Lester Siegel: We made history today. "History starts out as farce and ends up as tragedy."
John Chambers: Quote's the other way around.
Lester Siegel: Yeah? Who said it?
John Chambers: Marx.
Lester Siegel: Groucho said that?
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: 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.
Landon Butler: They're claiming the embassy was a den of espionage.
Hamilton Jordan: We wish it was a fuckin' den of espionage. CI's got three people over there, they don't see a revolution coming? Call it something other than intelligence.
Jack O'Donnell: I am not going to leave him at the airport with six people and his dick in his hand. Tell the Director to call the White House. Do your fucking job!
John Chambers: Target audience will hate it.
Tony Mendez: Who's the target audience?
John Chambers: People with eyes.
LA Times Reporter: What does the title refer to?
Lester Siegel: The Argo. You know, it's the thing.
LA Times Reporter: Like Jason and the Golden Fleece, or what?
Lester Siegel: No, no. It's the ship. It's the spaceship. It goes everywhere. It goes all throughout space.
LA Times Reporter: So, it's Argonaut.
Lester Siegel: No.
LA Times Reporter: What does Argo mean?
Lester Siegel: I don't know.
LA Times Reporter: You don't know?
Lester Siegel: It means "Argo fuck yourself."
Jack O'Donnell: It's a Spy Agency! Find them!
Tony Mendez: I need you to help me make a fake movie.
John Chambers: (smiling) You came to the right place.
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: You can teach a rhesus monkey to be a director in a day.
Max Klein: You want me to be honest with you, Les?
Lester Siegel: No, I would like you to bullshit me, Max.
John Chambers: (to Tony Mendez) 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.
Lester Siegel: It's got horses in it, it's a Western.
Tony Mendez: If we're caught, you and Pat go on trial for harboring the enemy. You know that, right?
Ken Taylor: Pat and I have discussed it. It's the risk we took.
Lester Siegel: If I'm doing a fake movie, it's gonna be a fake hit.
(watching the Iranian demonstrators on TV)
John Chambers: You ever think, Lester, how this is all for the cameras?
Lester Siegel: Well, they're getting the ratings, I'll say that for them.
Tony Mendez: We are responsible for these people.
Jack O'Donnell: What we are is required to follow orders.
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.
Jack O'Donnell: (to Tony Mendez) The whole country is watching you, they just don't know it
Tony Mendez: Mike, if I were to say you were looking through the wrong end of that viewfinder, would I be right?
(Lee casually turns the viewfinder around)
Lee Schatz: Yup.
Tony Mendez: The only way this works is if you believe that you're these people so much that you dream like them.
Lamont: Call the Times, nail it to the goddamn door. CIA are the good guys.
Rossi: The Canadians are the good guys.
Lamont: Yeah, we're not greedy. Them, too.
Rossi: Only. Canada takes the credit, or they retaliate against the hostages. Great Satan wasn't involved. No CIA.
Lamont: Is that right, Jack?
Jack O'Donnell: Involved in what? We were as surprised as anybody. Thank you, Canada.
Ticket Clerk: I'm sorry I can't find your ticket.
Tony Mendez: (Very calm) Thank you. Could you check again?
Jack O'Donnell: Carter said you were a great American.
Tony Mendez: A great American what?
Jack O'Donnell: He didn't say.