Argo

User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 849 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 60 out of 849
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  1. Oct 24, 2012
    8
    In 1979, when Iranians stormed our embassy and took 52 people hostage, 6 Americans escaped to the Canadian Ambassador's residence. After months, CIA agent Ben Affleck devised a plan to sneak them out of the country: pretending to be a crew scouting a new film. This historically-based story is told thru involving scenarios, some humor and a quietly tense escape. The characters are uniformlyIn 1979, when Iranians stormed our embassy and took 52 people hostage, 6 Americans escaped to the Canadian Ambassador's residence. After months, CIA agent Ben Affleck devised a plan to sneak them out of the country: pretending to be a crew scouting a new film. This historically-based story is told thru involving scenarios, some humor and a quietly tense escape. The characters are uniformly bland, but the hair and wardrobe were right-on 70s. While this is not a riveting or fast-paced espionage adventure, it is a low-key, well-crafted and fulfilling experience. NOTE: Be sure to sit thru the early credits to see a wonderful montage of photos that inspired the movie. Expand
  2. Sep 1, 2014
    8
    Affleck has directed and crafted one of the best films of not only this year, but of his entire career. This film manages to take a true story and turn it into a masterpiece.
  3. Nov 28, 2012
    9
    Featuring a slew of brilliant performances and one of the most nail-biting climaxes I've witnessed in quite a while, "Argo" proves to be a brilliantly written and superbly directed thriller/drama.
  4. Jan 3, 2013
    9
    Argo is one hell of a movie. It is tense, thrilling and sensational. Ben Affleck has put together a film that has hardly any flaws and a film that is gripping and captivating. A truly great American story.
  5. Nov 5, 2012
    9
    Affleck proves here that he's a top notch director. The crew of Argo never made a mistake; the story is represented here as best as its going to be anywhere. Alan Arkin and John Goodman are both terrific in their supporting roles.
  6. Aug 24, 2014
    8
    Argo is the Academy Award Winner for Best Picture of 2012, and while it was an amazing film, the actual story was far less interesting. In 1980, the tensions between Iran and The United States began, and the U.S. embassy in Tehran was overrun. Hundreds were held hostage for over a year, but six did manage to escape and went into hiding. Knowing that their lives were even more in dangerArgo is the Academy Award Winner for Best Picture of 2012, and while it was an amazing film, the actual story was far less interesting. In 1980, the tensions between Iran and The United States began, and the U.S. embassy in Tehran was overrun. Hundreds were held hostage for over a year, but six did manage to escape and went into hiding. Knowing that their lives were even more in danger than those of the hostages, the C.I.A. developed a unique plan to get them out of Iran. They sent in one of their top agents, with credentials claiming that he was part of a Canadian film crew. Armed with fake documents, he would smuggled the six out of the country. The film was intense and featured one close call after another, but in reality, getting them out was almost too easy. They were never stopped or questioned, and slipped out under the cover of early morning, without a hitch, but what kind of a movie would that be? Once these classified files were released by the U.S. Government, Hollywood saw the chance to tell this story in an extreme manor, and did so much to the delight of audiences and much to the chagrin of the other countries involved. Ben Affleck both stars and directs this film, and while everyone raves about his performance, I thought it was typically cold and flat. Ben Affleck wasn't interesting, the character he played was. Affleck wasn't any more likeable or skillful here than he was in any other role and that's why he didn't win best actor. I've said it before and I'll say it again, the man is a fantastic Director, but a very mediocre actor. That being said, the extreme locations and huge cast, were his biggest challenge to date as a Director, and I was very impressed by the way he managed to pull it off. Argo is based on a true story, it's fast paced, and even though we all know what happened before seeing the film, it's still an edge of your seat thriller that really shouldn't be missed. Expand
  7. Dec 22, 2012
    8
    Fantastic movie. Ben Affleck is awesome in the lead role and while this was obviously not 110% historically accurate, it was still great look at one of the most contentious issues in US history.
  8. Mar 10, 2013
    9
    Wow who could believe that Ben Affleck would become this good of a director. Argo is his best work to date and lined with a great cast including Affleck himself, this film has some very suspenseful moments.
  9. Jan 9, 2013
    8
    Alan Arkin stole the show in this movie, but all of the supporting cast delivered authentic heartfelt performances. It was suspenseful and smoothly paced. One of the better films I have seen recently.
  10. Oct 14, 2012
    9
    I'm sure it was difficult to weave an element of comedy in with the dramatic and the thriller aspects, but Affleck does it well. The movie is not as dramatic or as impactful as The Town, but for a movie based on true events, with its limiting nature, it's one of the best I've seen. They effectively establish 1980 Iran as a truly horrific place, and by doing this, the escape sequence madeI'm sure it was difficult to weave an element of comedy in with the dramatic and the thriller aspects, but Affleck does it well. The movie is not as dramatic or as impactful as The Town, but for a movie based on true events, with its limiting nature, it's one of the best I've seen. They effectively establish 1980 Iran as a truly horrific place, and by doing this, the escape sequence made me feel as if my heart were going to beat out of my chest. For a movie like this, that's a good sign. Goodman and Aarkin are outstanding. As a side note, I wish the trailer had been a bit less comprehensive because most of the best and funniest lines I'd seen before. This is obviously true of many movies - you have to sell the darned thing - but it was glaring here. "If I"m going to make a fake movie, I'm going to make a fake hit!" Yes, it's funny, but I'd seen it 10 times before going in. Finally, the fact that this movie was released within weeks of the Libyan embassy murders made the opening sequence all the more chilling. I don't mean to suggest the movie was better because of the timing visa vis the deaths of civil servants, but it made the film even more relevant. Bottom line: it's not high art, but it's very entertaining. Expand
  11. Mar 23, 2013
    6
    argo is an overall good film. I feel that a few scenes fell flat and many supporting characters were unnecessary because they had such small roles, but the overall film has plenty of nail-biting moments and phenomonal acting.
  12. Aug 23, 2013
    7
    The idea is profoundly astonishing, and the reality that these events were reality, were even more astonishing. It's only downfall, unfortunately, is its bias towards the Americans. In general, I admire Ben Affleck as a director and producer, as well as John Goodman and Alan Arkin for the laughs they bring into the movie. The fake suspension makes the movie less banal, and for that IThe idea is profoundly astonishing, and the reality that these events were reality, were even more astonishing. It's only downfall, unfortunately, is its bias towards the Americans. In general, I admire Ben Affleck as a director and producer, as well as John Goodman and Alan Arkin for the laughs they bring into the movie. The fake suspension makes the movie less banal, and for that I contemplate whether I like or hate it. Expand
  13. Apr 2, 2013
    8
    Argo is tense and exciting with well written characters. The recognizable names help push it to greater heights. I give this film 83%.
  14. Dec 9, 2012
    10
    Wonderfully directed and acted very subtly by Ben affleck, this film was a total surprise. Full of both tension and humour, the two complimented each other to sublime effect. The best film of 2012.
  15. May 8, 2013
    10
    Argo makes all the right moves and deviates greatly from what is expected from such a serious situation as the the Iranian hostage crisis.
    Ben Affleck continues his commanding streak as director and lead actor, he takes on a film based on a true story, and what a story it is. Affleck plays Tony Mendez, a CIA operative whose speciality is exfiltration, and when he is brought in to the fold
    Argo makes all the right moves and deviates greatly from what is expected from such a serious situation as the the Iranian hostage crisis.
    Ben Affleck continues his commanding streak as director and lead actor, he takes on a film based on a true story, and what a story it is. Affleck plays Tony Mendez, a CIA operative whose speciality is exfiltration, and when he is brought in to the fold after six embassy workers in Iran escape, he must devise a plan to safely rescue them from Iranian rule. This plan has of course went down in history, whether for its riskiness, stupidity or genius is anyone's guess.
    Mendez himself carries out the task, an elaborate plan is set in motion where he, and the six people he plans to rescue, are a film crew who are location scouting in Iran, they all have fake identities and Argo proves that everything is about detail, a fake script, storyboard, marketing tools and even press involvement for a film that will never actually exist, simply for the fact that getting in is not the problem, but getting out is a whole different story.
    There are plenty of colourful characters that light up this wonderful thriller, Alan Arkin, John Goodman and Bryan Cranston join Affleck in creating a very nostalgic and peak into the world of 1970s operations. Arkins portrayal of Lester Siegel is brilliant and one of the highlights of the film, while Affleck perfectly captures the dad in Mendez, who just wants to be with his family. Of course the the real winning formula of the film is the ludicrous idea of the fake movie to get in and out of Iran, and Argo (which is also what the fake film is called) manages to give a realistic and nerve-wracking account of just how difficult and frightening it was to be an American with the the boundaries of Iran, something we are shown as the credits role, when various screens from the film are put against the real images taken all those years ago.
    Diretor Affleck continues to surpass all expectations and is truly solidifying himself as one of the most talented and sought after directors in our generation, is ability to to take various pivotal moments within a character and create a rousing and entertaining story are becoming unmatched, he has taken a very serious crisis and managed to create a often humorous yet thrilling affair, with a final act that will definitely leave you at the edge of your seat, time is indeed of the essence.
    If any film deserved Oscar recognition, it was Argo, its taste for nostalgia while taking on a subject that only became declassified almost 20 years after the crisis. It is a true blend of genres that has created a winning film through and through.
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  16. Mar 29, 2013
    7
    If I were to criticize the film I’d have to say is that it was overrated. It was good but it was not that good. I quite honestly was not invested the whole time only at certain parts. Maybe this is not my kind of film. Maybe I’m just not used to the style. I don’t know for whatever reason the movie did not suck me in the way it did lots of critics. Frequently in the film I was bored. IIf I were to criticize the film I’d have to say is that it was overrated. It was good but it was not that good. I quite honestly was not invested the whole time only at certain parts. Maybe this is not my kind of film. Maybe I’m just not used to the style. I don’t know for whatever reason the movie did not suck me in the way it did lots of critics. Frequently in the film I was bored. I don’t know if the characters and story were not interesting, if it was the amount of dialogue; but for whatever reason I just thought it was good. Maybe if the film took more liberties from the actual event by creating false events to create more tension and excitement, the actors gave stronger performances, and the script a little tighter I would have really enjoyed this film; but as it is the film is just good. Way too overrated by critics if you ask me. Expand
  17. Mar 2, 2013
    8
    Argo was a very good film but Picture of the Year it was not. Sorry Academy but you got it wrong once again. Don't mistake this for bashing. Like I said, Argo was a very good film. Ben Affleck has proven once again that he's not only a fantastic and underrated actor but that he's becoming one of the better directors in Hollywood. Argo had great pacing for the type of movie it is, the plotArgo was a very good film but Picture of the Year it was not. Sorry Academy but you got it wrong once again. Don't mistake this for bashing. Like I said, Argo was a very good film. Ben Affleck has proven once again that he's not only a fantastic and underrated actor but that he's becoming one of the better directors in Hollywood. Argo had great pacing for the type of movie it is, the plot developed perfectly, the characters all felt real and authentic, etc. The only negative I would really have is that some of the suspense felt cheap and forced. Sure, they truly did escape Iran. That part is a true story. However, how close they were to getting caught is not necessarily known. So the fact that the final 30 minutes of the movie was close call after close call and that these scrapes didn't develop authentically but felt manufactured was not ideal. Nonetheless, I'd say this is a really good movie that, while it's a little overrated and overhyped (it won Picture of the Year when I'm not even sure it's the best true story CIA film of the year that would probably be Zero Dark Thirty), most people would still enjoy. "Argo f*** yourself!" Expand
  18. Dec 29, 2012
    9
    Ben Affleck has proved for a third time that he can direct. After the low key drama 'Gone Baby Gone' and the powerful thriller 'The Town', he comes with this well crafted piece, which is politically charged, has quickening pace and good dose of humor but above all filled with nerve-racking suspense. And like Clooney's (the other actor turned into one notable director) middle easternBen Affleck has proved for a third time that he can direct. After the low key drama 'Gone Baby Gone' and the powerful thriller 'The Town', he comes with this well crafted piece, which is politically charged, has quickening pace and good dose of humor but above all filled with nerve-racking suspense. And like Clooney's (the other actor turned into one notable director) middle eastern political thriller 'Syriana', 'Argo' is Ben's best film yet. Expand
  19. Oct 29, 2012
    8
    Argo starts interesting and gets better as it goes along. A couple of things were confusing to me, however. The Iranians were holding 52 Americans hostage. Why was it so important to them to see if any had escaped during the takeover? Why couldn't they simply get that information from the Americans they were holding hostage instead of having to piece together shredded documents? IArgo starts interesting and gets better as it goes along. A couple of things were confusing to me, however. The Iranians were holding 52 Americans hostage. Why was it so important to them to see if any had escaped during the takeover? Why couldn't they simply get that information from the Americans they were holding hostage instead of having to piece together shredded documents? I also couldn't quite figure out why we had to know that Ben Affleck had a son from a prior marriage - that part seemed tacked on and was never relevant. Lastly, when the group entered the airport they all had a scared "deer in the headlights" look. If they were pretending to be filmmakers why weren't they all coached to talk to each other like people normally would? The final chase scene on the tarmac is over the top Hollywood for sure but exciting nonetheless. Overall a good film with some flaws. Expand
  20. Mar 24, 2013
    10
    Argo is magnificently brilliant in every way. It's perfect in terms of espeonauge and story telling (even though it's based on a true story). Not only was there great acting, but director, Ben Affleck, reels in some great acting as well. But overall, Affleck has given us an incredible experience of how far one man will go to save the lives of others.
  21. Mar 8, 2014
    9
    The buildup was a bit slow, but once it gets going, it's just awesome. It's thrilling, suspenseful, and well-directed. I mean, just think about the dialogue and the acting, and this movie really stands out.
  22. Dec 19, 2014
    8
    Smart, tense and well directed, "Argo" succeeds not just as a great movie but as a realistic political thriller that keeps audience entertained for 2 hours.
  23. Oct 12, 2012
    8
    Thirty-five of the last 40 minutes of the film
  24. Nov 9, 2014
    8
    Argo balances suspense with fun and entertainment very well despite its slow pace. Although it falls short of Oscar winning expectations, it's old-school feel and tension escalates it from falling flat.
  25. Sep 22, 2013
    5
    Argo is a true story, so it`s amazing, but did not make for a great movie for me. It`s interesting, but did not blow me away, and I wouldn`t care much for it if it was all made up. I did find it watchable, and worth finishing for the movie rush at the end.
  26. Lyn
    Oct 14, 2012
    5
    I remember this period and this incident, and so found the movie interesting. But I'm surprised at how few critics have quibbles with the historical inaccuracies! (See articles in Slate, Wired and elsewhere for details.) Already a thriller low on thrills -- we know how it ends, obviously -- it tries too hard to fabricate them. Enjoyed every performance more than Affleck's, which wasI remember this period and this incident, and so found the movie interesting. But I'm surprised at how few critics have quibbles with the historical inaccuracies! (See articles in Slate, Wired and elsewhere for details.) Already a thriller low on thrills -- we know how it ends, obviously -- it tries too hard to fabricate them. Enjoyed every performance more than Affleck's, which was low-key almost to the point of tedium. Expand
  27. May 25, 2014
    8
    So this is my first film that i have watched that Ben Affleck has directed. Though i do own the town i have not watched it yet. But now after watching this movie i will now have to find the time to watch that and also gone baby gone. So this film is about the 1979 true story of the rescue of six American's from Iran, while most the film has a really gritty serious tone as it should they doSo this is my first film that i have watched that Ben Affleck has directed. Though i do own the town i have not watched it yet. But now after watching this movie i will now have to find the time to watch that and also gone baby gone. So this film is about the 1979 true story of the rescue of six American's from Iran, while most the film has a really gritty serious tone as it should they do seem to place some dark humor in it... well as much as they could.

    The whole cast sold it from the start Ben Affleck/Alan Arkin/John Goodman/Bryan Cranston all just killed it but for me Alan Arkin stole the show everytime the guy is on the screen he steals it. The last half hour of the movie was so intense it's crazy pulse pounding nail biting tension i have not had that felling while watching a movie in some time well maybe just not to that extent. Now i can see how this film won best picture at the Oscars this year. Also i'm a bit mad at myself for not watching this film while it was still in theaters.

    A great film that everyone should at least take the time to give it a watch i don't regret watching it Overall i give this movie an 8.5

    Oh Yeah Argo F**K Youself =D
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  28. Jul 29, 2013
    9
    "Gone Baby Gone," "The Town," and now "Argo," Ben Affleck scores a hat trick with three acclaimed films that exhibit his impressive command behind the camera. Producing the film with George Clooney and Grat Heslov, who worked with Mr. Affleck for the award winning "Good Night, and Good Luck,” (2005) "Argo" is also based on history, with its fair share of dramatic license, that uniquely"Gone Baby Gone," "The Town," and now "Argo," Ben Affleck scores a hat trick with three acclaimed films that exhibit his impressive command behind the camera. Producing the film with George Clooney and Grat Heslov, who worked with Mr. Affleck for the award winning "Good Night, and Good Luck,” (2005) "Argo" is also based on history, with its fair share of dramatic license, that uniquely incorporates Hollywood during the tumultuous times of the Iran hostage crisis of the late 70's to early 80's.

    “Argo” opens with a compelling re-creation of the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Iran by militant students. It's November 4, 1979 and the world is about to change. Civilians force their way into the Embassy slowly, then, once the gates are forced open, in droves. Employees and diplomats rush to shred and incinerate all sensitive material before the building is completely overtaken. Six of them Bob Anders (Tate Donovan), Lee Schatz (Rory Cochrane), Mark and Cora Lijek (Christopher Denham and Clea DuVall), and Joe and Kathy Stafford (Scoot McNairy and Kerry Bishe) escape and make it to the residence of Canadian ambassador Ken Taylor (Victor Garber), where they are hidden for nearly 3 months.

    The State Department, helped by the CIA, decides to mount a rescue mission. By mid-January, concerns are rising that, if the diplomats aren't smuggled out of Iran, they may be captured and publicly executed. The Canadian government, concerned about the safety of the ambassador and his staff, is also applying pressure. CIA director Jack O'Donnell (Bryan Cranston) calls in agent Tony Mendez (Affleck), an infiltration expert, to devise a plan to get the six people out. The primary problem is that there is no viable reason why a half-dozen North Americans would be wandering Tehran. With the help of Hollywood make-up artist John Chambers (John Goodman) and producer Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin), Tony establishes a fake production company for a cheesy sci-fi movie called “Argo,” and devises a cover story that will hopefully allow them to pass through security at the airport and board a Swiss Air flight.

    “Argo,” is directed with flair and style by an admired actor/director, and as a period recreation it is just about flawless. There is a notable lack of on-screen bloodshed or violence, confident in its compelling story to invoke edge-of-your-seat tension. The movie has a surprisingly celebratory, feel-good tone rather than dwelling on any political overtones or commentary. The film is made to resemble something coming out of that era, integrating archive footage that lends authenticity to the retelling of the "Canadian Caper.”

    A closing-credits side-by-side montage shows to what lengths Affleck has gone to re-create the real-life places and people of "Argo,” and its his impressive command behind the camera the staging, editing, and the calibrated progression of the story, especially its harrowing final moments that solidifies Mr. Affleck as a talented and formidable director. "Argo" deserves to find the discerning audience it has been made for: After all, if we buy tickets, it hopefully leads to more intelligent, sophisticated filmmaking.
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  29. Jul 23, 2013
    7
    I liked Argo. In fact I even bought it on DVD. It's a very well made movie and it's entertaining. Afleck directs it with attention to detail and the story is rendered with a well written screenplay. The acting is solid from all of the cast and there are some tense and exciting moments. It also has a very authentic 70's feel, even utilizing vintage styled cinematography at times. AllI liked Argo. In fact I even bought it on DVD. It's a very well made movie and it's entertaining. Afleck directs it with attention to detail and the story is rendered with a well written screenplay. The acting is solid from all of the cast and there are some tense and exciting moments. It also has a very authentic 70's feel, even utilizing vintage styled cinematography at times. All of that being said, I still found it to be very overrated. Yes there are some tense moments, but I wished there were even more, and the ones in the film, except for the beginning, could have been even tenser, seeing what Afleck did with The Town. The car chase at the end felt fake for some reason and some other scenes felt kinda flat too. Yes it's overall a good movie and another success for Afleck, but I don't think it deserved best picture. I think it should have went to Zero Dark Thirty, or Django Unchained, even though they had slimmer chances of winning than the hostages had of making it out alive. Expand
Metascore
86

Universal acclaim - based on 45 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 41 out of 45
  2. Negative: 0 out of 45
  1. Reviewed by: Dan Jolin
    Nov 5, 2012
    80
    An old-school espionage thriller with a movie-biz comedy twist, all the better for being (almost) entirely true. It is to Ben Affleck's credit that the tension and laughs complement rather than neutralise each other.
  2. Reviewed by: Richard Jordan
    Oct 17, 2012
    80
    Combining laughs and thrills with plenty of verve, Ben Affleck continues his smart directorial career with a stylish, gripping hostage drama.
  3. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Oct 12, 2012
    70
    Argo isn't quite on the level of the Sidney Lumet classics to which Affleck pays stylistic homage - smart and taut as it is, it lacks the broader political vision of a film like "Dog Day Afternoon." But Lumet lite still goes down pretty smooth.