Tom Clancy's Red Rabbit

Directed by

Kenneth Branagh

Produced by

Mace Neufeld
Lorenzo di Bonaventura
David Barron
Mark Vahradian

Written by

Tom Clancy
Adam Cozad
David Koepp

Based on

Red Rabbit
by Tom Clancy

Release date

January 17, 2014


Chris Pine
Keira Knightley
Benedict Cumberbatch
Benjamin Walker
Johnny Galecki
Maggie Grace


$60 million

Box office income

$182 million


110 minutes


Paramount Pictures

Tom Clancy's Red Rabbit is a 2014 American spy thriller film directed by Kenneth Branagh. Chris Pine, Keira Knightley, Benedict Cumberbatch, Benjamin Walker, and Johnny Galecki star in leading roles and is based on the Tom Clancy novel of the same name. The Tom Clancy marker was added to the name to mark it as a part of the Ryanverse.

The film was released on January 17, 2014, and grossed over $150 million in revenue at the box office. Red Rabbit was met with mixed to positive critical reviews. The film is dedicated to Clancy, who died on October 1, 2013.


The film takes place between 1980 and 1981. Jack Ryan (Pine), now a member of the CIA, is assigned to work alongside America's British allies in MI6 to assist in analysing the intelligence reports coming out of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact nations. Meanwhile, Ed Foley (Galecki) arrives in Moscow with his wife Mary Pat (Grace) as the new Chief of Station in the USSR's capital city.

In the KGB's Moscow Centre, Director Yuri Andropov (Adelstein) ponders a letter from Rome sent to the Communist government in Warsaw in which the new pope, John Paul II, has announced his intention to resign from the papacy and return to his native Poland if the Communists do not give the Polish people the political reforms that they are clamoring for. Andropov ponders methods to stop the Pope from doing such a thing before settling on assassinating the Pope. Major Oleg Zaitzev (Walker), a communicator for the Centre, becomes the main contact point between the KGB's stations in Rome and Sofia, Bulgaria, from which the assassination plot is further refined.

Zaitzev begins to have nightmares of Andropov killing the Pope and decides that he must do something to prevent the plot from happening. On the Moscow Metro, Zaitzev notices Foley and initiates contact via dropping messages into Foley's coat pocket, although the KGB communicator doesn't know that he has made contact with the CIA's Chief of Station himself. Ed and Mary Pat decide to tell Langley about their new source from within the heart of KGB although they are reluctant to say anything more about the source, codenamed RABBIT, due to concerns about the security of their communications.

When Zaitzev expresses his desire to defect to the West along with his family as a condition for divulging the information that he had promised, the CIA is confronted with the problem of trying to convince the Soviets that Zaitzev had not defected and therefore not compromise his information. Ryan, who is informed of the situation with the RABBIT by his mentor Jim Greer (Jones), draws inspiration from Operation Mincemeat and suggests that the Zaitzevs be made to look like they had died so that there will be no suspicion in the Soviets of a defection having happened. Back in Moscow, Mary Pat comes up with a similar if more refined idea.

Zaitzev takes his family on a vacation to Budapest, Hungary at Foley's suggestion. Ryan is sent to Budapest and meets up with the MI6 man in the city, Andy Hudson (Cumberbatch), to keep an eye on the extraction and subsequent deception operation. Ryan and Hudson make contact with Zaitzev and then evacuate the family through the border with Yugoslavia, where the two men accompany the Zaitzevs back to the United Kingdom. There, Zaitzev reveals the KGB plot to kill the Pope, and both CIA and MI6 plot to stop the assassination.

Ryan and Hudson travel to Rome and coordinate with Tom Sharp (Branagh), and more MI6 officers arrive a day later. On 13 May 1981, when the Pope comes out to greet pilgrims at St. Peter's Basilica, Ryan spots a man who looks like he is armed with a pistol and proceeds to capture the man, but then shots ring out and the Pope falls. Ryan, Hudson, and Sharp discuss the possibility of the Pope recovering from his wounds before interrogating their capture, who turns out to be a Bulgarian colonel named Boris Strokov, who is believed to responsible for the assassination of Georgi Markov. In Moscow, Chairman Andropov learns of Strokov's failure to silence the shooter permanently but accepts that it doesn't factor much into the overall plot.