Argo Quotes: Edge of Your Seat Suspense

(Total Quotes: 95)

Directed by: Ben Affleck
Written by:
Chris Terrio (screenplay)
Joshuah Bearman (article “Escape from Tehran”)
Ben Affleck – Tony Mendez
Bryan Cranston – Jack O’Donnell
Alan Arkin – Lester Siegel
John Goodman – John Chambers
Victor Garber – Ken Taylor
Tate Donovan – Bob Anders
Clea DuVall – Cora Lijek
Scoot McNairy – Joe Stafford
Rory Cochrane – Lee Schatz
Christopher Denham – Mark Lijek
Kerry Bish̩ РKathy Stafford
Kyle Chandler – Hamilton Jordan
Chris Messina – Malinov
Zeljko Ivanek – Robert Pender
Titus Welliver – Bates
Keith Szarabajka – Adam Engell
Bob Gunton – Cyrus Vance
Richard Kind – Max Klein
Richard Dillane – OSS Officer Nicholls
Omid Abtahi – Reza Borhani


Argo quotes are the perfect combination of clever storytelling and edge of your seat drama. The razor-sharp dialogue is not wasted providing a lot of wit and suspense in the right places. Based on true events, Argo tells the story of how after the American embassy in Iran was stormed by militant students in 1979, six American hostages find refuge in the home of a Canadian ambassador and then get rescued by a CIA specialist by a daring and risky plan.

Verdict: This isn’t a perfect movie and the use of dramatic license has to be put aside, especially during the finale, but it delivers such well-measured suspense with flawless period recreation that you just can’t but think that this movie is a winner.

Argo Quotes Page  1   2   THE NOVEL


[first lines]
Voice: This is the the Persian empire, known today as Iran. For twenty-five hundred years this land was ruled by a series of kings, known as Shah’s. In 1950, the people of Iran elected Mohammad Mossadegh, a secular democrat, as Prime Minister. He nationalized British and US petroleum holdings, returning Iran’s oil to its people. But in 1953, the U.S. and Great Britain engineered a coup d’etat that deposed Mossadegh and installed Reza Pahlavi as Shah. The young Shah was known for opulence and excess, his wife was rumored to bathe in milk, while the Shah had his lunches flown in by concord from Paris. The people starved. The Shah kept power through his ruthless internal police, the Savak. An era of torture and fear began, he then began a campaign to westernize Iran, enraging a mostly traditional Shia population.


Voice: In 1979, the people of Iran overthrew the Shah, the exiled cleric, Ayatollah Khomeini, returned to rule Iran. It descended into score settling, death squads and chaos. Dying of cancer, the Shah was given asylum in the U.S. The Iranian people took to the streets outside the U.S. Embassy, demanding that the Shah be returned, tried and hanged.


[U.S. Embassy in Iran, November 4, 1979, a large crowd of protesters are gathered outside the Embassy, inside the Embassy the employees inside the building look out at the crowd]
Bob Anders: The crowd looks a little bigger today, huh?
Mark Lijek: Windows are supposed to be bullet proof, right?
Bob Anders: Well, they’ve never been tested.


[as the crowd gets more and more restless, the employees get more and more frightened. with protesters cutting the bolt on the gates and soon the Embassy is being overrun, the Embassy employees scramble burn and shred all classified material they have on hand]
Col. Charles W. Scott: Just burn everything! Burn everything, now!
William J. Daugherty: Right, burn everything, file cabinets, safe.


[Embassy security gets perepared and arms up as the crowd of protesters start getting closer to the Embassy building]
Embassy Security Leader: Don’t fucking shoot anybody. You don’t wanna be the son of a bitch who started a war. They need an hour to burn the classified. I need you to hold, if you shoot one person, they’re gonna kill every single one of us in here.


[as they hear the crowd of protesters getting closer]
Joe Stafford: I tell you, if we’re going to go, we need to go now.
Kathy Stafford: Joe, can we… Joe, can we wait…can we wait until the Iranian police come?
Cora Lijek: No! The police aren’t coming!
Bob Anders: How do you know they’re not coming?
Joe Stafford: The police have abandoned their post.
Mark Lijek: If the police are not coming, okay, then the army’s gonna come. The Prime Minister is not gonna let the Embassy to be taken over.
Joe Stafford: I understand. The Prime Minister may come tomorrow, but the Komiteh are here today. So we need to evacuate.
Bob Anders: Alright, is there any value…
Joe Stafford: Look at me. No one is coming.


Mark Lijek: We are in America right now! Outside of these doors we are in Iran!
Bob Anders: I’m not going out with that!
Cora Lijek: We’re not safe here.
[referring to the few Iranian people stuck in the Embassy building]
Cora Lijek: If they get caught applying for visa to the U.S.!
Bob Anders: Let’s…let’s wait five minutes.argo-3
Joe Stafford: We are in the only building with direct access to the street. If we’re going to go, then we need to go now!
Mark Lijek: Yeah, I’m in.
Kathy Stafford: Yeah.
Cora Lijek: Yeah. let’s go.
[they shred and smash whatever material and equipment there is on hand and leave the building, escort g the applicants within the office into the street, as the crowd of protesters enter the Embassy building, they blind fold whoever is left inside the building]


[back in Washington, the State Department tries to make sense of what has happened]
Bates: They fuck with us, we can’t get ’em back?argo-2
Robert Pender: Mossadegh. We did it to them first.
Bates: Would the Soviets put up with this shit? They’d fucking invade!
Robert Pender: What do you expect? We held they guy, tortured and debald an entire population.
Bates: How many were there?
Robert Pender: At least fifty. We’re not sure.


Bates: It’s confirmed, sir, six escaped.
Cyrus Vance: I was told five.
Bates: No, sir. Apparently it’s six.
Cyrus Vance: So what happened?
Robert Pender: It’s not clear, we know they escaped the Embassy.
Cyrus Vance: Where are they?
Hal Saunders: The Canadian Ambassador’s house.
Bates: Did they stay put? Are we attempting a rescue?
[talking into the telephone]
Brice: Hold for the Secretary of State
Cyrus Vance: Yes, is White House Joining?


[as the Chief of Staff to President Carter is briefed on the situation]
Landon Butler: They’re claiming the Embassy was a den of espionage.
Hamilton Jordan: We wish we were the fucking den of espionage. CI’s got three people over there, they don’t see a revolution coming? They call it something other than intelligence.


[as Jordan walks into his office]
Landon Butler: They’re sticking to it, no release until we expel the Shah.
Jon Titterton: Well, put him on a plane then, fuck him.
Hamilton Jordan: He’s half dead and he’s in chemo.
Landon Butler: Yeah, well, we took him in. He’s ours now.
Jon Titterton: Great. So we’re taking any prick so long as he’s got cancer?
Hamilton Jordan: Just the pricks on our side. So all of our other pricks on their prick thrones will know that when they get thrown out on a rail, they won’t get their fucking spleens taken out by some camel vet with cyanide.
Jon Titterton: What about the six who were with the Canadians?
Hamilton Jordan: We’ve got sixty in the Embassy with guns to their heads right now.
Jon Titterton: The whole world is watching the Embassy. That makes them safer than the six on the street.
Landon Butler: Bonnie Sauder is saying it’ll be over in twenty-four hours.
Hamilton Jordan: We leave the six where they are. I’ll go brief the President.


[69 days later; Tony Mendez enters his boss’ office after being called in]
Tony Mendez: What happened?
Jack O’Donnell: Six of them went out a back exit. Brits turned them away, Kiwi’s turned them away, Canadians took ’em in. Traffic calls them ‘The House Guests’. They haven’t left the Canadian Ambassador’s house since it happened.
Tony Mendez: Why didn’t we get them ten weeks ago?
Jack O’Donnell: Too dangerous. We got revolutionary guards going door to door, like Jehovah’s Witnesses. Half of them think that Khomeini’s been too lenient on the ones in the Embassy.
Tony Mendez: What about the White House?
Jack O’Donnell: Carter’s shitting enough bricks to build the pyramids. The Canadians are done, they say they’re baring too much risk. Their Foreign Secretary corners Vance in Brussels and told him she wants the six of them out.


Tony Mendez: Who else knows?
Jack O’Donnell: Just the families. Meanwhile, some genius in our Embassy was keeping a mug book on everybody who who worked there.
Tony Mendez: Jesus Christ!
Jack O’Donnell: We think it got shredded before they got in, but now the bastards are using sweatshop kids to reassemble the shreds. Once they reassemble that book they’ll know six Americans got out, and they’ll know what they look like. Standing room only for beheadings in the square.
Tony Mendez: Who’s handling?
Jack O’Donnell: State is coordinating in-house.
Tony Mendez: State? They don’t do exfil’s.
Jack O’Donnell: They do now. They wanna run it by us, strictly as consultants. Engell says, it’s a lot to loose. These people die, they die badly, publicly. State wants the blame, we’ll give it to ’em.
Tony Mendez: What does he want me here for?
Jack O’Donnell: So he can tell State he ran it by his best exfil guy.


[discussing the six hostages at the CIA meeting, they have photo’s and home movie footage of the hostages]
Robert Pender: Alright. Mark and Cora Lijek, twenty-nine and twenty-five. He’s a Consular Officer, she’s an assistant, newly weds. They uh…only just got there a couple months ago, no language skills or in country knowledge. Henry Lee Schatz, Agricultural attaché from Idaho. Bit of an oddball apparently, he was there to sell U.S. tractors to Iranian Agro. Joe Stafford, late twenties, he’s smart and a climber, speaks Farsi. He arranged the hire of his wife, Kathy.
Bates: The Embassy was understaffed, so the faculty wives were the typing pool.
Robert Pender: And Bob Anders, Senior Consular Officer, oldest of the group and most likely to be group leader.argo-4
Bates: They’ve been hiding at the Canadian Ambassador’s house residents. Fortunately, we do not believe the Iranians are aware the six have escaped.
Robert Pender: So, what we’d like for this are bicycles. We’ve identified back roads from the Chamran district, couple of rat lines through the mountains to the crossing near Tabriz. Cars are off the table, because of the road blocks.
Bates: We wait until the weather clears up, then deliver the six bikes, provide them with maps to the Turkish boarder.
Robert Pender: We have intelligence they can ride bicycles, or we’re prepared to send in somebody to teach ’em.
[there’s a silence as everyone realizes that this is an awful plan]
Tony Mendez: Or you could just send in training wheels and meet them at the border with Gatorade.


Tony Mendez: It’s three hundred miles to the Turkish boarder, they’d need a support team following them with a tire pump.
Adam Engell: We were just asked to sharp shoot this, State is handling the op.
Robert Pender: I’m sorry, who is this?
Jack O’Donnell: Tony is an exfil spesh, he’s got a lot of Shah’s people out after the fall.
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 until spring so it’s nice enough to take a bike ride. The only way out of that city is the airport. You build new cover identities for ’em, you send in a Moses, he takes them out on a commercial flight.
Robert Pender: We’ve explored those options.
Adam Engell: You’re never gonna get them through airport control, Komiteh own the place.
Bates: They could pose as reporter, if the government issued seventy something…
Malinov: Seventy four.
Bates: …visa’s for American journalists.
Malinov: And the Revolutionary Guards keep them on seventy four leashes.
Tony Mendez: If they’re caught with fake journalist creds, it’s Peter and Jane’s head in a noose in an hour.


Bates: Look, North American accents gives us limited options, so we get the Canadians to issue them passports.
Peter Genco: What about English teachers at the International school?
Tony Mendez: It’s a good idea, but that school’s been closed for eight months.
Bates: Okay, so how about ‘the do-gooders’? Six Canadians have been over there inspecting crops, ensuring the kids are getting enough to eat, we give them creds, makes them look like AG NGOs.
[Bates holds up a photo of a starving kid]
Bates: It’s a feed a kid’s thing. Okay?
Malinov: Those kids are black, those are African kids.
Peter Genco: We can get ethnically appropriate kids.
Adam Engell: Are there starving kids in Iran.
Robert Pender: I’m sure they’re some skinny kids in Iran.


[everyone starts talking over each other, then Tony interrupts and holds up an Iranian newspaper]
Tony Mendez: Sir, do you have this newspaper in front of you? Would you mind taking a look at it?
[Pender picks up the paper in front of him]
Tony Mendez: What’s in this picture?
Robert Pender: Tehran.
Tony Mendez: Right. What’s on the ground?
Robert Pender: Snow.
Tony Mendez: Right. What crops are the ‘do-gooders’ inspecting under frosting?
[there’s a moment of silence]
Tony Mendez: Sir, exfils are like abortions. You don’t wanna need one, but when you do, you don’t do it yourself.
Adam Engell: Do you have a better plan?
Tony Mendez: No, sir.


[back in Iran during dinner, the six hostages are arguing about the situation with the Shah]
Joe Stafford: They knew exactly what was going to happen, they knew.
Kathy Stafford: But I don’t understand what…what they should do now, just send him back to be tortured and killed?
Cora Lijek: I don’t think that justice is the worst thing.
[we then see news footage of the Shah being interviewed at the same time as the dinner]
David Frost: When did people first tell you that uh…torture was going on in Iran?
Reza Pahlavi: They would never come to me and say, ‘Well, sir, we have tortured this fellow.’
[we then see footage of Ayatollah Khomeini being interviewed]
American Reporter: Sadat of Egypt, calls you Imam, forgive me, his words, not mine, a lunatic.
[we then go back to the dinner with the six hostages and their host]
Cora Lijek: Why didn’t he have a choice?! Why do you think he didn’t have a choice?
Ken Taylor: Because he would have been referred to as a barbarian.
Cora Lijek: Please!
[as they continue their discussion suddenly the cutlery starts to shake and they hear helicopters]
Ken Taylor: Please, everyone, get into the cold room.
[Taylor guides them into their hiding place under a trap door beneath the carpet]


[on the 74th day of captivity, at his apartment, Tony goes through the six hostages files, he has his TV on which is showing news report about the hostage situation at the U.S. Embassy in Iran, Tony then calls his son]
Ian Mendez: Hello?
Tony Mendez: It’s dad.
Ian Mendez: I’ll get mom.
Tony Mendez: I’m looking for you.
[we see Ian is watching TV]
Tony Mendez: Did you do your homework tonight?
Ian Mendez: Yeah, it was easy.
Tony Mendez: Excellent. What are we watching?
Ian Mendez: The Planet of the Apes.
Tony Mendez: What channel is it on?
Ian Mendez: Five.
[Tony turns on his TV onto channel five]
Tony Mendez: Alright. What did you do at school today?
Ian Mendez: Oh, nothing, I don’t know. Nothing.
Tony Mendez: Can’t be nothing, somethin’ must have happened.
[as he’s talking to his son, Tony stares at the actors in costume in the movie on TV and suddenly we see a moment of inspiration coming up in his eyes]


[Tony returns to the CIA headquarters with his idea]
Tony Mendez: Okay, you know those science fiction movies, Star Trek, Star Wars, they need and 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 it out there, that we’re looking at Egypt, Istanbul. Then we go to the Consulate, 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 identity should be avoided as it increases operational instability.
Tony Mendez: This is a lot more plausible than foreigners who wanna be teachers in Iran.
Bates: Wanna blend in with the population, you don’t look like a rodeo clown.
Adam Engell: You 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…
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, 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.


[in Iran, the six hostages are feeling the pressures of not being able to go outside]
Bob Anders: I went outside for thirty seconds, alright. Could you give me a break! I can’t breath in this house. I need some fresh air, I can’t…I can’t breath!
Mark Lijek: Stay out by the fucking house.
Bob Anders: Who saw me go outside, I’m curious?
Joe Stafford: That’s not the point. That’s not the point, Bob.
Mark Lijek: It doesn’t matter who saw you go out.
Bob Anders: Did you see me? Did you see me go outside?
Mark Lijek: No. You did go outside…
Cora Lijek: I did! Okay! I saw you.
Joe Stafford: Bob, it only takes one second for them to spot you.
[we then see at the U.S. Embassy that the Revolutionary Guards have gathered that some Embassy employees are missing and set up the process of reassembling the shredded photo’s]


[as Tony is working in his office, O’Donnell knocks on his door]
Jack O’Donnell: We want you to go to L.A., if you can make the movie thing credible we’ll take it to the director. Don’t fuck up. The whole country is watching you, they just don’t know it.
[as O’Donnell walks off Tony realizes the magnitude of what he has to do]


[after calling John Chambers, a prosthetics artist, Tony goes to Hollywood to meet him]
Tony Mendez: What are you shooting?
John Chambers: Monster movie.
Tony Mendez: Oh, yeah? Is it any good?
John Chambers: Target audience will hate it.
Tony Mendez: Who’s the target audience?
John Chambers: People with eyes.
[Chambers sits and faces Tony]
John Chambers: Talk to me.
Tony Mendez: It’s an exfil.
John Chambers: From where?
Tony Mendez: Worst place you can think of.
John Chambers: Universal Studio.


[Tony gives Chambers a copy of Time magazine which is covering the news about the Iranian hostages]
John Chambers: How are you gonna get to the Embassy?
Tony Mendez: They’re not in the Embassy. During the takeover six people escaped, they’re hiding out in Tehran, and that’s who I’m gonna get.
John Chambers: What am I making?
Tony Mendez: I need you to help me make a fake movie.
John Chambers: Well, you came to the right place.
Tony Mendez: I wanna set up a production company and build a cover around making a movie.
John Chambers: That we’re not gonna make?
Tony Mendez: No.
John Chambers: So you wanna come to Hollywood and act like a big shot…?
Tony Mendez: Yeah.
John Chambers: Without actually doing anything?
Tony Mendez: No.
John Chambers: You’ll fit right in.
[Chambers smiles]


[Chambers and Tony are a bar where Chambers is going through the six hostages files]
John Chambers: Let’s see.
[looking at Cora Lijek’s file]
John Chambers: This one’s got an M.A. in English, she should be your screen writer. Sometimes they go along on scouts cause they want their free meals.
[passing Tony another file]
John Chambers: Here’s your director.
Tony Mendez: Can you teach somebody to be a director in a day?
John Chambers: You can teach a recess monkey to be a director in a day. Look, if you’re gonna do this, you gotta do it. The Kominiacs are fruit loops but they got cousins who sell prayer rugs and 8-tracks on Le 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. If you’re gonna do a $20 million dollars ‘Star Wars’ rip-off, you need somebody who’s a somebody to put their name on it. Somebody respectable, with credits, who you can trust with classified information, who will produce a fake movie, for free.


[Tony and Chambers visit Lester Siege, a highly respected producer, at his home]
Lester Siegel: Hi, I only got a couple minutes. I’m getting a lifetime achievement award.
John Chambers: Mazel tov, Lester.
Lester Siegel: I’d rather stay home and count the wrinkles on my dog’s balls.


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Total Quotes: 95



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