Patriot Games

Last Update: 07 December 2003
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Harrison Ford stars as Jack Ryan, a former CIA analyst who, while vacationing in London with his wife and daughter, foils a terrorist attack by a radical group connected to the IRA. Ryan kills one of the attackers, and the dead man's older brother, Sean Miller (Sean Bean) is convicted and sentenced to prison. Miller's compatriots, however, engineer his escape, and Miller sets out to wreak revenge on Ryan.

A number of changes were made to the popular Tom Clancy novel in the film version of Patriot Games. In the book, Prince Charles is the kidnapping target, while in the film, it is the Minister of State for Northern Ireland, Lord Holmes. In the novel, Ryan is made into a hero by the British media and is invited, with his family, to stay at Buckingham Palace as guests of the Queen.

UK Location Notes:

During the three-month shoot in 1991, the scenes around Buckingham Palace, where the initial terrorist attack occurs, were in fact shot at the Royal Naval College at Greenwich.

The Royal Naval College also doubled as the actual naval college where Jack Ryan has been giving a lecture.

The bookshop from which an IRA operative emerges was located in Burlington Arcade, off Piccadilly.

The filmmakers also utilized Aldwych tube station for the movie's Underground scenes. The station, which was closed down in 1994, is often used for platform and station shots in films.

Sean Miller's escape from police custoday was filmed at Canary Wharf.

(From On Location - The Film Fan's Guide to Britain & Ireland by Brian Pendreigh)


US Location Notes:

Patriot Games' interior offices and high-tech CIA equipment were recreated on Stage 5 at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, however producer Mace Neufeld and director Phillip Noyce were given unprecedented assistance from the CIA and were allowed to film the exteriors of the actual headquarters building and grounds in Langley, Virginia.

The terrorists' camp in Africa was actually in the Mojave Desert. And the exterior of the Ryans' home, overlooking Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, instead was located on the rocky cliffs of Palos Verdes, California.

Patriot Games Trivia:

The ending to Patriot Games was reshot after director Phillip Noyce felt the original ending lacked clarity and impact.

"The [real problem with the ending], I felt, was that the moment where the two men make contact with each other has to be defined for the audience: they have to be able to feel and see it. And what we unfortunately had was this water, in the middle of the night, dark, and it was like sunglasses. You couldn't feel what Harrison was feeling because you couldn't see it. There was a film, an aquafilter [between the actors and the camera]. It took place about ten feet from where the [current ending] takes place, which is two feet above the water -- originally it was eight feet underwater. If Criterion ever makes a laser version, I'll get them to [include the original]. It was similar even in its shots."

"[In the original,] Sean Miller was so determined to kill Ryan that he drowned himself; Ryan was seen to be drowning, they were locked in a death grip, and Miller was the first to go; Ryan, only seconds after him, would have gone. We came back, reshot it in less than one day's work."

Actor Sean Bean, who plays terrorist Sean Miller, was flown back to Los Angeles from England three times to complete his role in the film.

In the notes to the DVD release of Lady Chatterley, Sean says: "Harrison was really good to work with. He's like a sort of hero. I had a lot of scenes with him, but we did not have much dialogue, because we were fighting all the time. We reshot the ending three times, so I kept having to fly out again. The last time was just before we were about to start on Lady Chatterley. For continuity, they wanted me to have my hair cut again - a crew cut - which would have been a big problem for doing Mellors."

"But in the end it wasn't the hair that was a problem. I rang the Lady Chatterley production and said, 'I got some good news and some bad news. I managed to keep my hair, but I've split my eye open.' I had eight stitches where a boat hook hit me in the final fight scene."

If you watch the final scenes of Patriot Games closely, you can actually see the two different haircuts.

In some of the shots done during the climactic boat chase, you can see Sean's spiky brush cut, sticking up wet, and in some of the other shots, including some closeups, you can see his hair is long in the front and hanging over his forehead.

The boat hook Sean mentions earlier was actually swung by Harrison Ford while filming these scenes, and the scar remains one of Sean's defining facial features, just under his left eyebrow.


In an interview in the Daily Mail (06 Dec 2003), Polly Walker recalled the time she spent making Patriot Games and the fact that she was quite lonely being the only female on set most of the time (Anne Archer's scenes having been filmed separately.)

During the long hours of waiting around, she would circle the Beverley Center, gazing in shop windows and occasionally bumping into co-star Sean Bean, walking aimless laps in the opposite direction. "I thought, 'If people could see the reality of Hollywood. Me and Sean Bean hanging around shopping centres because we had nothing to do.'"

Patriot Games IMDb entry
Patriot Games Review (New York Times)



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