The Iranian hostage crisis of 1979 made headline news worldwide but what didn't was how six US embassy staff were rescued from Tehran in a covert operation.
The extraordinary details of that risky mission, only declassified in 1997, form the basis of Ben Affleck's third and most impressive feature film to date.
The six, who fled their embassy as it was being seized by revolutionaries and took refuge in the home of the Canadian ambassador, were sprung by CIA "exfiltration" specialist Tony Mendez (Affleck) who was called in to devise a plan to get them out safely.
They were to pose as a Canadian film crew scouting for locations for Argo, a sci-fi movie. It was described as the best bad idea the CIA ever had and worthy of Hollywood.
To make it all believable Mendez set up a fake production office in Tinseltown with producer Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin) and renowned make-up artist John Chambers (John Goodman) at the helm before travelling to Iran masquerading as a film producer.
Under Affleck's masterful direction this is a nail-biting ride. Even though you know the outcome the director still keeps you guessing with heart-stopping tension which is only relieved by the wonderful comedy turn from Arkin and Goodman poking fun at the Hollywood system.
In reality the Canadians played a far more prominent role and it was a textbook escape but this isn't a documentary.
It is a riveting political thriller with a remarkable attention to period detail from the Warner's logo at the start to the cast, doppelgangers of their real- life counterparts.
It is also a testament to Affleck who has become one of Hollywood's finest directors.