The ten films that built 'Argo'

The Hollywood conspiracy classics that inspired Ben Affleck’s new thriller

We’re not saying that Ben Affleck’s superb new political thriller 'Argo', about a 1979 CIA plot to spring six American embassy workers from Tehran, is in any way unoriginal. But even Affleck would undoubtedly admit that his movie pays respectful homage to one particular group of classic films: the Hollywood conspiracy thrillers of the 1970s. Tom Huddleston rounds up ten films that contributed to ‘Argo’

  • Serpico (1973)

    Dir. Sidney Lumet

    What’s the story?
    Based on a real case, Lumet’s film follows rule-breaking New York cop Frank Serpico (Al Pacino) as he uncovers a web of corruption and kickbacks inside his department, and struggles to bring the truth to light.

    What did Ben ‘borrow’?
    Beards. In ‘Argo’, Affleck’s hero Tony Mendez, a CIA officer, sports fuzzy black facial furniture that is eerily reminiscent of Pacino’s strictly non-regulation, authority-baiting chin-hedge. These men are similar characters too, with one foot in the establishment and one in the counterculture.

    Read Time Out's full review of 'Serpico'

Watch the real Frank Serpico watching 'Serpico'

Discover more upcoming movies