It's been described as one of the best new films of the year and has already been tipped as a potential Oscar winner for Ben Affleck, who is both its star and its director.
The $44 million Hollywood movie Argo tells the extraordinary story of how six American diplomats were smuggled out of Iran at the height of the 1979 Islamic revolution, in a subterfuge that involved an elaborately faked film project.
The officials had narrowly avoided being among those captured when Iranian militants invaded the US embassy compound and took 52 other American staff hostage, sparking an international crisis that was to last for 14 months.
But behind the Hollywood version of how the six State Department officials hid out at the Canadian ambassador's home while the CIA prepared the daring escape plan lie questions of historical accuracy that have infuriated British diplomats who were in Tehran at the time.
The six American diplomats had earlier been given sanctuary when they turned up unexpectedly at the British embassy's summer compound in northern Tehran, desperately seeking shelter from the anti-Western mobs roaming the volatile city.
et not only does Hollywood's account write out the British officials who sheltered the Americans but it also claims, falsely, that the US staff were "turned away" from the British embassy in their hour of need.
But Sir John Graham, 86, who was Britain's ambassador to Iran at the time, said: "It is not the truth that they were turned away from the British Embassy. We gave them all help at the time.
"My immediate reaction on hearing about this was one of outrage. I have since simmered down, but am still very distressed that the film-makers should have got it so wrong. My concern is that the inaccurate account should not enter the mythology of the events in Tehran in November 1979."
Arthur Wyatt, 83, who was then the British charge d'affaires in Tehran, said: "Hollywood's record in this is certainly lacking in many cases. I'm disappointed to hear how we have been portrayed.
"The Americans who had escaped from their embassy fetched up at our summer compound in northern Tehran, and I think they stayed there for one night before moving on to the Canadians. If it had been discovered we were helping them I can assure you we'd all have been for the high jump."
Mr Wyatt, who served as a diplomat for 45 years, was awarded the Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George for his work in Tehran - in recognition of the risks he took at the time.
Most British staff were soon withdrawn but Mr Wyatt stayed behind and sent books, chocolate and other supplies to three American diplomats hiding elsewhere in Tehran - another act of kindness unrecognised in Argo.
"We were living on our nerves and under constant threat," said Mr Wyatt. "The revolutionary regime ignored all the rules of diplomatic protection and the Vienna Convention. When they over-ran our embassy too, I said to one of them: 'You can't do this; we're diplomats.' He just waved his machine pistol around and replied: 'This is what matters.'"
Sir Nicholas Barrington, head of the British interest section at the Swedish embassy in Tehran from 1981 to 1983, following the closure of the British Embassy, said: "There was no question of the British just rejecting the Americans. The diplomatic community would do what they could to help.
"Hollywood have got rules about depicting the British as villains - it's part of Hollywood tradition."
Mr Affleck, who also stars in the leading role and has been tipped for an Oscar for his directorship, has admitted agonising over taking such liberties but said he had depicted events "as best I can, factually". The film's script also fails to credit the New Zealand diplomats who helped the group's passage to safety.
"I struggled with this long and hard, because it casts Britain and New Zealand in a way that is not totally fair," he conceded. "But I was setting up a situation where you needed to get a sense that these six people had nowhere else to go. It does not mean to diminish anyone."
To give the plot credibility, its CIA mastermind Tony Mendez – played by Mr Affleck in Argo - established a fake Hollywood film studio, won dispensation from Ottawa to grant the Americans fake Canadian passports, and forged Iranian visas to facilitate their exit.
At great personal risk, Canadian ambassador Ken Taylor gave them sanctuary at his private residence in Tehran while plans were made and their storyline rehearsed.
Early in the film, Affleck's character is briefed on developments by his CIA supervisor Jack O'Donnell, played by Bryan Cranston. He explains that the six US Embassy staff had escaped and been given refuge by the Canadians: "Brits turned them away, Kiwis turned them away."
But Mr Anders, 87, told The Sunday Telegraph: "That is absolutely incorrect, absolutely untrue. They made us very comfortable, the British were very helpful and they helped to move us around to different places after that too.
"If the Iranians were going to start looking for people they would probably look to the British. So it was too risky to stay and we moved on.
"They put their lives on the line for us. We were all at risk. I hope no one in Britain will be offended by what's said in the film. The British were good to us and we're forever grateful."
Argo is the latest in a long line of Hollywood movies to twist British history for their own dramatic ends.
U571, starring Matthew McConaughey, rewrote the Second World War so that American servicemen captured an Enigma code machine rather than British sailors. Mel Gibson took many liberties with British history in Braveheart (1995) - including depicting his Scottish warriors in kilts hundreds of years before the garments were introduced - and in The Patriot, his heavily fictionalised account of the American War of Independence.