British Airways’ retro livery at Washington Dulles International Airport. Check. Green-screen check-in systems that look just like…SHARES on United Airlines today. Check. A Swiss Air 747-200 screeching down the runway at Tehran’s Mehrabad International Airport as Revolutionary Guards race after the jumbo jet in Jeeps. Check.
With all the talk about Flight, another movie that has some “groovy” scenes for the aviation enthusiast is Ben Affleck and George Clooney’s Argo, a movie based upon the true story of the rescue of six Americans from Iran by CIA Agent Tony Mendez and the Canadian government during the 1979 hostage crisis.
The truth is often more fascinating than fiction and as someone who has studied a lot of U.S. history, I was surprised I had never heard about this unique tidbit before.
To give you a brief rundown, when Iranians stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979, six Americans secretly escaped and eventually sought refuge in the Canadian Ambassador’s residence. The movie tells the story, with some embellishments, about the complex scheme (including a CIA-sponsored move called Argo as the cover) to extract them from Iran. The movie is interlaced with real news footage and features an oral narrative by former President Jimmy Carter in the end, adding to its authenticity.
If you like the 70s, you’ll love how nicely attention was paid to detail—even Mendez’s room at the Tehran Sheraton looked 40 years old. Everything from the cars, to the airline/airport interiors, to the billboards makes you feel like you are in 1979. And the horrible hairstyles…
Argo, with a little Hollywood aggrandizement, is a spellbinding story that will help you understand a bit more about the current state of affairs in Iran and brush up on an oft-overlooked chapter in U.S/Canadian history.