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Escape from Iran: The Canadian Caper (1981)

A dramatized account of how the staff of the Canadian Embassy helped a group of American diplomats escape from Iran during the Iranian Revolution.


Lamont Johnson


Lionel Chetwynd (screenplay), Lionel Chetwynd (story) | 1 more credit »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Gordon Pinsent ... Ambassador Ken Taylor
Chris Wiggins Chris Wiggins ... John Sheardown
Diana Barrington ... Zena Sheardown
Robert Joy ... Mark Lijek
James B. Douglas James B. Douglas ... Bob Anders
Tisa Chang Tisa Chang ... Pat Taylor
Larry Aubrey Larry Aubrey ... Joe Stafford
Matsu Anderson Matsu Anderson ... Cora Lijek
Julie Khaner ... Kathy Stafford
Robert Lalonde ... Jean Pelletier
R.H. Thomson ... Lee Schatz
Carl Marotte ... Marine Sergeant Lopez
Jason Dean Jason Dean ... Sergeant Gauthier
Jonathan Welsh Jonathan Welsh ... Michael Howland
J.P. Linton J.P. Linton ... Victor Tomseth (as John-Peter Linton)


This film tells a combination of how Ken Taylor and his Canadian Embassy staff in Teheran during the Iranian hostage crisis hid half a dozen American embassy staffers at great personal risk. It furthermore tells the story, which was revealed much later to the cover story for the joint CIA/Canadian rescue operation, of how Ken Taylor successfully smuggled those Americans out of Iran safely under the noses of the internal security forces. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@execulink.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Did You Know?


The actual communications director in charge of cipher at the Canadian Embassy during this caper was Mary Catherine O'Flaherty (St. John's, NewFoundland 19 February 1926-13 May 2018, St. John's) . She was named to the Order of Canada on July 1rst 1980 for "her devotion to duty while working under great stress over an extended period." This story is also the basis of the movie Argo. See more »


Followed by 444 Days to Freedom: What Really Happened in Iran (1986) See more »

User Reviews

The movie that proves that not all Canadians are push-overs.
6 August 2001 | by ram-30See all my reviews

This movie should appeal to all Canadians on the level of a sentimental reminder of our heroics during the Iranian hostage incident. However, it should also be appealing on an entertainment level also. The film stars many familiar Canadian actors like the ubiquitous Robert Joy, Chris Wiggins, R.H. Thompson and, of course, the anti-hero Gordon Pinsent who plays real life anti-hero Ken Taylor. The film does not glorify Taylor as a one-man Rambo saviour but rather shows him as a leader among a group of peace loving and peace keeping Canadians. For example, Thompson plays Lee Schatz. Schatz helps the escape plan by pretending to be an agriculture student from Guelph. The Iranian airport officials fall for his ruse and the hostages are one step closer to freedom. Quite often, TV movies based on recent real life events become dated quickly. However, the humour, production and cast make this film a souvenir of the 1980s to hang on to.

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USA | Canada



Release Date:

17 May 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Desert Blades See more »

Filming Locations:

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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