Argo

 (10,457)
2 h 1 min2012X-RayHDRR
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.
Directors
Ben Affleck
Starring
Ben AffleckBryan CranstonVictor Garber
Genres
SuspenseDrama
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Producers
Marion Kodama YueGrant HeslovGeorge Clooney
Studio
Warner Films Canada
Rating
R (Restricted)
Content advisory
Nudityviolencealcohol usesmokingfoul languagesexual content
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Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

10457 global ratings

  1. 79% of reviews have 5 stars
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  3. 5% of reviews have 3 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

SamuelReviewed in the United States on April 6, 2013
5.0 out of 5 stars
3 Argos = The Ride of a Life-Time
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Hollywood did itself proud to award this perfectly-crafted thriller the Academy Award for 2012. It's guaranteed to have you at seat's edge, so knotted up that you'll be constantly looking at your watch not out of boredom but to be assured that the unbearable tension can't go on forever.

Graham Greene was a writer who distinguished between his deep, soul-searching works and his who-dunnit-style mysteries, calling the former "literature" and the latter "entertainments." "Argo" definitely shines as a stellar example of the latter. Unlike the socio-theological examination of life that we get from "There Will Be Blood" or "No Country for Old Men" (or, for that matter, Shakespeare's tragedies), "Argo" pieces together an historical moment with such resourceful precision that we can only marvel at the craft of the director, which manifests a restraint, patience and attention to detail comparable to that of the Iranian children whom we witness piecing together the evidence of what we're seeing from the thousands of strips that have been confiscated from the overrun American Embassy.

In the script John Goodman, while helping Affleck construct the ruse that will permit him to free six Americans, calls directors stupid know-nothings, assuring Affleck that the American posing as a director has the easiest role of all. At the end of the film, when the plane is finally off the ground, that individual playing a film director approaches the real director, Affleck, and extends his hand as a gesture of thanks and admiration. As viewers we might do the same. However it was done, "Argo" is at once a delicate balance and an infinitely complex mosaic of small pieces. Yet, in the grand Hitchcock manner, nothing is wasted, nothing is gratuitous. Every piece fits so well that for two hours we return to a moment in Iran in 1979. If we leave the theater none the wiser, we also leave it marveling at where we have just been and what we have just seen. Acting, spectacle, film scoring--all of these components of a movie are strangely irrelevant in "Argo." All we're left with is the film. There is absolutely no room for clutter.

We knew going in that Jason's journey was sheer fantasy and that the movie within the movie ("Argo") was a sheer ruse. Yet we need no convincing that the "Argo" we've just experienced was as real and believable as a film can be. If Affleck's Argo played somewhat loose with the facts, it proves no less compelling than the mythological Argo--or the deception that proved successful to the mission. In fact, the film succeeds because of the believability of 3 Argo's: the mythological story that has captivated readers for many centuries; the film fantasy concocted to contrive a release of the prisoners; the film we have just viewed and experienced for two breathless hours.

There are three definitions of film that in my experience account for the compelling power of this art form to strike the sparks of truth from the stuff of imagination. Orson Welles' "Ribbon of Dreams" is not nearly as flimsy and fantastical as it may initially appear. From the scenario proposed by Affleck's character to the blocking out of characters and action, the entire project hung explicitly on cinema's hold on the imagination, its power to engage the viewer in a willing suspension of disbelief no less "real" than the most vivid dream or nightmare. Second is Jean Luc Godard's definition, "film is truth 24 times a second," reminding us that film in our post-Einstein quantum-mechanical world of the "dynamic" comes closer to representing a reality that is always changing, capturing our present experience more accurately than any form that restricts meaning to a "Bergsonian, knife-edge instant."

But it finally is Siegfried Krackauer's definition of film that brings to film its moral compass while emphasizing the awesome responsibility of the filmmaker. At its best, film has the potential, beyond any other visual form, of being a "redemption of physical reality." The very last words of the film, some of the first from a recognizable public figure, are those of Jimmy Carter, who validates all that we have just seen, providing that final piece of evidence (while satisfying Krackhauer's requirement) that we need to make Argo more than a myth, a story, even a movie. It's an historical experience, one that has been saved from all the competing "noise" in politics, war and history to resonate in our imaginations long beyond the lives of any of its participants, creators, and possibly even later participants.

Post-script: seeing "Argo" during the Easter season and in view of Krackauer's contention, I couldn't help but muse over film's redemptive quality in relation to the Incarnation and Resurrection. Conclusion: film can preserve the miracle of the Incarnation, representing figures who appear to represent a supernatural, or spiritual, ancestry. It cannot however work in the reverse direction, however, suspending the physical and temporal world of experience for the sake of representing the supernatural. The same lens that verifies the fleshliness of the spiritual is powerless to demonstrate the spiritual component of the physical world. In fact, there is no film director, no medium, no church, no creed, no book, no tradition capable of making the case for the divine in the material world. As Tennyson puts in, "There lives more faith in honest doubt than in half the creeds." Proof of the resurrection, in fact, demands doubt in the evidence of the eye, the ear, the mind--with respect to the existence of the divine the material world is a dark veil of ignorance penetrable only by the individual's spiritual eye of belief.
One person found this helpful
Susanne DaughertyReviewed in the United States on September 24, 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
Kept Me on the Edge of My Seat
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I have seen Argo many times. I first saw Argo in the theater when it was released. Everytime it shows up on Amazon Prime I rent it. There are several times in the movie when it is intense. I remember this event in real time decades ago. I definitely recommend this movie!
cindydoitReviewed in the United States on March 1, 2013
5.0 out of 5 stars
TERRIFIC MOVIE!!!
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Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but to all those who love to leave negative reviews because a movie is not completely "factual", you're really wasting the fingers you're using, and probably some under-the-breath muttering, as you're typing your review. Any time you see a movie that says "based on real events" doesn't mean it's going to be 100% factual. Why oh why does anyone EVER expect ANY Hollywood movie to be? I've said it before, and I'll say it again. IT'S JUST A MOVIE FOLKS!!!

If you can go into this movie with that in mind, then you just might enjoy it, or at the least, be interested in the content enough to seek out a documentary about the actual Iran hostage crisis the movie's based on to learn the historical facts if you don't already know them. Then again, there are those out there who can never be pleased and have to pick apart and tear down a movie based on either one scene or every little nit-picking thing they can about it. All I can say to that is you must not be much of a movie lover if you have to do that in my view.

This movie was TERRIFIC!. It moved along at a perfect pace with impeccable timing of each scene as the story unfolded, and it was extremely tenacious, tensely dramatic, and very, very well acted and depicted. The musical score was perfect as well as everything about the '79-80 backdrop (back when I was in my early 20's). If you hadn't known that this was a 2012 production, you might have thought you were watching a movie made in the late 70's, as the cinematography could not have been more realistic. I felt like I was there throughout the entire movie.

I was especially impressed with the "underplayed" characterization by Ben Affleck (otherwise referred to as "emotionless" by another reviewer), which I actually found quite refreshing in all honesty. I thought the restraint that he probably had to exercise as an actor to portray this CIA operative was exactly what was called for, and that is was, in all likelihood, accurate in keeping with the real-life person he portrayed. He was neither unemotional nor too emotional; which made his acting nothing less than brilliant to me.

Contrary to what others might say, I didn't think anything was over-the-top in this movie either; not even the scene which negative reviewers are eluding to about the run-way scene. How else would you expect that scene to play out? It was completely and totally necessary to the suspense, IMHO, therefore complimenting the scene as it should without dragging on forever. I thought I would have a heart attack before that plane got off the ground, and I burst into tears when the "all clear" finally came. To pull that off in a movie where the viewer knows what the outcome is going to be speaks volumes to me!

The entire film was perfectly built up, played out, and extremely riveting, thrilling, and suspenseful in the final scenes. The acting was spot-on at every turn, from all the leads to everyone cast as extras in the crowd of chanting Iranians and droves of supporting actors. You could really feel the crowd's totally understandable ire (from their perspective at least) from the very beginning until the end, as well as the angst of the hostages being rescued and their reservations about pulling off a terrifying feat necessary to their escape. The comedic portions, most especially with John Goodman and Alan Arkin of course, are priceless too. And you've GOT to love Bryan Cranston; especially if you know him from "Breaking Bad".

I watched the Oscars recently and hadn't seen any of the movies nominated for best film of the year. This is the first, and I will try to see the others ASAP, but I do believe it will be difficult to top this one; which really leads me to believe that this film truly deserved the Academy Award that Ben Affleck, George Clooney, and Grant Heslov (all as producers of the movie) received for it. I might add that Affleck has also really come into his own as a director which is clearly evident in this film. I think it's probably one of the most well-made movies I've seen in a very long time, so I can't recommend it any higher.
3 people found this helpful
joel wingReviewed in the United States on February 21, 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
Harrowing tale that seemed like it was made up but really happened
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Argo was Ben Afflecks’ movie about how the CIA rescued six American diplomats that got out of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran before it was taken over during the Iranian Revolution. Affleck both directed and starred in the movie as CIA agent Tony Mendez who was in charge of the rescue. He presented a harrowing tale of a plan that seemed like it was made up in Hollywood but actually happened.

One of the strongpoints of the film is its realistic feel. It had scenes and shots based upon archival footage and photographs from the period.

Next it throws some shots at Hollywood. The escape plan is to make the Americans pretend to be a Canadian film team to get them out of Iran. To do that they needed to get help from some movie people played by John Goodman and Alan Arkin. Goodman makes fun of directors saying anyone could be a one while Arkin said everyone in Hollywood lies and everyone is full of it. He has a hilarious scene buying a script for a movie that is all based upon that attitude.

Of course things end with a bang with a very harrowing ending.

It all makes for a very good movie with lots of tension and some unexpected laughs thrown in.
8 people found this helpful
Mike PowersReviewed in the United States on August 8, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
"Argo:" a wonderful dramatization of the CIA's plan to get six escaped American embassy workers out of Iran.
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“Argo” is the Academy Award-winning (Best Picture, 2012) spy movie that’s based upon the true story of one of the most implausible – and successful – operations in the history of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). This was the daring rescue of six American embassy workers who escaped from the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran when the embassy was taken over by militants in November 1979. (At that time, the militants captured 52 other Americans and held them hostage for 444 days. The six who escaped found shelter in the Canadian embassy, where they stayed for eleven weeks before being rescued.)

“Argo” tells the story of that daring rescue. The film opens with carefully reconstructed scenes that show hundreds of Iranian militants demonstrating at the gates of the embassy. Eventually they swarm through the gates, climb the walls, and invade the compound. Six American embassy workers – four men and two women – are located in an outer building with direct access to a street. They realize that if they don’t leave – right now – they will be captured. They depart into a hostile city, and eventually end up as “houseguests” at the Canadian Ambassador’s residence.

American government officials don’t become aware of the six escaped Americans’ plight for weeks. The Canadians want them out, but they won’t abandon them to the Iranians. They begin pressuring U.S. State Department to do something. That “something” turns out to be a seemingly preposterous plan concocted by CIA operative Antonio Mendez (Ben Affleck). His idea is to set up a fake movie production team looking for shooting locations inside Iran. Posing as the fake film’s producer, Mendez would enter Iran, pick up the six “houseguests,” and introduce them as members of his advance team. If all goes according to script, everyone would simply fly out of Iran in broad daylight, right under the noses of the Iranian police…

History tells us that the rescue was successful, but how well does Mendez’ plan work, and what obstacles does he face? Watch “Argo” and find out.

“Argo” has a great cast that includes Ben Affleck (who also directed the film and received a Best Director Academy Award nomination for it), Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Bryan Cranston, and Kyle Chandler. Lesser-known character actors played the parts of the six “houseguests.” All of them did a wonderful job. Chris Terrio’s Academy Award-winning screenplay, which is primarily based on Mendez’ memoir “Master of Disguise,” sparkles with witty dialogue, and contains a nice blend of humor and tense drama.

“Argo” does take some dramatic license with historical facts that has earned it some deserved criticism. Nevertheless, it remains a reasonably accurate portrayal of how the six “houseguests” were rescued from Tehran at a particularly precarious time. “Argo” is a wonderfully entertaining movie. Highly recommended.
2 people found this helpful
S S DevReviewed in the United States on March 3, 2016
4.0 out of 5 stars
Great movie
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Most people, myself included, really enjoyed "Argo". If you don't already own the film, this Extended Edition might be the way to go. But if you already own the original blu-ray release, then is it worth an upgrade? Well, hopefully the details below will help you make a decision.

Included on the blu-rays:
- Theatrical Edition of the movie
- Extended Edition of the movie (an extra 10 minutes added to the film)
- 3 New Special Features + all the special features from the previous blu-ray release

Included in the box set:
- 40-page book premium featuring behind the scenes photos, production notes, bios and more
- Argo One-Sheet Poster (you know they are going to fold it to fit it in the box, so it will have creases right down the middle)
- Map of Tehran movie locations (14" x 20")
- Reproduction of Tony Mendez's CIA ID card

So if you enjoyed the movie, then you might want to consider picking this up. I'm interested in seeing if the extra 10 minutes of footage improves the film (not that it needs improvement); and with three all-new special features and the book/memorabilia from the film, this set might be worth it.

********

FULL LIST OF SPECIAL FEATURES:

Brand New Features (exclusive to this blu-ray set):
1. Argo Declassified - Tony Mendez's daring operation gets honored as part of the CIA's 50th anniversary
2. Ben Affleck's Balancing Act - Balancing humor, politics, Hollywood and international intrigue as only Affleck and his team could do
3. Argo F*** Yourself - Ben Affleck leads an all-star review of Argo's classic line

Additional Features (from the old blu-ray release):
4. Picture in Picture: Eyewitness Account: Relive the takeover of the US Embassy in November of 1979 and the daring rescue mission in January of 1980 through the eyes of those that lived it.
5. Feature length audio commentary with director Ben Affleck and writer Chris Terrio
6. Rescued from Tehran: We Were There - President Jimmy Carter, Tony Mendez and the actual houseguests recount the real-life harrowing experience they endured.
7. Argo: Absolute Authenticity - From characters to heart-stopping action, Ben Affleck's eye and ear for hard-hitting realism and attention to exacting detail has become his signature as an A-list filmmaker.
8. Argo: The CIA & Hollywood Connection - Director Ben Affleck and former CIA agent Tony Mendez give a firsthand view of the actual documents and cover story used to create the phony movie Argo that had all of Hollywood believing in.
9. Escape from Iran: The Hollywood Option - Escape from Iran commemorates the 25th anniversary of the "Canadian Caper," taking us back to this startling affair through the direct testimony of the Americans who found sanctuary at the Canadian embassy in Tehran, and the Canadians who risked their own safety to shelter their closest neighbors.
10. Tony Mendez on Tony Mendez - Former CIA agent Tony Mendez shares additional details and stories from the mission
11. A Discussion with the Cast of Argo - Ben Affleck joins Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Alan Arkin, Clea Duvall and Rory Cochrane for a live conversation about their experiences while making Argo
12. The Istanbul Journey - Ben Affleck shows us why Istanbul was the ideal place to shoot Argo
27 people found this helpful
Natja K.Reviewed in the United States on March 3, 2013
4.0 out of 5 stars
Excellent political thriller, while not as great as other classics of it's genre
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I must first say without reservation that Argo is a very well crafted, powerful, tension filled political thriller, and certainly one of the best movies of the year. Did it deserve to win the Oscar for best picture? I suppose that depends on a lot of different variables. By today's standards it certainly is a memorable movie, perhaps even an instant classic. But when you start examining it and comparing it to other political thrillers of the past it's still quite good but not as good as some, not not nearly as good as others. Just off the top of my head I can name several that are far more intense, far more nail biting, and far more slick and powerful. The first one that comes to mind is Spielberg's 'Munich' or maybe Oliver Stone's 'JFK'. Two others that are more recent 'Carlos', or 'The Baader Meinhof Complex' are simply much better movies.

All four of those films maybe are not the best comparison, because they have the advantage of lots of tense action, powerful moments of suspense that go above and beyond what Argo can promise to deliver, and of course those films have tons of hair raising violent moments, which Argo has almost none of. But maybe that is one of Argo's best attributes. It's thrilling, exciting, and nail biting without the need for much any violence at all. There is the ever present threat of violence, but except for one short moment the movie literally has no violence at all.

What the film does have is a lot of great actors who know how to act and know their characters well. Ben Affleck has shown here that there is no doubt he has become one outstanding director, and the vibe of the late 70's is caught in time perfectly due to excellent productions values. The script is without question superb, and as much as I love Tarantino as a writer, I believe Argo should have earned the Oscar for the screenplay as well.

If I were to compare Argo to another film that would be it's best similar comparison, it would probably be 'All the Presidents Men'. A slow paced, non violent political thriller, with tense situations, interesting dialogue, great acting and characters, and a good script. All the Presidents Men is the superior movie as far as I am concerned but not by great measure. Political thrillers are still often very good even today, which is why 'Argo', though it deserves the best picture Oscar this year, and it is an excellent movie, I still found my self wishing it was as monumental as some of the other political thrillers I have seen that really are better. In the end Argo is truly great movie making, it's just lacking something more I was hoping for.
2 people found this helpful
Leslie M.Reviewed in the United States on June 27, 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
Action packed escape thriller
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Ben Affleck, a CIA operative is assigned to rescue US embassy employees who manage to escape from storming Iranian militants. True story based on Iran hostage situation during the time of Jimmy Carter’s presidency. A thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat the entire movie, and the ending is most perilous.
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