After decades of royal rule, millions of Iranians took to the streets in a popular movement against a regime that was seen as brutal, corrupt and illegitimate.
Revolutionary forces, under the leadership of Grand Ayatollah Khomeini, forced the shah of Iran into exile.
His government was overthrown and replaced by a new Islamic order. The Islamic revolution put Iran on a new path – one that led to an ongoing conflict with the West.
Decades after the founding of the Islamic republic, the ideals that inspired the uprising continue to affect everyday life in modern Iran.
So how has the revolution managed to sustain itself through war, international isolation, economic sanctions, and regional turbulence?
And how has Iranian society changed since the seismic upheaval of 1979?
Rageh Omaar went to Iran to find out.
This documentary was first broadcast on Al Jazeera English in August 2009.