Ben Affleck: Tony Mendez
Lester Siegel : Okay, you got 6 people hiding out in a town of what, 4 million people, all of whom chant "death to America" all the livelong day. You want to set up a movie in a week. You want to lie to Hollywood, a town where everybody lies for a living. Then you're gonna sneak 007 over here into a country that wants CIA blood on their breakfast cereal, and you're gonna walk the Brady Bunch out of the most watched city in the world.
Tony Mendez : Past about a hundred militia at the airport. That's right.
Lester Siegel : Right. Look, I gotta tell you. We did suicide missions in the army that had better odds than this.
Lester Siegel , Tony Mendez : [on the phone] So I'm sitting in Jerry's this morning, having breakfast, a waitress comes over to me, she's waving a newspaper and she says, 'You see what those Canadians pulled off? Why can't we do something like that?' And I said to her, you know what I said?
Tony Mendez : No, what?
Lester Siegel : 'Argo fuck yourself!'
Tony Mendez : Sir, exfils are like abortions. You don't wanna need one. But when you do, you don't do it yourself.
Tony Mendez : We've got an office, we've got business cards, we've got a poster. If I'm the Revolutionary Guard, that's nothing we couldn't have made at home. Six people's lives depend on this. It's not enough. If we're gonna fool these people, it has to be big. And it has to have something that says it's authentic.
John Chambers : I did a movie with Rock Hudson one time. If you wanna sell a lie...
Lester Siegel : You get the press to sell it for you.
Tony Mendez : This is what I do. I get people out. And I've never left anyone behind.
Joe Stafford : I wish I could believe you, Mr. Harkins.
Tony Mendez : My name is Tony Mendez. I'm from New York. My father worked construction. My mother teaches elementary school. I have a wife and a ten year old son. You play along with me today and I promise you, I will get you out tomorrow.
Tony Mendez : [Reading a script] Fade in on a starship landing. An exotic, Middle Eastern vibe. Women gather, offering ecstatic libations to the sky gods. Argo. A science-fantasy adventure.
Lester Siegel : [reluctant] It's in turnaround. It's dog shit.
Tony Mendez : It's a space movie in the Middle East. Does it matter?
John Chambers : [to Lester] Can we get the option?
Tony Mendez : [confused] Why do we need the option?
Lester Siegel : You're worried about the Ayatollah? Try the WGA.
Tony Mendez : [quizzing the houseguests about their cover identities] You. Where was your passport issued?
Bob Anders : Vancouver.
Tony Mendez : Where were you born?
Bob Anders : Toronto.
Tony Mendez : [correcting him] "Torono". Canadians don't pronounce the "t".
Lee Schatz : Some Komiteh guard is actually gonna know that?
Tony Mendez : If you're detained for questioning, they will bring in someone who knows that, yes.
John Chambers : Talk to me.
Tony Mendez : It's an exfil.
John Chambers : From where?
Tony Mendez : The worst place you can think of.
John Chambers : Universal City.
[Tony hands John an issue of 'Time' magazine, with illustrations of the Iranian hostages on the cover]
John Chambers : How are you going to get into the embassy?
Tony Mendez : They're not in the embassy. During the takeover, six people escaped. They're hiding out in Tehran. That's who I'm gonna go get.
John Chambers : Let's see. Well, this one's got an M.A. in English. She should be your screenwriter. Sometimes they go along on scouts because they want the free meals... Here's your director.
Tony Mendez : Can you teach somebody to be a director in a day?
John Chambers : [talking to Ben Affleck, who is the director of the movie ] You can teach a rhesus monkey to be a director in a day.
Bob Anders : [as Mendez proposes his plan to get the houseguests out] We can't hold up under that. We don't know what the hell movie people do.
Tony Mendez : That's why I'm here. I'm gonna help you. I'll be with you the whole way. This is what I do.
Cora Lijek : Have you gotten people out this way before?
Tony Mendez : This will be a first.
Tony Mendez : The only way this works is if you believe that you're these people so much that you dream like them.
John Chambers : Look, if you're gonna this, you gotta do it. The Kho-maniacs are Froot Loops, but they got cousins who sell prayer rugs and eight-tracks on La Brea. You can't build cover stories around a movie that doesn't exist. You need a script, you need a producer.
Tony Mendez : Make me a producer.
John Chambers : No. You're an associate producer, at best.
Ticket Clerk : I'm sorry I can't find your ticket.
Tony Mendez : [Very calm] Thank you. Could you check again?
Cyrus Vance : What's wrong with bikes, again?
Jack O'Donnell : We tried to get the message upstairs, sir.
C.I.A Director Stansfield Turner : You think this is more plausible than teachers?
Jack O'Donnell : Yes, we do. One, there are no more foreign teachers in Iran.
Tony Mendez : And we think everybody knows Hollywood people. And everybody knows they'd shoot in Stalingrad with Pol Pot directing if it would sell tickets.
[shooting down ideas to exfiltrate the Houseguests]
Tony Mendez : Sir, if these people can read or add, pretty soon they're gonna figure out they're six short of a full deck. It's winter. You can't afford to wait around till spring so it's nice enough to take a bike ride. The only way out of that city is the airport. We build new cover identities for them, you send in a Moses, he takes them out on a commercial flight.
Tony Mendez : Okay, you know those science fiction movies? Star Trek, Star Wars. They need an exotic location to shoot. Moonscape, Mars, desert, you know. Now, imagine this: they're a Canadian film crew on a location scout for a science fiction movie. We put it out there - the Canadian producers put out there - that we're looking at Egypt, Istanbul. Then we go to the consulate and say "Hey, we wanna look at Iran, too." I fly into Tehran, we all fly out together as a film crew. Done.
David Marmor : Flamboyant cover identities should be avoided, as it increases operational visibility.
Tony Mendez : This is a lot more plausible than foreigners who wanna go be teachers in Iran.
Bates : You wanna blend in with the population, you don't look like a rodeo clown.
Adam Engell : Just gonna wake up tomorrow morning and be in the movie business? We already have credentials for the teachers.
Tony Mendez : No, sir, we have a contact in L.A.
Jack O'Donnell : Chambers.
Tony Mendez : John Chambers. He's a Hollywood prosthetics guy. He's got an Oscar, he did "Planet of the Apes", and he's done a bunch of contract work for us in the past. I go see him, he sets us up. One, two days, make it look real.
Tony Mendez : You got any kids, Lester?
Lester Siegel : Yeah, I have two daughters.
Tony Mendez : You see them much?
Lester Siegel : I talk to them once a year, maybe.
Tony Mendez : Why's that?
Lester Siegel : [shrugs] I was a terrible father.
Lester Siegel : The bullshit business, it's like coal-mining - you come home to your wife and kids, you can't wash it off.
Tony Mendez : "The Minister of Culture and Guidance has approved your location scout. He will send his representative to meet you and your crew at the Khayyam entrance to the Grand Bazaar tomorrow at 3 p.m."
Jack O'Donnell : They called your bluff.
Tony Mendez : Maybe they're cooperating.
Jack O'Donnell : Absolutely not. Seven Americans walking the bazaar is asking for a riot. It's the hive.
Tony Mendez : Seven Canadians, Jack.
Jack O'Donnell : Never give them multiple shots at a cover. Are they even ready?
Tony Mendez : They're getting there.
Jack O'Donnell : There's no prize for most improved.
Tony Mendez : I don't have a choice. We say no, they show up at the residence and drag everyone out at gunpoint. How well do you think their covers are gonna hold up while they're getting their fingernails pulled out?
Tony Mendez : [after quizzing the hostages on their fake bios and the one hostage paused] Shoot him, he's an American spy!
Tony Mendez : [to his wife, on the doorstep of his home after his return from Iran] Can I come in?
Tony Mendez : [Tony's exfil has been scrapped and he's been ordered to return home] So you know.
Ken Taylor : ExtAff wants you to burn the passports before you leave. If we tell them now, they'll panic. I think it's best if you just don't show. It was always a fucked mission. You came closer than anybody else.
Tony Mendez : Can I come in?