sahar: this is the persianempire known today as iran. for 2,500 years, this land was ruledby a series of kings known as shahs. in 1950, the people of iranelected mohammad mossadeq, a secular democrat,as prime minister. he nationalized britishand u.s. petroleum holdings, returning iran's oilto its people. but in 1953
the u.s. and great britainengineered a coup d'ã©tat that deposed mossadeq and installed reza pahlavias shah. the young shah was knownfor opulence and excess. his wife was rumoredto bathe in milk while the shah had his lunchesflown in by concorde from paris. the people starved. the shah kept power through his ruthlessinternal police: the savak.
an era of tortureand fear began. he then began a campaignto westernize iran, enraging a mostly traditionalshiite population. in 1979, the people of iranoverthrew the shah. [ helicopter blades whirring ] the exiled cleric,ayatollah khomeini, returned to rule iran. it descendedinto score settling, death squads and chaos.
dying of cancer, the shahwas given asylum in the u.s. the iranian people took to the streetsoutside the u.s. embassy, demanding that the shahbe returned, tried and hanged. [ crowd chanting in farsi ] [ chanting continues ] the carnival'sa little bigger today, huh? windows are supposed tobe bullet-proof, right?
[ chuckles ] well,they've never been tested. okay, you just need to finishfilling out this section here. we can processyour visa. [ chanting continuesin distance ] [ radio chatter ] we need some security. yes, it's --and it's your responsibility. they're over the walls.we should all split. i'm gonna close upmy office.
my god. marines to number one.fall back. can anyone hear me?we're on the second floor. look, i need police.i need police right now. we need help. do you understand me?right now, goddamn it! jesus. can anybody hear me? kessi mano mifahme? there was a breach.
just burn everything!burn it now! all right,burn everything! all the files,file cabinet, safe. [ crowd shouting ] [ sighs ] let's get a cart over here.burn it all. come on. daugherty: burn everything! burnthe classifieds! everything! [ indistinct shouting ] golacinski:don't fucking shoot anybody.
you don't wanna be the sonof a bitch who started a war. they need an hourto burn the classified. i need you to hold. if you shoot one person, they're gonna killevery single one of us in here. [ indistinct conversations ] stafford:i'm tellin' ya, if we'regoing to go, we need to go now. okay, we need to makea decision, and we need -- joe, can we --?joe, can we wait --?
can we wait untilthe iranian police come? no, the police aren't coming.it's been 45 minutes. schatz: they're not coming. how do you know they'renot coming? they couldvery well be coming. the police have abandonedtheir posts. if the police are notcoming, okay, thenthe army's gonna come. the prime minister's not gonnalet the embassy be taken over. i understand. the prime ministermay come tomorrow, but the komitehare here today.
so we have to evacuate. all right, is there any valuein waiting fif--? look at me.no one is coming. get the desk drawers.everything. don't sort it. get it down to the incineratorin the vault! go, now! tear gas as a last resort only. i repeat: only if your lifeis under threat. [ coughing ] we are notin the safest place.
in here, we are inamerica right now. it's on american soil,but within -- i'm not goin' out into that. they're not safe here. if they get caught applyingfor visas to the u.s.? all right, you knowwhat? let's -- let'swait five minutes. mark, we are in theonly building with directaccess to the street. if we're going to go,then we need to go now. yeah, i'm in.
yeah. yeah, let's go. i'm goin' outside. why? to reason with them. [ shouting continues ] [ rumbling ] open the door! [ banging on door ]
open the door!open the fucking door! you said you wanted tosee the world, right, tom? let me in! let me in! anders:burn it all. come on. get the safe, get the filingcabinets, get it all. [ pounding ] all four drawers,i want 'em shredded right now. joe:not gonna shred fast enough. anders: grab th--grab the visa plates!
all four! and anything elseyou see out there. when in doubt, just shred it! we got ten minutes! let's go,let's go, let's go! everything! [ banging ] [ breathing heavily ] get the shredder. there are no police. [ shouting in distance ] [ door opens ]
jesus. who has made this?! it's done. they're in. okay, come on.we gotta get off the streets. this way.up here to the left. these fucks hit us,we can't hit 'em back? mossadeq, we did itto them first. you think the soviets wouldput up with this shit?they'd fucking invade. schafer!
what'd you expect? we helped the guy torture andde-ball an entire population. how many were there? at least 50. we're not sure. genco: you still haven'tfound schafer? no, i was screaming his name'cause i was fuckin' him. come in. bates: it's confirmed, sir.six escaped.
vance: i was told five. no, sir,apparently it's six. so, what happened? not clear. we knowthey escaped the embassy. where are they? the canadianambassador's house. do they stay put?are we attempting rescue? hold forthe secretary of state. yes.is white house joining?
they're claiming the embassywas a den of espionage. we wish it wasa fuckin' den of espionage. c.i.'s got three peopleover there, they don't seea revolution comin'? call it somethin'other than intelligence. hold for the chief of staff.hodding. i'll call him back. butler: they're stickin'to it: no release tillwe expel the shah. well, put him on a plane, then.fuck him.
he's half-deadand he's in chemo. yeah, well, we took him in.he's ours now. great, so we'll takein any prick as longas he's got cancer? come on. no, just the prickson our side. so all of our other prickson their prick thrones will know that when theyget thrown out on a rail, they won't gettheir fuckin' spleens taken out by some camel vet in sinai.
what about the sixwho are with the canadians? we've got 60 in the embassy withguns to their heads right now. the whole worldis watching the embassy. that makes them saferthan the six on the street. banisadr's sayingit'll be over in 24 hours. we leavethe six where they are. i'll go brief the president. ...up at camp david by phone. so far official comments about the incident...
all right, let's do it. ...have been a model of restraint. ...tehran, which, according to state department officials... iran's revolutionary guard has rounded up a gang of terrorists, blamed for one murder of a half dozen followers of ayatollah khomeini. it says security at khomeini's home now has been tightened. this, by the way, is the 69th day that the american hostages have been held in tehran.
[ telephone ringing ] there is no change reported in the hostage situation. in this country, george meany died last night. he was 85 years old. yes. what? wallace: to begin with, of course, we wanted to learn about the hostages held in the american embassy compound. reynolds: they may not understand
what their ordeal means to their countrymen. but this nation, their nation, is outraged. and we cannot really know what it is like inside the prison that was once our embassy. president carter: actions of iran have shocked the civilized world. our embassy has been seized, and more than 60 american citizens continue to be held as hostages.
pauley: the situation in iran this morning is unchanged in regard to the hostages. nbc's situation in iran is changed, however. iranian television won't let us feed any pictures. so, now in iran... is he back there? the rest are in there. what happened? the six of themwent out a back exit.
brits turned them away, kiwis turned them away. canadians took them in. traffic calls them"the houseguests." they haven't leftthe canadian ambassador's house since it happened. why didn't we get 'em10 weeks ago? too dangerous. you gotrevolutionary guards
going door-to-doorlike jehovah's witnesses. half of 'em think thatkhomeini's been too lenient on the onesin the embassy. what aboutthe white house? carter's shitting enough bricksto build the pyramids. the canadians are done. they saythey're bearing too much risk. their foreign secretarycorners vance in brussels and told him she wantsthe six of them out. who else knows?
just the families. meanwhile, some geniusin our embassy was keeping a mug bookon everybody who worked there. jesus christ. we think it got shreddedbefore they got in. but now the bastardsare using sweatshop kids to reassemble the shreds. and once they reassemblethat book they'll knowsix americans got out.
and they'll knowwhat they look like. standing room onlyfor beheadings in the square. who's handling? state is coordinatingin-house. state? they don't do exfils. they do now. they want to run it by us,strictly as consultants. engell saysit's a lose-lose.
these people die,they die badly. publicly. state wants the blame,we'll give it to 'em. what does he want mehere for? so he can tell state he ran itby his best exfil guy. okay. this is bob penderfrom state o.s. he's been talkingto morgan at extaff. bob? pender:thank you. all right. mark and cora lijek.29 and 25. he's a consular officer,she's an assistant. newlyweds.
they, uh, only just got therea couple months ago. no language skillsor in-country knowledge. henry lee schatz.agricultural attachã© from idaho. a bit of an oddball, apparently. he was there to sellu.s. tractors to iranian agro. joe stafford. late 20s. he's smart and a climber.speaks farsi. he arranged the hireof his wife, kathy. bates:embassy was understaffed,
so the faculty wiveswere the typing pool. and bob anders.senior consular officer, oldest of the group andmost likely to be group leader. they're in hiding at thecanadian ambassador's residence. fortunately,we do not believe the iranians are awarethe six have escaped. so, what we like for thisare bicycles. we've identified back roadsfrom the shemiran district. a couple of rat linesthrough the mountains
to the crossing near tabriz. cars are off the tablebecause of the roadblocks. we wait till the weatherclears up then deliver the six bikes, provide them with mapsto the turkish border. we have intelligencethey can ride bicycles. or we're prepared to send insomebody to teach 'em. or you couldjust send in training wheels and meet them at the borderwith gatorade.
o'donnell: tony. it's 300 milesto the turkish border. they'd need a support teamfollowing them with a tire pump. engell: we were just askedto sharpshoot this. state is handling the op. i'm sorry, who is this? o'donnell:tony's an exfil spesh. he got a lot of the shah'speople out after the fall. sir, if these peoplecan read or add
pretty soonthey're gonna figure out they're six shortof a full deck. it's winter. you can't affordto wait around till spring so it's nice enoughto take a bike ride. the only way out of that cityis the airport. you build new cover identitiesfor 'em, you send in a moses, he takes 'em outon a commercial flight. we've exploredthose options as well. they're never gonna getpast airport control.komiteh own the place.
bates: well, they could poseas reporters. the government issued70-something -- 74. visas foramerican journalists. and the revolutionary guardskeep them on 74 leashes. if they're caughtwith fake journalist creds, it's peter jennings' headin a noose in an hour. look, north american accentsgives us limited options, so we get the canadiansto issue them passports.
what about english teachersat the international school? it's a good idea, butthat school's beenclosed for eight months. bates: okay, so how 'boutthe do-gooders. six canadians have beenover there inspecting crops, making sure the kidsget enough to eat. we give them creds,makes 'em look like ag ngos. it's a feed the kids thing.'kay? those kids are black.those are african kids. we can get ethnicallyappropriate kids.
lamont: are therestarving kids in iran? i'm sure there's someskinny kids in iran, so... what about missionaries? a logo with seeds.call it "seeds of hope." hold on. sir, do you have thisnewspaper in front of you? would you mindtaking a look at it? what's in this picture? tehran. right.what's on the ground?
snow. right. so, what crops are the do-gooders inspectingunder frosty? sir, exfilsare like abortions. you don'twant to need one, but when you do,you don't do it yourself. you have a better plan? no, sir.
reynolds: whatever the conflicting signals from iran today, and for that matter, every day about whether the hostages will or will not be tried as spies, the government of the united states has not deviated from its basic demand: the hostages must be freed. although the united statesclaims to defend human rights, it not onlydoes not defend them, it violates themfor all nations.
we demand extradition of a man who, for more than 37 yearswith the united states' support, has killed months-old babiesin the arms of their mothers. newscaster: he said if the americans try military force to rescue the hostages, the students will kill them all and blow up the embassy. newscaster #2: americans were outraged at iran and anyone iranian. newscaster #3: before that decision was taken,
there was a demonstration in houston. an iranian flag was burned when anti-iranian demonstrators gathered near the iranian consulate. newscaster #4: ...also is what led to a decision to scrutinize the visas of iranians... they knew exactly what wasgoing to happen. they knew. but i don't understand what --what they should do now. send him back, just to --to be tortured and killed? i don't think that justiceis the worst thing.
when did people first tell you that, uh, torture was going on in iran? they would never come to me and say, "well, sir, we have tortured this fellow." wallace: president sadat of egypt, he calls you, imam -- forgive me, his words, not mine -- a lunatic. why didn't he have a choice? why do you thinkhe didn't have a choice?
anders: because he would've beenreferred to as a barbarian. schatz:that's why they're saying that their current regime -- anders: the shah did morefor women's rights -- taylor: i think you'd better -- please, everyone,get into the crawlspace. newscaster: at one point, the mob cornered one of the iranians. when he tried to protect himself, this is what happened.
man: just hit him again! we're not gonna take it anymore! we're sick of it! [ cheers ] america! man: even in our little community here, i mean, people are drawn up tight, they're tense. they shouldn't even let those students in that embassy there. just shoot a couple of 'em, show 'em we mean business. newscaster: men who served in vietnam
for what they believed was right are angry. i'm mad as hell. i'm -- i'm like the guy screamin' on that movie program in "network," you know? i've had it. and if, uh, if need be, i'll bear arms again. and that's the way it is wednesday, january 16th, 1980. the 74th day of captivity for 50 americans in iran. hello?
tony: buddy man. i'll get mom. i'm looking for you. did you doyour homework tonight? yeah.it was easy. excellent.what are we watchin'? "battle for the planetof the apes." tell me,what channel is it on? five.
all right. what'd you doat school today? nothin'. i don't know.nothin'. can't be nothin'.somethin' must've happened. after schooli got some baseball cards. mm-hmm. that was fun. tony: okay, you knowthose science fiction movies? "star trek," "star wars."they need an exotic locationto shoot.
moonscape, mars, desert,you know. now, imagine this: they're a canadian film crewon a location scout for a science fiction movie. we put it out there -- the canadian producersput it out there -- that we're looking at egypt,istanbul. then we go to the consulateand say, "hey, we wanna lookat iran, too."
i fly into tehran, we all flyout together as a film crew. done. "flamboyant cover identitiesshould be avoided, as it increasesoperational visibility." i think thisis a lot more plausible than foreigners who wanna gobe teachers in iran. you want to blend inwith the population, you don't look likea rodeo clown. just gonna wake uptomorrow morning
and be inthe movie business? we already have credentialsfor the teachers. no, sir,we have a contact in l.a. chambers. john chambers. he's a hollywoodprosthetics guy. he's got an oscar,he did "planet of the apes" and he's done a bunchof contract workfor us in the past. i go see him,he sets us up.
one, two days,make it look real. [ engines revving ] i went outside for 30 seconds.all right? could you give me a break?i can't breathe in this house. i need some fresh air.i can't -- i can't breathe. schatz: stay insidethe fuckin' house. who saw me go outside?i'm just curious. that's not the point, bob. it doesn't matterwho saw you go out.
did you see me?did you see me go out? no. i did, okay? i saw you. bob, it only takes one secondfor them to spot you. we want youto go to l.a. if you can makethe movie thing credible, we'll take youto the director. don't fuck up. the whole countryis watching you.
they just don't know it. my creation. [ roaring ] what the fuck,brian? cut. man: we're cutting. what an idiot. brian: i'm sorry. chambers.john chambers, makeup!
he says the minotaur prostheticis too tight, so he can't act. if he could act, he wouldn'tbe playing the minotaur. mr. chambers? kevin harkins. hey, tony. [ the rolling stones'"little t&a" plays ] â™ª she's my littlerock 'n' roll â™ª â™ª uh-huh-huh â™ª
â™ª oh, oh â™ª â™ª she's my littlerock 'n' roll baby â™ª watch your head. what are you shootin'? monster movie. yeah? any good? target audiencewill hate it. who'sthe target audience? people with eyes.
talk to me. it's an exfil. from where? worst placeyou can think of. universal city. how are you gonnaget into the embassy? they're not in the embassy. during the takeover,six people escaped. they're hiding outin tehran.
and that's whoi'm gonna go get. what am i making? i need you to help memake a fake movie. [ chuckles ]you came to the right place. i want to set upa production company and build a coveraround makin' a movie. that we're not gonna make. so you wanna come to hollywoodand act like a big shot? without actuallydoing anything?
you'll fit right in. hmm. let's see. well, this one'sgot an m.a. in english. she should beyour screenwriter. sometimes they go alongon scouts 'cause they wantthe free meals. here's your director. can you teach somebody to bea director in a day? you can teach a rhesus monkeyto be a director in a day.
look, if you're gonna do this,you gotta do it. the kho maniacs are froot loopsbut they got cousins who sell prayer rugsand eight tracks on la brea. you can't buildcover stories around a moviethat doesn't exist. you need a script.you need a producer. make me a producer. no. you'rean associate producer at best. if you're gonna do a $20 million"star wars" rip-off,
you need somebodywho's a somebody to put their name on it. somebody respectable. with credits. who you can trustwith classified information. who'll producea fake movie. for free. [ engine shuts off ] hi. i only gota couple-a minutes.
i'm getting a lifetimeachievement award. mazel tov, lester. i'd rather stay home and countthe wrinkles on my dog's balls. okay, you got six peoplehiding out in a town of, what,four million people, all of whom chant "death toamerica" all the livelong day. you wanna set up a moviein a week. you want to lieto hollywood, a town where everybody liesfor a living.
then you're gonna sneak 007over here into a countrythat wants cia blood on their breakfast cereal and you're gonna walkthe brady bunch out of the most watched cityin the world. past about a hundred militiaat the airport. that's right. [ sighs ]look, i-i gotta tell you. we -- we did suicide missionsin the army that had better oddsthan this.
sir, the car is here. [ crowd shouting ] you ever think, lester,how this is all for the cameras? well, they're getting theratings, i'll say that for 'em. [ shouting continues ] we're gonna need a script. [ glass shatters ] here, come on,come on, come on. no, it's fine.
stop, stop, stop, stop. [ chuckles ] [ gunshots ] okay. i love you. sahar knows. [ dog barking ] chambers: how 'bout"the horses of achilles"? no good.nobody does westerns anymore.
it's ancient troy. if it's got horses in it,it's a western. hey, kenny, please. yeah, it's john chambers,about the office space. it doesn't matter.it's a fake movie. if i'm doing a fake movie,it's gonna be a fake hit. o'donnell: the cardinalwants all cover options on his desk friday morning. engell's preppingthe bikes option,
the teachers option. you have 72 hoursto make yours better. fine. hey, is a006 stillon the open list? yeah, i'll hold. "fade in on a starship landing. "an exotic, middle eastern vibe. "women gather, offering ecstaticlibations to the sky gods. 'argo.'a science-fantasy adventure."
it's in turnaround.it's dog shit. look, it's a space moviein the middle east. does it matter? can we get the option? why do we need the option? you're worriedabout the ayatollah? try the wga. siegel:just let me do the talking. i've known this guyfor 25 years.
he's full of shitand he comes on hard, but, uh,i can handle him. you wanna go into productionwith this in one month? up like a carny ride. one month, yeah. who are you again? kevin harkins.studio six films. he's the money. look, what do you say,
uh, 15 thouand let's close on this. you want me to be honestwith you, les? no. i would like youto bullshit me, max. i enjoyed your films.the early ones. i took this meetingout of respect, because i wanted to say noto your face. thank you.very respectful. you're finished, lester. get your cataracts fixed,read the trades.
mgm just capitalizedfor six new films. they're screamin'for sci-fi. they're offering me four timeswhat you guys are offering me. well, what can i say? congratulations. but, see it kind of worries me,what you said, and let me tell you why. couple of weeks ago,i was sitting at trader vic's, i was enjoying a mai tai whenmy pal warren beatty comes in.
he wishes me well,we had a little chat. seems he was attachedto star in "zulu empire," which was gonna anchorthat mgm slate. but warren confided in me thatthe picture's gone over budget, because the zulu extraswant to unionize. they may be cannibals, but they want health and dentalso the movie's kaput! which means that the mgm dealain't gonna happen and your script ain't worththe buffalo shit on a nickel.
so the wayit looks to me, through the cataracts,i grant you, is thatyou can either sign here and take $10,000for your toilet paper script or you can go fuck yourself. with all due respect. you really knowwarren beatty? yes, i do. i took a leak next to him onceat the golden globes.
taco? [ dire straits'"sultans of swing" plays ] got any kids, lester? yeah.i have two daughters. see 'em much? i talk to 'emonce a year. maybe. why is that? i was a terrible father.
the bullshit business,it's like coal mining. you -- you come hometo your wife and kids, you can't --you can't wash it off. you? yeah, i got a son. he lives in virginiawith his mother. you're divorced? taking time off. he needs to be, you know,where he is.
kids need the mother. o'donnell: they caughtthe shah's chief of security trying to get on a planeto paris. listen. since the incident,the number of guards at the airport has doubled. thorough backgroundexaminations should be expected. tony: the movie coverisn't strong enough yet.
i need another week, jack. you don't have it. tony:we got an office. we got business cards.we got a poster. if i'm the revolutionary guard, that's nothing we couldn'thave made at home. six people's livesdepend on this. it's not enough. if we're gonna foolthese people, it has to be big.
and it has to have somethingthat says it's authentic. i did a moviewith rock hudson one time. if you wannasell a lie... you get the pressto sell it for you. no, no, no. press event and then they're gonnaread through the script. well, they got a bunchof actors, they're gonna readfrom beginning to end. all the way through.
they have costumesand everything. no, no, no, i can't. i got -- uh, varietyhas an exclusive on that. is there any way to make thismore, uh, middle eastern? mesopotamia? egypt? iran. look, i can get you in, but you're gonna have topromise me at least half a page. no, no, this thing's an event!it's gonna be a spectacle.
[ van halen's"dance the night away" plays ] â™ª have you seen her? â™ª â™ª so fine and pretty â™ª â™ª fooled mewith her style and ease â™ª â™ª and i feel herfrom across the room â™ª â™ª yes, it's lovein the third degree â™ª â™ª ooh, baby, baby â™ª â™ª won't ya turn your headmy way? â™ª â™ª ah, come on! take a chance â™ª
â™ª you're old enough to dance â™ª â™ª the night away â™ª â™ª whoa-oh â™ª â™ª come on, g-girl,dance the night away â™ª lester? nina.you look fabulous. you're doingthe reading? i'm playing serksi, the galactic witch.
great. i'll call ya. keep that fuckin' space witchaway from me. you know her? i was married to her. oh, my god,iraq is amazing. oh,we're shooting in iran. iran with an "n"? yeah.we're very excited. you ever watch the news?
uh, what does the titlerefer to? the argo. it's --you know, it's the thing. like jason andthe golden fleece, or what? no, no. it's the ship.it's the -- it's the spaceship. it goes --it goes everywhere. it goes all --all throughout space. so it's the argonaut. what --what does "argo" mean? i don't know.
you don't know? it meansargo fuck yourself. [ glass clinking ] chambers: well, excuse me. may i have your attention,ladies and gentlemen. if our artists could settle in. we're just about readyto begin the reading. "argo,"by mary ann boyd. "fade in on starship landing.exterior, bazaar.
an exotic,middle eastern vibe." the people working here are not diplomats. in fact, as imam khomeini said, we have found no evidence that proves that these people are diplomats. all evidence proves that these people are spies. in the name of god,the beneficent, the merciful, our message to the awakenedpeoples of the world: at this time we want to expose
the hateful actsof the united states of america. nina:our world has changed. the fire of hope stopped burningin this galaxy long ago. the shipis turning around. fire the thrusters! nina:he says a gravitational fieldthat strong will kill anyone. president carter: the radicals who invaded our embassy were completely unjustified. they and all others must know that the united states of america
will not yield to international terrorism or to blackmail. sir! we'll be crushed!there's not enough time to -- tehran mary:...are controlled by capitalists and large oil companies. the united states governmentconsiders revolutionaries as terrorists,but itself and its cia are the most terrorizingorganization of all time. chambers: "the story was told,but there are infinitely more.
"three setting suns. the princess's robesfall from her body." aleppa: if we find his shipwe will find our chance. aboard the argo lies my hope,my hero, my husband. we will begin the trialsand carry out the sentences. [ shouting in farsi ] cronkite: you wonder where and how this seemingly endless parade of hatred will end. what do they want?
they say the question should be not "what?" but "who?" the answer to that is clear. they want their former shah. tehran mary: carterand his administration -- shameful to talkabout human rights. carter and his governmenthave given asylum to the worst criminal of all. for life? translator: they will remain until the shah is returned.
cronkite: but if the exiled shah, now in a new york city hospital, leaves the united states for any place other than iran, harsher decisions will be taken against the hostages. [ man shouts in farsi ] [ guns click ] [ sobbing ] chambers: "we cut outsideto the shidoori dome "holding on a single red floweras it grows
"from the ruins of a starshipin the desert. fade to black. the end." [ applause ] siegel:there it is. what'd i tell ya? first shotof the picture. argo fuck yourself. both:argo fuck yourself. [ typewriter keys clacking ] brace yourself.
it's like talking to thosetwo old fucks on "the muppets." aliens and robots? yes, sir. you're telling me that there is a movie companyin hollywood right now that is fundedby the cia? what's wrongwith the bikes again? we tried to get the messageupstairs, sir. you think -- you think this ismore plausible than teachers?
yes, we do. one, there are nomore foreign teachers in iran. and we think everybody knowshollywood people. and everybody knowsthey'd shoot in stalingrad with pol pot directingif it would sell tickets. there areonly bad options. it's about findingthe best one. you don't havea better bad idea than this? this is the best bad ideawe have, sir. by far. the united statesgovernment
has just sanctionedyour science fiction movie. thank you, sir. i'm required to remind youthat if you are detained, the agencywill not claim you. barely claim me as it is. your "in case of's"good? it's just christine. i should've brought some booksto read in prison. naw. they'll kill youlong before prison.
thanks for the ride. [ telephone rings ] studio six. we got a green light. keep the office runninguntil you hear otherwise. [ ringing ] [ coin drops ] woman on p.a.: your attention, please. this is the final boarding call
for british airways flight 87, boarding at gate... [ man singingin native language ] joe: "we are a nationof 35 million. and many of these people arelooking forward to martyrdom." hey. come to bed. uh, in five minutes. you know,she pleaded with me. when it started in the streetsnine months ago,
she -- she beggedfor us to leave. she packed our bags,and i said: "you know what? you know,just a little bit longer." and alli was thinkin' was... "stay.this is good for me." "stay." "show newsomyou got the balls." i can't believe i put kathyin this position. i thinkwe're gonna die here.
[ woman speaking farsi ] [ conversing in farsi ] "iran is 100% notin a pre-revolutionary state." cia brief,november 1st, 1979. can't be rightall the time. kevin. when'd you get back? the shah escaped in a 747so laden with gold bars, it nearly didn't make itoff the runway.
but you kept busy. ferrying outthe torture apparatus of our friend'sfallen dictatorship. it's getting worse. everyone who lands at mehrabadnow fills in one of these. that slip makes a copyto the one underneath. passenger keeps yellow,airport keeps white. when you leave the country,they match them up to verify you came into the countrywhen you say you did.
so if they look,they'll see i didn't come into the countrywith six people. if they look. when you land,you should go straight to the ministry of cultureand islamic guidance to kiss the ring. get on record as having appliedfor a film permit. if they catch you later,at least they'll be confused while they'retorturing you.
what will be the purposeof your visit to iran? uh, film production.business. why didn't you getyour visa in canada? i would've loved to, except my boss didn't senda telex till i got here. guy had an intelligent thoughtin his head, it would dieof loneliness. the times and a.p.found out six escaped. they know who they are andthey know they're hidingout with the canadians.
somebody with oneof the families talked. mother of god. yeah, i just put vanceon a plane to take the editorsto le cirque. he thinks he can get themto sit on it, for now. your guybetter get them... and get the hell out. flight attendant: the captain has informed us that we have entered iranian airspace.
we'll be coming through to collect any remaining alcoholic beverages. [ people shouting in farsi ] [ horns honking ] this film crewis just yourself? no, we have six more from canadameeting us today. you like to filmat the bazaar? the bazaar,maybe the palace. landmark sites.
i see. the exotic orient. snake charmers,flying carpets. you came to usat a complicated time. before the revolution,40% of the movie theaters in tehranwere showing pornography. i understand. the function of this officeis purification as well as promotionfor the arts.
i'll review thisfor the minister. thank you. salaam. [ insects chirping ] [ ball bouncing ] lester,you're working late. till the dawn'searly light. you got stamina, lester.i wanna be you. well, i'm 150 years old,so you wouldn't be me for long.
mr. ambassador. ken taylor. thank youfor what you're doing. i was expecting moreof a g-man look. i think you're thinkingof the fbi, sir. ah. this way. these are blank, you know.stamps... yeah,i'll take care of this. ho-- how long?
a day, prep their covers.two if they need it. and -- and you'll fly outwith them? there's somethingyou should know. we think our housekeeperhas figured out who they are. we don't know if we can trusther, so sooner is better. [ car door closes ] hi. my name's kevin harkinsand... i'm gonna get you home.
these are the screenplaysfor your cover identities. [ scoffs ] it's -- it's theaterof the absurd. what are our chances? your chances are good. "good"?well, what's the, uh -- what's the number valueof "good"? 30% chance of beingpublicly executed? can you tell mewhat the objection was
to normalcover identities? there are no canadians in thecountry for normal reasons. they'll sniff us out,regardless. mark: the swedish consul? they -- they accused himof being an americanat the airport. they held him for an hour. anders: we can't hold upunder that. we don't know what the hellmovie people do. that's why i'm here.i'm gonna help you.
i'll be with you the whole way.this is what i do. have you gotten people outthis way before? this would be a first. do you knowthat every day they catch another friendof the shah at the airport? joe -- kangaroo trials and --and then -- and then firing squadsjust for having american namesin their phone books.
you've been here an hour. and -- and you're asking us totrust you with our lives, mr...? harkins. that's your real name? i know there are risks involved.serious risks. but it is time to go. we've got orders to closethe embassy and go back. there's nowherefor them to stay. we will never make it throughimmigration at the airport.
i'm serious.no, no, no, this is what? the part when we say thisis so crazy it mightactually work? come on. joe, i saw it in burma.they get people out. snitchesin banana republics? they get them over the borderafter the coup. pay the guards at the crossing100 bucks to look the other way. that's your opinion, joe. you know his opinion got us outin the first place. if -- if we go out therewith fake passports,
we are spies, period.that's execution. you got a problem lying,joe? but the point is,we can't stay here. if we get caught,you and pat go on trial for harboring the enemy,you know that? pat and i have discussed it.it's the risk we took. joe: that man out therehas got bad cards, and he is going to lose. and if he loses,it's our lives.
and his life too. anders: look, we don't haveany alternatives. we gotta go.[ clears throat ] tony:these cover identities were created specificallyfor each one of you. what you need to do is memorizeeverything that's inside. who you are, what you are,where you've been. complete bio. and then add to that.where do you vacation? what are your allergies?who'd you have an affair with?
the only way this worksis if you believe that you're these people so muchthat you dream like them. get started tonight. i'll be back tomorrow.we'll get going. goodbye. schatz:well, my guy kinda sucks. kathy:what's your name? mike mcewan, eh? that was convincing. cora:kathy, what's your name?
announcer: "the love boat" will be seen 15 minutes from now. reynolds: the state department insisted today that the crisis in afghanistan will not divert the attention of the united states from the plight of the hostages. the united states is perceived to be if not impotent, then at least reluctant... now the united states finds itself in such bitter confrontation with the soviet union over that country's invasion of afghanistan...
the united states is now moving toward a decision to boycott the summer olympics in moscow. bad news, bad news. even when it's good news,it's bad news. john wayne's in the groundsix months, this is what's leftof america. [ clacking ] [ knock on door ] tony: "the ministerof culture and guidance
"has approvedyour location scout. "he will send his representativeto meet you and your crew at the khayyam entrance to thegrand bazaar tomorrow at 3 p.m." they called your bluff. maybe they're cooperating. absolutely not. seven americans walking thebazaar is asking for a riot. it's the hive. seven canadians, jack.
never give them multiple shotsat a cover. are they even ready? they're gettin' there. there's no prizefor "most improved." i don't have a choice. we say no, they show upat the residence and drag everyone outat gunpoint. how well do you thinktheir covers are gonna hold up when they're gettin' theirfingernails pulled out?
cora: you want us to goto the grand bazaar at 3 o'clockin the afternoon? you said a dayto learn our covers, then straightto the airport. they suspect something? what i know is, we need topretend to be a movie crew. we go to the bazaar today, we fly out from the airporttomorrow. we won't do it.
he told themthat there were six of us. so thenthey're expecting six. it would be suspiciousnot to show up at this point. god damn it, guys, what elsedo we have to do, all right?what's the alternative? bob, he's about to show them theonly cards that we're holding which is that they don't knowthat we're here! i get it, but that'sthe ball game, okay? we -- you know -- look, we don'thave any other -- other choice! what are we gonna do?
who says that we'll knowour covers well enough? we're not in the cia. it's suicide. i'm asking youto trust me. i don't trust you. anders:this is the game, joe. what worldare you livin' in? what world am i --?the one where they're hanging peoplefrom construction cranes, bob.
it's too dangerous. i won'tbring my wife into the bazaar. joe, can we just talk? anders: joe? [ sighs ]so we'll see ya at 2? cora:so don't be recognizable but look exactly likeyour passport photo. i haven't been this nervoussince our wedding. only this isn't a huge mistake,hopefully. [ laughs ]
anders: thank you. who was that? mark? yeah? i'm scared. it's okay. [ woman singing in farsi ] [ barking ] in the kitchen.
[ indistinct conversation ] this is what i do.i get people out. and i've never leftanyone behind. uh, you know, uh, i wish i couldbelieve you, mr. harkins. my name is tony mendez. i'm from new york.my father worked construction. my mother teacheselementary school. i have a wifeand a 10-year-old son. you play alongwith me today,
i promise you,i will get you out tomorrow. [ smacks lips ]fuck. [ engine idling ] [ chanting in farsi ] shit. hang on. you all right? okay.tell me who you are. mike mcewan, cameraman.
robert baker, director. timothy harris,location manager. mary ann boyd,screenwriter. rachel dewart,production designer. sean bissett,associate producer. all right.let's go make a movie. as-salaam alaikum.welcome, welcome. my name is reza bolhani. kevin harkins.i'm the producer.
nice to meet you. this is mike mcewan,our cameraman. this is tim.this is mary, our screenwriter. and this is our director,bob baker. you are the director? is this filma foreign bride film? sorry? a film where a foreign bridecomes to iran but, uh, she doesn'tunderstand the language
or the customs and there is misunderstandingsand laughs. oh. no. [ speaking farsi ] reza: the bazaar in,uh, tehran is one of the largestin the world. and, uh -- this bazaar has been onthis spot for over 8,000 years. you can find many itemssuch as paper, spices,
precious metals,all right here. uh, right this way. agha jon, zol nazanin.mersi. this way. [ camera shutter clicking ] uh, mike? if i was to sayyou're lookin' through the wrong end of thatviewfinder, would i be right? yup.
[ camera shutter clicks ] reza:just a little further. [ vehicle approaches ] please wait here.let's, uh, stay together. he wants the --the photograph you took. it's okay, it's her jobto take photographs. she'sthe production designer. he says, uh, he did notgive you permission to take a photographof his store. that's okay.you can tell him he can have it.
please, please,just take the photograph. sahar. he's saying that the shah killedhis son with an american gun. no, no, no! no!canada! can-- canada! i would like to, uh, suggestthat we end our visit. [ speaks farsi ] [ brakes squeak ] cora: i think -- i mean,he might have thoughtwe were americans, but also it's justthe whole thing...
how'd it go? what about tomorrow? tomorrowthey'll be ready. newscaster: for kennedy, a stunning turnaround, one week after humiliation in illinois. ted kennedy: i love new york. and i love connecticut, too. newscaster: how did he win here? well, he had help. i'm responsible for anything that goes wrong
in this government. a man in scranton is placinga flag in his lawn for every day of captivity. when he runs outta lawn,kennedy wins the primary. the six with the canadiansare coming out. who signed off on this? you.where was your passport issued? vancouver. where were you born?
toronto. "torono." canadiansdon't pronounce the "t." some komiteh guardis actually gonna know that? if you're detainedfor questioning, they will bring in someonewho knows that. yes. mary, who were the last threeprime ministers of canada? uh, trudeau, pearsonand diefenbaker. what's your father's name? howard.
what's his occupation? fisherman. halifax, nova scotia. what's your date of birth? february 21st, 1952. good. what's your jobon the movie? producer. associate producer. what wasthe last movie you produced? uh, high --"high and dry."
who paid for that? the cfdc. what's your middle name? what's your middle name?what's your middle name? leon? shoot him.he's an american spy. look, they're gonnatry to break you, okay? by trying toget you agitated. you have to know your rã©sumã©back to front.
you really believe your littlestory's gonna make a difference when there's a gunto our heads? i think my story'sthe only thing between youand a gun to your head. hey, they made it throughthe location scout. you have a call. what is it? go to black on green. go.
it all just changed. they're calling the game.you gotta come back. joint chiefs are planning amilitary rescue of the hostages. delta force has started trainingto storm the grounds. so if the six of them are brought down there,they won't be held for long. fuck! god damn it! i neverwould have exposed them if i wasn't authorizedto get them out!
it's over, tony. if they stay here,they will be taken. probably not alive. listen to me.the thinking has changed. six americans get pulled outof a canadian diplomat's house and executed,it's a world outrage. six americans get caughtplaying movie make believe with the cia at the airportand executed? it's a nationalembarrassment.
they are callingthe operation. we're responsiblefor these people. what we are is requiredto follow orders. i'm sorry. fuck! ready to try again. you're ready.you worked hard. probably the best thing to dofor you right now would be just to relax.
you did good. thanks. [ led zeppelin's"when the levee breaks" plays ] scorched earth policytonight. nothing gets left. so you know. extaff wants you to burnthe passports before you leave. if we tell 'em now,they'll panic. i think it's bestif you just don't show.
it was alwaysa fucked mission. you came closerthan anybody else. â™ª if it keeps on rainin',levee's goin' to break â™ª â™ª when the levee breaks,i'll have no place to stay â™ª [ laughter ] â™ª mean old levee taught meto weep and moan â™ª [ man praying in farsi ] [ receiver slams ] it's off.
they want us to pack upthe office. this can wait.let's go get a drink. he's late. o'donnell. tony:somebody's responsible when things happen,jack. i'm responsible.i'm takin' 'em through. tony? alan! alan.
we need to confirmthose seven tickets outof tehran on swissair. n.e. shut that down. i say it's back on! i can't do it. it's backstopped. hey, wait. wait a minute. what the hell you talkin'about, backstopped? what the hell's that mean? carter's gotta say yes for usto get the tickets. it's time to go.
where's engell? uh,he's in a meeting. pull him out. pull him out! thank you so much.i really appreciate it. see you soon. sahar's on a bus. great. sahar will be fine.
thank you. you two leave right now,right? we'll be on a trainin half an hour. good. engell:n.e. said no. this is not a long leasher,and it never has been, and you don't decideif it goes! it is going. jack,you are this close.
am i?am i really that close? you are this goddamn closeto the line with me. i am not gonna leave himat the airport with six peopleand his dick in his hand. you tell the directorto call the white house. do your fucking job! get to your plane,claude. oui, monsieur. first time anyone'sgonna ask you a question
is at the first checkpoint. the first checkpoint is justto get a look at your passports. passports camestraight from ottawa last week. they're clean. find the white housechief of staff. how would i find him? we're a fucking spy agency!find him! the second checkpoint... is immigration.
you're each gonna hand themone of these. it says that you landedin the country two days ago. they'll look for the matchingwhite one, which doesn't exist. you'll sayyou don't know what happened. and if you believethey lost the white slip they'll believe it, too. jordan's in the west wing.he's not taking calls. where are his kids? where do his kidsgo to school?
thank you, thank you. pace academy,buckhead, georgia. [ line buzzes ] white house. yes, this is mr. murphyfrom pace academy calling for mr. jordan. yeah, i'm afraidit is an emergency. hold forthe chief of staff's office. tony: the third checkpointis the trap.
it's mannedby the revolutionary guard. most of them were educatedin the u.s. and europe. and all of whom are lookingfor americans. o'donnell:jack o'donnell, from c.i. wait, wait, who? tehran houseguest operationis ready now. we don't havethe president's go ahead. they are going to becaptured. david, pick up!
[ squawks ] tony: zurich.uh, it's under harkins. i'm sorry, sir, i don't seemto have these reservations. telex on flash. would you mindchecking again, please? [ teleprinter clacking ] copy d.s.confirm the tickets! go! my apologies.it just came through. swissair saysthey picked up the tickets.
get the l.a. office, tell themto be ready in case they call. we told 'emto shut that down. there you go. not here. when did you cometo iran? two days ago. what was the purposeof your visit? we are looking for locationsfor a film. we have a, uh--
oh, yeah. i've got a letterfrom the ministry of culture. if you want to take a lookat that. [ clears throat ] you can go. come on, come on. woman on p.a.: swissair flight 363 is now boarding rows 18 to 35. guard:passport. passport.
passport. we're going to... we're together, yes. the six of us,we're from canada. purser's telling swissairthey're not on the plane. they should have boardedalready. still no answer in l.a. sir. cora: n-- no,i'm the -- a writer. i --
kevin,give me the storyboards. [ imitates jets whirring,lasers zapping ] [ imitates explosion ] you don't gountil we verify. sir,you can call our office. they'll verify. [ grunting ] it'd go all the waythroughout the 30s. hey, uh, hold up, fellas.we're shooting right now.
we're just goingto the producers building. yeah, i understand.i understand. we're -- we're shootingright now. woman on p.a.: swissair announces final boarding for flight 363 to zurich. woman: reset!we're back to one. man: all right, reset. we're going again! we're just rightat the producer's.
right away, everyone!and we're rolling! we're going tothe producers building. i'm sorry, we're rolling. sorry, pal.we're gonna be in the movie. call my agent. sir! studio six productions. uh, may i speakto a mr. kevin harkins? i'm sorry, mr. harkins is outof country on a location scout.
may i take a message? doors are closingfor flight 363 to zurich. we can go. you keep these.it's a gift. [ speaking german ] miss. [ gears grinding ] [ gear clicks ] [ grunts ]
[ seat belts click ] [ gun cocks ] [ woman screams ] [ alarm blaring ] swissair 363,clearance for taxi? swissair 363, you are number twofor departure. pilot: ladies and gentlemen, from the flight deck, we are number two for takeoff. [ tires screeching ]
swissair 363,you are cleared for takeoff. swissair 363,cleared for takeoff. [ tires screech ] we got wheels up. wait. [ bell chimes ] flight attendant: ladies and gentlemen, it is our pleasure to announce that alcoholic beverages are now available
as we have cleared iranian airspace. [ laughing ] they're clear. yes! yes! lamont: yeah! yes! yeah, man. they're out! yes! we got 'em out!
yes!great work, boys. we did it![ laughs ] [ cork pops ] siegel:we made history tonight. history starts out as farce,and ends up as tragedy. quote'sthe other way around. yeah, who said it? marx. groucho said that?
lamont: call the times,nail it to the goddamn door. cia are the good guys. the canadiansare the good guys. yeah, we're not greedy.them, too. only. canada takes the credit, or they retaliateagainst the hostages. great satanwasn't involved. no cia.
is that right, jack? involved in what? we were as surprisedas anybody. thank you, canada. macdonald: we knew that each day that they stayed there the danger was becoming greater. we had been looking for a solution to have them leave the country during the past three months. day 87, and finally a sliver of really good news.
the u.s. department of statehereby honors joe stafford, kathy stafford... mark lijek... o'neill: we americans will be forever grateful to our great friend and ally to the north for the protection and the safe passage provided for our diplomats. ...bob anders... ghotbzadeh: here, or anywhere in the world,
canada will pay for this violation of the sovereignty of iran. woman:thank you to pat and ken taylorand the great nation of canada. siegel: so i'm sittingin jerry's this morning. i'm having breakfast. waitress comes over to me,she's waving a newspaper and she says: "ya seewhat those canadians pulled off? why can't we dosomething like that?" and i said to her,do you know what i said?
no, what? "argo fuck yourself." [ both chuckle ] all set. thanks a lot. ha! and i leftmy autograph book at home. [ exhales sharply ] his eminence called me.he wants to see you.
probably wants to fire mehimself. he wants to give youthe intelligence star. you're gettingthe highest award of merit of the clandestine servicesof these united states. ceremony's on the 14th. if they push it a week,i can bring ian. that's his winter break. the op was classified,so the ceremony's classified. he can't know about it.nobody can know about it.
so they're just gonna give mean award and then they're gonnatake it back. that's right. if we wanted applause,we woulda joined the circus. i thought we did. carter saidyou were a great american. great american what? he didn't say. what happenedto your picture?
it's in turnaround. can i come in? [ child humming melody ] president carter:they went in, as you know, under the guise of creatinga motion picture film. but that it had a very highpossibility of failure. and, uh, after it wassuccessful, of course, it was a great temptationto reveal all the stories so maybe i could takea little bit of credit for it,
since i was president, but --but we had to keep it secret. tony mendezhas gone down in cia history after his retirement as one of the 50most important cia operatives, uh, of -- of all time. eventually, uh, we --we got every hostage back home, safe and sound and we upheldthe integrity of our country and we did it peacefully.