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Iran Hostage Crisis Insider Reviews Hollywood Thriller 'Argo'

Ben Affleck has taken the essence of the little-known story of how six Americans took refuge in the Canadian Embassy in Tehran and given it the full Hollywood treatment. While a lot of it rings true, there are parts that don't. But hey, this is Hollywood, not history, writes Gary Sick — enjoy it!
U.S. actor-director Ben Affleck poses during a photocall to promote his film Argo on the second day of the San Sebastian Film Festival September 22, 2012. The film, based on true events at the time of the Iranian hostage crisis, is part of the festival's official selection. REUTERS/Vincent West (SPAIN - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY)

The American embassy in Tehran was attacked and its residents imprisoned almost exactly 33 years ago, November 4, 1979. The 444-day ordeal of the hostage crisis burned itself into the American collective consciousness. It was America’s first contact with radical Islam. It was our first televised foreign policy crisis. It was the subtext for Jimmy Carter’s unsuccessful reelection campaign. And it has shaped US attitudes and policies toward Iran ever since.

Most Americans — even the under-33 generation — have some recollection of those events: photos of blindfolded diplomats; angry crowds of bearded young men waving their fists at the TV cameras; wreckage of helicopters in the Iranian desert after the failed rescue mission; triumphal homecoming parades.

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