The familiar logo WARNER BROS. PRESENTS COMES UP.
After a beat, it is consumed by FIRE.
It becomes AN AMERICAN FLAG, BURNING in the street.
1 EXT. U.S. EMBASSY (TEHRAN) – MORNING 1
Effigies of Jimmy Carter and the deposed Shah — crowds
chanting Magbar Carter! Magbar Ahmrika! Fists in the
SUPERIMPOSE: TEHRAN – NOVEMBER 4, 1979
YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN — about 2/3 men and 1/3 women, some
with flak jackets; about half the young women wear full
chador. Many wear plastic bibs with photographs of
PASTED TO ROOSEVELT GATE: photographs of STUDENTS who
were killed under the deposed Shah of Iran’s regime.
Signs in English: U.S.A. RETURN THE SHAH — JUSTICE
FOR MURDER. A few IRANIAN POLICE attend — more as
bystanders than peacekeepers.
A MAN frantically stabs an EFFIGY of the SHAH.
An IRANIAN STUDENT films the scene with a Super 8 camera.
2 EXT. EMBASSY GROUNDS – MORNING 2
From INSIDE THE EMBASSY GATES we can hear the noise of
the protest. There are three primary buildings on
campus: the CHANCERY, the embassy’s main building, THE
AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE, and the CONSULATE.
We can see that the compound is securitized: sand-filled
traps and steel bars on the windows of the consulate.
3 INT. U.S. EMBASSY – CONSULATE OFFICE – MORNING 3
Now, we see the POV THROUGH those steel bars.
Standing on a chair looking at the protest outside the
gate, is BOB ANDERS, late 40s-50s, a consular officer.
ARGO – Final 2.
3 CONTINUED: 3
Carnival’s bigger today.
MARK LIJEK, 29, a consular officer, joins Anders at the
4 EXT. ROOSEVELT GATE – MORNING 4
Then, in a famous piece of archive footage, something
simple happens. A YOUNG MAN IN A SWEATER climbs the gate
and makes it to the other side.
And now, we see the REVERSE of that famous shot. This
isn’t archive footage anymore.
We’re looking at the POV of TOM AHERN, 48, the CIA
station chief here.
5 INT. MARINE GUARD POST – MORNING 5
From a pillbox on the embassy campus, SGT. ROCKY
SICKMANN, a young MARINE, can also see the protestors
break across the lawn.
MARINE SGT. SICKMANN
(into his radio)
… Fort Apache is breached —
please advise —
6 EXT. ROOSEVELT GATE – MORNING 6
The PROTEST in front of the gate is getting rowdier —
its energy and numbers swelling.
A group of STUDENTS — these more brisk, organized, all
bearded and dressed in flak jackets — push their way to
the front of the protest —
WOMEN raise a banner. It’s a signal.
As if on cue, the IRANIAN POLICE move from the gates. A
WOMAN removes a large pair of bolt cutters from
underneath her chador — hands them to a BEARDED STUDENT
— who gets to work on the CHAINS holding the gate
When one YOUNG MAN wearing a green military field jacket
raises his fist, we can see that he has a concealed
PISTOL in his clothes.
More STUDENTS climbing the wall — dropping the 12 feet
to the other side, one after another.
ARGO – Final 3.
7 INT. MARINE GUARD POST – MORNING 7
MARINE SGT. SICKMANN
THEY’RE COMING OVER THE WALLS —
8 EXT. ROOSEVELT GATE – MORNING 8
But a moment later no more climbing is required, because
the GATE CHAIN IS CUT and protestors FLOOD through the
embassy gates, a human dam breaking —
9 INT. CHANCERY OFFICE – MORNING 9
Mounting chaos in here, the nerve center of the embassy.
Everyone on a different phone. It’s like an emergency
room where the patient is the whole building.
ANN SWIFT, 31, Deputy Political Officer, has the phone by
her ear — trying to hear reports from D.C.
There are hundreds of people out
No, thousands… There are
10 IN THE CONSULATE OFFICE – MORNING 10
Mark Lijek and Bob Anders look out windows, nervous, but
not like the Iranian VISA APPLICANTS who are close to
Are these supposed to be
Well, they’ve never been tested.
11 INT. CHANCERY (MARINE POST ONE) – MORNING 11
Six MARINES watch images from closed-circuit television
cameras on chunky 1970’s monitors. Crowds of protestors
from every part of the embassy campus.
AL GOLACINSKI, 30, chief of security for the embassy,
shouts into a radio.
ARGO – Final 4.
11 CONTINUED: 11
Marines to Number One — FALL
12 EXT. CHANCERY – MORNING 12
PROTESTORS come running, turning the corner to reach the
building. They use bats and crowbars to smash the
windows of the building.
13 INT. CONSULATE OFFICE – MORNING 13
(on the phone)
Can we get some fucking police
14 INT. MARINE POST ONE – MORNING 14
One by one, the security monitors are going black — or
smashed. The Marines stare.
15 EXT. TALEGHANI AVE. – MORNING 15
An IRANIAN POLICE CAPTAIN smokes a cigarette, watching
the mayhem, impassive.
16 INT. MARINE POST ONE – MORNING 16
MARINES are putting on armor, gas masks, riot gear. AL
GOLACINSKI gs down the line reminding them of protocol.
Don’t shoot. You don’t want to be
the sonofabitch who started a war –
They need an hour to burn the
classified — Hold.
You shoot one person, they’ll kill
every one of us in here.
17 EXT. CONSULATE – MORNING 17
PROTESTORS, now on the embassy grounds, carry banners.
ARGO – Final 5.
17 CONTINUED: 17
La ilaha ilallah —
A WOMAN IN A CHADOR uses her own radio.
Some of them ring around the building, holding hands and
chanting. Some carry AUTOMATIC WEAPONS openly.
18 INT. MARINE POST ONE – MORNING 18
Tear gas as last resort ONLY — I
repeat, only if your life is under
19 INT. HALLWAY – MORNING 19
Gallegos and Sickmann hear Golacinski’s admonition, but
PUMP TEAR GAS out a window onto protestors below despite
it. One cannister after another.
20 INT. CONSULATE OFFICE – MORNING 20
Now the five in the consulate are joined by LEE SCHATZ,
32, an agricultural attache.
— We’re not going out in this —
We are in the only building with
an exit direct to the street. We
need to GO —
The SOUNDS OF MARINES barking at one another over the
21 OMITTED 21
22 INT. HALLWAY – MORNING 22
They look out a small WINDOW to see a MOB outside.
I’m going outside.
ARGO – Final 6.
22 CONTINUED: 22
To reason with them.
Marines open the Chancery door, with a look —
23 INT. CHANCERY OFFICE – MORNING 23
FRED KUPKE, 34, communications officer, is shouting at
staffers who pile up documents for the shredders —
Just everything. Don’t sort it —
(on the phone)
— NONE, there are no police —
24 EXT. CHANCERY – MORNING 24
Al Golacinski steps out onto the steps and immediately
there is shouting, and a protestor puts a GUN to his head
— blindfolds him — PUSHING AL’S head to the ground…
25 INT. CONSULATE OFFICE – MORNING 25
— Second floor — anyone who can
hear this — we need help —
As we MOVE DOWN the line of desks, J STAFFORD is also
on a radio repeating the same in FARSI —
Others PACK things.
26 INT. THE HALLWAY – INTO THE VAULT – MORNING 26
MARINES and STAFFERS — including TOM AHERN — RUN down
the hall, pushing a cart of items to secure. They reach
the security locker — code the door — and enter the
locker, heading to the INCINERATOR to begin destroying
classified material —
27 EXT. CHANCERY – MORNING 27
Golacinski HELD UP TO THE DOOR — GUN TO HIS HEAD. He
starts to panic.
ARGO – Final 7.
27 CONTINUED: 27
Let me in! Jesus Christ! Open
the fucking door!
The Marines OPEN THE CHANCERY DOOR — PROTESTERS POUR IN.
27A INT. CHANCERY OFFICE – MORNING 27A
— Washington on flash — Get Ops
— get a line —
We hear —
The POUNDING of footsteps on the roof. They look up.
28 EXT. CONSULATE ROOF – MORNING 28
Protestors RUNNING on the roof of the consulate building.
Several stop to try and RIP off a vent cover using CLUBS
29 EXT. EMBASSY GROUNDS – MORNING 29
THOUSANDS are now on the grounds of the embassy and they
continue to swarm through the gates.
The student with the SUPER 8 continues to film it all.
Also filming, a NEWS PHOTOGRAPHER with a 16 mm camera.
Smoking cannisters of TEAR GAS, people hurling them.
A protestor lights a paper on fire to ward off the sting
of the gas —
30 INT. CHANCERY OFFICE – MORNING 30
STAFFERS using pieces of machines to destroy other
machines — any embassy equipment that might function —
Then… screams. The lights have gone out. The power
has been cut.
31 IN THE VAULT – MORNING 31
AHERN destroys the cryptography keys — box-sized hard
drives — while BILL DAUGHERTY, 33, tosses stacks of
papers into an electrical furnace.
ARGO – Final 8.
31 CONTINUED: 31
Well, Tom. You wanted to see the
The furnace makes a LOUD CHUNK and stops. They both hold
their looks for a beat.
Are you kidding me?
Get the shredder.
32 INT. CHANCERY STAIRWELL LEADING TO 2ND FLOOR – MORNING 32
BROTHER ALI, 20s, one of the student leaders, shouts as
he holds a cloth near his face to protect from tear gas.
33 INT. CHANCERY OFFICE – MORNING 33
The mood is now frantic — people destroying things or
shouting everywhere —
No… Hal — yes — INSIDE the
building, IN —
34 INT. CONSULATE OFFICE – MORNING 34
Bob Anders SMASHES AMERICAN VISA PLATES.
The visa-applicant Iranians are now huddled in a group.
A couple of the women are wailing.
Improv resuming the debate over leaving.
Lijek on his walkie, but every channel is now speaking
Nobody is coming. We need to go.
35 OMITTED 35
36 INT. CONSULATE OFFICE – MORNING 36
Mark gestures for the other six staffers — and the
twenty IRANIAN VISA SEEKERS in the office — to head to
ARGO – Final 9.
36 CONTINUED: 36
(as no one moves)
37 INT. CHANCERY – HALLWAY – MORNING 37
One STUDENT emerges with a large portrait of KHOMEINI
that had been used for dart practice.
Who has made this!!!
Two EMBASSY EMPLOYEES look at the floor.
38 INT. CONSULATE STAIRWELL – MORNING 38
The twenty VISA-SEEKING IRANIANS pass our guys and run
down the stairs out onto the street and disperse outside.
Behind them, the FIVE CONSULATE EMPLOYEES we saw head
down the stairs.
So the group of SIX is: MARK AND CORA LIJEK, J AND
KATHY STAFFORD, and BOB ANDERS. They get to the bottom
of the stairs.
39 INT. CHANCERY OFFICE – MORNING 39
The students, guns drawn, burst into the Chancery Office,
shouting at Ann Swift and the others. The mood among the
staffers is now almost peaceful.
(into the phone)
It’s done. They’re in.
She puts down the phone.
40 EXT. BIST METRI STREET – MORNING 40
The It’s quiet — the sound of the protest on the other
side of the roof and the embassy campus is distant. Just
the empty street.
On the ground: discarded banners from the protest,
fliers and newspapers.
We see something that looks like BLOOD on the street.
ARGO – Final 10.
40 CONTINUED: 40
They walk west. They’re hurrying but taking care not to
run. The five can hear the gunfire and shouting in
Farsi. They walk up the street, away from the sounds of
the protest, instinctively grouping together. Cora looks
41-45 OMITTED 41-45
46 INT. STATE DEPARTMENT HALL – SEVENTH FLOOR – NIGHT 46
Halfway around the world, hell has broken loose here,
too. BATES and MALICK, 30s, State Department mid-level
aides. A cascade of voices and energy — a reverberation
from the embassy siege — the building exploding into a
These fucks can hit us, we Mossadeq. We did it to
can’t hit back? them first.
You think the Russians would put
up with this? They’d fucking
ROBERT PENDER, 40s, joins them heading down the hall.
They’ve all gotten the same call to get to the
Secretary’s office. PETER GENCO, late 20s, behind.
What did you expect? We (turning behind him)
helped a guy torture and de- Schafer! Schafer!
ball an entire population —
At least 60. Could be a hundred.
(catching up to them)
You still haven’t found Schafer?
No, I was screaming his name
˜cause I was fucking him.
HAL SAUNDERS, late 40s, Assistant Secretary of State for
Near Eastern Affairs, perpetually stressed, coming out of
his office, out of breath —
ARGO – Final 11.
46 CONTINUED: 46
Six got out!
47 OMITTED 47
47A INT. SECRETARY OF STATE’S OFFICE – NIGHT 47A
STAPLED PAGES with PHOTOGRAPHS. In the hands of
SECRETARY OF STATE CYRUS VANCE, 62, a former Navy man who
is used to telling important people what to do.
EVERYONE FROM THE PREVIOUS HALLWAY SCENE is here in
attendance as well.
I was told five.
Apparently it’s six now.
Not clear. We know they escaped
Where are they?
The Canadian Ambassador’s house.
Are we attempting rescue?
Hold for the Secretary —
— there’s no one — this is he…
(to an aide)
Can we get Ottawa patched? Five
phones and none of them work.
Coming back — on phone —
Is White House joining?
ARGO – Final 12.
48 INT. WHITE HOUSE – WEST WING – NIGHT 48
HAMILTON JORDAN, 40s, Carter’s White House Chief of
Staff, comes up stairs, trailed by AIDES. Jordan is
They’re claiming the embassy was a
˜den of — ˜
We wish it was the fucking Den of
Espionage. C.I. had three people
there, didn’t see a revolution
coming? I’d call that something
other than intelligence —
49 INT. CHIEF OF STAFF’S OFFICE – NIGHT 49
There are already maps of Iran on easels in here. The
big three plus foreign networks on silent televisions.
LANDON BUTLER, 30s, Jordan’s Deputy Chief of Staff, is on
(into a phone)
Hold for the Chief of Staff —
(holds out the phone
(to Secretary) They’re sticking to it. No
I’ll call him back. release till we expel the
Jordan sinks into his chair, putting his feet up on the
JON TITTERTON, 30s, an aide to Jordan —
Put him on a plane. Fuck him.
He’s half dead and he’s in chemo.
We took him in. He’s ours now.
So we’ll take in any prick as long
as he’s got cancer?
ARGO – Final 13.
49 CONTINUED: 49
No. Just the pricks on our side.
So all our other pricks on their
prick thrones know, when they get
run out on a rail, they won’t be
getting their spleens out by a
camel vet in the Sinai.
The six with the Canadians.
Now Jordan is looking at a monitor showing footage of a
BLINDFOLDED HOSTAGE in front of the Embassy. AL
GOLACINSKI being prodded and led down the front stairs of
We’ve got 60 in the embassy with
guns to their heads right now —
The eyes of the world are on the
embassy. That makes them safer
than the six on the street.
(coming to the door)
Bani-Sadr’s saying it’ll be over
in 24 hours.
Leave the six where they are.
I’ll go brief the president.
CUT TO BLACK.
49A EXT. OLD DOMINION DRIVE (VIRGINIA) – AFTERNOON 49A
A LONE ribbon sags in the f.g. — the CAPITOL BUILDING
Yellow ribbons tied to lampposts. A Catholic church with
a sign on the lawn that says PRAY FOR OUR HOSTAGES. A
dry cleaner with a large American flag in the window and
yellow ribbons drawn by kids around it.
The exterior of a neighborhood bar, O’Tooles. More
SUPERIMPOSE: McLEAN, VIRGINIA – 69 DAYS LATER
ARGO – Final 14.
49B INT. MENDEZ APARTMENT – BEFORE DAWN 49B
A television connected to a faraway wall with an
extension cord sits on a coffee table. The t.v. shows
color test patterns.
We move over the coffee table, a mess of Chinese food
containers and beer bottles, to find TONY MENDEZ, 40,
asleep in his clothes from the day before.
The phone rings. He answers it, half awake.
He listens for a moment, then sits up, suddenly wide-
50 EXT. CANAL ROAD – MORNING 50
Mendez’s car speeds by yellow ribbons along trees on
51 EXT. CIA – PARKING LOT – EARLY MORNING 51
Mendez gets out of his car and hurries toward a white
building that looks like a college campus.
Prime Minister Bani-Sadr today re-
stated demands for the hostages’
52 INT. CIA DIRECTORATE OF OPERATIONS – MORNING 52
As we watch him hurry out of his car and into the CIA, we
start to pick up TVs as we go by them — all tuned to
some version of the same story.
He enters the front doors and crosses the famous EMBLEM
on the ground.
He moves past the STARS ON THE WALL, signifying fallen
CIA officers (and there were fewer stars then than now).
He passes the SECURITY GUARD at the desk, holds up his
badge. The guard nods.
ARGO – Final 15.
52 CONTINUED: 52
A young Tom Brokaw in a yellow, sleeveless sweater and
teal tie plays on the television, intoning on the Today
Show. ANGELA BELK, young wife of hostage WILLIAM BELK,
has a soft Southern voice and fights back tears. ( ABC,
BROKAW (V.O.) ANGELA BELK (V.O.)
Week ten of a hostage I’m so afraid that I won’t
crisis that seems without see him again. That he
end. A glimmer of hope won’t get out from over
after the release of some there, because everything —
women and Afro-Americans it seems like everything
but little activity in the they’re trying to do is
weeks since, and the images just backfiring, it’s not
of bound Americans under working —
armed guard have many
losing hope —
Under these images we hear an undulating drone — the
constant accompaniment of life then — coverage of the
PRESIDENT CARTER (V.O.)
The United States shall not
purchase oil from Iran. Iranian
assets shall be frozen and the
U.S. shall engage in a forceful
campaign of international
diplomacy against the Iranians…
Ten weeks State’s sitting on this?
53-55 OMITTED 53-55
56 INT. D.O. FLOOR – HALLWAY – LANGLEY – AFTERNOON 56
O’Donnell, frantically grabbing documents and tossing
them into an accordion folder.
The six of them went out a back
exit. Brits turned them away,
Kiwis turned them away. The
Canadians took them in. They’ve
been there since.
O’Donnell hands Mendez pages with STAFF PHOTOGRAPHS of
SIX PEOPLE — the escaped embassy employees — as he
continues to toss stuff into his folder.
ARGO – Final 16.
56 CONTINUED: 56
Traffic calls them The
Houseguests. Haven’t left the
Canadian ambassador’s house since
(shakes his head)
Just a matter of time. We’ve got
Revolutionary Guards going door-to-
door like Jehovah’s Witnesses,
looking for escapees. They’re out
for blood, Tony. Half of them
think Khomeini’s been too lenient
with the ones in the embassy.
Walking out of his office, Mendez following.
56A INT. CIA – THE PIT – CONTINUOUS ACTION 56A
They walk through an open floor of cubicles lined with
offices, we get a look at the 1979 CIA headquarters:
nothing sleek or sexy about the interior. An open area
of desks where Woodward and Bernstein might be spilling
coffee on their thick ˜70s ties. Papers and files
everywhere. Trash emptying happens only once a week.
Cigarette and cigar butts in ashtrays. Everything is
perpetually a mess. And typewriters. The constant
percussive sound of telexes and typing is the metronome
that beats out the day here.
Carter’s shitting enough bricks to
build the pyramids. He wants the
six of them out.
Who else knows?
Just the families. Meanwhile,
some genius in the embassy was
keeping a mug book of everybody
who worked there.
ARGO – Final 17.
56A CONTINUED: 56A
We think it got shredded before
they got in, but the fuckers have
sweat-shop kids in there re-
assembling the shreds.
They’re gonna make an example of
the ones who escaped. Standing-
room-only for beheadings in the
They walk through a door and out of the Pit.
57 INT. D.O. FLOOR – HALLWAY – AFTERNOON 57
— into a HALLWAY WITH POP ART on the walls. People with
laminated badges and folders with red stripes walk with
State’s coordinating in-house.
They don’t do exfils.
They do now. They want to run it
by us, strictly as consultants.
Off his look.
Engell’s saying it’s lose-lose.
These people die, they die badly.
Publicly. ˜State wants the blame,
he’ll give it to them.
Then why’s he want me?
So he can tell State he ran it by
his best exfil guy.
They stop in front of a conference room. Jack looks at
Tony. This isn’t the kind of
meeting where you talk.
ARGO – Final 18.
58 INT. CONFERENCE ROOM – A FEW MINUTES LATER 58
They enter to find: ADAM ENGELL, 40s or 50s, Deputy
Chief of Operations, hosting visitors from the State
Department: PENDER and BATES from State. The State guys
are both dressed better than the CIA guys, except for
Other CIA Operations OFFICERS and ANALYSTS sit in
Okay. This is Bob Pender from
State O.S. He’s been talking to
Morgan at ExtAff.
GENCO, a State Department Assistant, removes a drape from
the photographs of SIX FACES, State Department I.D.
photos. Pender indicates the first two photos — and
during this, we may flash to scenes of the Houseguests in
the Canadian ambassador’s residence —
Mark and Cora Lijek, 29 and 25.
He’s a consular officer and she’s
an assistant. Newlyweds. They
just got there a couple of months
ago. No language skills or in-
(re: the next photo)
Henry Lee Schatz. Agricultural
attache from Idaho. He was there
to sell U.S. tractors to Iranian
agro. Hid out with the Swedes
during the takeover then made his
way to join the others with the
(re: next photo)
J Stafford. Late twenties.
He’s smart and a climber. Speaks
Farsi. Arranged the hire of his
wife Kathy —
Understaffed so the faculty wives
were the typing pool.
That gs without comment in this room of men.
Bob Anders. Senior consular
officer, oldest of the group.
Most likely to be group leader.
ARGO – Final 19.
58 CONTINUED: 58
(now, shifting gears)
What we like for this are
bicycles. We’ve identified
backroads from the Shemiran
district — a couple of rat lines
through the mountains to the
crossing at Tabriz. Cars are off
the table because of the
Pender nods to Bates, who gs to a map, indicating the
north of Iran.
We wait till the weather clears up
then we deliver six bikes and
provide maps to the Turkish
We have intelligence they can ride
bicycles. Or we’re prepared to
send in somebody to teach them.
The professional spies shifting at the stupidity of it.
But nobody speaks up. And then —
You can send in training wheels
and wait at the border with
Attention turns to Mendez. O’Donnell shifts. Engell,
It’s 300 miles to the Turkish
crossings. They’d need a support
crew behind them with a tire pump.
(directed at Mendez) Who is —
We’ve only been asked to
sharpshoot this, State’s
handling the op.
Tony’s an exfil spesh. He got a
lot of the shah’s people out after
ARGO – Final 20.
58 CONTINUED: (2) 58
If these people can read OR add,
any minute they’re gonna figure
out they’re six short of a full
deck. It’s winter. You wanna
wait around for a nice spring day
for bike rides?
The only way out’s through the
airport. You build them new
identities, a Moses gs in, takes
them out on a commercial flight.
We’re exploring that They wouldn’t clear airport
option. control. Komiteh own the
They would pose as reporters. The
government issued 70-something —
Jumping in–MARIO MALINOV, 30s, an ambitious Bulgarian
CIA analyst, Bronx Science and MIT, raised in Queens,
— visas for American 74.
And the Revolutionary Guards keep
them on 74 leashes.
They get caught with journalist
creds, you’ve got Peter Jennings
with a noose around his neck in an
PAUL LAMONT, late 20s, a Master’s from the Woodrow Wilson
School before he joined CIA —
World Noose Tonight.
Pender looks at Bates, who is trying to impress his boss.
North American accents give us
limited options. So we get the
Canadians to issue them
ARGO – Final 21.
58 CONTINUED: (3) 58
English teachers from the
international school. Tested
model. It’s worked before.
The school was shut eight months
Bates, meanwhile, removing a binder from his accordion
folder: in the binder, a photograph of an emaciated kid
So do-gooders. They’re six
Canadians who’ve been over there
inspecting crops. Making sure the
kids get enough to eat. Get them
creds for an AG NGO —
But he’s already lost Mendez, who is going through a
newspaper on the table.
A Feed the Children thing — These kids are black.
O.S. can make binders with These are African kids.
starving kids —
Are there starving kids in We can get ethnically
Iran? appropriate kids.
I’m sure there’s skinny A logo with… seeds.
kids… ˜Seeds of Hope’…
Mendez holds a page from the newspaper up to Pender.
What do you see in the picture,
A beat. Pender dsn’t like this, but he’ll play.
What’s on the ground?
ARGO – Final 22.
58 CONTINUED: (4) 58
So what crops are the do-gooders
inspecting under Frosty?
Exfils are like abortions. You
don’t wanna need one, but when you
do, you don’t do it yourself.
The meeting is breaking up. Pender, followed by Bates,
leaves the room. Engell, who has just been made to look
bad and inherited a problem, stops by Tony.
You have a better plan?
Mendez dsn’t respond.
58A-59 OMITTED 58A-59
60 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE – DINING ROOM – 60
At dinner around a dining room table: the SIX
HOUSEGUESTS; KEN TAYLOR, 40s, Canadian ambassador. He
ds much to support the myth that Canadians are always
in a good mood. Next to him is PAT TAYLOR, Filipino,
40s. We’re joining various conversations, including one
with LEE SCHATZ, 29, an American agricultural attache,
the sixth escapee we heard about.
— Martin was the worst one.
Martin the Maximo King —
(to Lee Schatz)
— he looked like a cartoon witch
doctor, bone through his nose, so
she asked to take her picture with
J Stafford, keeping to himself.
(to J Stafford)
ARGO – Final 23.
60 CONTINUED: 60
— if your family’s hungry, you
don’t want to hear about
international law —
MARK LIJEK CORA LIJEK
And she’s off! Defending Not defending. Explaining.
them again — Stockholm
The sound of a fork on a glass. Ken Taylor is standing
I read today that Tehran was voted
the second most desirable city in
the world to live in. Everywhere
else tied for first.
To getting through ten weeks. To
(raising his glass)
Our hosts. Mr. Ambassador…
BOB ANDERS CORA LIJEK
Hear, hear… And Mrs.
But the liquid in their wine glasses is beginning to
shake. The noise of a HELICOPTER. Taylor tries to be
You should get into the crawl
61-67 OMITTED 61-67
68 INT. MENDEZ’S CAR – NIGHT 68
Mendez listens to the radio as he drives home along the
bridge, the Jefferson Memorial beyond.
The White House Christmas tree was
taken down today after never
having been lit, as the cruel
stalemate in Iran continues.
ARGO – Final 24.
68 CONTINUED: 68
This is a —
69 MONTAGE 69
that jumps around the world — scenes of our principals
and overlapping news accounts play.
FRANK REYNOLDS (V.O.)
Today, a clear threat to place the
remaining 50 Americans on trial as
69A INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE (TEHRAN) – NIGHT 69A
The Houseguests getting up from dinner. Kathy Stafford
(to Pat Taylor)
Kathy dsn’t want to go down
BOB ANDERS J STAFFORD
Jesus Christ — She’s claustrophobic.
69B FOOTAGE OF NILOFUR EKTEBAR – AKA TEHRAN MARY 69B
The Penn-educated Tokyo Rose of the hostage crisis.
She’s reading a statement to the camera.
TEHRAN MARY (V.O.)
Those who remain here are spies.
They will be treated as spies who
have interfered with the
sovereignty of the people of Iran.
69C INT. MENDEZ’ CAR – NIGHT 69C
Mendez driving — thinking —
69D INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE (TEHRAN) – NIGHT 69D
MARK LIJEK J STAFFORD
You’re putting us all at They’re not going to come
risk — into the house.
ARGO – Final 25.
69D CONTINUED: 69D
LEE SCHATZ BOB ANDERS
It’s her choice. Leave her (angry)
be. G’head. Put flowers in
their gun barrels —
SAHAR, housekeeper, is visible here cleaning up after
70 INT. MUSHROOM INN – DAY 70
A dark room where hostages are kept in groups of two.
A 21-year-old with an automatic weapon —
CROSS-CUTTING WITH —
71 INTERVIEW FOOTAGE OF AYATOLLAH KHOMEINI 71
If Carter ds not send back the
Shah, it is possible that they
will be tried and if they are
tried, who knows what will happen.
72 INT. SMALL-TOWN BAR – DAY 72
News footage of men inside a small-town bar. It’s a
broadcast of RON MILLER reporting from barometer
community Pecatonica, Illinois, on ABC News’, America
Held Hostage. ( 11/21/79)
RON MILLER (V.O.)
So, like the government in
Washington, the people in
Pecatonica are grappling for
JACK STROUP, Vietnam vet, red beard, a cap with the
Kenworth trucks logo, a denim jacket.
Even in our little community here,
people are drawn up, they’re
73 OMITTED 73
ARGO – Final 26.
74 INT. CARPET FACTORY – DAY 74
ANGLE – A SMALL HAND
pieces shreds together to form the words: U.S.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE — TEHRAN — CLASSIFIED.
He is working on reassembling the seized EMBASSY PAPERS —
a giant pile of shredded documents — with the skill of a
blindfolded child Mozart at the harpsichord.
We see the unmistakable image of a FACE being formed from
the shredded material.
75 ANGLE – CLOSEUP OF AYATOLLAH KHOMEINI 75
(Footage from a Mike Wallace interview. 60 Minutes
Our young people have taken over
this nest of corruption. America
can’t do a damn thing about it —
76 OMITTED 76
77 ARCHIVE FOOTAGE 77
Rage at an anti-Iran protest in front of the White House.
Signs: DEPORT ALL IRANIANS/CAMEL JOCKEYS GO HOME.
An IRANIAN-AMERICAN MAN is kicked as he crouches on the
ground. A MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN looks murderous as she waves
an American flag at the camera.
78 INT. SMALL-TOWN BAR – DAY 78
Back to the ABC News report, the bar in Pecatonica.
I’m like that guy screamin’ in
that movie-program Network,
y’know? I’ve had it. And if need
be, I’ll bear arms again.
ARGO – Final 27.
79 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE (TEHRAN) – NIGHT 79
The Houseguests descend into the crawlspace, a darkened,
cramped area — first the Lijeks, then Anders and
Schatz… then J and Kathy Stafford.
The trapdoor closes and the crawlspace gs COMPLETELY
80 INT. MENDEZ APARTMENT – KITCHEN – NIGHT 80
WALTER CRONKITE (V.O.)
And that’s the way it is, on this,
the 70th day of captivity for the
American hostages in Iran.
Mendez is watching Cronkite on a small television in his
kitchen. In front of him, a folder with Xeroxed
photographs of the HOUSEGUESTS.
He changes the channel and finds a GOOFY SEVENTIES
COMMERCIAL — He picks up the phone.
81 INT. CHRISTINE’S HOUSE – CROSS-CUTTING – NIGHT 81
IAN MENDEZ, 7 and about to turn 8, is watching a movie on
his bed. He picks up on the second ring.
You do homework tonight?
What was it?
But Tony can hear a television soundtrack with ominous
ARGO – Final 28.
81 CONTINUED: 81
What do I hear?
˜Battle for Planet of the Apes.’
Am I in trouble?
81 Mendez turns on his living room television to the three- 81
hour BATTLE FOR PLANET OF THE APES.
Catch me up.
Tony listens, staring ahead at the TV . A desert
landscape dotted with technological garbage. An ape
played by Roddy MacDowell walks across the landscape.
He’s staring at the television, but now really paying
The apes walk into the ruins of what was once a great
RODDY MacDOWELL (V.O.)
(on TV, as Caesar)
This is the hell my forefathers
used to speak about. (Etc.)
staring at the movie. Wheels turning in his head.
82-85 OMITTED 82-85
86 INT. SCI-FI LAB – A MINOTAUR – DAY 86
A bull/human experiment in a SCI-FI lab, coming to bovine
life. A SEXY SPACE NURSE is administering some kind of
shot to him. A SECOND NURSE stands by.
My creation… My creation…
ARGO – Final 29.
86 CONTINUED: 86
The Minotaur lifts his head, KNOCKS into the Nurse.
What the fuck, Brian?
A bell. WIDER REVEALS that we’re on a…
87 INT. WARNER BROS. SOUNDSTAGE – DAY 87
A DIRECTOR, 40s, whispers something to an A.D., mid-
(inquiring into a
John Chambers. John Chambers make-
88 INT. WARNER BROS. SOUNDSTAGE – DAY 88
JOHN CHAMBERS, Hollywood’s first Oscar winner for makeup,
walks onto set carrying a fishing tackle box of supplies.
SUPERIMPOSE: BURBANK, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 19, 1980
The A.D. joins Chambers, walking him onto the set.
He says the Minotaur’s prosthetic
is too tight so he can’t act.
If he could act he wouldn’t be
playing the Minotaur.
He smiles and waves at the Minotaur and begins to work on
his prosthetic with a brush and solvent.
ARGO – Final 30.
89 INT. NEAR CRAFT SERVICES TABLE – DAY 89
Chambers is foraging through ˜70s SNACKS. At the craft
service table. A guy in his SPACE ARMOR PANTS without
the top is eating as well.
A P.A. approaches, carrying a PHONE on a long cord.
Who is it?
Chambers gives the kid a look, takes the phone from him
and puts it to his ear.
90 INT. CIA – CONFERENCE ROOM – DAY 90
Pender and Engell sit at the table; O’Donnell hovers. A
few State Department and CIA ANALYSTS here, including
Malinov and Lamont; and DAVID MARMOR, early 30s, Engell’s
(quiet, to Malinov)
Is he coming?
Engell nods for the door to be shut.
Okay. Our N.E. put together a
They would pose as teachers from
the international school.
We went through all that — it’s
boarded up —
O’Donnell looking at the clock.
ARGO – Final 31.
90 CONTINUED: 90
Suppose the airport guards don’t
know that —
Suppose. Suppose Heckle and
Jeckle go over and save them —
The door swings open.
Hi. Sorry. Hi.
Have a seat, Tony.
He dsn’t. There’s an energy in him we haven’t seen
They’re a Canadian film crew on a
location scout for a science
fiction movie —
A shift in the room.
Star Wars, Star Trek. They need
an exotic place to shoot. We put
it out — the Canadian producers
put it out — that they’re looking
at Turkey, Egypt, whatever. Then
we go to the consulate and say we
wanna look at Iran. I fly in
there and we fly out together as a
film crew. Done.
˜In an exfiltration, flamboyant
cover identities should be
avoided, as it increases
This is more plausible than
foreigners who want to go to
school in Iran —
So you’re going to wake up
tomorrow in the movie business?
We have credentials for —
ARGO – Final 32.
90 CONTINUED: (2) 90
I’ve got a contact in L.A.
John Chambers. He’s a Hollywood
prosthetics guy, ds contracting
work for us on the side. If I go
see him, he’ll set us up. A
couple days to make it look real.
Mendez and O’Donnell turn their eyes on Pender, who is
the decision-maker here.
(after a beat, to
Remind me who you are again?
91 INT. CIA – THE PIT – A FEW MINUTES LATER 91
Tony stands in small messy KITCHEN AREA, pouring coffee.
On the coffeepot somebody’s pinned a note: CHANGE FILTER
IF YOU USE! DO UNTO OTHERS.
O’Donnell approaches, quietly stands behind him, smoking
quietly. Mendez turns around.
We want you to go to L.A. If you
can make the movie thing credible,
we’ll take it to the Director.
(a beat; a cigarette
Don’t fuck up. The whole
country’s watching you. They just
don’t know it.
92 INT. T.W.A. FLIGHT – MORNING 92
Mendez sits in an aisle seat. The PASSENGER next to him
is looking at the headline of The New York Times: NEW
THREATS FOR HOSTAGE TRIBUNALS.
Mendez is reading THE FIVE C’S OF CINEMATOGRAPHY.
ARGO – Final 33.
93 INT. MIDDLE-CLASS TEHRAN HOUSE – NIGHT 93
Six KOMITEH force their way into a house.
A Komiteh drags away a MAN in his forties while the man’s
wife cries. Automatic weapons are aimed at him, point-
From ACROSS THE STREET, an IRANIAN WOMAN, 20s, watches.
94 OMITTED 94
95 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE – LIVING ROOM – 95
Lee Schatz and Bob Anders play poker in a room decorated
with Persian carpets and mosaics. The gunfire audible
here too. Staring at their cards.
Mmm. 50, 35.
95A INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE – DINING ROOM – 95A
Pat Taylor helps THE SAME WOMAN we just saw, SAHAR, 20s,
clear the table. She is their housekeeper.
Your friends from Canada, ma’am.
All this time. They never go out.
A significant moment of eye contact. Then Sahar gs
back to clearing the table.
96 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE – KITCHEN – LATER 96
Kathy Stafford is roughly washing wine glasses at the
You’ve washed them three times.
He puts his arm on her shoulder. She keeps scrubbing.
ARGO – Final 34.
97 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE – BATHROOM – NIGHT 97
Ken Taylor is brushing his teeth in the mirror. Pat
98 EXT. BURBANK – AFTERNOON 98
The water tower on Warner Bros. studio — which in 1980
read, Burbank Studios.
99 INT. CHAMBERS’ STUDIO – AFTERNOON 99
Chambers leads Mendez into his makeup studio and starts
to open windows. Around the studio: stunt double-masks,
deformed monster foreheads, dental implants on shelves.
Planet of the Apes prosthetics. Mr. Spock ears on
Styrofoam stands. (Chambers created all these —
What are you shooting?
A monster movie.
The target audience will hate it.
Who’s the target audience?
People with eyes. Talk to me.
It’s an exfil.
Worst place you can think of.
ARGO – Final 35.
99 CONTINUED: 99
Mendez picks up a Newsweek magazine under a can of Tab on
a makeup table: blindfolded Iran hostages on the cover.
Chambers takes it in for a moment — the gravity of it.
How you getting in the embassy?
Six got away. They’re hiding in
the city. I’m going over to get
What am I making?
I need you to help me make a fake
You’ve come to the right place.
I need to set up a production
company and build a cover around
making a movie.
That we’re not going to make.
You want to go around Hollywood
acting like you’re an important
person in the movie business.
But you don’t want to actually do
You’ll fit right in.
ARGO – Final 36.
100 INT. SMOKE HOUSE – AFTERNOON 100
A couple of empty highball glasses on the table.
Chambers is looking at PHOTOGRAPHS of the SIX. Mendez is
taking notes. On a photo of Cora Lijek.
This one’s got an M.A. in English.
She should be your screenwriter.
Sometimes they go on scouts ˜cause
they want the free meals.
(re: Bob Anders)
This guy’s the director.
Can you teach a guy how to be a
director in a day?
You can teach a rhesus monkey to
be a director in a day. Look, if
you’re gonna do it, you’ve got to
do it. The Khomaniacs are fruit
loops, but they have cousins
selling eight tracks and prayer
rugs on La Brea. You can’t build
cover stories around a movie that
dsn’t exist. You need a script.
You need a producer.
I’m the producer.
No, you’re not. ˜Associate’ at
best. If it’s a twenty-million
dollar Star Wars rip-off, you need
somebody who’s a somebody to put
his name on it.
Here we see some AUTOGRAPHED ˜70s CELEBRITY 8X10s hanging
on the wall.
The waiter brings a bill.
Somebody respectable. With
credits. Who we can trust with
classified information. Who’ll
produce a fake movie. For free.
101 EXT. BEVERLY HILLS – EVENING 101
They walk up the driveway of a ˜70s Bel Air home.
ARGO – Final 37.
101 CONTINUED: 101
Yeah, come in.
102 INT. SIEGEL HOUSE – HALLWAY – EVENING 102
And there’s LESTER SIEGEL, a semi-legendary producer in
his semi-legendary seventies. He’s equal parts bookie
and rabbi. His father sold perfume on the Lower East
Side. Lester is halfway to dressed in a tuxedo.
I only got a couple minutes. I’m
getting a lifetime achievement
Mazel tov, Lester.
Aaah, I’d rather stay home and
count the wrinkles on my dog’s
balls. These fuckin’ things are
like getting measured for your
coffin. ˜He don’t look so good.
Let’s give him an honorary award.’
TIME CUT TO:
103 INT. SIEGEL’S DEN – ANGLE ON TV – TED KOPPEL – EVENING 103
Reporting on Iran.
A little experiment. You be me
The TV we’re watching sits in a room with a couple of
Golden Globes and pictures of a younger Lester.
Six people in the middle of a city
of, what, four million —
ON TV, a wild-eyed woman in the crowd (in one of the most
widely-played clips of the hostage crisis) makes an ax-
falling gesture with her arm repeatedly.
ARGO – Final 38.
103 CONTINUED: 103
— who chant ˜Death to America’
all the livelong day. You wanna
set up a picture in a week. Lie
to a whole town of people who lie
for a living. Have Double-O-Seven
here sneak into a country that
wants CIA blood with their
breakfast cereal. Duck Iranian
intelligence. Then walk the Brady
Bunch out of the most watched city
in the world…
… and past a hundred Komiteh at
Look, I wanna help you but… In
the Army, we did suicide missions
that had better odds. So lemme
hit it again for the cheap seats:
Chambers gives Mendez a look.
(to Lester, as he
Enjoy your fish dinner tonight.
Chambers stops at the muted television. More images of
You ever think, Lester, how it’s
all for the cameras?
They’re getting the ratings, I’ll
give ˜em that —
Siegel looks at the TV: at that moment, a HOSTAGE TAKER
holding up photos of hostages for CAMERAS in front of
him. He takes a beat.
We’re gonna need a script.
A beat of silence. A LOOK from Siegel to Chambers.
How ˜bout The Horses of Achilles?
ARGO – Final 39.
104 EXT. BY LESTER’S POOL – MORNING 104
Chambers, on hold on the phone, walks to Siegel holding
up The Horses of Achilles script in a William Morris
binder. Stacks of scripts on a table outside. Siegel’s
new A.F.I. award is being used as a coaster.
Nobody makes Westerns anymore.
(looking through it)
It’s ancient Troy.
If it’s got horses in the title,
it’s a Western.
(into the phone)
Yeah, Kenny, please. It’s John
Chambers, about the office space.
It dsn’t matter. It’s a fake
If I’m doing a fake movie, it’s
gonna be a fake hit.
Is A006 still open on the lot?
105 INT. SIEGEL’S LIVING ROOM – DAY 105
Mendez, on the PHONE near a fully stocked bar.
The Canadians are done. Say
they’re bearing too much risk.
106 INT. O’DONNELL’S OFFICE – CROSS-CUTTING – DAY 106
Foreign Secretary cornered Vance
in Brussels and told him she’s
serving eviction papers. The
Cardinal wants all cover options
on his desk Friday morning.
That’s too soon.
ARGO – Final 40.
106 CONTINUED: 106
Engell’s prepping the Bikes Option
and the Teachers Option. You’ve
got 72 hours to make yours
107 INT. SIEGEL’S LIVING ROOM – DAY 107
Mendez is looking down at the SCRIPT in front of him. He
opens to the first page.
ANGLE ON HIM
108 EXT. LESTER’S POOL – DAY 108
Mendez walks up to the table where Siegel and Chambers
are already eating.
˜Fade in on starship landing. An
exotic, Middle Eastern vibe.
Women gather, offering ecstatic
libations to the sky gods.’
˜ARGO. A science-fantasy
Mendez throws down the script.
It’s in turnaround. It’s dog
It’s a space movie in the Middle
East. Ds it matter?
Chambers looks at the BULLSEYE logo on the cover page.
Can we get the option?
Why do we need the option?
ARGO – Final 41.
108 CONTINUED: 108
You’re worried about the
Ayatollah? Try the WGA.
109 EXT. CROSSROADS OF THE WORLD (HOLLYWOOD) – DAY 109
Tony and Lester turn off Sunset Blvd. and into the office
He’s only a prick if you catch him
on the wrong day.
Is it the wrong day?
It’s always the wrong day.
They’ve arrived at a door with a sign: MAX KLEIN
110 OMITTED 110
111 INT. MAX KLEIN’S OFFICE – A FEW MINUTES LATER 111
We see all kinds of MOVIE POSTERS AND MEMORABILIA ALL
OVER THE OFFICE.
You’re gonna get this into
production in one month?
Who are you again?
Kevin Harkins. Studio Six Films.
He’s the money.
I thought you were retired,
ARGO – Final 42.
111 CONTINUED: 111
— Till I read the Argo. Look,
how ˜bout we say fifteen thou and
close on this?
You want me to be honest with you,
Naah, bullshit me, Max.
Okay. Because I enjoyed your
films, the early ones. I took
this meeting out of respect
because I wanted to tell you ˜no’
to your face.
Thank you. Very respectful.
You’re done, Lester. You’ve gotta
get your cataracts fixed and read
the trades. MGM just capitalized
for six new films and they’re
desperate for Sci-Fi. They’ve
already offered me four times what
What can I say? Congratulations.
(shrugs to Mendez)
He’s got me.
A beat. Mendez ready to go —
But see — it worries me, what you
said, and I’ll tell you why. A
couple weeks back I was sitting in
Trader Vic’s enjoying a Mai Tai
when my pal Warren Beatty came to
wish me well and we had a little
chat. Seems he was attached to
star in Zulu Empire — which was
gonna anchor that MGM slate — but
Warren confided in me that the
picture’s gone over-budget ˜cause
the Zulu extras wanna unionize.
ARGO – Final 43.
111 CONTINUED: (2) 111
They may be cannibals swallowing
each other up but they want health
and dental, so the movie’s kaput —
which means that MGM deal ain’t
gonna happen and your script ain’t
worth the buffalo-shit on a
Lester takes some documents out of a folder.
The way this looks to me —
through the cataracts, I grant you
— is that you can either sign
here and take ten thousand for
your toilet-paper script — or you
can go fuck yourself.
Siegel smiles kindly and holds a pen and the contracts
out to Klein. Klein takes them.
112 EXT. STREET – A FEW MINUTES LATER 112
You know Warren Beatty?
I took a leak next to him at the
113 OMITTED 113
114 EXT. WARNER BROS. LOT – LATE DAY 114
Lester and Tony eat tacos at a picnic table on the lot.
You got kids, Lester?
You see them much?
I talk to them once a year, maybe.
ARGO – Final 44.
114 CONTINUED: 114
I was a terrible father.
The bullshit business is like coal
mining. You can’t wash it off
before you kiss your wife and
A son. Lives with his mother in
Taking time off.
He’s gotta… stay where he is.
Kids need the mother.
114A EXT. ARGO PRODUCTION OFFICE (LOT – NY STREET) – MORNING 114A
Chambers and a GRAPHIC ARTIST walk through the set. We
REVEAL a couple of CYLON RAIDERS, helmets off, taking a
break from shooting and leaning against the wall.
115 INT. O’DONNELL’S OFFICE – DAY 115
O’DONNELL reads from the EYES ONLY document.
They caught the shah’s chief of
security trying to get on a plane
116 INT. PRODUCTION OFFICE – MORNING 116
WIDER REVEALS that the production office is being set up.
A couple of FURNITURE GUYS move chairs in.
Mendez is looking at a POSTER. It reads: Studio Six
Productions presents: ARGO. A COSMIC WAR.
ARGO – Final 45.
116 CONTINUED: 116
(to a graphic artist)
˜War’ sounds like Star Wars.
Let’s use a different word.
Mendez closes the door to his private office.
˜Since the incident, the number of
guards at the airport has doubled.
Thorough background examinations
should be expected.’
I need another week.
You don’t have it.
117 INT. ARGO PRODUCTION OFFICE – NIGHT 117
Mendez gs out into the main part of the office — it’s
Tony, Siegel, and Chambers now.
They have hung up all their ARGO MATERIALS on the wall
and are reviewing them.
We’ve got a script. We’ve got
business cards.We’ve got a poster.
If I’m them? It’s nothing we
couldn’t make at home.
I did a movie with Rock Hudson
˜You need to sell a lie, you get
the press to sell it for you.’
118 INT. ARGO PRODUCTION OFFICE – DAY 118
Now it’s noisy in here now — a PUBLICIST, ASSISTANTS and
controlled chaos —
(on the phone)
— press event and reading… No,
I promised Variety exclusive on
Mendez is making a list with a PUBLICIST.
ARGO – Final 46.
118 CONTINUED: 118
˜Biggest Canadian production in
history.’ Canadian Gone With The
PUBLICIST ASSISTANT #2
Canadian Sci-Fi Gone With Studio Six Films.
As Chambers pulls Mendez —
(on the phone)
I gotta get back to you, Phil. I
can’t get my own mother a ticket.
I had to tell her it was
Are you turning people away?
(covering the phone)
You know what gets more suckers
than a sign that says ˜Brooklyn
Bridge For Sale’? ˜Brooklyn
Bridge: Approved Buyers Only.’
(as they go)
Philip? You there?
Chambers leads us into the main room, leading Tony to a
table where JACK KIRBY, 62, comics artist, fusses with
large COMIC PANELS of ARGO CONCEPT DRAWINGS spread over a
Kirby starts to distribute storyboards. Some hold on to
them and an ASSISTANT begins putting them up on the
Mendez looks at them. Impressed. He picks up a drawing
of some futuristic-looking vehicles.
Any way to make the chariots look
more — Middle-Eastern — ?
Kirby takes out a marker and starts to sketch a
futuristic-looking desert glider.
ARGO – Final 47.
119 OMITTED 119
120 OMITTED 120
121 OMITTED 121
122 OMITTED 122
123 EXT./INT. BEVERLY HILTON – LATE DAY 123
A black sedan pulls up to the hotel. A driver opens the
back door. Mendez, Siegel, and Chambers get out of the
car. They’re wearing suits.
They walk past a sign that reads: PRESS EVENT and
READING FOR ARGO. A couple of posters with the explosion-
in-space ARGO: A COSMIC CONFLAGRATION logo.
124 INT. BEVERLY HILTON – STARDUST LOUNGE – DUSK 124
Tony is on a balcony outside the ballroom. He passes the
bar on his way in.
Inside he sees Chambers, Lester and a PUBLICIST who
promptly moves Tony into a conversation with a REPORTER.
Janet from the Times — You know
Johnny Chambers and Lester Siegel.
This is Kevin Harkins. He’ll tell
you a bit about the film —
We leave Mendez with the L.A. Times —
FOLLOWING Siegel —
Jack Kirby’s storyboard drawings throughout the room.
Four or five ACTORS IN SCI-FI COSTUMES.
He turns around. NINA, a woman in her early sixties,
made up to look younger.
You’re gorgeous. You’re in the
ARGO – Final 48.
124 CONTINUED: 124
I’m playing Serksi, the Galactic
BACK TO: Mendez. A Publicist is guiding Mendez toward
an anemic-looking man —
Rodd from Variety. Kevin Harkins.
BACK TO Siegel and Chambers, walking away from NINA.
Keep that fucking space witch away
You know her?
I was married to her.
Mendez, now talking to RODD, from VARIETY.
You said shooting in Iran with an
You ever watch the news?
Publicist hands Mendez a LASER GUN and a photographer
snaps his picture. Siegel walks by, downing one from the
BACK TO SIEGEL AND CHAMBERS
A Hollywood Reporter writer talking to Siegel. The
publicist stands by —
So the title refers to…
The Argo, it’s the, y’know, the
ARGO – Final 49.
124 CONTINUED: (2) 124
Siegel takes a couple of canapÃ©s from a passing Waiter,
… Jason and the Golden Fleece,
— the spaceship, it flies around
space, alllll over space —
Is it the Argonaut?
Siegel dsn’t know what he’s talking about.
Then what ds ˜Argo’ mean?
And finally Lester’s had it — with his mouth full —
It means Argo fuck yourself.
Let’s all take our places for the
And we SETTLE ON MENDEZ. He takes a glass of wine from a
passing waiter’s tray, downs it, and puts it on another
WAITER’S tray. We FOLLOW that waiter THROUGH a swinging
door, INTO the kitchen and prep area, where a small black
and white TV plays…
125 ARCHIVE FOOTAGE 125
Tehran Mary speaks into a microphone.
TEHRAN MARY (V.O.)
As the Imam Khomeini said, we have
found no evidence that proves that
these people are diplomats.
126 INT. O’DONNELL’S OFFICE – NIGHT 126
O’Donnell, watching the same footage on the News.
ARGO – Final 50.
126 CONTINUED: 126
TEHRAN MARY (V.O.)
All evidence proves that these
people are spies.
The ARRAY OF VIDEO CAMERAS on tripods recording her.
Our world has changed.
127 INT. BEVERLY HILTON HOTEL – STARDUST LOUNGE – DUSK 127
The reading of Argo is happening around a table.
The fire of hope stopped burning
in this galaxy long ago.
A HANDSOME LEAD, ACHILLES CRUX, says his line.
Fire the thrusters!!
128 INT. AROUND THE CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE (TEHRAN) 128
— fifty-seven — fifty-eight —
Mark counts out as Lee Schatz ds push-ups. Bob Anders
watches a television in the b.g., subtitled in Farsi.
JIMMY CARTER (V.O.)
We will not yield to international
terror or to blackmail.
129-130 OMITTED 129-130
131 INT. MUSHROOM INN (AMERICAN EMBASSY, TEHRAN) – NIGHT 131
Five of the EMBASSY HOSTAGES — men from their 20s to
their 50s — are roused from their sleeping mats by
Komiteh. Hoods are put over their heads.
PRINCESS ALEPPA (V.O.)
The old ways are lost, but there
is still hope.
ARGO – Final 51.
131 CONTINUED: 131
TEHRAN MARY (V.O.)
We will begin the trials and will
carry out the sentences.
This MONTAGE: Voice upon voice, image upon image, landing
on television sets.
132 OMITTED 132
133 INT. AMERICAN EMBASSY (TEHRAN) – BASEMENT – NIGHT 133
The four hostages, hoods on their heads, placed against
the wall. HOSTAGE TAKERS raise their guns at the men.
GREEN JACKET PRINCESS ALEPPA (V.O.)
(Farsi) If we find his ship, we
Fire! will find our chance.
Aboard the Argo lies my
hope. My hero. My
They pull their triggers. But nothing happens. It’s a
mock execution (actually occurred — February 5, 1980).
The five hostages, after a beat, either scream or
134 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE – NIGHT 134
J Stafford, watching Khomeini on TV, to Bob Anders —
gravity of it)
He’s marginalized the moderates
A hundred and twelve —
134A INT. BEVERLY HILTON – DUSK 134A
NESTOR THE DROID
We’re hit. We’ll never clear the
We see the ROW OF PRESS PEOPLE. Not unlike the ones
watching Tehran Mary.
ARGO – Final 52.
134B INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE – NIGHT 134B
Lee Schatz collapses from his push-ups. Breathing
And we have a new champion.
Bob Anders looks up from Khomeini, who keeps talking in
the b.g., and applauds.
134C OMITTED 134C
134D INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE – NIGHT 134D
SAHAR quietly cleans a table. She’s watching the
˜Crane down over the battlefield
and hold there…’
135 INT. BEVERLY HILTON HOTEL – NIGHT 135
Chambers, at the table, sitting next to Siegel. Mendez
sits off to the side.
˜… on a single red flower
growing from the ruins of the
starship in the desert. Fade to
black. The End.’
136 OMITTED 136
136A OMITTED 136A
137 INT. TONY’S HOTEL ROOM – EVENING 137
Mendez, lying on his bed with the phone. Near him, a copy
of VARIETY turned to a full-page ad. ( This is real —
Variety): STUDIO SIX PRODUCTIONS PRESENTS: ARGO: A
ARGO – Final 53.
138 INT. NEAR O’DONNELL’S OFFICE – MORNING 138
O’Donnell comes from the kitchen to find ENGELL waiting.
He hands O’Donnell a copy of Variety. ARGO TO BEGIN
SHOOTING IN MARCH. Oscar-winner Chambers, Siegel Among
And there is a photo of Mendez from the press event.
Smiling and holding a laser gun.
139 INT. TONY’S HOTEL ROOM – MORNING 139
Mendez, seeing red, pacing —
Why’d he do it?
He did it ˜cause he did it.
140 INT. O’DONNELL’S OFFICE – MORNING 140
He saw a covert intelligence
officer saying ˜cheese’ with R2-
D2. They’re going with the
It’s a death sentence, Jack.
Well then it’s on Engell.
It’s done, Tony. Wash your hands.
He hangs up. Mendez, looking out the hotel window at
141 INT. ARGO PRODUCTION OFFICE – MORNING 141
While Tony packs a bag of papers from his desk.
I made thirty pictures. Half of
them the pricks upstairs tried to
shut me down.
Mendez finishes packing, zips up the bag.
ARGO – Final 54.
141 CONTINUED: 141
My ass is staying right here and
running a movie company.
Mendez stops zipping as Siegel takes a bottle of Jack and
three shot glasses from a drawer.
Ey. The first shot of the
Lester gives glasses to each of them. Chambers holds up
Argo fuck yourself.
They raise to that.
MENDEZ AND SIEGEL
Argo fuck yourself.
They each do a shot. Then Tony picks up his bag and
heads out. Before he gs —
How’d you always get around the
There’s always another prick one
floor higher up.
142 EXT. STATE DEPARTMENT – DAY 142
Mendez approaches the iconic building.
143 INT. STATE DEPARTMENT LOBBY – DAY 143
Mendez catches up with Jack on the second level of the
lobby, opposite the row of flags.
What did you do to get the
I used your name.
Jack looks to Tony.
ARGO – Final 55.
143 CONTINUED: 143
You can forget about that time-
share in Ocean City, Jack.
144 INT. STATE DEPARTMENT – SEVENTH FLOOR – RECEPTION ROOM – 144
Tony and O’Donnell sit in the waiting area, across from a
SECRETARY. They look down the hall to see:
CIA DIRECTOR ADMIRAL STANSFIELD TURNER, 50s, and
SECRETARY OF STATE CYRUS VANCE walk down the hall
together, discussing something in hushed tones.
(under his breath)
Brace yourself. It’s like talking
to those two old fucks on ˜The
Vance and Turner enter the room without recognizing them.
Mendez and O’Donnell stand up.
145 INT. STATE DEPARTMENT – SEVENTH FLOOR OFFICE – ANGLE – 145
A concept drawing from Argo.
Aliens and robots.
The four men are gathered in the back of Vance’s office,
around a table. Over them we see the STATE DEPARTMENT
TURNER is looking at the storyboard.
You’re telling me there’s a movie
office in Hollywood right now
that’s funded by the Central
ARGO – Final 56.
145 CONTINUED: 145
What’s wrong with the bikes again?
Vance, with a copy of Comics Week. THE NEXT STAR WARS?
Next to it, a photograph from the press event: Mendez
holding a laser gun. CANADIAN EPIC WILL BE FILMED IN THE
… you think this — We tried to get the message
— this is more plausible than
One, there are no foreign teachers
in Iran anymore —
— two, we think everybody knows
Hollywood people. And everybody
thinks they would shoot during
Stalingrad with Pol Pot directing
if it’d sell tickets.
There are only bad options. It’s
about finding the best one.
You don’t have a better bad idea
This is the best bad idea we have,
sir. By far.
Vance and Turner exchange looks.
The United States government just
sanctioned your science fiction
146 INT. MENDEZ’S APARTMENT – BEDROOM – NIGHT 146
Mendez is packing to go. He packs a passport with his
photo and the name KEVIN COSTA HARKINS. He takes off his
wedding band and places it with care — almost with
ceremony — in a spot on his dresser.
ARGO – Final 57.
147 OMITTED 147
148 INT. O’DONNELL’S CAR – NIGHT 148
O’Donnell is driving, Mendez in the passenger seat. They
just sit there for a moment. In the car.
I’m required to remind you that if
you’re detained, the agency will
not claim you.
Barely claim me as it is.
Your ˜In Case Of’s’ good?
They don’t need to look at one another. A shared
Guess I should have brought some
books to read in prison.
Nah. They’ll kill you long before
Tony gets out of the car, pulls his bags from the back
seat, and slams the door. Headed into the airport.
149 INT. ARGO PRODUCTION OFFICE – DUSK 149
Siegel is standing in the office watching Jimmy Carter
speak mournfully on TV, Chambers watching from a desk
Bad news, bad news, even when it’s
good news it’s bad news. Christ.
(a phone starts
John Wayne’s in the ground six
months and this is what’s left of
ARGO – Final 58.
149 CONTINUED: 149
(picking up the
150 INT. DULLES AIRPORT – NIGHT 150
We’ve got a green light.
Chambers gives Siegel a thumbs-up.
Keep the office running till you
(this means thank
Argo fuck yourself.
151 INT. ARGO PRODUCTION OFFICE – DUSK 151
Argo fuck yourself.
152 OMITTED 152
153 INT. CHRISTINE’S HOUSE – NIGHT 153
The phone in the living room rings. No one is home.
154 INT. DULLES AIRPORT – NIGHT 154
Mendez hangs up the airport pay phone.
155 INT. DULLES AIRPORT – LATER 155
He sits near a mailbox inside the terminal writing on a
postcard with the Washington Monument on it.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE BUDDY-MAN. NO PHONE FOR A WHILE.
JACK WILL CALL. LOVE YOU BOTH. Then he adds: SO MUCH.
He drops the card in the box and heads toward a gate
ARGO – Final 59.
156 OMITTED 156
157 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE – LIVING ROOM – DAY 157
The Houseguests are gathered around Bob Anders.
— it was thirty seconds for
Christ’s sake. To get some air in
the yard. I couldn’t breathe —
MARK LIJEK J STAFFORD
You know what the rules All it takes is one second
are. to spot you.
Who saw me go out?
MARK LIJEK CORA LIJEK
It dsn’t matter. You did I did, actually. I saw
go out. you.
(to Cora Lijek)
Miss Hall Monitor. Creeping
around with her notebook —
Don’t talk to her that way.
CORA LIJEK BOB ANDERS
(to Mark) Little Laura Ingalls.
I’ll defend myself. Okay? Watching every move —
A sound at the door, and they go silent.
Ken carrying his briefcase, cheerfully oblivious to what
he’s walked into.
You’re getting a visitor.
158 OMITTED 158
159 INT. WEST WING – MORNING 159
An NSC LIAISON, holding a file with a red stripe, walks
to Jordan’s office.
ARGO – Final 60.
160 INT. CHIEF OF STAFF OFFICE – MORNING 160
He finds Jordan sitting on a long table, looking
exhausted, silently watching one of the monitors: The
Today Show on NBC.
A man in Scranton’s putting a flag
on his lawn for every day of
When he runs out of lawn, Kennedy
wins the primary.
Vance hands him the folder.
The six with the Canadians are
Jordan, brought back from Scranton and politics by this,
opens the file and looks at it.
(after a moment)
Who signed off on this?
161 OMITTED 161
161A EXT. ISTANBUL – DAY 161A
ESTABLISHING SHOT. WIDE. OVER the city, featuring the
famous domed mosques.
SUPERIMPOSE: ISTANBUL – JANUARY 25
162 EXT. ISTANBUL – PLAZA ON THE WATER – DAY 162
Mendez walks, the BOSPHORUS in the b.g. He reaches the
doors of an OFFICIAL-LOOKING BUILDING and gs inside.
163 INT. IRANIAN CONSULATE (ISTANBUL) – DAY 163
Mendez sits in a reception room with a few VISA
APPLICANTS. Photographs of the Ayatollah Khomeini hang
on the wall. Two REVOLUTIONARY GUARD OFFICIALS in ill-
fitting suits sit at a desk.
ARGO – Final 61.
164 INT. IRANIAN CONSULATE – VISA OFFICE – DAY 164
The IRANIAN CONSUL OFFICIAL, late 30s, is smoking.
What will be the purpose of your
visit to Iran?
Business. Film production.
The Consul Official looks at his Canadian passport.
Why didn’t you get your visa in
My boss waited until I was here to
send the telex.
If he had a thought in his head,
it would die of loneliness.
Pointed look from Mendez. The universal condition of
boss hatred almost always works for him, and it ds now.
Consul nods. Stamps the passport. KINGDOM OF IRAN — He
crosses out KINGDOM and writes by hand: ISLAMIC REPUBLIC
164A EXT. BLUE MOSQUE – MORNING 164A
Tony walks through the doorway revealing the historic
mosque, we hear the call to prayer echo through the
courtyard. Tony walks through the courtyard. We see
some TOURISTS with ˜70s Instamatics. Locals are HEADING
IN TO PRAY.
165 INT. HAGIA SOPHIA – UPPER LEVEL – LATER 165
We see the beautiful ceiling of the former cathedral.
PULL BACK to reveal Tony stands looking out over the
second level balcony. A MAN walks up behind him.
˜Iran is a hundred percent not in
a pre-revolutionary state.’ End
Mendez looks up: a MAN, late 40s-50s with a British
accent, is talking to him. PETER NICHOLLS, an Oxbridge
type and a very good spy.
ARGO – Final 62.
165 CONTINUED: 165
Can’t be right all the time.
When’d you get back?
165A INT. HAGIA SOPHIA – LOWER LEVEL – DAY 165A
FIND Mendez and Nicholls.
Were you metal detecting?
None left to find. Shah escaped
with a 747 so laden with gold bars
it nearly didn’t make it off the
But you kept busy.
Ferrying out the torture apparatus
of our friend’s fallen
Both these men do this work and share an unspoken
understanding. They stop and look up at a MOSAIC on the
wall. An ancient rendition of Christ, fashioned before
the Muslims took the city and converted this church to a
Nicholls has WHITE AND YELLOW SLIPS OF PAPER with Farsi
writing on them in hand. He gives them to Tony.
It’s getting worse. Everybody who
lands at Mehrabad now fills out
one of these.
(a WHITE one)
That slip makes a copy to this one
(a YELLOW one)
Passenger keeps Yellow, Airport
ARGO – Final 63.
165A CONTINUED: 165A
When you leave the country, they
match them up to verify you came
into the country when you said you
So if they look, they’ll know six
people didn’t come in with me.
If they look.
Nicholls and Tony turn away from the mosaic,
surreptitious work now done, and meander toward the
middle of the great room.
166 INT. HAGIA SOPHIA – CONTINUOUS ACTION 166
Nicholls and Tony walk towards the inner courtyard.
When you land, you should go
straight to the Ministry of
Culture and Islamic Guidance to
kiss the ring. Get on record as
having applied for a film permit.
If they catch you later, at least
they’ll be confused while they’re
torturing you… Your biggest
problem may be convincing the six
of them to go with you. They’re
foreign service. They’re willful.
Nicholls takes a picture.
She picked out a ring and gave me
a choice. She’s a Chinese
national. If I married her, I’d
have to resign, so. You and
ARGO – Final 64.
166 CONTINUED: 166
He said that without hesitation. Maybe here we realize
that Mendez is a very good liar.
166A EXT./INT. PRODUCERS’ BUILDING – NIGHT 166A
Lester is BOUNCING A RUBBER BALL. The PRODUCER from later
in the movie walks by.
You’re working late.
˜Til the dawn’s early light.
You got stamina, Lester. I wanna
You wouldn’t be me for long. I’m
Producer walks away and Lester looks into the ˜Argo’
office as he squeezes the ball.
FROM INSIDE THE OFFICE — In the foreground, we see what
Lester is looking at: a phone. Stubbornly silent.
167 OMITTED 167
168 OMITTED 168
169 OMITTED 169
170 INT. BRITISH AIRWAYS DC-10 – MORNING 170
Mendez sits in a window seat. A FLIGHT ATTENDANT speaks
with a pleasant British accent.
FLIGHT ATTENDANT (V.O.)
The Captain has informed us that
we have entered Iranian airspace.
Members of our cabin crew will be
coming through to collect any
remaining alcoholic beverages at
ARGO – Final 65.
171 INT. MEHRABAD AIRPORT TERMINAL – DAY 171
Mendez walks through the terminal of a crowded 1960s-era
airport. Newly-hung portraits of the Ayatollah Khomeini
watch over the duty-free shops.
SUPERIMPOSE: TEHRAN – JANUARY 26
The MOBS OF PEOPLE WITH BOXES OF THEIR WORLDLY BELONGINGS
puts in high relief that Tony is going into a place that
everyone else is desperately fleeing.
172 INT. MEHRABAD AIRPORT IMMIGRATION – DAY 172
Tony fills out a white form. It makes an impression on a
Tony presents his passport to a REVOLUTIONARY GUARD
IMMIGRATION OFFICIAL. Official looks at it, Tony hears
the sound of a woman screaming in Farsi.
Three lanes away, at the outgoing immigration station, a
Revolutionary Guard is dragging away the woman’s HUSBAND.
The Immigration Official stamps Tony’s passport — takes
the white form, gives Tony the yellow one — and waves
173 EXT. TEHRAN – DAY 173
Archive footage may be mixed with new footage. Normal
city life mixed with men with automatic weapons. The
contradictions of Tehran at this moment.
173A EXT. TEHRAN – DAY 173A
A Massive HELICOPTER SHOT OF TEHRAN. We TILT DOWN to see
a traffic jam SPRAWLS AROUND THE AZADI MONUMENT. Bikes,
mopeds, pedestrians, peddlers and old, patched together
cars compete for space. No one gets anywhere.
174 INT. TAXI – DAY 174
Mendez sits in the back of a taxi in the Tehran traffic,
some of the worst traffic in the world. We see the AZADI
MONUMENT out his window.
ANGLES OUT HIS WINDOWS
The Ayatollah looks down from everywhere.
ARGO – Final 66.
174 CONTINUED: 174
A MAN IS HANGING FROM A CRANE. People mill underneath.
Women in chadors at Kentucky Fried Chicken.
An ARMED GANG in the back of pickup truck pulls up near
We see PROPAGANDA painted on a wall/window.
175 INT. TAXI/EXT. MINISTRY – DAY 175
The taxi pulls up to a FORMAL, PINK BUILDING.
The Driver stops. They’ve arrived.
176 INT. MINISTRY OF CULTURE AND ISLAMIC GUIDANCE – DAY 176
MEHDI BEHROUZ, 33, is the newly appointed Deputy Minister
of Culture and Islamic Guidance. Like many of the stars
of the Revolution, he was educated in the U.S. Right now
he’s looking at the ARGO script.
This film crew is just yourself?
Six more are joining me today.
They’re coming from Canada.
You’d like to film at the bazaar?
The bazaar, maybe the palace.
I see. The exotic Orient. Snake
charmers and flying carpets.
You come to us at a complicated
time. Before the Revolution, 40
percent of the movie theaters in
Tehran were showing pornography.
Our function is purification as
well as promotion of the arts.
I’ll review for the Minister.
ARGO – Final 67.
177 EXT. CANADIAN EMBASSY – DAY 177
A TAXI pulls away.
Mendez, carrying his luggage, stands at a wrought iron
gate with MAPLE LEAVES worked into the iron. Ken Taylor
comes out of the building, opens the gate himself.
He shakes Tony’s hand and they start to walk to Taylor’s
I was expecting more of a G-Man
You’re thinking of FBI, sir.
They get into the car.
178 INT. TAYLOR’S CAR – OUTSIDE EMBASSY – CONTINUOUS ACTION 178
Taylor gives Tony SIX BLANK CANADIAN PASSPORTS.
These are blank, y’know. The
I’ll take care of that.
A day to prep them with their
cover stories. Two if they need
And you’ll fly out with them?
Tony nods. A distant sound of a crowd outside.
ARGO – Final 68.
178 CONTINUED: 178
There’s something you should know.
We think one of our housekeepers
figured out who they are. We
don’t know if we can trust her.
Now the noise outside is louder. Taylor turns to the
window. Tony joins him.
So sooner is better.
They stand listening to the demonstration sounds, echoing
over the rooftops of the city.
179 OMITTED 179
179A INT. CIA – O’DONNELL’S OFFICE – NIGHT 179A
He got to the embassy.
O’Donnell closes the door. Pender, wearing an undone
tuxedo, as if he’s just been pulled from a formal event.
They stay standing.
I can’t tell you more than that
˜cause I don’t know any more.
(cutting to it)
The Times and A.P. found out
they’re with the Canadians.
Somebody in one of the families
Mother of God.
I just put Vance on a plane to
take the editors to Le Cirque. He
thinks he can get them to sit on
it. For now.
Your guy better get them and get
the hell out.
ARGO – Final 69.
180 EXT. SHEMIRANAT (TEHRAN) – DAY 180
Ken Taylor drives up to a nice, but not huge, home in the
expat/diplomatic neighborhood of Tehran. Automatic gates
181 EXT./INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE – DAY 181
Taylor leads Mendez inside. Pat Taylor waits for them in
the hall. Takes Tony’s hand.
182 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE (TEHRAN) – DAY 182
They enter the LIVING ROOM… and here are the SIX
HOUSEGUESTS. They’re looking at Mendez like kids waiting
to be told the lesson plan.
183 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE – LIVING ROOM – 183
Each Houseguest has a copy of the ARGO script.
It’s theater of the absurd.
What are the chances?
The chances are good.
What’s the number value of ˜good’?
30 percent chance of success? 80
We just —
What was the objection to picking
normal cover identities?
There are no Canadians in the
country for normal reasons.
KATHY STAFFORD MARK LIJEK
They’ll sniff us out The Swedish consul said
regardless. they accused him of being
an American at the airport
and held him for an hour.
ARGO – Final 70.
183 CONTINUED: 183
We can’t stand up to that. We
don’t know what the hell movie
That’s why I’m here. I’ll be with
you. This is what I do.
Have you gotten people out this
This would be a first.
184 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE – LIVING ROOM – 184
THE HOUSEGUESTS —
minus J and Kathy Stafford, go into the living room.
Mendez stays in his seat; J approaches him.
J STAFFORD KATHY STAFFORD
Do you know that every … J, don’t.
… every day they catch another
friend of the shah at the airport.
Kangaroo trials then firing
squads. Just for having American
names in their phone books.
He puts the Iranian newspaper in front of Mendez.
You’ve been here an hour and
you’re asking us to trust you with
our lives, Mr. —
Is that your real name?
ARGO – Final 71.
184 CONTINUED: 184
J Stafford nods, as if this has proven a point. He
gs back into the living room, followed by Kathy.
ANGLE ON THE PHOTOGRAPH
in the Tehran Times. A MAN IN A SUIT at Mehrabad
Airport. Terrified, being led out at gunpoint.
185 EXT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE – VERANDA – NIGHT 185
Mendez comes out and lights a cigarette. Ken Taylor is
We’ve got orders to close the
embassy and go back. There’s
nowhere for them to stay.
186 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE – LIVING ROOM – 186
I’m serious, too. This is what?
BOB ANDERS J STAFFORD
Don’t do this, J… … the part where we say,
˜That’s so crazy it just
might work’? C’mon…
I saw it in Burma. They get
people out. They know how.
Snitches in banana republics.
They get them over the border
after the coup…
BOB ANDERS J STAFFORD
That’s your opinion. … pay the guards at the
crossing a hundred bucks to
look the other way…
His opinion got us out of the
embassy in the first place.
ARGO – Final 72.
187 EXT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE – VERANDA – NIGHT 187
If we go, you need to leave
immediately. There’s a
Pat and I discussed it. If they
catch you at the airport, they
come here and we go on trial for
harboring the enemy. It’s a risk
(after a moment)
Can you pull this off?
I don’t know.
188 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE – LIVING ROOM – 188
— even if they do. They find us
here, we’re not lying, we’re just
hiding. We go out there with fake
passports, we’re spies, period,
So how long do we stay? A month?
That man out there, he’s got bad
cards, he’s gonna lose. If he
loses, it’s our lives.
(after a beat)
And his life too.
Another beat. ANGLES ON the Houseguests.
189 OMITTED 189
ARGO – Final 73.
189A INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE – LIVING ROOM – 189A
Your cover identities were created
specifically for each one of you.
Mendez, now dressed to leave, is handing each Houseguest
What I need you to do is memorize
everything inside. Who you are,
what you are, where you’ve been.
Cora Lijek looks at a document from inside her envelope.
A union card for the Canadian Writers Guild with her
picture on it.
When we’re done, you’ll know these
so well that you’ll dream as these
Mendez nods at them, and gs. The Houseguests look at
what’s inside their envelopes — all except J Stafford,
whose envelope remains sealed.
190 INT. SHERATON HOTEL – NIGHT 190
A TELEFAX MACHINE spells out a message, letter by letter:
MR KEVIN HARKINS – CARE OF HOTEL SHERATON.
191 OMITTED 191
192 INT. SHERATON ROOM – NIGHT 192
Tony is PREPPING the CANADIAN PASSPORTS — expertly
copying Farsi stamps with a small sharpened stick. A
KNOCK on the door. Tony hides the passports. Answers
Sir, a telex arrived for you.
The BELLHOP hands Tony a piece of paper. He reads it.
ARGO – Final 74.
193 INT. SHERATON ROOM – NIGHT 193
Mendez takes a small 1978 model radio out of his
suitcase. He unscrews the casing and from inside takes
out what looks like a 6-inch transistor board for the
On either side of the board: telephone jacks.
He detaches the cords from the hotel phone and plugs them
into the jacks on the transistor board. It’s a phone
˜The Minister of Culture and
Guidance has approved your
194 INT. SHERATON ROOM – A FEW MINUTES LATER 194
Mendez, on the phone —
(reading the telefax)
˜He will send a representative to
meet you and your crew at the
Khayyam entrance to the Grand
Bazaar tomorrow at 3 PM.’
195 INT. O’DONNELL’S OFFICE – NIGHT 195
O’Donnell on the phone.
They called your bluff.
Or maybe they’re cooperating.
N.E. says absolutely not. Seven
Americans walking the bazaar,
you’re asking for a riot, it’s the
Seven Canadians, Jack.
Never give them multiple shots at
a cover. Are they even ready?
ARGO – Final 75.
195 CONTINUED: 195
They’re getting there.
Terrific. There’s no prize for
I don’t have a choice. We say no,
they come to the residence and
pull everyone out at gunpoint.
How do you think the covers hold
up with their fingernails pulled
196 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE – KITCHEN – NIGHT 196
Mark Lijek is studying pages from the envelope Tony gave
him. J Stafford is sitting near him, having a drink,
watching Iranian State Television footage of the
Ayatollah. J Stafford translates out loud.
˜We are a nation of 35 million
and… many of these people are
looking forward to martyrdom.˜
Kathy Stafford looks into the room. J stops talking,
He smiles at her. Kathy, who looks like she hasn’t been
sleeping, nods and leaves. J takes a drink. After a
She pleaded with me.
Mark, looking to J. This is new.
When it started in the streets
nine months ago. She begged for
us to leave. She packed our bags.
I said, ˜A little longer.’ And
what I was thinking was, ˜This is
a good thing for me. Stay. Show
Newsom you’ve got the balls. Grab
for the ring.’
ARGO – Final 76.
196 CONTINUED: 196
J STAFFORD (CONT’D)
I think we’re gonna die here.
197 INT. KOMITEH HEADQUARTERS (AMIR ABAD DISTRICT) – DAY 197
The feeling here is dangerous. Young men carrying
automatic weapons casually.
Behrouz stands next to ALI KHALKALI, 30s, a Revolutionary
Committee security official. There are RECONSTRUCTED
EMBASSY PICTURES ON THE WALL.
We see the FAMOUS PICTURES OF THE HOSTAGES BEING MARCHED
DOWN THE STEPS.
197A INT. KOMITEH HEADQUARTERS STAIRWAY – CONTINUOUS ACTION 197A
A Kafka-esque stairway. We see a YOUNG KOMITEH call up
from the bottom and head up the stairs.
JUMP CUT TO: one flight to go.
Now on the level WITH CAMERA, we carry him INTO the
office as he hands off the ARGO script and STUDIO SIX
BUSINESS CARD. Khalkali has some words in Farsi for the
198 EXT. SHERATON BALCONY – MORNING 198
Tony looks at one of the Argo storyboards — one
depicting an EXOTIC SPICE MARKET, a BAZAAR — in the
CORA LIJEK (V.O.)
This isn’t what we agreed to.
199 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE – KEN’S OFFICE – 199
The Houseguests are gathered in the office. Cora hands
the telefax to Bob Anders. J Stafford, looking on.
You said ˜a day to learn your
covers then straight to the
airport.’ You said that.
They suspect something?
ARGO – Final 77.
199 CONTINUED: 199
What I know is we need to act like
a movie crew. We go to the bazaar
today, we fly out tomorrow.
Silent assent among the group. Then J Stafford,
sitting with his wife, speaks up —
We won’t do it.
He told them there were six of us.
They’re expecting six.
You are about to show the only
card we’re holding. Which is that
they don’t know we’re here.
I’m asking you to trust me.
I don’t trust you.
(fed up, to J)
What’s the alternative? This is
the ball game, J. What world
are you living in?
The one where they’re hanging
people from construction cranes,
J takes Kathy’s hand and gs, leaving Mendez with the
others. After a moment —
So we’ll see you at two?
200 INT. CARPET FACTORY – MORNING 200
A KOMITEH BOSS inspects the work of the CARPET WEAVER
KIDS — whose numbers have grown into the HUNDREDS — as
they labor quietly.
Some HEADSHOTS are in various stages of repair.
ARGO – Final 78.
200 CONTINUED: 200
Dozens of documents are now complete, sitting on the
floor in rows. Some pages from the EMBASSY MUG BOOK are
now re-assembled. The boss picks one of the pages up:
meticulously worked so that text and photos are now
201 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE – DAY 201
She gives Bob Anders a Canadian maple leaf lapel pin,
which he affixes to his shirt. Cora Lijek paints lighter
hair dye onto her hair. The Houseguests are making
subtle efforts to disguise themselves.
(at a mirror, quoting
So don’t be recognizable, but look
exactly like your passport
Not that picture. You won’t want
to scare them.
A nervous smile. Trying to deal with anxiety.
J and Kathy Stafford look to each other. Sitting
reading newspapers while the other Houseguests prep for
the scout. The PHONE starts ringing.
(answering the phone)
A cloud comes over Pat as she listens.
No, there’s no one like that here.
She hangs up the phone fast, as if it were hot to the
Who was it?
Pat shakes her head.
ON J STAFFORD
listening. Kathy takes his hand.
ARGO – Final 79.
201 CONTINUED: 201
202 INT. SHERATON ROOM – DAY 202
Tony getting dressed. Thinking.
He gets up and leaves, and we start to hear the sound of
a man talking fast in Farsi.
203 EXT. CAR RENTAL – DAY 203
It’s a CAR RENTAL MAN, 60s, speaking. Tony is looking at
a MINIVAN on a lot of beaten-up rental cars.
This one, how much? One day, how
204 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE – DAY 204
Four of the Houseguests are waiting on the couch, dressed
in their best approximation of the clothes of a movie
scout crew. Cora has the maple leaf flag pin on her
They turn when they see Tony come in the door.
Tony as he steps down into the living room, down the hall
205 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE – KITCHEN – DAY 205
… to find J Stafford sitting at the table. They are
I promise you that if you will
play along today, I will get you
I wish I could believe you, Mr.
My name is Tony Mendez.
Mendez gs back out to the minivan. STAY WITH J and
ARGO – Final 80.
206 INT. MINIVAN – DAY 206
Mendez, in the driver’s seat, looks at the house, then at
his watch. He starts up the van, filled with four of the
Then he looks in the rearview and sees one of the back
doors open. J and Kathy Stafford board.
207 EXT. TEHRAN – DAY 207
Tony drives the minivan through streets of Tehran. The
Houseguests sit in silence, looking out the windows.
There is a vehement DEMONSTRATION going on — stars-and-
stripes burning in Molavi Square — and it’s taking place
right in their way.
They stop at the demonstration, then realize people
aren’t passing by as much as celebrating in the street.
Tony is forced to nose his way through the crowd —
chanting and yelling — some SLAPPING THE WINDOWS.
They finally get through and pull away. With the
demonstration receding behind them, Tony tries to regain
Tell me who you are.
This recalls attention from the windows.
Mike McEwan, cameraman.
Robert Baker, director.
Timothy Harris, location manager.
Mary Ann Boyd, screenwriter.
Rachel Dewart, production
Kathy looks at her husband.
Sean Bissett, associate producer.
Let’s make a movie.
ARGO – Final 81.
208 EXT. STREET NEAR THE BAZAAR – DAY 208
The minivan double-parks on Musavi Street. Taxis, men
loading and unloading rolled-up carpets onto pickup
A YOUNG MAN IN SUIT WITH NO TIE waits. This is REZA, mid-
20s, a low-level administrator in the Ministry of
Mendez gets out and they speak and shake hands. The
image FREEZES. In a BLACK AND WHITE PHOTOGRAPH.
They exchange pleasantries and Reza leads them down a
narrow street toward the bazaar.
209 EXT./INT. TEHRAN BAZAAR – DAY 209
Reza is leading Mendez and the group of Houseguests
through the Tehran Bazaar. A word about the place: the
world’s largest bazaar. 10 kilometers of narrow alleys.
Chinese-made Swiss watches, banks, mosques, butchers,
fabric stores, gold stands. Boys with hand-trucks loaded
down with piles of fabric cut through the crowd. Older
Islamic architecture elbows up against neon signs and
rickety wooden stands with second-story balconies like
Bob Anders walks toward the front.
You are the director?
Is this film a foreign bride film?
A film where a foreign bride is
brought to Iran, but she dsn’t
understand the language and
customs and there are
misunderstandings and laughs.
ARGO – Final 82.
209 CONTINUED: 209
(not happy with that)
Mendez walking toward the back of the group. Lee, the
cameraman, is looking through a viewfinder down the alley
of the bazaar.
(not looking up)
If I said you were looking through
the wrong end of that viewfinder,
would I be right?
Lee turns the viewfinder around and looks through it
Mendez talking to Lee from a distance. A zoom, a closer
snapshot of LEE. Then of CORA LIJEK, who walks through
the bazaar with an open ARGO SCRIPT in her hand.
The Revolutionary Guard photographer is taking pictures
of each of the Houseguests, picking their portraits off
one by one like a sniper.
210 EXT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE (TEHRAN) – DAY 210
Two sedans turn onto the property and head up the
Ali Khalkali, the revolutionary official, gets out of one
of the cars. He’s joined by a couple other OFFICIALS and
by two armed REVOLUTIONARY GUARDS.
Sahar is moving through the garden, she sees the men
approach. She gs to greet them at the gate.
(Farsi, from behind
ARGO – Final 83.
211 OMITTED 211
212 INT. TEHRAN BAZAAR – DAY 212
Reza leads Mendez and the Houseguests deeper into this
city within a city; fundamentalist ground zero. BAZAARIS
stand at their shop doors; puzzled; unfriendly; watching
Kathy Stafford, the production designer on the scout,
takes a Polaroid of a window adorned in gold. The
SHOPKEEPER, a 70-ish bazaari, sees her do so.
He hurries out of his store, speaking in rapid-fire Farsi
at her. The Houseguests stop. Reza speaks to the
He wants the photograph you took.
She’s the production designer.
Her job is to take photographs.
SHOPKEEPER getting more and more heated in Farsi.
He says he did not give you
permission to take a photograph of
Other BAZAARIS and SHOPPERS are starting to gather.
Kathy holds out the Polaroid toward the Shopkeeper.
He can have the photograph. Tell
The Shopkeeper knocks the Polaroid out of her hand.
213 INT./EXT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE – ENTRANCE – 213
When did they arrive?
ARGO – Final 84.
213 CONTINUED: 213
The guests of the ambassador. How
long have they been in this house?
214 INT. TEHRAN BAZAAR – DAY 214
People are now starting to surround Mendez and Reza and
the Houseguests. Bazaaris more and more heated. Women
in chadors are screaming and finger-pointing.
America NO!… NO!
Then he speaks in Farsi and makes shooting gestures with
(quiet, to Mendez)
He’s saying the Shah killed his
son with an American gun.
Cauldron heating up and —
215 INT./EXT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE – ENTRANCE – 215
ON Sahar — her face impassive — and then —
Two days. They arrived two days
Khalkali looks to the other Officials.
216 INT. TEHRAN BAZAAR – ANGLE ON MORE AND MORE BAZAARIS – 216
A CROWD starts to gather around the group.
Her claustrophobia as the crowd closes in — an ANGRY
BAZAARI WOMAN sticks her finger in Kathy’s face —
(to one of the women)
ARGO – Final 85.
216 CONTINUED: 216
She’s showing a Canadian flag, Bob Anders’ lapel button —
(quiet; to Mendez)
He says we’re the CIA taking
photographs to plan the bombing of
217 INT./EXT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE – ENTRANCE – 217
Khalkali eyes Sahar, gauging her. She hides her fear
Sister, those who are with him,
Rasool of Allah, we are tender
But stern against the kuffar.
As god wills it.
But those who sit silently have
Ds he know? Ds he not know? Is he trying to trick
her? His opacity makes it impossible to know. He holds
his look to her — and she holds hers.
218 INT. TEHRAN BAZAAR – DAY 218
Reza indicates an exit to the street.
219 INT./EXT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE – ENTRANCE – 219
— and Sahar, so dignified and stony she is almost
shaming these men —
Everyone in this house is a friend
Khalkali makes his decision. He wordlessly turns to go.
ARGO – Final 86.
220 INT. TEHRAN BAZAAR – DAY 220
The CROWD heckles the Houseguests as they walk toward the
221 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE – FOYER – DAY 221
Sahar calmly closes the door.
After she ds, she lets the facade go. All of a sudden
scared. Maybe she tears up. Either way, it’s clear she
knows the stakes of the game she is playing.
222 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE – AFTERNOON 222
The aftermath. The Houseguests, badly shaken, come
inside. Each dealing with shock and adrenaline.
Ken Taylor comes up next to Mendez and, for once,
Taylor’s ambassadorial calm is breaking.
They drew you out there to take
At the door to the residence, Tony can see Pat Taylor,
holding Sahar’s hand, both looking spooked as the
Houseguests come inside.
A beat on Mendez, who stamps out his cigarette and
Tomorrow they’ll be ready.
We start to hear the sound of the evening’s call to
prayer, amplified over a megaphone, in the distance.
223-224 OMITTED 223-224
ARGO – Final 87.
224A MONTAGE – EXT. TEHRAN – DUSK 224A
The call to prayer echoing as night falls in Tehran. In
an alley where cloaked women hurry past posters of
Khomeini. On a street where a five-year-old boy, in the
care of his eight-year-old brother, watches a pickup
truck of armed komiteh speed past.
224B INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE – NIGHT 224B
Mendez holds a passport and some papers in front of Bob
Anders’ face. It feels late. The Houseguests are tired,
sweating, sitting around a dining room. Mendez, sleeves
rolled up, drilling them. The ARGO STORYBOARDS are
scattered around the room.
Where was your passport issued?
Bob Anders dsn’t know. ANGLES ON the Houseguests.
Where were you born?
Toronno like piranha. Canadians
don’t pronounce the T.
Some border guard’s gonna know
If you’re held for questioning,
they’ll bring in somebody who
(to Cora Lijek)
Last three Canadian prime
(an A student)
Trudeau, Pearson, Diefenbaker.
ARGO – Final 88.
224B CONTINUED: 224B
(to J Stafford)
Your job on the film.
Associate Producer. What’s the
name of the last film you worked
Uh… High and Dry.
Who paid for the movie?
What’s your middle name?
J Stafford is silent. He looks down to consult the
paper in front of him, but before he can, Mendez pulls
He’s an American spy. Shoot him.
A beat on Stafford, frustrated —
They’ll try to break you by
getting you agitated. You need to
know your rÃ©sumÃ© so well that you
You think your little story will
matter when there’s guns to our
My story’s the only thing between
you and the gun to your head.
A beat. Mendez puts the rÃ©sumÃ© back in front of
Stafford. Kathy looks at her husband: he just isn’t
good at this.
ARGO – Final 89.
224B CONTINUED: (2) 224B
Let’s go again.
224C INT. CIA – THE PIT – AFTERNOON 224C
O’Donnell, walking toward his office. It’s the first
time today Malinov has seen him.
They made it through the location
O’Donnell ignores him. He gs straight to his office.
Looking like he’s seen a ghost.
224D EXT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE – VERANDA – NIGHT 224D
Mendez, finishing a cigarette outside. We might hear the
distant sound of a phone ringing.
Ken Taylor emerges. Waits a beat.
224E INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE – KEN TAYLOR’S 224E
OFFICE – CROSS-CUTTING – NIGHT
Mendez picks up the complicated-looking satellite phone
in Ken Taylor’s home office. As soon as he ds —
Go to black on green.
Jack’s calling him here, so he knows something’s wrong.
What is it?
Go to black on green.
Mendez turns knobs on the satellite phone.
224F INT. O’DONNELL’S OFFICE – CROSS-CUTTING – AFTERNOON 224F
We see Jack is on a GREEN PHONE.
ARGO – Final 90.
224F CONTINUED: 224F
It all just changed. They called
the game. You’ve got to come
ON Mendez, not believing what he’s hearing.
(quiet, fast, clear)
Joint Chiefs are planning a
military rescue of the hostages in
a month. Delta Force started
training to storm the grounds. So
if the six of them get brought
down there, they won’t be held for
I never would have exposed them if
I wasn’t authorized to take them
It’s over, Tony.
They will be taken. Probably not
LISTEN TO ME. The thinking’s
changed. Six Americans get pulled
out of a Canadian diplomat’s house
and executed, it’s another world
outrage. Six Americans get caught
playing movie make-believe with
the CIA at the airport and
executed, it’s a national
embarrassment. They’re calling
We’re responsible for those
What we are is required to follow
orders. I’m sorry.
Mendez hangs up. O’Donnell sits listening to the dial
tone for a moment, then puts the phone on the receiver.
ARGO – Final 91.
224F CONTINUED: (2) 224F
Then, very suddenly, he looks at an old coffee cup near
him and backhands it off his desk.
TIME CUT TO:
224G INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE – KEN TAYLOR’S 224G
OFFICE – NIGHT
Maybe only a minute, maybe ten or more have passed.
Mendez sits at Taylor’s desk, numb. Cora Lijek knocks
but dsn’t get a response. She tentatively opens the
door and sticks her head inside.
We’re ready to try again.
(after a beat)
I think the most important thing
you can do to be ready for
tomorrow is rest.
TIME CUT TO:
225 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE – LIVING ROOM – 225
Now the mood among the Houseguests is lighter. Bob
Anders, a handful of liquor bottles in his arms, puts
them down on a table. Music plays on a record player.
Scorched earth policy tonight.
Nothing gets left.
Taylor comes in, drink in hand, thoughts heavy, looks at
So you know.
ExtAff wants you to burn the
passports before you leave.
Mendez looks at the Houseguests, setting the table.
If we tell them, they’ll panic.
It’s better if you just don’t
ARGO – Final 92.
225 CONTINUED: 225
It was always a fucked mission.
You came closer than anybody else.
Kathy and Cora are cracking each other up.
No one sees Mendez take a bottle of Macallan from the
table and put it in his bag.
226 INT. CAR – NIGHT 226
Mendez drives through nighttime Tehran, back to the
There is a dangling TOTEM from the rearview mirror. It
He passes a VAN ON FIRE.
227 OMITTED 227
228 INT. SHERATON ROOM – NIGHT 228
Mendez takes the bottle of Macallan from his bag. He
takes a drink, then drinks more.
229 OMITTED 229
230 INT. ARGO PRODUCTION OFFICE – DAY 230
Chambers, listening on a phone, shakes his head at
Siegel. He hangs up.
It’s off. They want us to pack up
A beat on Lester. He’s devastated but he’s not showing
They can wait. Let’s go get a
231 EXT. TEHRAN – DAWN 231
The city waking up.
ARGO – Final 93.
232 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE – DAWN 232
The Houseguests, getting dressed. Suiting up for the
Ken Taylor watches in the hall.
233 INT. SHERATON ROOM – DAWN 233
Mendez — who looks like he hasn’t slept — sits at a
table, looking out the window.
234 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE – DAWN 234
Lee Schatz puts his Infant of Prague holy card into an
Argo script. Packs the script.
Cora Lijek is sitting next to her husband.
Kathy Stafford looks at the clock.
(to J Stafford)
235 EXT. SHERATON BALCONY – DAWN 235
Tony comes out to the balcony with a hotel ice bucket in
one hand and the Canadian passports in the other. He
puts the passports in the bucket, LIGHTS A MATCH.
He looks down at the match, at the passports. The first
stirring of the morning calls-to-prayer echo in the
HOLD for a long beat ON Tony. Thinking.
Then, HE BLOWS OUT THE MATCH.
236 INT. O’DONNELL’S OFFICE – NIGHT 236
O’Donnell is packing up for the night. Paper towels sit
on top of the coffee spill on his rug.
His phone rings. He picks up.
ARGO – Final 94.
237 INT. SHERATON ROOM – DAWN 237
Somebody is responsible for things
when things happen, Jack. I am
I’m taking them through.
And before Jack can answer, Tony hangs up. Stands. A
duffel bag over his shoulder, Tony turns out the light in
the hotel room. Gs.
238 INT. CIA (LANGLEY) – O’DONNELL’S OFFICE – NIGHT 238
O’Donnell, thinking. Looking at the phone. Then, with a
sudden decision, he gets up.
Rushing out of his office, into —
239 INT. CIA – THE PIT – NIGHT 239
— where he catches ALAN SOSA, 50s, head of the
Directorate of Support — the CIA’s chief financial
officer — leaving for the night.
We need to confirm those seven
tickets out of Tehran on
N.E. shut that down.
I’m saying it’s back on!
I can’t do it. It’s backstopped
pending Executive Branch GO.
What the fuck ds that mean?
Carter’s got to say yes for us to
get the tickets.
240 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE – DAWN 240
Pat Taylor comes to answer an insistent knocking on her
front door. She opens it.
ARGO – Final 95.
240 CONTINUED: 240
She’s shocked to see him. Ken Taylor now appears behind
Pat. In the hall behind him: The Houseguests are
assembled, waiting to go. They look their parts — or,
much more so than they did on the scout. Cora Lijek has
darker hair. The Staffords look on, fully dressed.
241 INT. OUTSIDE ENGELL’S OFFICE – NIGHT 241
He’s in a meeting.
Pull him out.
(as she hesitates)
PULL HIM OUT!
242 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE – DAWN 242
Pat Taylor is embracing the Houseguests, saying goodbye.
Sahar’s on a bus.
Good. And you two leave right
Ken Taylor nods. Mendez shakes his hand.
243 INT./EXT. MINIVAN – DAWN 243
Mendez gets into the driver’s seat. Lee Schatz on the
We see Ken’s black embassy sedan waiting, driven by a
Mendez pulls away.
243A INT. KEN’S OFFICE – LATER 243A
Ken Taylor watches a SGT. CLAUDE GAUTHIER, 30s, Canadian
military policeman, use a sledgehammer to SMASH
EVERYTHING IN THE OFFICE TO PIECES.
Pat Taylor comes to the door. She’s holding a suitcase.
ARGO – Final 96.
243A CONTINUED: 243A
(to Gauthier, as he
Get to your flight.
244 INT. OUTSIDE ENGELL’S OFFICE – NIGHT 244
N.E. said NO, this is not a long-
… watching a show behind … and it never has been,
a one-way whorehouse YOU don’t decide if it
It is going.
You’re goddamn close…
Am I goddamn close?
You’re goddamn close to the line
I’m not leaving him at the airport
with six people and his dick in
his hand. Tell the Director to
call the White House. DO YOUR
Engell just stares O’Donnell down.
245 INT./EXT. MINIVAN – MORNING 245
The van speeds down the hills of the Shemiran district.
The first checkpoint is just to
look at your passport.
246 FLASHBACK – INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE – NIGHT 246
Mendez is sitting in the living room instructing the
ARGO – Final 97.
246 CONTINUED: 246
Your passports came straight from
the Canadians, so you’re gonna be
247 INT. CIA (LANGLEY) – THE PIT – NIGHT (A MOMENT LATER) 247
O’Donnell, charging in —
Where’s the Director?
He’s on the plane.
Find White House Chief of Staff.
How would I find him?
We’re a fucking SPY AGENCY! FIND
248 FLASHBACK – INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE – NIGHT 248
The second checkpoint —
249 INT. CIA – THE PIT – NIGHT (PRESENT) 249
Jordan’s in the West Wing. He’s
not taking calls.
A beat on O’Donnell.
Where are his kids?
Where do his kids go to school?
250 FLASHBACK – INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE – NIGHT 250
He gives out yellow immigration forms to the Houseguests.
ARGO – Final 98.
250 CONTINUED: 250
The second is immigration. You’ll
hand them these. They say you
landed two days ago.
251 INT. MINIVAN – MORNING (PRESENT) 251
Cora Lijek fingers her yellow immigration form in one
hand, holds Mark’s hand with the other.
These guys are bureaucrats left
over from the shah. They can’t be
bothered to second-guess you.
252 INT. CIA – THE PIT – NIGHT 252
Malinov slams a phone down.
Pace Academy in Buckhead, Georgia!
O’Donnell dials a number.
Yes, it’s Mr. Murphy calling from
Pace Academy for Mr. Jordan… I’m
afraid it IS an emergency…
253 INT. WHITE HOUSE OPERATOR ROOM – NIGHT 253
WHITE HOUSE OPERATOR
Hold just a moment.
She plugs a wire into an old-fashioned Ma Bell
Third checkpoint is the trap.
254 INT. MINIVAN – MORNING 254
The van pulls up to the airport. We see THRONGS of
people trying to get in — so they can get out.
Tony pulls the car to a semi-open place and tries not to
run anyone over.
ARGO – Final 99.
255 FLASHBACK – INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE – NIGHT 255
It’s manned by Revolutionaries.
Most of them were educated in the
U.S. or Europe.
They know how many ˜T’s are in
256 INT. WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF OFFICE – NIGHT (PRESENT) 256
Jordan is in a meeting with two staffers, his feet up on
the desk. His secretary opens the door without knocking,
hurries to Jordan, whispers something in his ear. He
immediately grabs the phone.
Jack O’Donnell from C.I.
Wait — WHO — ?
Tehran Houseguest operation is
ready NOW. We don’t have the
President’s go-ahead. They are
going to be captured.
Jordan stands up with the phone.
(yelling out his
DAVID! Pick up!
257 INT. KOMITEH HQ – MORNING 257
The office we visited earlier. A YOUNG KOMITEH comes up
the stairs again. This time, he’s RUNNING.
ARGO – Final 100.
257 CONTINUED: 257
KHALKALI, the fiery guy who came to the residence, along
with two YOUNG KOMITEH compare (one who delivered the
pictures): on one side, copies of re-assembled
diplomatic photographs of Americans from the embassy —
like the ones of the Houseguests we saw early in the film
— and, on the other side, the candid photographs from
258 INT. CIA – THE PIT – NIGHT 258
Telex on Flash.
The telex begins to print, line by line…
EYES ONLY — OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
— HOLLYWOOD OPTION APPROVED — GOOD LUCK. ( Carter
White House telex, 1/29/1980.)
Copy D.S.! Confirm the tickets!
259 INT. SWISSAIR COUNTER (MEHRABAD) – MORNING 259
Mendez’s and the Houseguests’ passports sit on the
I’m sorry, sir. I don’t have
SWISSAIR REP looks at some green text on her screen, hits
My apologies. They just came
She hits another button and tickets start to print.
260 INT. CIA – THE PIT – NIGHT 260
Swissair says they’ve picked up
Get the L.A. office — tell them
to be ready in case they call.
ARGO – Final 101.
260 CONTINUED: 260
We told them to shut that down!
He RUNS toward a phone —
261 INT. MEHRABAD AIRPORT – FIRST CHECKPOINT – MORNING 261
The PASSPORT OFFICIAL is looking at the Canadian
passports of the six and waving them through. Mendez has
already passed. Everyone except Kathy Stafford.
The Passport Official looks at Kathy, who is doing her
best to look friendly and casual. Then he looks at
Kathy’s passport, in which she looks stern and angry.
Kathy Stafford smoothes down her hair, frowns like she
ds in the passport photo. The Passport Official half
smiles and waves her through. They’ve all cleared the
262 INT. KOMITEH HQ – MORNING 262
Khalkali comes upon a diplomatic photograph of a man with
He starts to leaf through the photographs from the
QUICK CUT TO:
263 EXT. BAZAAR – POV OF THE REVOLUTIONARY GUARD PHOTOGRAPHER 263
Mark Lijek being photographed at the bazaar the previous
QUICK CUT BACK TO:
264 INT. KOMITEH HQ – MORNING 264
looks at the black and white still of Mark Lijek,
compares it to his diplomatic picture, the first portrait
we saw of Mark toward the beginning of the film. MATCH.
Khalkali stands up. SHOUTS in Farsi to another Komiteh —
ARGO – Final 102.
265 INT. MEHRABAD AIRPORT – SECOND CHECKPOINT – MORNING 265
Bob Anders stands in front of a rough-voiced IMMIGRATION
OFFICER. He’s holding Bob Anders’ YELLOW IMMIGRATION
FORM and leafing through a file of hundreds of WHITE
IMMIGRATION FORMS, the duplicates. Without success.
IMMIGRATION OFFICER #2
(in Farsi; to Officer
#1, re: his own
(to Bob Anders)
When did you say you arrived in
Two days ago.
What was the purpose of your
We were looking at locations to
make a film. I’m the director.
Immigration Officer pauses and looks up. Looks at the
six other faces. He looks every bit as confrontational
as Tony acted in rehearsal.
We have a letter from the Minister
of Culture …
The Immigration Officer gestures for the letter. Bob
takes the letter inviting them on their location scout
out of a folder. Tony, barely perceptibly, nods.
266 INT. KOMITEH HQ – MORNING 266
Khalkali is now speaking with MORADI, an older Komiteh
official. They speak Farsi and it’s untranslated, but we
get it. He is showing the photograph of Mark Lijek from
the bazaar and comparing it to the U.S. diplomatic
Moradi picks up the phone as Khalkali heads out.
ARGO – Final 103.
267 INT. MEHRABAD AIRPORT – SECOND CHECKPOINT – MORNING 267
Immigration Officer is conferring with Immigration
Officer #2 as they look at the letter from the Minister
of Culture. The Houseguests and Mendez wait.
Finally, Immigration Officer #2 shrugs.
Okay — Yes — Okay —
He waves them through. Second checkpoint done.
268 INT. CIA – THE PIT – NIGHT 268
Malinov, a phone to his ear. Ringing.
C’mon c’mon c’mon —
269 INT. ARGO PRODUCTION OFFICE – NIGHT 269
The phone in the office rings. No one is there.
270 EXT. WARNER BROS. STUDIOS – NIGHT 270
Siegel and Chambers are walking back to the Argo office.
They are within sight of the Argo bungalow, but a P.A.
steps in front of them.
(a stage whisper)
I’m sorry, we’re shooting.
He motions for them to wait. A movie — it looks like a
police procedural — is shooting on the lot between them
and the office.
271 INT. AIRPORT GATE – MORNING 271
Swissair announces general
boarding for Flight 363 to Zurich.
Passengers, mostly European businessmen, get up and
approach the gate.
ARGO – Final 104.
272 INT. MEHRABAD AIRPORT – THIRD CHECKPOINT – MORNING 272
Mendez checks in with the Houseguests with his eyes.
They are now in sight of the airport gates. And here are
six Komiteh. Young men — none more than 33 or so —
holding automatic weapons.
They have created their own checkpoint. It looks recent,
A SCREENED-OFF AREA WITH TABLES.
He looks at the Canadian passports and then almost
He directs Mendez and the Houseguests into the screened-
off area. Speaks in Farsi to another Komiteh.
273 INT. CIA – THE PIT – NIGHT 273
(holding the phone)
Purser’s telling Swissair they’re
not on the plane.
They should have boarded already.
(on another phone)
Still no answer in L.A.
274 INT. MEHRABAD AIRPORT – THIRD CHECKPOINT – MORNING 274
Mark mimes turning the rotor of a movie camera. Komiteh
#1 dsn’t understand.
A young man with a beard — AZIZI, late 20s — arriving
on the scene, speaking in Farsi to the others and then in
very good American English. He looks at the six and the
face he singles out is J Stafford’s.
ARGO – Final 105.
274 CONTINUED: 274
(harsh, icy; in
You. You had no business in Iran.
He motions for J STAFFORD to step forward. Mendez
shifts. A tense moment.
We did. We were preparing to make
a movie here, sir.
You don’t have journalist visas.
Not a documentary. A movie.
J Stafford reaches into his pocket and gives Azizi a
copy of the Argo Variety ad.
(to Mendez; English)
Kevin, where’s your briefcase?
A beat on Mendez. Who then opens his accordion folder
and takes from it the ARGO STORYBOARDS. J Stafford
spreads them out on the table.
Three other Komiteh in the room lean forward, their
AUTOMATIC WEAPONS at their sides, and look at the
STORYBOARD DRAWINGS. The Persian Empire futurism of Jack
These are the villains. Y’see
these guys here? And these are
the hers… in the spice
J Stafford points at the various drawings. He speaks
with an ease and confidence that we didn’t know he had.
They know our hero is the Chosen
One, so they kidnap his son in the
spice market … They have these
chariots… like this one…
ARGO – Final 106.
274 CONTINUED: (2) 274
J STAFFORD (CONT’D)
they go like this… whoooosh,
hmm? They can fly… The people
are just farmers, but they rise up
and find their courage and defeat
the alien king–
Mendez watches. It’s a performance. The three young
Komiteh are now wide-eyed, pointing, whispering in Farsi,
like teenagers around a comic book.
Azizi says something to another Komiteh in the room.
(to J Stafford; in
You don’t go until we verify.
You can call our office.
Mendez hands Azizi his card. STUDIO SIX FILMS. Kevin
Harkins. A 213 (818 wasn’t around yet) phone number.
ANGLES ON THE HOUSEGUESTS
as Azizi leaves the room with the business card and three
young Komiteh barely look up from the drawings —
275 EXT. WARNER BROS. STUDIOS – NIGHT 275
P.A., still holding Chambers and Siegel. The ACTOR
playing the cop is conferring with the director. He’s
not happy with something. They’re holding everyone until
the next take, and —
Going again please! We’re
276 EXT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE – MORNING 276
A PICKUP TRUCK with 5 Komiteh — including Khalkali —
automatic weapons out — drives up to the Canadian
277 INT. MEHRABAD AIRPORT – KOMITEH STATION – MORNING 277
Azizi, who apparently has some authority here, enters,
telling another Komiteh in Farsi to get off the phone.
ARGO – Final 107.
277 CONTINUED: 277
Azizi looks at the Studio Six business card and picks up
278 EXT. WARNER BROS. STUDIOS – NIGHT 278
I’m sorry, pally. We’re just gonna
be in the movie. Call my agent.
Siegel and Chambers walk through the shot toward the Argo
279 INT. MEHRABAD AIRPORT – KOMITEH STATION – MORNING 279
Azizi dials the long international number. And it is a
DIAL, so this takes a long time.
280 INT. MEHRABAD AIRPORT – THIRD CHECKPOINT – MORNING 280
One of the young Komiteh is loudly debating with another
Komiteh the air-worthiness of a futuristic desert glider
in the storyboards. He’s miming the thing crashing.
J Stafford and the Houseguests are silent. Mendez can
see the line of passengers on their Swissair flight
281 INT. MEHRABAD AIRPORT – KOMITEH STATION – MORNING 281
Azizi rings the phone three times — four times — he’s
going to hang up —
(out of breath)
Studio Six Films.
282 INT. ARGO PRODUCTION OFFICE – NIGHT 282
A beat of silence. Chambers catching his breath,
listening. The door to the office wide open.
283 INT. MEHRABAD AIRPORT – KOMITEH STATION – MORNING 283
May I speak to Mr. Kevin Harkins —
ARGO – Final 108.
283 CONTINUED: 283
He’s out of the country on a
location scout. Can I take a
284 INT. ARGO PRODUCTION OFFICE – NIGHT 284
Chambers listens for a response. Siegel now catches up.
285 INT. MEHRABAD AIRPORT – KOMITEH STATION – MORNING 285
286 INT. MEHRABAD AIRPORT – MORNING 286
Swissair announces final boarding
of Flight 363 to Zurich. All
passengers should be at the gate
at this time.
287 EXT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE – MORNING 287
Khalkali and Komiteh are forcing the front door of the
288 INT. MEHRABAD AIRPORT – THIRD CHECKPOINT – MORNING 288
Azizi comes back into the screened-off area. Looks at
J Stafford, then at Mendez. Then says something in
Farsi to the three Komiteh in the holding area. Then he
The three young Komiteh look at the drawings, then at J
Stafford. Silence for a moment.
Our gift to you. From our film.
Komiteh #1, who speaks enough English to understand,
translates to the others. They forget their
revolutionary mission for a second, happy with their
gift. They’d high-five if they could. They’re kids.
Komiteh #1 motions for the Houseguests to go.
ARGO – Final 109.
289 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE – FOYER – MORNING 289
Khalkali and a dozen Komiteh, guns drawn, rush into the
residence. Empty liquor bottles. The remains of what
looks like breakfast for a group of people.
But the place is empty.
290 INT./EXT. MEHRABAD AIRPORT – FLIGHT GATE – MORNING 290
A BUSLOAD of passengers about to be ferried to the
A Swissair Rep is closing the gate to Flight 363. She
looks up to see the Houseguests and Mendez hurrying
through the terminal, headed toward her. She holds the
gate, speaks in German into a walkie, and —
291 INT. CANADIAN AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE – KEN’S OFFICE – 291
The Komiteh search the house. Khalkali gets on the
292 OMITTED 292
293 INT. MEHRABAD AIRPORT – FLIGHT GATE – MORNING 293
Kathy Stafford’s ticket is taken and she walks through
the door. Hurries toward the transport bus. The other
five Houseguests and Mendez behind her and —
294 INT. MEHRABAD AIRPORT – KOMITEH STATION – MORNING 294
A phone rings and a Young Komiteh picks up the call. He
listens for a moment. Then he drops the phone and RUNS
into the airport terminal and —
295 INT. RUNWAY TRANSPORT BUS – MORNING 295
The Houseguests sit aboard the bus, headed to a waiting
The DRIVER puts the bus into gear. It dsn’t go. He
shakes his head. This goddamn thing. Shifts gears
again. Now it gs.
ARGO – Final 110.
296 INT. MEHRABAD AIRPORT – MORNING 296
Young Komiteh RUNNING through the terminal, pushing
through a crowd, making a woman drop her suitcase,
contents scattering. An automatic weapon at his side.
297 EXT. SWISSAIR DC-10 – MORNING 297
The Houseguests head up the stairs to the plane.
298 INT. MEHRABAD AIRPORT – FLIGHT GATE – MORNING 298
Azizi and the three Komiteh from the third checkpoint
stand up from the table with the Argo storyboards. Young
Komiteh shouts at them and they take up their weapons and
join him, running —
Azizi and the three Komiteh arrive at Flight 363’s gate.
The door is CLOSED.
299 INT. SWISSAIR DC-10 – MORNING 299
The Houseguests put their carry-on luggage into the
overhead bins. A FLIGHT ATTENDANT is already holding a
detached seatbelt preparing to do her safety mime.
Ladies and gentlemen, from the
flight-deck. We’re looking at a
brief delay —
Passengers groan a bit as they read paperbacks or
International Herald Tribunes. Mark Lijek’s arm is
around Cora. Lee Schatz is moving his mouth in what
looks like a prayer. Kathy Stafford’s fingers shake as
she holds an arm rest. J Stafford tries to stay her
Mendez is sitting looking out the window toward the
300 INT. MEHRABAD AIRPORT – FLIGHT GATE – MORNING 300
Azizi yells to the Swissair Rep, dragging her back toward
the gate. We can’t hear what she says back, but she’s
shaking her head.
ARGO – Final 111.
301 INT. SWISSAIR DC-10 COCKPIT – MORNING 301
From the window, we can see a GROUND CREWMAN give a
thumbs-up. The scrubbed Swiss PILOT, 50s, gives a thumbs-
He gently releases the throttle lever.
302 INT. SWISSAIR DC-10 – MORNING 302
Mendez and the Houseguests feel the plane start to move.
303 INT. MEHRABAD AIRPORT – MORNING 303
Azizi gs to the WINDOW. He can see the Swissair plane
slowly backing onto the runway.
He picks up a walkie and pushes through the flight gate
door, setting off an alarm, followed by the three other
He reaches the METAL BARS outside and can’t get past.
He CALLS INTO THE WALKIE.
304 INT. MEHRABAD FLIGHT TOWER – MORNING 304
An Iranian FLIGHT TRAFFIC CONTROLLER calmly speaks into
his radio in British-accented English.
FLIGHT TRAFFIC CONTROLLER
SwissAir 363, you are Number 2 for
305 INT. SWISSAIR DC-10 – MORNING 305
Out the window of the plane. Two IRANIAN POLICE CARS and
a CANVAS-TOPPED TRUCK are headed down the runway toward
306 INT. SWISSAIR DC-10 – MENDEZ’S POV – MORNING 306
looking out from his window seat.
307 EXT. AIRPORT RUNWAY – MORNING 307
An IRAN AIRLINES 747 takes off, revealing the Swissair
jet behind it. Only empty runway ahead of Swissair 363
now and —
ARGO – Final 112.
308 INT. MEHRABAD FLIGHT TOWER – MORNING 308
ANGLE ON BOOTS
taking stairs two at a time.
Three KOMITEH WITH AUTOMATICS rush up the tower stairs —
309 EXT. AIRPORT RUNWAY – MORNING 309
We’re SPEEDING BEHIND two Iranian police cars and a
canvas-topped TRUCK as they speed toward the Swissair
plane. In the back of the truck we can see half a dozen
Komiteh, weapons drawn and —
310 INT. SWISSAIR DC-10 – COCKPIT – MORNING 310
FLIGHT TRAFFIC CONTROLLER (V.O.)
SWISSAIR 363 —
The Pilot puts his hand on the throttle control.
311 INT. MEHRABAD FLIGHT TOWER – MORNING 311
FLIGHT TRAFFIC CONTROLLER
— you are cleared for take-off.
The Flight Traffic Controller moves his head-set mic away
from his mouth to take a drink of very strong Iranian
tea, and — the door to the Control Room BURSTS OPEN.
Three Komiteh with automatics, shouting instructions to
the Traffic Controller, who spills his tea —
312 INT. SWISSAIR DC-10 – MORNING 312
Mendez looking out the window —
313 EXT. AIRPORT RUNWAY – MORNING 313
ANGLE ON THE THREE IRANIAN VEHICLES
speeding ahead — they’re GAINING ON us —
313A INT. COCKPIT – CONTINUOUS ACTION 313A
The CO-PILOT looks out the window. Sees they are being
pursued by militia and police. He looks to the Pilot.
ARGO – Final 113.
313A CONTINUED: 313A
A beat. The Pilot reaches down and pushes all four
engines to go FULL THROTTLE.
313B EXT. AIRPORT RUNWAY – CONTINUOUS ACTION 313B
ANGLE ON THE JEEPS
We start to PULL AWAY FROM them — leaving them behind —
beginning to RISE UP —
314 INT. MEHRABAD FLIGHT TOWER – MORNING 314
The Flight Controller has his arms up… THROUGH the
floor-to-ceiling windows of the tower, as three Komiteh
watch a Swissair DC-10 angle upward and leave the
315 EXT. AIRPORT RUNWAY – MORNING 315
The Komiteh from the Jeep are now standing on the runway
watching the plane disappear.
316 EXT. TEHRAN STREET NEAR AIRPORT – CONTINUOUS ACTION 316
We are looking at a street corner in Tehran when the
PLANE CRESTS THE STOREFRONT, heading upward and away.
317 INT. CIA (LANGLEY) – NIGHT 317
O’Donnell and the Kids gathered around some phones and
monitors in the Pit.
We have wheels up.
He starts to punch the air. O’Donnell stays his arm.
318 INT. SWISSAIR DC-10 – MORNING 318
The Houseguests — holding their breath —
Mendez — looking out the window — scanning the air
around the plane — behind every cloud —
ARGO – Final 114.
318 CONTINUED: 318
FLIGHT ATTENDANT (V.O.)
Ladies and gentlemen, it is our
pleasure to announce that
alcoholic beverages are now
available, as we have cleared
The Houseguests shout and embrace and celebrate. Bob
Anders high-fives Lee Schatz, then the other Houseguests.
Mark Lijek, crying, embraces Cora.
Kathy Stafford is laughing. She kisses her husband’s
Some of the other passengers look up from their
newspapers, annoyed at this Canadian fuss.
319 INT. CIA (LANGLEY) – THE PIT – NIGHT 319
All eyes watch Malinov, listening, headphone to one
Cheers in the Pit. O’Donnell embraces Malinov.
320 INT./EXT. ARGO PRODUCTION OFFICE – NIGHT 320
Siegel throws down a phone and rushes outside… to where
OUUUT! THEY’RE OUT!
Chambers and Lester scream like kids who’ve just scored
the game-winning touchdown. The P.A. tries to shush
321 INT. SWISSAIR DC-10 – MORNING 321
A mini-champagne bottle pops. The Houseguests are
celebrating: New Year’s Eve and a Super Bowl victory
party in a DC-10 aisle.
FIND Mendez, sitting alone, apart from the celebration.
Looking out the window. Mendez turns to see that someone
is standing in the aisle next to him. J Stafford.
Tony looks up at J.
ARGO – Final 115.
321 CONTINUED: 321
FLIGHT ATTENDANT (O.S.)
I’m sorry, sir. You need to sit
But J dsn’t pay attention to the Flight Attendant.
He extends his hand to Mendez. Who takes it. A moment
J gs back to his seat.
HOLD ON Tony Mendez.
322 INT. ARGO PRODUCTION OFFICE – NIGHT 322
Drinking straight from a bottle of Beefeater.
It’s history, is what it is.
˜History plays out first as farce,
then as tragedy.’
The quote’s the other way around.
Who said it?
322A EXT. BORDER CROSSING – ABADAN, IRAQ – MORNING 322A
An IRAQI BORDER GUARD, checking passports at a chain-
link, barbed-wire fence, speaks to a WOMAN IN HIJAB who
is turned away from us. The Guard stamps the Woman’s
BORDER GUARD (ARABIC)
You are admitted to the Republic
He closes the passport and the Woman turns around: it is
ARGO – Final 116.
322A CONTINUED: 322A
She stands and stares at the line of REFUGEES still
waiting to cross: WOMEN balancing blankets tied up with
all they own. An OLD MAN being helped by his SON. A
couple of KIDS, a SEVEN YEAR-OLD shushing an INFANT in
her arms. Lives that have become another tableau of
Sahar, now one of them, walks into Iraq.
323 INT. CIA (LANGLEY) – NIGHT 323
The celebration is quieter and drunker now.
(a couple of beers
We are the good guys!
Six down, fifty to go. Call the Times, nail it to
the fucking door. The CIA
are the good guys.
The Canadians are the good guys.
— we’re not greedy — them too —
Only. Canada takes the credit, or
they’ll retaliate against the
hostages. Great Satan wasn’t
involved. No CIA.
Is that right, Jack?
Involved in what? We’re as
surprised as anybody. Thank you,
Jack raises a glass of Scotch and takes a drink.
324 ARCHIVE FOOTAGE 324
A homemade sign that reads: THANK YOU CANADA!
( Homecoming ceremony for Houseguests 2/1980.) Hundreds
are gathered to welcome the six back.
ARGO – Final 117.
324 CONTINUED: 324
TED KOPPEL (V.O.)
Finally, a sliver of really good
AMERICA HELD HOSTAGE, DAY 87, BROADCAST (1/29/80).
325 CANADIAN MINISTER OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS 325
FLORA MacDONALD, late 60’s. ( A.H.H. 1/29/80)
FLORA MacDONALD (V.O.)
It was a simple operation, really.
326 INT. STATE DEPARTMENT – LOBBY – DAY 326
The Houseguests arrive in the State Department lobby.
Television lights everywhere.
TED KOPPEL (V.O.)
The six fled the country posing as
Canadian diplomats. They simply
Camera flashes, wild cheers. Banners: WELCOME HOME
CORA AND MARK! IDAHO LOVES YOU, LEE! WELCOME HOME,
BOB ANDERS! It’s the first moment of national
celebration since the beginning of the crisis.
327 ARCHIVE FOOTAGE 327
IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER SADEQ GHOTBZADEH speaks angrily
into a microphone.
SADEQ GHOTBZADEH (V.O.)
Sooner or later, here or anywhere
in the world, Canada will pay for
this violation of the sovereignty
of Iran. ( News conference
328 MORE ARCHIVE FOOTAGE ( 1/30/1980) 328
Of the State Department WELCOME HOME CEREMONY.
Ambassador KEN TAYLOR is presented with a HUGE FLORAL
BOUQUET. Cheering crowds all around him.
329 OMITTED 329
ARGO – Final 118.
330 EXT. BY LESTER’S POOL – DAY 330
Siegel in a bathrobe, looking out over L.A., holding
The New York Times in front of him: SIX U.S. DIPLOMATS,
HIDDEN BY CANADA, LEAVE IRAN SAFELY. Next to that, an
article about Ken Taylor: DIPLOMAT DIRECTED ESCAPE IN
IRAN. (Front page, NYT 1/30/80.)
She said, ˜Why couldn’t we pull
off something like that?’ You
know what I said to her?
331 INT. CIA (LANGLEY) – THE PIT – DAY 331
Mendez stands at a desk on the main floor.
Wha’d you say to her?
332 EXT. BY LESTER’S POOL – DAY 332
I said, ˜Argo fuck yourself.’
333 INT. CIA ARCHIVES – DAY 333
And suddenly it’s dead-quiet. We’re in a vault inside a
vault in the basement of the main building.
Mendez’s suitcase is laying on a low counter, an ARCHIVES
OFFICER t-tagging and cataloging various items.
Separating Mendez’s personal things from material related
to the operation.
Mendez empties his briefcase and the officer puts a
sticker on the VARIETY featuring the ARGO ad. Another on
the ARGO script. He’s putting things into a box that
reads: USCIA CLASSIFIED MATERIAL.
Mendez opens his accordion folder — flips through it —
it’s empty — no. There’s something inside.
In one of the compartments is a STORYBOARD FROM ARGO.
One that the Komiteh missed. While the Archives Officer
is turned around, Mendez slips the storyboard back into
the accordion folder and puts it back with his personal
ARGO – Final 119.
334 EXT. CIA – FRONT PARKING LOT – AFTERNOON 334
O’Donnell is on his way out, heading toward Tony who is
heading in. Seeing Mendez, he stops dead.
And I left my autograph book at
home. His Eminence called me. He
wants to see you.
He wants to fire me himself.
He wants to give you the
Intelligence Star. You’re getting
the highest award of merit of the
Clandestine Services of these
United States. Ceremony’s two
weeks from today.
Mendez stops walking. A beat.
If they push it a week, I can
bring Ian. That’s his winter
The op was classified so the
ceremony’s classified. He can’t
know about it. Nobody can know
They’re gonna hand me an award,
then they’re gonna take it back?
If we wanted applause, we would
have joined the circus.
I thought we did.
O’Donnell claps Tony on the shoulder. Tony walks towards
the entrance and Jack heads to his car.
(yelling to Tony; an
Carter said you were a great
ARGO – Final 120.
334 CONTINUED: 334
A great American what?
He didn’t say.
335 INT. ARGO PRODUCTION OFFICE – ANGLE ON A POSTER – DAY 335
on the wall. ARGO: A COSMIC CONFLAGRATION.
A hand takes the poster down.
Chambers is disassembling the office. Boxes packed.
Everything now off the walls.
A PRODUCER walks by, sees Chambers in the door.
What happened to your picture?
It’s in turnaround.
He turns out the lights.
336 EXT. ROAD UP TO CHRISTINE’S HOUSE – LATE AFTERNOON 336
Mendez’s car heads up the road, past a mailbox. Pulls up
to the house.
337 EXT. CHRISTINE’S HOUSE – LATE AFTERNOON 337
Mendez, a duffel bag on his shoulder, knocks on the door.
He waits. After a moment, Christine opens the door.
They look at each other.
Before she can speak, he’s embraced her. Holds tight.
It’s something in between romantic and fraternal. Not
reconciliation, necessarily, but warmth. She
reciprocates. It feels right, and good.
ARGO – Final 121.
337 CONTINUED: 337
WIDEN to HOLD ON them holding each other in the dark hall
of the very American, even Hummel-kitschy house. HOLD
there for a while.
338 INT. CHRISTINE’S HOUSE – IAN’S BEDROOM – ANGLE ON TV – 338
A scene of the Old West on a television.
Ian is watching 1973’s sci-fi Western Westworld in the
bedroom. Ian dsn’t have to describe the scene to his
father this time. WIDEN to see that his head is on a
pillow on Tony’s lap.
CARD #1: THE IRAN HOSTAGE CRISIS ENDED ON JANUARY 20,
1981, WHEN THE REMAINING EMBASSY HOSTAGES WERE RELEASED
AFTER 444 DAYS IN CAPTIVITY.
339 INT. IAN’S BEDROOM – NIGHT 339
We can hear the sounds of gunslinging from the movie.
Glow-in-the-dark stars on the wall. A Star Wars X-Wing
fighter. A couple of rubber Planet of the Apes figures
that look like they’ve been chewed by a dog.
CARD #2: OSCAR-WINNING MAKEUP ARTIST JOHN CHAMBERS WAS
AWARDED THE CIA’S INTELLIGENCE MEDAL OF MERIT, ITS
HIGHEST CIVILIAN HONOR. HE REMAINED FRIENDS WITH TONY
UNTIL CHAMBERS DIED FROM DIABETES COMPLICATIONS IN 2001.
The CAMERA MOVES OVER the dresser of Ian’s toys —
CARD #3: THE INVOLVEMENT OF THE CIA COMPLEMENTED EFFORTS
OF THE CANADIAN EMBASSY IN FREEING THE SIX HELD IN
TEHRAN. TO THIS DAY, THE STORY STANDS AS AN ENDURING
MODEL OF COOPERATION BETWEEN GOVERNMENTS.
— settling on a motley group of action figures.
CARD #4: ALL OF THE HOUSEGUESTS RETURNED TO THE U.S.
FOREIGN SERVICE AFTER THEIR ORDEAL IN IRAN.
Then FIND, almost unnoticeable among Ian’s science
fiction collection, a piece of cardboard behind Captain
Kirk and Han Solo figures.
It’s a STORYBOARD FROM ARGO. The one missed by the
Komiteh at the airport.
ARGO – Final 122.
339 CONTINUED: 339
CARD #5: TONY MENDEZ WAS NOT GIVEN BACK HIS INTELLIGENCE
STAR UNTIL 1997, WHEN THE ARGO OPERATION WAS DECLASSIFIED
BY PRESIDENT CLINTON.
LINGER ON the ARGO STORYBOARD. A MAN in a futuristic
chariot sheltering a KID from what look like laser beams.
CARD #6: HE LIVES IN RURAL MARYLAND WITH HIS FAMILY.
FADE TO BLACK.
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