At the US Embassy in Tehran, 1979, the stars and stripes burn. Iranian revolutionaries have stormed the building, taking its occupants hostage, and just six manage to escape and find refuge in the home of the Canadian ambassador.
Back in the States, the government needs a plan to repatriate the six, but with ideas at a minimum, CIA extraction expert Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) steps into the breach. He comes up with the incredible strategy of entering Iran under the guise of a sci-fi movie location scout, before bringing the stranded Americans back home as members of the 'crew'.
Mendez heads to Hollywood, enlisting the help of talented make-up man John Chambers (John Goodman) and bigshot producer Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin). In order to deceive the Iranian revolutionaries - and closer to home, the Hollywood rumour mill - they need to get their hands on a script and begin putting together the greatest film that never was.
Accomplished actor and Oscar-winning screenwriter Affleck can add the title of eminent director to that list as this is a brilliantly tense, painstakingly real and superbly shot creation. The talents of known stars including the excellent Arkin are there for all to see, but it's the relative unknowns trapped in Iran, and the real 1970s events as backdrop, that give the film its terrific depth, and earned it three well-deserved Academy Awards.