Forty years later, one of the most daring military rescue attempts in U.S. history is coming to the big screen in 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 21st. The documentary feature recounts the April 24/25, 1980 thrilling attempt to rescue 52 U.S. citizens who were taken hostage by Iranian revolutionaries in Tehran.
Desert One is the story of Americans working together to overcome the most challenging 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 details their recollections in Desert One.
This was a roller coaster ride of a story well worth telling. 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.Barbara Kopple, Desert One Director & Producer
Desert One includes a wealth of unearthed archival sources and 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.