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The Ben Affleck Historical Hidden Gem You Can Stream On HBO Max

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From 1979 to 1981, America was faced with a political dilemma. Spurred on by the burgeoning Iranian Revolution, revolutionary militants broke into the American embassy and proceeded to hold 52 U.S. citizens hostage. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, the Iranian Hostage Crisis lasted over a year despite the Carter administration's best efforts to secure the hostages both militarily and diplomatically. However, America wasn't the only country with the hostages' well-being in mind, and the 52 captives who became famous weren't the only Americans trapped in the turbulent, hostile country.

According to Wired, shortly after Iranian revolutionaries took the embassy, a small group of American citizens located in the nearby consulate building managed to escape and take refuge in the houses of two helpful Canadian ambassadors. Amazingly, this group would escape before the famous 52. A joint operation between Canadian and American governments resulted in what is now known as the "Canadian Caper," wherein CIA agent Tony Mendez was sent in to retrieve the group. They pulled this off by posing as Canadian filmmakers in Iran making a sci-fi film. With passable fake documents in hand, all six Americans walked right onto a plane and flew out of Iran. Little did any of them know that these events would become Hollywood history.

How Ben Affleck turned the Canadian Caper into cinematic gold

Over three decades after Mendez rescued the small group of hostages, actor Ben Affleck would help adapt the Canadian Caper into a massively successful Hollywood blockbuster titled Argo. He based the film off of Mendez's book, The Master of Disguise, and Wired's own article on the subject (via Tribute Movies). It would become a smash hit, winning Oscars for "Best Motion Picture of the Year," "Best Adapted Screenplay," and "Best Achievement in Film Editing" (via IMDb). Now, almost a decade after the movie first made waves, it is available for streaming on HBO Max.

Argo follows Affleck as Tony Mendez and tracks the development of his plan and its subsequent successful execution. Affleck also took the director's seat for Argo's production, working with writer Chris Terrio to adapt the story based off of Mendez's book and Wired's article. But while the film would garner massive critical and commercial praise, it would face its own criticisms.

Argo may be a great film, but it isn't very accurate

Despite it historical roots and realistic tone, Argo has its fair share of Hollywood theatrics. The film's climax includes a chase sequence between Iranian authorities working to stop the plane and prevent the Americans' escape, but this never happened. According to NPR, as tense as the hostages' time in the airport and on the plane were, there was no chase — the escape plan actually went off without a hitch. By the time the Iranians learned what had happened, the Americans were already out of the country.

Likewise, the film tends to focus more on America's involvement in the operation. As a joint operation between America and Canada, the Great White North's involvement in the plan was critical to its success. Even President Jimmy Carter told CNN that "90 percent of the contributions to the ideas and the consummation of the plan was Canadian," but, "The movie gives almost full credit to the American CIA."

Despite these factual faults, however, Argo is still widely regarded as a triumph of filmmaking. Even President Carter admitted, "I hoped it gets the Academy Award for best film because I think it deserves it."