Prime Minister John Key says New Zealanders "should probably move on" from their hand-wringing over an award-winning film's portrayal of the country's diplomats.

Debate over the film's misrepresentation of New Zealand's role in the 1979 Tehran hostage crisis extended to international media and the highest level of Parliament, with some MPs suggesting an apology from director Ben Affleck would be appropriate.

Mr Key tried to instill some perspective in the discussion yesterday.

"I think it's disappointing, but I don't think we want to go too far on these things. New Zealanders know the role that our diplomats played. New Zealand I think sees itself as a country that always wants to lend a hand to help people.


"But in the end, this is Hollywood, and they do make movies. And a bit like when they transfer a book to a movie, often it's a little bit different. So, look, I think we've made our point and we should probably move on."

Asked if he would extend an invitation to Affleck to travel to New Zealand, he said: "Yeah, well, they will probably love him down [here], he's a great actor."

Argo was based the dramatic escape of six US diplomats and suggested that the New Zealand Embassy in Iran refused to offer help to the American officials.

This differed from the historical account, in which New Zealand Ambassador Chris Beeby and his colleagues helped the men escape.

Affleck extended an olive branch to New Zealanders after the film won an Academy award, saying he loved the country and it was "tricky" to get all the facts right.

However, this did not appease everyone.

Canadian Ambassador Ken Taylor, on whom the film was based, suggested that the record needed to be set straight for the younger generation who were not alive at the time.