Documentary Recounts the Story of the 1980 Rescue Attempt by U.S. Special Forces of American Hostages Being Held in Iran
Includes interviews with President Jimmy Carter, Vice President Walter Mondale, ABC Nightline Journalist Ted Koppel, Former Hostages, Hostage Takers, and Others, Never Before Seen Archival Material and Exquisite Animation
40 years later, one of the most daring military rescue attempts in US history is coming to the big screen. Today, Greenwich Entertainment announced the acclaimed documentary feature “Desert One” from two-time Academy Award® winner Barbara Kopple (“Harlan County USA” and “American Dream”) will be released on Friday, August 21. The documentary feature, produced by HISTORY®, recounts the April 24/25, 1980 thrilling attempt to rescue 52 US citizens who were taken hostage by Iranian revolutionaries in Tehran.
“Desert One” is produced by Cabin Creek Films. Kopple produced and directed the film, with David Cassidy and Eric Forman serving as producers. The film includes a wealth of unearthed archival sources, as well as intimate interviews with President Jimmy Carter, Vice President Walter Mondale, Ted Koppel, former hostages, journalists, and Iranian student revolutionaries who orchestrated the take-over of the American Embassy in Tehran. Evocative new animation and never before heard satellite phone recordings of President Carter talking to his generals as the mission unfolds, bring audiences closer than anyone has ever gotten to being on the inside for this history making operation.
“Desert One” premiered to rave reviews at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival followed by incredible reactions at AFI Fest, DOC NYC, Palm Springs International Film Festival, and Double Exposure: Investigative Film Festival where it was the opening night film. Point of View Magazine said, “Kopple’s latest film, Desert One, ranks among her best work.”
“This was a roller coaster ride of a story well worth telling,” said filmmaker Barbara Kopple, “It is a film about U.S. leadership and gumption, our leaders taking responsibility – even when things go wrong – and courage in the face of adversity. And, of course to address our relations with Iran – and hearing their side of the story can make us reflect. This is a story that few remember or even know and it might inspire us now.”
“Desert One” is the story of Americans working together to overcome the most difficult problem of their lives. When radical Islamists take fifty-two American diplomats and citizens hostage inside Iran, Carter secretly green-lights the training for a rescue mission. America’s Special Forces soldiers also find themselves in uncharted territory, planning a top-secret rescue of unprecedented scale and complexity. Driven by deep empathy toward the kidnapped Americans, the heart-pounding and unforeseen events the rescue team participated in will forever unite them.
The film also presents Iranian perspectives on this important moment in their history. A female Iranian crew filmed overlooked accounts inside that country, one from a man who had been an 11-year-old boy riding a bus through the desert on the night of the mission. As tensions once again rise between the governments of Iran and the U.S., old wounds remain painfully current for many who poignantly detail their recollections in “Desert One.”
“Desert One” is produced by HISTORY® and Cabin Creek Films. Barbara Kopple is producer and director. David Cassidy and Eric Forman are producers and Ray Nowosielski is co-producer for Cabin Creek Films. Eli Lehrer and Zachary Behr are Executive Producers for HISTORY®.