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Argo is Not American Propaganda

Updated on March 13, 2013

Movies like Argo are a Form of Free Speech

The Iranian government has hired a French lawyer to sue the filmmakers of Argo. Iranian State TV says that films like Argo distort the country’s image.

Argo is based on CIA operative Tony Mendez’s book The Master of Disguise. The book narrates Mendez’s success in rescuing six U.S. diplomats during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. Mondez masked the diplomats as crew members for a film and smuggled them out of Iran.

After the movie's release, Iran banned the movie. However, the movie became so popular that it was bootlegged in Iran. The fact that the movie was bottlegged proves that Iranians wanted to see the movie and judge the accuracy of the movie for themselves. Ben Affleck's role also accounted for the movie's popularity.

The anger from the production and release of Argo stems from the portrayal of Americans as patriotic while Iranians are depicted in a bad light.

Argo recently won an Oscar for best film and after the award was presented by First Lady Michelle Obama via satellite, Iran added sleeves and a neckline to her revealing dress. This may have been the turning point in the movie being labeled as American propaganda.

Iran said it will produce its own film in response to Argo, but I believe the lawsuit is egregious. The laws in Iran prohibit its citizens from producing films like Argo, but Iran cannot control and try to suppress American free speech. Some Americans also consider the lawsuit an attack on Hollywood.

In addition, some historical movies sometimes change the facts to create a more compelling story, but Argo is not one of them.


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