The attack on members of the Royal Family at the beginning of the film was inspired by a similar true-life attempt to kidnap Princess Anne on March 20, 1974. She was in her car when a man shot her guard and driver. She was subsequently helped by a passerby who attacked the criminal and saved her.
Author Tom Clancy disassociated himself from the production after reading the first draft of the script.
Due to Harrison Ford's replacing Alec Baldwin, the age of Jack Ryan had to be changed from thirty-five to fifty.
The line "There's never been a terrorist attack on American soil" was included in trailers for the movie. However, it was left out of theatrical release because it sounded too much like an invitation or dare.
Near the beginning of the film, as Ryan and his wife are kissing in their hotel bed, she reminds him that he is supposed to be working on his speech for the Royal Military Academy. Ryan replies that he will "wing it". The next day at the Academy.as he is making his speech, a very brief shot of Ryan's notebook shows a blank page, indicating that he is, in fact, winging it.
So far, it's the only R-rated Jack Ryan and Tom Clancy film. Even The Hunt for Red October (1990) only received a PG, while all later films never went above PG-13.
The novel had the Prince and Princess of Wales and their baby as the target of the attempted kidnapping.
James Horner (who, like many composers, often re-uses his own material) borrows part of his score from Aliens (1986) in scoring this film. Specifically, the key elements of "Resolution and Hyperspace" from the Aliens (1986) soundtrack appear in this movie: it is the music that plays while Ryan and the others watch the S.A.S. attack on the Libyan training camp. That music itself heavily echoes Dmitri Shostakovich's fifth symphony.
Alec Baldwin bowed out of this film when production was pushed back from 1991 to 1992. He had already committed to doing a revival of "A Streetcar Named Desire" on Broadway, and told then Paramount President Brandon Tartikof to either work around him or find someone else to play Ryan. Ford was then approached to play Ryan in this movie, after having turned down the role in The Hunt for Red October (1990) because he felt the script was more focused on Captain Ramius than on Jack Ryan.
Tom Watt claims that he got his part because it amused director Phillip Noyce that an actor named "Watt" was auditioning for the role of an electrician.
Paramount yanked all their advertising out of Variety when one of the magazine's film critics, Joseph McBride, called the film "fascistic, blatantly anti-Irish... a right-wing cartoon". Variety's editor, Peter Bart, privately sided with Paramount's boycott, calling McBride "unprofessional". Bart was subsequently embarrassed when his letter criticizing one of his reviewers and supporting studio censorship was leaked to the press. The Los Angeles Film Critics' Association and the National Society of Film Critics then publicly lambasted Bart for his "dismaying treatment" of one of his members of staff, saying "the question is not whether any responsible critic is right or wrong, but whether any responsible critic must be muted, so as not to offend an advertiser or bruise a handful of tender egos."
The name of Paddy O'Neil, the I.R.A. spokesman played by Richard Harris, is taken from the name used by the I.R.A. organization to sign all statements originating from them, P. O'Neil.
Gates McFadden made a brief appearance as Catherine Ryan in The Hunt for Red October (1990) during a season when she had been written out of Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987). By the time this film was in production, she had rejoined the regular cast, and was unavailable to return to her role. Mary McDonnell was considered for the role, but was also unavailable. Anne Archer was subsequently cast.
Early in the film, when Ryan gives a lecture at the Royal Naval Academy in London, he tells the audience "In this volatile climate, we can only speculate on the future of Soviet Fleet development." In the foreground, a blueprint of the Soviet submarine "Red October" appears on a computer screen, establishing Ryan's link to The Hunt for Red October (1990).
In the film, the raid on the terrorist camp is carried out by the S.A.S. However, in the book, it is carried out by French special forces.
James Earl Jones is the only returning cast member from The Hunt for Red October (1990).
The country in North Africa in which is the IRA train is never named. Although a map of the camps is shown, and they are clearly in Libya.
Although this film is a sequel to The Hunt for Red October (1990), the action of the original novels was in the opposite order: the novel was a prequel. Presumably the change was made because Harrison Ford is older than Alec Baldwin.
The title is a reference to an Irish Ballad called "The Patriot Game", which is a popular song within the nationalist movement.
The servo sound used when zooming in and out of photos is actually that of the moving head of a floppy disk drive.
Alec Baldwin and director John McTiernan had expressed interest in adapting Clear and Present Danger (1994) immediately after The Hunt for Red October (1990), but a producer had already obtained the rights to Patriot Games (1992).
The name of the bar where Ryan confronts the IRA leader is The Patriot, which is also the code name of the terrorism case Jack Ryan is working on at the CIA.
The dual-beeping sound effect of Jack Ryan's EKG was also used in The Hunt for Red October (1990), as the sound of the USS Dallas' sonar tracking the Red October.
When Ryan returns to the CIA, and is being shown his workplace, a sheet posted on one of the cubicles reads "Please do not feed the agents".
The room number at the beginning of the film where Jack Ryan is staying is 713. Harrison Ford's birthday is 7/13.
Richard Harris was an eleventh hour casting choice. He replaced an unknown actor who had to drop out.
In The Hunt for Red October (1990), during the initial briefing with the Joint Chiefs, doctor Ryan exclaims "you son of a bitch!" after a moment of thoughtfulness. He does the same thing in this movie, during the discussion after he joins the Terror Assessment team. In addition, with a dash of subtle humor, both scenes have someone saying "what?" after Ryan's exclamation. This "Ryan catchphrase" was abandoned in the subsequent Jack Ryan movies.
Harrison Ford, Samuel L. Jackson, and James Earl Jones have all appeared in the Star Wars saga. Ford played Han Solo, Jackson played Mace Windu, and Jones was the voice of Darth Vader. Jackson's first outing as Mace Windu was in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999), which also featured Keira Knightley, who played Catherine Ryan in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014).
The satellite attack-watching sequence features rather emotional, thinly scored music by James Horner, but the music is, in fact, taken quite directly from the slow movement of Dmitri Shostakovich's 5th Symphony. It's only for about half a minute that Horner does this, and he blends it into his own stuff, but that one little part is a very direct, uncredited grab.
Jack Ryan refers to his wife as Catherine when speaking to Lord Holmes, but her first name in the novels is Caroline. This was probably to avoid confusion, because her nickname "Cathy" is usually a nickname for women named Catherine.
Though they were in the first three Star Wars films, this is the first time Harrison Ford and James Earl Jones have worked together. In Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Ford worked on set with David Prowse, while Jones recorded all his lines in post-production.
John McTiernan was initially attached to direct, but departed when Alec Baldwin dropped out. He moved on to Medicine Man (1992), which reunited him with Sean Connery, the star of the franchise's prior film, The Hunt for Red October (1990).
Jack Ryan is a history professor and CIA analyst. Harrison Ford's other popular character, Indiana Jones, is a college professor and former OSS agent.
When Ryan and the CIA analysts are analyzing satellite imagery, the analysis program is very similar to the ESPER system in Blade Runner (1982).
Jack Ryan's house on the ocean, with the circular driveway, was used as Colonel Hayes "Hodge" Hodges' (Tommy Lee Jones') father's house in Rules of Engagement (2000). His father, H. Lawrence Hodges, was played by Philip Baker Hall.
Pete Postlethwaite was offered the role of Owens, but he was working on another American film at the time.
The cadence being sung at the beginning of the Annapolis scenes may be a common Marine Corps cadence ("Mission Top Secret, Destination Unknown"), but this cadence is derived from a common Army Airborne cadence ("C-130"). The reference to parachuting gives this away. All U.S. military personnel with parachute training go to the U.S. Army Airborne School.
British Secret Service officials and Police officers were reported by the British press at the time to have thought the film a turkey.
As Ryan is leaving the Annapolis academy, he crosses a street immediately in front of the main gate, which is signposted as "Hanover St." Harrison Ford and Hugh Fraser starred in the World War II drama, Hanover Street (1979).
This film depicts Jack Ryan as a history professor at the U.S. Naval Academy. In The Hunt for Red October (1990), Ryan says he wrote a book about Admiral William F. "Bull" Halsey.
Gareth Hunt, Nicholas Ball, Tom Chadbon, Tom Adams, Jeff Rawle, Kenneth Cranham, Timothy Spall, and Donald Sumpter were considered for the role of Owens.
Patrick Malahide was cast in a featured role, but had to pull out because of dates clashing with a television film on which he was working at the same time.
During the shooting of the climactic fight scene between Ryan and Miller on the boat, Harrison Ford accidentally injured Sean Bean by a blow with the boat hook, leaving a bleeding cut. The resulting scar was later used for Bean's title character in "Sharpe", enhanced by makeup.
In this 1992 movie, there are three British actors who went on to play recurring roles in the "Sharpe" movie series (1993-97): Sean Bean (here as the villain Sean Miller; later as the eponymous hero in "Sharpe"); Hugh Fraser (here as Secretary Watkins; later as Lord Wellington, from "Sharpe's Company" (1994) on); and Hugh Ross (here as Barrister Atkins, Miller's defense counsel, who asks Ryan if he still works for the CIA; later as Mungo Munro, Wellington's chief spy, in "Sharpe's Gold", "Sharpe's Battle" and "Sharpe's Sword" (1995).) All three of them have only one scene together - the court scene.
The cadence being sung at the beginning of the Annapolis scenes is a common Marine Corps cadence with slight modification: Mission Top Secret, Destination Unknown.