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2:32 | Trailer
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 1979.


Ben Affleck


Chris Terrio (screenplay by), Tony Mendez (based on a selection from "The Master of Disguise" by) (as Antonio J. Mendez) | 1 more credit »
1,092 ( 94)
Won 3 Oscars. Another 93 wins & 153 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Ben Affleck ... Tony Mendez
Bryan Cranston ... Jack O'Donnell
Alan Arkin ... Lester Siegel
John Goodman ... John Chambers
Victor Garber ... Ken Taylor
Tate Donovan ... Bob Anders
Clea DuVall ... Cora Lijek
Scoot McNairy ... Joe Stafford
Rory Cochrane ... Lee Schatz
Christopher Denham ... Mark Lijek
Kerry Bishé ... Kathy Stafford
Kyle Chandler ... Hamilton Jordan
Chris Messina ... Malinov
Zeljko Ivanek ... Robert Pender
Titus Welliver ... Bates


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 (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Based on the Declassified True Story See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Despite playing Iranian characters, Fouad Hajji is of Moroccan descent and Yuri Sardarov is of Armenian and Georgian descent. See more »


Making the movie dramatic, the military find out the embassy people are on a plane leaving, they go so far as to chase the airplane as it takes off. In reality the scam worked and they left on a plane with no problem. In the movie, if the military really knew-even not able to catch the plane, they could easily call air traffic control to tell them to turn around and land. 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 »

Alternate Versions

After it screened at the Toronto International Film Festival the postscript at the end credits was changed because it was felt that it slighted the Canada's involvement in the rescue of the American hostages. See more »


Featured in 70th Golden Globe Awards (2013) See more »


Hace Tuto Guagua
Traditional, Arranged by Tato Gomez
Performed by Familion
Courtesy of Epic Records
By arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
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User Reviews

Good movie but not really based on a true story.
13 November 2018 | by Java_JoeSee all my reviews

I'll put this out there right now. I'm no fan of Ben Affleck. I just never felt he was a good actor but I didn't let that keep me from seeing this movie everybody was talking about.

And yes, let me also put this right out there, the movie is loosely based on the "Canadian Caper" in which 6 American diplomats were safely hidden away in the Ambassador's home and then using faked Canadian passports were flown out of Tehran. I say loosely based because as everybody knows it was 90% Canada's involvement that these 6 people got out. It was Ambassador Ken Taylor who came up with the idea, the Canadian government that allowed these 6 to be issued passports and they were then returned home.

But that's not what this movie shows. No. It shows that Tony Mendez, played by Ben Affleck, was not only the mastermind of this but downplayed just about anything the Canadians did. Of course after a very Canadian, a.k.a. polite, dressing down by Ken Taylor Ben has since said that the Canadians did help much more than they did.

Having said that this is a good movie. There's some A-list actors in it. There's some great cinematography which shows that maybe Ben's skill lies behind the camera. There's some action scenes because you need action scenes today and there's a feeling of triumph when they finally get airborne and are off to freedom.

But that doesn't take away from the fact they played really fast and loose with the truth. It's like in U-571. It was the British that captured the Enigma machine but we need Americans to do it for an American audience because they don't like it when others are the heroes. And that's possibly the biggest flaw with this movie. Americans need to learn that they're not the greatest on the face of the planet and that other people have helped them along the way.

So thank you Canada for what you've done for us. I just wish this movie could have shown you in a better light.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Official Sites:

Official site




English | Persian | German | Arabic

Release Date:

12 October 2012 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Escape from Tehran See more »

Filming Locations:

McLean, Virginia, USA See more »


Box Office


$44,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$19,458,109, 14 October 2012

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (Extended Version)



Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

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