Created by Tom Clancy, Jack Ryan is a fictional US marine and CIA agent who made his debut in the 1984 novel, The Hunt for Red October. He has appeared in a collection of novels, all set within the Ryanverse, as well as a television series and a run of movies.

To date, Paramount Pictures has produced five films based around the Jack Ryan character. In this post I will run through all of the movies and provide the various orders to watch them (there is more than one viewing order).

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The original Jack Ryan movie order

Image: ©Paramount Pictures

In 1990, Paramount Pictures released the first feature-length movie to star Jack Ryan. The movie – The Hunt for Red October – starred Sean Connery, Scott Glenn, Sam Neill, and James Earl Jones, with Alec Baldwin taking on the role of Jack Ryan.

Directed by John McTiernan, The Hunt for Red October was a critical and commercial hit and this led to a follow-up, the 1992 thriller, Patriot Games. For this second film Harrison Ford took over the role of Jack Ryan alongside a cast that included James Earl Jones, Samuel L. Jackson, Sean Bean, Anne Archer and Richard Harris.

Patriot Games was also a success and in 1994, Harrison Ford returned for a third Jack Ryan movie in the shape of Clear and Present Danger. Phillip Noyce directed, while Ford was joined by Anne Archer, James Earl Jones and Willem Dafoe.

If you wish to watch the films in the original Jack Ryan movie timeline, then you have a total of three films to work through. The films should be watched in the following order:

  • The Hunt for Red October (1990)
  • Patriot Games (1992)
  • Clear and Present Danger (1994)

OK, so that is the first timeline – now onto the second…

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The Ben Affleck Jack Ryan movie order

Image: ©Paramount Pictures

After Clear and Present Danger proved to be a hit at the box office, work began on developing a fourth movie, this time based on Tom Clancy’s 1988 novel, The Cardinal of the Kremlin. But when the project failed to get off the ground, Paramount turned its attention to adapting Clancy’s 1991 novel, The Sum of All Fears instead.

Harrison Ford was initially lined up to star in the film but he departed the project along with its director, Phillip Noyce. So, with both Ford and Noyce out, Paramount opted to stick with The Sum of All Fears, but turn it into a reboot rather than a sequel.

For this new timeline, Ben Affleck took over the role of Ryan, joining a cast that included Morgan Freeman, James Cromwell and Liev Schrieber. The plan was to kick-start a run of Jack Ryan films with Affleck as the lead, but the series stalled after just one movie.

If you want to view the one and only movie in the Ben Affleck/Jack Ryan timeline then you need to watch:

  • The Sum of All Fears (2002)

And now onto the next timeline…

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The Chris Pine Jack Ryan movie order

Image: ©Paramount Pictures

After the release of The Sum of All Fears Paramount wanted to continue the series with another entry starring Ben Affleck, but after various attempts nothing came of it. Keen to press ahead with the series, the Jack Ryan films went back into development, transforming into another reboot.

Chris Pine took on the part of Jack Ryan for this next movie – 2014’s Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. This new entry was not based on an existing Tom Clancy novel, but was instead based on an original story.

Once again Paramount was keen to continue the series beyond this initial movie, but the film under performed at the box office. As such, only one picture was produced in this timeline:

  • Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014)

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Jack Ryan movies in production order

Image: ©Paramount Pictures

OK, so those are the movies, but what if you simply want to watch them all?

Well, if you don’t care for reboots and you simply want to watch all of the Jack Ryan movies, then you are best sticking to production order. Production order will allow you to watch all of the Jack Ryan movies that have been released, regardless of what timeline they belong to.

If you want to watch the Jack Ryan movies in order, then follow this list:

  • The Hunt for Red October (1990)
  • Patriot Games (1992)
  • Clear and Present Danger (1994)
  • The Sum of All Fears (2002)
  • Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014)

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And if you like the movies you may also wish to know about the television series…

After five movies, rather than produce another film, Paramount made the decision to take the character to television via the political spy thriller, Jack Ryan. The show – which is not connected to the movies – arrived on Amazon in 2018 with John Krasinski in the lead role.

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I hope this post on the Jack Ryan movie series has been useful. Should you wish to know about other movie series you might like to watch then check out one of the posts below.

Read more:

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