Appeared in: The Hunt for Red October (1990)
Strengths: Baldwin looked the way Clance described him and basically drips charm the way some people sweat in awkward situations.
Weakness: Jack Ryan turned out to be a supporting character in his own film.
Overall: The Hunt for Red October is still the best Jack Ryan movie, and while Baldwin is a big contributor here, most of the credit goes to director John McTiernan and the mere presence of Sean Connery. Baldwin might have hoped that Jack Ryan would become America’s very own super spy, but he couldn’t wrestle away top billing from the granddaddy of the genre. He simply wilts in the presence of Connery, who uses an accent as thick as a porterhouse to cement a classic performance as rogue Russian submarine captain Marko Ramius.
However, Baldwin does bear more of a resemblance to the Jack Ryan from Tom Clancy’s novels than any other actor to take the role. At this time, he had the chiseled jaw and Hollywood looks of a patriotic hero, and when it came down to pulling off the action scenes, he made everything look convincing. Then again, Baldwin always looks convincing when assaulting those who cross him. (Even reporters.) Gravity, time, and scandal have done away with his heroic charm over the years, but The Hunt for Red October briefly turned the 30 Rock star into an American icon.