Supported by The Better Angels Stories Initiative
On November 4, 1979, student protesters seized the American Embassy in Tehran and took sixty-six Americans hostage. For the next 444 days, the world watched as the United States received a daily barrage of humiliation, vitriol and hatred from a country Americans knew little about. The Iran hostage crisis, as it came to be known, transformed both Iran and America and thoroughly upended the focus and direction of American foreign policy. In Iran, it helped to solidify Ayatollah Khomeini’s grip on power and radicalized a generation of both Persians and Arabs. In America, it effectively destroyed President Jimmy Carter’s Presidency and instigated a primary challenge from Senator Ted Kennedy that split the Democratic Party. The event launched the modern 24-hour news cycle and gave rise to a newly politicized Christian conservative movement that saw in the crisis a clash of civilizations. Told through exclusive audio only eyewitness accounts and drawing upon extraordinary archival materials from around the world, Taken Hostage will place America’s first encounter with radical Islam within a larger historical context, exploring the political and cultural ferment that caused it to be such a defining event for the United States. Directed by Robert Stone.