Desert One

Watch Desert One

  • NR
  • 2020
  • 1 hr 44 min
  • 7.3  (335)
  • 80

Desert One is a gripping and emotional documentary that explores the US military's failed mission in 1980 to rescue 52 American hostages held captive in Iran. Directed by the renowned filmmaker Barbara Kopple, the film combines archival footage, interviews, and reenactments to provide an in-depth look at the events leading up to the operation, the mission itself, and its devastating aftermath.

The film begins by introducing the audience to the political and social context of the time, including the Iranian Revolution, the election of President Jimmy Carter, and the tumultuous relationship between the US and Iran. The documentary then focuses on the nuts and bolts of the mission, called Operation Eagle Claw. The operation involved a complex series of tasks, including staging multiple aircraft and helicopters, rendezvousing with a second rescue team, and conducting a risky ground assault on the hostage compound. Desert One lays out the logistics of the mission in detail, interspersed with interviews with former military commanders and other key players involved in the operation.

Perhaps the most gripping part of Desert One is its depiction of the mission itself. Through reenactments and interviews, the documentary recreates the high-stakes tension of the mission, which was fraught with technical glitches, communication failures, and unexpected setbacks. The film skillfully builds suspense and drama as the mission unfolds, and viewers will find themselves on the edge of their seats as the rescue team encounters one obstacle after another.

Despite the heroic efforts of the rescue team, the mission ultimately failed. The film explores the reasons behind the operation's failure and its tragic consequences, which included the deaths of several American military personnel. Desert One is unflinching in its portrayal of the aftermath of the mission, both in terms of the grief and trauma experienced by those involved and the long-term impact on US-Iran relations. The documentary includes interviews with some of the former hostages, who describe their experiences in captivity and the emotional toll the ordeal took on them.

Throughout the film, Desert One emphasizes the human cost of the mission, from the individual stories of the soldiers and hostages involved to the broader geopolitical consequences of the operation's failure. The documentary does not shy away from the difficult questions raised by the mission, including issues around military preparedness and the use of force. At the same time, Desert One highlights the bravery and dedication of the rescue team and the sacrifices they made in service of their country.

Overall, Desert One is a powerful and thought-provoking documentary that offers a compelling look at a pivotal moment in US history. The film is expertly crafted, combining gripping reenactments, insightful interviews, and stunning archival footage to create a nuanced and layered portrayal of the events surrounding Operation Eagle Claw. Whether you are a military history buff or simply interested in the complexities of US-Iran relations, Desert One is a must-see film that will leave a lasting impression.

Desert One is a 2020 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 44 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.3 and a MetaScore of 80.

Desert One
Where to Watch Desert One
Desert One is available to watch free on The Roku Channel Free, Pluto TV, Tubi TV and Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Desert One for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 44 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.3  (335)
  • Metascore