Acting under the cover of a Hollywood producer scouting a location for a science fiction film, a CIA agent launches a dangerous operation to rescue six Americans in Tehran during the U.S. hostage crisis in Iran in 1980.
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In 1979, the American embassy in Iran was invaded by Iranian revolutionaries and several Americans were taken hostage. However, six managed to escape to the official residence of the Canadian Ambassador and the CIA was ordered to get them out of the country. With few options, exfiltration expert Tony Mendez devised a daring plan: create a phony Canadian film project looking to shoot in Iran and smuggle the Americans out as its production crew. With the help of some trusted Hollywood contacts, Mendez created the ruse and proceeded to Iran as its associate producer. However, time was running out with the Iranian security forces closing in on the truth while both his charges and the White House had grave doubts about the operation themselves. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
While John Chambers, Tony Mendez, and Lester Siegel are trying to figure out how to make their fake movie project look plausible, Siegel recalls that he made a movie once with Rock Hudson, and from that draws the conclusion that if you want people to believe a lie, you should have the media disseminate it for you. This seeming "non sequitur" is a reference to the fact that Hudson, one of the biggest Hollywood stars and sex symbols of the 1950s, was secretly gay, and his agent, Henry Willson, actively fed misinformation about Hudson's "girlfriends" (really studio-arranged dates for publicity only) to the mainstream media. When the gossip tabloid "Confidential" threatened to expose Hudson's homosexuality, Wilson instead fed them scandalous information about two of the less-famous stars on his roster (Rory Calhoun and Tab Hunter) and arranged a sham marriage between his secretary and Hudson. Hudson's homosexuality was not widely known outside of Hollywood until his death in 1985. See more »
When Tony Mendez and Jack O'Donnell go to the office of the Secretary of State there is a woman typing at a desk. At the front of the desk there is an envelope with two stamps on it: One stamp is a 37 cent American flag design which was first used in 2002, the other is a 2 cent stamp issued in 2006 depicting Navajo jewelry. In 1980 a first class stamp cost 15 cents. See more »
This is the Persian Empire known today as Iran. For 2,500 years, this land was ruled by a series of kings, known as shahs. In 1950, the people of Iran elected Mohammad Mossadeqh, a secular democrat, as Prime Minister. He nationalized British and U.S. petroleum holdings, returning Iran's oil to it's people. But in 1953, the U.S. and Great Britain engineered a coup d'etat that deposed Mossadeqh and installed Reza Pahlavi as shah. The young Shah was known for opulence and ...
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Past the photos of cast members and the real people they play, there's audio from an interview with then-President Jimmy Carter talking about the crisis. See more »
Ben Affleck continues hitting them out of the park. Based on a true story, Argo re-enacts the events that freed American foreign service employees from their hideout in the Canadian Embassy. The setup involves Affleck's character, Mendes, putting together the cover story of a Canadian film crew scouting locations in the Mideast for a sci-fi movie. Alan Arkin & John Goodman are hilarious as Hollywood hotshots producing this surefire scifi hit. The process follows Mendes as he enters Iran and has to BS his way to some skeptical and hostile Iranian theocrats who almost don't know how to respond to the possibility of a scifi movie set in Iran. Mendes must also deal with frightened and reluctant Americans who are being forced out in the open to pose as a movie crew. Affleck does a good job of injecting suspense and dread all through this section.
But the real nail biter is their exit from Iran. As in other movies of this ilk, the chase heats up with the Iranians on the heels of the Americans. Affleck throws into this chase a huge boulder of an obstacle when President Carter pulls the plug on the film crew ex-filtration & decides to go with Delta soldiers instead. If you want to know what happens, I advise you to see the movie or read the news accounts.
This just goes to show you that not all CIA covert actions are led by armed fighters like Jason Bourne and launched by the Treadstone department. Affleck's character doesn't even carry a gun--he carries a script instead.
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