuine saboteur on-board.
One of Ramius' officers.
- Ambiguously Jewish: Given his surname.
- Armor-Piercing Question:Was it ego, Captain?
- Ascended Extra: Probably the third or fourth most prominent defector in the movie, while in the book the man who has his job is an unnamed character with no characterization (although Ramius mentions that one of his men is defecting due to antisemitic persecution from the communist hierarchy).
- Commander Contrarian: Frequently debates with Ramius and shows concern with the danger he's putting them in.
- Do Wrong, Right: Agrees that Putin needed to die, but feels that Ramius should have discussed it with the crew first.
The navigator of the Red October.
- Badass Boast:Give me a stopwatch and a map, and I'll fly the Alps in a plane with no windows.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: In the book, he's Killed Offscreen by Loginov and promptly forgotten about after Jack and Ramius find his dead body.
- Like a Son to Me: His relationship of Ramius has shades of this is the novel, which states that Kamarov was the first officer Ramius recruited to the plot.
- Nerves of Steel: Aside from his outburst during the meeting. He's controlled, confident and professional whenever they're under attack.
- Spared by the Adaptation: In the book, he's killed by Loginov, but he survives here.
- What the Hell, Hero?: He is fairly loyal to Ramius but is bothered by his decision to alert the rest of the fleet about what they're doing.Kamarov: You have signed our death warrants.
The political officer onboard Red October.
- Adaptational Villainy: In the book he's a loyal party member, but not overly unpleasant, and has known and liked Ramius for some years, with his death being regarded as an unfortunate necessity by the defectors. In the film....well take a look at the trope below.
- Asshole Victim: In the film he is a Smug Snake who is nosing around in Ramius' cabin, and is suspicious of a book Ramius keeps because it belongs to his late wife. The other officers are shocked when Ramius revealed he murdered him, but they're not very upset over it.Slavin: The man was a pig.
- Death by Falling Over: Ramius covers up Putin's death by claiming he slipped in a spilled cup of tea and hit his head on the table on the way down.
- The Political Officer: He's tasked with ensuring that Ramius stays in line with the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
- Small Role, Big Impact: Ramius' murder of Putin allows him to carry out his plan of he and his officers to defect.
A cook and the saboteur aboard the Red October.
- Anti-Villain: He's just a patriot trying to serve his country and stop an enemy from getting a powerful weapon from a bunch of traitors. He's even more sympathetic in the book, where he's just a kid completely terrified of the situation, but perfectly willing to lay down his life for his country.
Crew of the USS Dallas
The Commanding Officer of the USS Dallas that spots the Red October and chases it in order to decypher its crew's intents.
- Age Lift: In the novel, Mancuso is said to be in his mid-thirties, young for a command of this level. Scott Glenn was 48 at the time the movie was made.
- The Captain: Of USS '"Dallas''
- Casual Danger Dialogue:The hard part about playing chicken is knowing when to flinch.
- Deadpan Snarker: With a touch of Self-Deprecating Humor, as his above quote demonstrates.
- Mirror Character: To Ramius as a seasoned submarine commander with a maverick streak. He even repeats Ramius's 'give the order to turn at the last possible moment while his crew are freaking out' moment during the battle against the Konavolov.
- Nerves of Steel: See Casual Danger Dialogue. He does get pretty agitated when Konavolov launches a torpedo at Red October soon after the Americans board her. For the most part, he seems to treat the engagement like one might a game of chess.
- He even one-ups Ramius in this regard. Both captains each have a moment where they wait until the last possible moment to give the order to turn away from an approaching torpedo (Ramius during the trench run, Mancuso during the fight with the Konavolov). However, while Ramius shouts his order, Mancuso doesn't even raise his voice.
- Properly Paranoid: Insists on each member of his boarding party taking a sidearm just in case things turn hostile on Red October, despite Ryan's confidence that Ramius intends to defect peacefully. Ryan hadn't accounted for a GRU saboteur on the sub, and ends up using the gun to prevent Red October's destruction.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Zigzagged. On the one hand, he is immediately accepting of Jonesy's ideas to track the Red October, despite the somewhat dubious nature of his evidence. On the other hand, he is far less accepting of Ryan's claims that Ramius is trying to defect. Justified, given that the former is a long-time and trusted member of his crew, and the other is a guy he just met who's telling him something that doesn't jibe with the orders that he's just received to destroy Red October, and who also just hassled him and his crew in a risky boarding-from-air during a nasty storm (which injured his first officer) where they had to break off tracking the Red October.
- The Stoic: A rather calm and soft-spoken officer, not entirely unlike Captain Ramius.
The Sonar Technician 2nd Class of the USS Dallas.
- Awesomeness by Analysis: He is able to derive all sorts of details from the sounds he picks up on Dallas's sonar, up to and including telling American and Soviet torpedoes apart by the pitch of the sound they make.
- Black and Nerdy: Knows the BQQ-5 sonar system better than the computers that run it.
- Cultured Badass: He loves his classical music, especially Pavarotti.note In the book, he also listens to whale songs.
- The Engineer: Specialising in sonar and sound detection, he is the one who manages to invent a way to track the Red October's revolutionary stealth propulsion drive in only a few days at most.
- Hyper-Awareness: A necessary trait for a sonarman. A good portion of his Awesomeness by Analysis skills are due to how much attention he pays to details in sound.
- Mr. Exposition: He explains all sorts of basics of sonar and sub tactics to Beaumont, some of which anyone on board a sub ought to already know.
- Veteran Instructor: Much of his exposition is in the form of teaching Seaman Beaumont the tools of the trade.
Crew of the V.K. Konovalov
A Soviet Captain 2nd Rank, Commanding Officer of the V.K. Konovalov submarine. He's tasked with destroying the Red October before it reaches the West.
- The Captain: Of the V.K. Konovalov
- Category Traitor: Implied when Putin mentions that Tupolev is descended from aristocracy.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: He is outmaneuvered by Dallas and Red October into being hit by his own torpedo.
- Smug Snake: Sems utterly confident he can beat Ramius and brushes off his crew's warnings about chances he's taking.
- Villainy-Free Villain: Tupolev may be an arrogant asshole, but he is still at worst a patriotic Soviet citizen trying to prevent a wealth of knowledge about the Soviet navy, a state-of-the-art submarine and a non-trivial portion of the Soviet nuclear arsenal ending up in the hands of his country's arch-enemy. At best, he genuinely believes Ramius has gone rogue, and is doing what he thinks is necessary to prevent World War Three.
- We Used to Be Friends: Subverted with Ramius, see above.
- Worthy Opponent: To Ramius.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Believes he has the advantage over Ramius when he goes for the kill by firing a torpedo with no safeties on. Unbeknownst to him, Ramius had already anticipated this move, and had given command of the Red October to Mancuso, which Tupolev would have not been able to anticipate. The Dallas playing decoy also wasnt something that Tupolev would have anticipated.
- Tupolev may also be this in the novel. There, Ramius decides to ram the Konavolov. The narrator notes that Tupolev should have changed depths. Instead, he tried to use his submarines speed and maneuverability, but forgot that Ramius knew exactly how fast and maneuverable an Alfa class sub was! The end result was that his boat was pretty much destroyed and he and at least most of his crew drowned.