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Decadence and Downfall: The Shah of Iran's Ultimate Party (2016)

In 1971, the Shah of Iran, the self-proclaimed 'king of kings', celebrated 2,500 years of the Persian monarchy by throwing the greatest party in history. Money was no object - a lavish tent... See full summary »


Hassan Amini


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Credited cast:
Arshin Abdi-Moghaddam Arshin Abdi-Moghaddam ... Himself - Professor of Global Thought University of London
King Abdul Halim King Abdul Halim ... Himself (archive footage) (as King Abdul Halim of Malaysia)
Judy Judefind Agnew Judy Judefind Agnew ... Herself (archive footage)
Spiro Agnew ... Himself - Vice-President of the USA (archive footage)
Assadollah Alam Assadollah Alam ... Himself (archive footage)
Abdolreza Ansari Abdolreza Ansari ... Himself - Member, Organizing Committee
Ali Ansari Ali Ansari ... Himself - Professor of Iranian History, University of St Andrews
Elizabeth Antébi Elizabeth Antébi ... Herself - Reporter (as Elizabeth Antebi)
Sultanah Bahiyah Sultanah Bahiyah ... Herself (archive footage)
Abolhassan Bani Sadr Abolhassan Bani Sadr ... Himself - President of Iran, 1980-81 (as Abolhassan Banisadr)
Nicolae Ceausescu ... Himself - President of Romania (archive footage)
Peter J. Chelkowski Peter J. Chelkowski ... Himself - Iranologist (as Peter Chelkowski)
Farah Diba Farah Diba ... The Shahbanu of Iran (archive footage)
Bijan Dolatabodi Bijan Dolatabodi ... Himself - Diplomat
Dronning Ingrid Dronning Ingrid ... Herself (archive footage) (as Queen Ingrid IV of Denmark)


In 1971, the Shah of Iran, the self-proclaimed 'king of kings', celebrated 2,500 years of the Persian monarchy by throwing the greatest party in history. Money was no object - a lavish tent city, using 37km of silk, was erected in a specially created oasis. The world's top restaurant at the time, Maxim's, closed its doors for two weeks to cater the event, a five-course banquet served to over sixty of the world's kings, queens and presidents, and washed down with some of the rarest wines known to man. Over a decadent five-day period, guests were treated to a pageant of thousands of soldiers dressed in ancient Persian costume, a 'son et Lumiere' at the foot of Darius the Great's temple, and the opening of the Azadi Tower in Tehran, designed to honour the Shah himself. Every party leaves a few hangovers. This one left a country reeling, never to recover. It crystallised the opposition, led by the Ayatollah Khomeini. More than any other event, this party marked the break between the king ...

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


In 1971, the Shah of Iran, the self-proclaimed 'king of kings', celebrated 2,500 years of the Persian monarchy by throwing the greatest party in history.







Release Date:

14 February 2016 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

The Greatest Party on Earth See more »

Filming Locations:

UK See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Amber Entertainment See more »
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User Reviews

pictures to the knowledge
28 August 2018 | by SnoopyStyleSee all my reviews

In 1971, the Shah of Iran throws a gigantic celebration for 2500 years of the Persian monarchy. He invites all the leaders and royals of the world. He proclaims himself "King of Kings" in the reflected light of the admired biblical king, Cyrus the Great. No expenses are spared creating a tent encampment in the middle of the desert. In reality, his country is a brutal police state. His policy of social liberalization faces opposition. There are water issues and poverty. The lavish spending galvanizes the opposition eventually leading to him leaving Iran in 1979 and the takeover by Khomeini establishing a revolutionary Islamic state.

This is a BBC documentary about an important world history event. Sometimes the event itself is examined. Most of the time, it is about the Americans in the event. Usually, the cause of the event is declared as a given. This one actually spends time looking at one of the causes. While this does not impart any new information to me, it does put pictures to the knowledge. It is easy to see the isolated elitism at the top of the hierarchy. My hot take is that he's one of those newly rich who throws big parties to show that he fits in his snooty rich lavish circle. It's so happens that his circle is the top circle. It is more important to be admired by his peers than to be admired by his people. By this time, he is surrounded by yes men that he doesn't know the feelings of his people. Sadly, he is all too common in that power corrupts.

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