Clear and Present Danger

Harrison Ford, Willem Dafoe and Anne Archer

Directed by Phillip Noyce
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 0
Community: star rating
5 0 0
August 3, 1994

Harrison Ford is in peak form in Clear and Present Danger. It's the summer's smartest thriller: a gripping blend of suspense and surprising humor. There's more talk than action in the third of Tom Clancy's best sellers to reach the screen, after The Hunt for Red October and Patriot Games, but the talk is prime and the action, when it comes, is smashing. Ford is back as CIA analyst Jack Ryan, cajoled to fill in temporarily for his ailing friend, Admiral Greer (James Earl Jones), the CIA's deputy director of intelligence. It's a desk job, or so Ryan tells his doctor wife, Cathy (Anne Archer). He doesn't figure on an angry president (Donald Moffat) launching an undeclared war against Colombian drug cartels that pits Ryan against something equally lethal -- all the president's men.

Who'd have thought director Phillip Noyce (Sliver) could have milked so much fun out of bureaucrats? The president can't even say the word war; he leaves that to James Cutter (Harris Yulin), his national security adviser. Cutter turns to Robert Ritter (a terrific Henry Czerny), the CIA deputy director of operations. But Ritter won't give his operative, Mr. Clark (Willem Dafoe), the OK to send in troops and bombs until he gets what he calls "I don't go to jail" card from the White House. There are lots of explosions when Ryan visits Colombia, but the film's tensest and funniest scene is Ryan's raid on Ritter's computer. Ryan is furious at being deceived. "It's the old Potomac two-step," says the prez. "I don't dance," says Ryan. Cheers to top screenwriters Donald Stewart (Missing), Steven Zaillian (Schindler's List) and John Milius (Apocalypse Now) for keeping Clancy's flag-waving in check without losing his gung-ho fervor. Clancy's never had it this good onscreen.

Movie Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories


    The Commodores | 1984

    The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

    More Song Stories entries »