2. 'The Hunt for Red October' (1990)
Alec Baldwin is crazy-likable in his first Hollywood leading man role in Jack Ryan's first big-screen adaptation. "Die Hard's" John McTiernan helms this densely-plotted and gripping entertainment, which centers on a rogue Russian sub captain (Sean Connery) threatening to defect to the U.S. with his stealth submarine -- at the height of the '80s Cold War. Great characters, dialogue, and Baldwin's "in-over-his-head" portrayal have helped this thriller age well.
But it bothers us how the audience is ahead of its hero. We know that Ramius isn't really going to nuke the U.S., as Russians and U.S. officials fear, because we're privy to his plans before Ryan can deduce it himself. That problematic script element doesn't derail the film's entertainment value, however.