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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.



(screenplay), (based on a selection from "The Master of Disguise" by) (as Antonio J. Mendez) | 1 more credit »
512 ( 166)
Won 3 Oscars. Another 92 wins & 150 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:


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 (

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Based on the exaggerated true story. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some violent images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

12 October 2012 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Escape from Tehran  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$44,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$19,458,109 (USA) (12 October 2012)


$136,019,448 (USA) (19 April 2013)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (Extended Version)

Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


As shown in this movie, by the late 1970s, the Hollywood sign (which had first been erected in 1923 as "HOLLYWOODLAND" to advertise an upcoming real estate development) had fallen into severe disrepair. In 1978, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce had a fund-raising campaign in which they solicited nine prominent people to give about $28,000.00 each (one donor for each letter) for the restoration. Some of these benefactors included: Playboy Magazine founder Hugh Hefner, who gave the Y; singers Gene Autry and Andy Williams (the second L and the W, respectively), and heavy metal/shock rock star Alice Cooper, who replaced the third O (by far the most damaged of the letters) in memory of Groucho Marx. Warner Bros. Records, a division of the company that later released Argo, donated the second O. However, this restoration was completed before the events depicted in this movie started. See more »


As a ruse to make certain he would be patched through to speak with President Carter's Chief of Staff Hamilton Jordan, CIA Agent Jack O'Donnell asks one of his aides where Malinov's children go to school. She answers, Pace Academy, Buckhead, Georgia. The city of Buckhead is 75 miles from Pace Academy. The school is in Atlanta, in a neighborhood known locally as Buckhead. See more »


[first lines]
Sahar: [narration] 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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Crazy Credits

As the end credits begin, a picture of the actual passport of each fake film crew member is displayed next to picture of the actor in the film, showing the similarities between the two faces. Then archive photos from the period are displayed next to pictures shot for the film. See more »


References Battlestar Galactica (1978) See more »


Concrete Jungle
Written by Roddy Byers (as Rod Byers)
Performed by The Specials
Courtesy of EMI Records Ltd.
Under license from EMI Film & Television Music
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Well done Ben
9 October 2012 | by See all my reviews

Honestly, I came into this movie with so-so expectations as the trailer I saw in a different movie made me give myself a 50% chance to watch it, up in the air if you will. But from the moment the movie began up until the end, I was gripping for the characters the whole way, the way movies should be.

The opening of the movie played a huge part in setting the tone of the rest of the film. As I had no history or prior knowledge to the events that transpired in Iran in the 1980s, the brief amount of a history lesson was just enough to maintain my interest. Throughout the film, there are times when I might have started to wander through long bouts of dialog, but witty comments by the characters kept me entertained. By the time the climax was about to hit, I was sitting on the edge of my seat, biting at my fingers, awaiting their next move.

Well done Ben, well done.

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