|Ben Affleck director||previously directed The Town|
Based on the true story of how the CIA fakes a large scale film production in order to rescue six ambassadors during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis.
John Chambers, the special effects expert played by John Goodman created Spock's ears for Star Trek.
6 More Quotes
Argo fuck yourself!
|Ben Affleck||Tony Mendez|
|Bryan Cranston||Jack O'Donnell|
|Alan Arkin||Lester Siegel|
|John Goodman||John Chambers|
|Scoot McNairy||Joe Stafford|
|Michael Parks||Jack Kirby|
|Kyle Chandler||Hamilton Jordan|
|Clea DuVall||Cora Lijek|
|Tate Donovan||Bob Anders|
|Taylor Schilling||Christine Mendez|
|See Full Credits|
Argo is based a film based on the book The Master of Disguise by one of the most decorated C.I.A. agents in U.S. history. It details Tony Mendez' plot to rescue half a dozen U.S. Conular Officials from Iran during the 1979 hostage crisis.
The movie opens with a synopsis of the region's history, from the Persian Empire to the modern state of Iran, including the joint U.S./U.K. overthrow of the democratically elected head of state and installation of the Shah. Then it moves to the 'present day' of Iran, in November of 1979 as the U.S. Embassy in Tehran is besieged by a mob of Iranian militants. Most of the staff are taken hostage, but six of them escape to the home of the Canadian ambassador.
Tony Mendez, a CIA 'exfiltration' specialist is consulted, but he has no plan until he hears about the film Battle for the Planet of the Apes from his son. This gives him the idea to use the cover story of location scouting for a science-fiction film to extract the Americans.
Mendez and co-worker O'Donnell recruit Hollywood effects artist John Chambers to help. Chambers instructs them on how to put a real-looking film project together, and connects them with film mogul Lester Siegel, who is initially reluctant but has a change of heart after seeing Americans killed on TV. They decide to make a science fiction film, Argo, a Star Wars knock-off as their cover story. Things move into high gear when the Iranians discover there have been escapees from the Embassy.
Mendez eventually travels to Istanbul, Turkey, where he makes connections and strengthens the cover story before going to Iran and making contact with the escapees. Armed with fake passports they accompany Mendez on fake 'location scouting' to enhance their cover story, but find that all appearances in public go bad as Westerners in general have fallen out of favor.
The C.I.A. is pressured to pull the plug on the operation to prevent interference with a hostage rescue mission, but knowing that he has already risked exposing the escapees to execution, Mendez feels he has no choice but to continue, whether or not O'Donnell and the Stateside members of the team are on-board or not.
At the airport, the escapees' flight reservations are initially denied, but then areconfirmed at the last minute. They are then detained by a suspicious guard and only barely make it aboard the plane when their identities are discovered.
The C.I.A. buries all records about the mission, and allows the Canadian government to take credit for the operation until U.S. President Bill Clinton declassifies the documents 20 years later.
The original inspiration for the screenplay came from a WIRED Magazine article entitled, "How the CIA Used a Fake Sci-Fi Flick to Rescue Americans from Tehran". Preproduction began as early as 2007, though Affleck was not attached to the project until 2011.
One of the biggest challenges in creating the film was to create the look of the 1970s - both in the USA and Iran. The U.S. scenes were mostly shot at Burbank Studios in Hollywood, with the look of bustling offices based off of the film All the President's Men. The scenes set in Tehran were shot mostly in Turkey, and based on the copious news footage of the actual hostage crisis.
The costume designer didn't just choose costumes based on the late 1970s, but intentionally used clothes that looked like they could be from as early as the 1960s because clothes were less 'disposable' in that era.
The embassy compound and interiors were shot at the Veteran’s Administration, and downtown’s Los Angeles Times offices stood in for CIA interiors. Ontario International Airport was transformed into Tehran Airport. The Warner Bros. lot in Burbank became the home of Studio Six Productions, the entity behind the phony movie — but the logo on the water tower was changed back to Burbank Studios, as it was then (before Warner Bros. owned the lot, it was used by both WB and Columbia Pictures).
Many of the props were purchased off eBay so the production could have real Star Wars toys and other props like period appropriate televisions, etc.
The film features liberal use of period rock and soul hits, mostly by artists on the Warner Bros. label.
Reeception has been overwhelmingly positive by both critics and audiences alike. It received a 96% Fresh rating on review aggregate site Rottentomatoes.comand a 93% Fresh audience rating. It has received praise from Roger Ebert, The New York Times, CNN, Richard Roeper and The Christian Science Monitor among others.
Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter (who does a voice over during the final credits) said, "90% of the contributions to the ideas and the consummation of the plan was Canadian. And the movie gives almost full credit to the American CIA. And with that exception, the movie is very good. But Ben Affleck's character in the film was... only in Tehran a day and a half. And the main hero, in my opinion, was Ken Taylor, who was the Canadian ambassador who orchestrated the entire process."
Argo received 2nd place in the People's Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival (behind Silver Linings Playbook). However, many Canadian critics said that it gave more credit to the role of the CIA and to Canada's role in the operation, particularly that of Ambassador Taylor. A particular bone of contention being the postscript text which said that the CIA let Taylor take the credit for political purposes, which some thought suggested Taylor didn't deserve the praise he received. To counter this criticism, Ben Affleck had the postscript text modified to read: "The involvement of the CIA complemented efforts of the Canadian embassy to free the six held in Tehran. To this day the story stands as an enduring model of international co-operation between governments." however, a journalist for the Toronto Star wrote, "Even that hardly does Canada justice."
Ken Taylor the real life Canadian Ambassador depicted in the film said, "In reality, Canada was responsible for the six and the CIA was a junior partner. But I realize this is a movie and you have to keep the audience on the edge of their seats." It has been noted by many that Taylor was far more stalwart in his defense of the Americans than is depicted in the film.
One of the films most vocal detractors has been Canadian radio host Jian Ghomeshi who has criticized the film for it's stereotypical portrayal of Iranians, a criticism that has been echoed by some academics in the U.S. Ghomeshi also criticized the timing of the film, saying it comes at a low point in U.S.-Iranian relations.
In response to the Canadian criticisms, Affleck said, "There were folks who didn't want to stick their necks out and the Canadians did". However, upon the film's general release in October 2012, there were criticisms of the scenes in Argo where British and New Zealand diplomats turn away the six American refugees. In reality diplomats from both New Zealand and the UK played key roles in the rescue operation. Bob Anders, the U.S. consular agent (played by Tate Donovan) said, "They put their lives on the line for us. We were all at risk. I hope no one in Britain will be offended by what's said in the film. The British were good to us and we're forever grateful."
Sir John Graham, who had been the British Ambassador to Iran is quoted as saying, "My immediate reaction on hearing about this was one of outrage. I have since simmered down, but am still very distressed that the film-makers should have got it so wrong. My concern is that the inaccurate account should not enter the mythology of the events in Tehran in November 1979."
Affleck himself accepts the merit of these criticisms, saying in the British press, "I struggled with this long and hard, because it casts Britain and New Zealand in a way that is not totally fair. But I was setting up a situation where you needed to get a sense that these six people had nowhere else to go. It does not mean to diminish anyone."
Argo was declared anti-Iranian and banned in Iran shortly after it's premiere in October, 2012, so the film's full reception by critics and audiences in Iran is still largely unknown. Iranian minister of culture and Islamic guidance, Mohammad Hosseini, has condemned Argo as "an offensive act" created with "evil intentions," according to newspaper The Guardian. And, at least one of the hostage takers depicted in the film, Masoumeh Ebtekar has criticized the film for not showing "the real reasons behind the event".
However, there have reportedly been secret screenings on college campuses that have met with positive audience response, and bootleg copies of the film have become a hot commodity, reputedly even outselling A Separation, the Iranian film that won the Best Foreign Film Oscar the previous year.
Iran reputedly plans to make its own version of the film, Setad Moshtarak ('The General Staff'), headed by Ataollah Salmanian, an Iranian actor and filmmaker. He says the screenplay for an Iranian side of the story is production ready and has already been approved by Iran's Art Bureau and awaits the budget to begin filming. Salmanian has been quoted as saying, "The General Staff is about the 20 American hostages who were delivered to the United States by the revolutionaries."
|Award||Recipient of Nomination||Status|
|Best Picture||Grant Heslov|
|Best Actor in a Supporting Role||Alan Arkin||Lost to Christoph Waltz; Django Unchained|
|Best Editing||William Goldberg||Won|
|Best Original Score||Alexandre Desplat||Lost to Mychael Danna; Life of Pi|
|Best Sound Editing||Erik Aadahl|
Ethan Van der Ryn
|Lost to Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers; Skyfall|
|Best Sound Mixing||John Reitz|
Jose Antonio Garcia
|Lost to Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson and Simon Hayes; Les Miserables|
|Best Adapted Screenplay||Chris Terrio||Won|
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|news||DVD/Blu-Ray February 19th||staceywi|
|blog||Critics' Choice Award Winners!!!!!!||VioletEyedDragon|
|blog||TheLawnWrangler's Favorite Films of 2012 - PART 7||TheLawnWrangler|
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