The Yale Undergraduate Research Journal


“Argo: CIA Influence and American Jingoism” focuses on the ways in which CIA involvement in the production and publicity of Ben Affleck’s Argo (2012) yielded a biased representation of the Iranian public. Throughout the film, Affleck pictures Iranians as aggressive and deindividualized, spreading the trope of the Middle Eastern fanatic to viewers worldwide. While villainizing the Iranian public, Argo undermines a fraught history of United States intervention in Iran. Although Affleck takes several liberties in cinematizing the Iranian Hostage Crisis, Argo masquerades as a historical authority, peppered with markers of authenticity such as newsreel footage. I argue that the film oversteps its bounds by leveraging the glamor and reach of Hollywood to fulfill a political agenda during a time of tension between the United States and Iran.