Red October was indeed a fictional submarine, but a recent documentary on the British Channel 4 television channel has located the true story that inspired Tom Clancy's book "The Hunt For Red October" from which the film was made.

In November 1975 the crew of the Soviet frigate Storozhevoy (Sentry) mutinied and tried to sail their ship to freedom. An idealistic officer, Valery Sablin, led the revolt, but the ship was caught by the Soviet navy and Sablin was arrested and court-martialled in secret.