‘Argo’ Fact vs. Fiction: The CIA Weighs In

ARGO

Last week marked the 35th anniversary of the start of the Iran hostage crisis, perhaps best known to some moviegoers as “the thing that happens in Argo.” But while learning history by watching Hollywood thrillers may be enjoyable, it’s not really the best way to get an accurate account of events. So the CIA has taken the occasion to fact-check Ben Affleck‘s 2013 Best Picture winner via Twitter.

Some of their reveals may not surprise you (shocker: the Hollywood version is more dramatic) but overall it’s interesting to see how reality stacks up against fiction. Hit the jump to find out “what’s ‘reel’ vs. ‘real,'” as the CIA puts it.

It seems a safe bet that the “Canadian Caper,” as the rescue operation was dubbed, was plenty dramatic in real life. How could it not be? Nevertheless, it seems Affleck and his Argo team messed with some of the details to make the whole thing even more thrilling.

For one thing, it was never really just Tony Mendez against the world.

Nor did the CIA pull the plug on the operation at the last minute.

(You also don’t get a sense of how adorable the CIA’s sense of humor is, because no one in Argo says things like “See you later, exfiltrator.”)

That scene where Mendez and the diplomats head out to “scout locations”? Never happened.

Nor did most of the problems depicted in the nail-biting climax of the film.

However, Argo did get one big moment right.

Well, for the most part. I don’t remember any Bloody Marys in Argo, though I’m sure you’ll set me straight if I’m wrong.

And most importantly…

There are a few more minor details you can read about at the CIA Twitter account, or you can get the full firsthand account from Mendez himself on the CIA websiteBetween this, Mark Zuckerberg’s criticism of The Social Network, and Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s nitpicks about Interstellar, the real lesson is clear: Don’t believe everything you see in the movies.

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