6.7/10
95,143
503 user 193 critic

The Good Shepherd (2006)

The tumultuous early history of the Central Intelligence Agency is viewed through the prism of one man's life.

Director:

Robert De Niro

Writer:

Eric Roth
Reviews
Popularity
2,292 ( 764)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Matt Damon ... Edward Wilson
Angelina Jolie ... Margaret 'Clover' Russell
Alec Baldwin ... Sam Murach
Tammy Blanchard ... Laura
Billy Crudup ... Arch Cummings
Robert De Niro ... Bill Sullivan
Keir Dullea ... Senator John Russell, Sr.
Michael Gambon ... Dr. Fredericks
Martina Gedeck ... Hanna Schiller
William Hurt ... Philip Allen
Timothy Hutton ... Thomas Wilson
Mark Ivanir ... Valentin Mironov #2
Gabriel Macht ... John Russell, Jr.
Lee Pace ... Richard Hayes
Joe Pesci ... Joseph Palmi
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Storyline

Laconic and self-contained, Edward Wilson heads CIA covert operations during the Bay of Pigs. The agency suspects that Castro was tipped, so Wilson looks for the leak. As he investigates, he recalls, in a series of flashbacks, his father's death, student days at Yale (poetry; Skull and Bones), recruitment into the fledgling OSS, truncated affairs, a shotgun marriage, cutting his teeth on spy craft in London, distance from his son, the emergence of the Cold War, and relationships with agency, British, and Soviet counterparts. We watch his idealism give way to something else: disclosing the nature of that something else is at the heart of the film's narration as he closes in on the leak. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Who is the good shepherd? The one who looks after his family or the one who looks after his country? See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some violence, sexuality and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Universal [United States]

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish | Russian | German | Lingala

Release Date:

22 December 2006 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Good Shepherd See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$90,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,912,110, 24 December 2006

Gross USA:

$59,952,835

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$100,266,865
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby Digital | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Eric Roth penned the screenplay in 1994 for Francis Ford Coppola and Columbia Pictures. Coppola left the project because, he said, he could not relate to the characters, finding them "unemotional", (although he retained a credit as co-Executive Producer). See more »

Goofs

During the initial flashback to Edward's Yale days, the 'Buttercup' scene fades in on a pair of chain-tuned timpani with plastic heads. In that year, plastic drum heads were not invented yet. They should more accurately have been calf skin. Plastic heads came into use in the 1950's. See more »

Quotes

Ray Brocco: You failed the polygraph, Mr. Mirinov.
Valentin Mironov #1: You know every Russian fails polygraph. Your polygraph doesn't understand the Russian soul.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Middleman: The Palindrome Reversal Palindrome (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

O Christmas Tree
Traditional tune, lyrics by Ernst Anschütz (uncredited)
Performed by The Brentwood Singers
Courtesy of Brentwood Records/Provident Label Group
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
An intelligent tale of duty and loyalty
1 January 2007 | by leftie_imwSee all my reviews

I went into the theatre with little knowledge but that I was going to be watching a film about a man who was one of the founders of the CIA. Expecting this, I thought this movie was outstanding and a mind game from start to finish.

What one has to understand about the movie itself is that it is as complicated as the storyline. It starts out with two different time lines, decades apart and slowly one reaches the other. That in itself can be difficult to follow, but it is well worth the effort to pay attention because if you can leave the theatre understanding what took place, you walk away with a little more knowledge about the human complex.

Because this is a story more about the soul and our humanity than it is about spies and country. Those are just the means by which De Niro uses.

Every actor is placed remarkably well and no more so than Matt Damon himself. It is his acting that gives us Edward Wilson; a man without airs who doesn't compromise. The movie spans over twenty years and fortunately we see those years reflected in most of the characters. Angelina Jolie does the neglected, alcoholic wife superbly. William Hurt and Lee Pace as Richard Hayes both give a wonderful performance taking their character's flaws from subtle to substantial by the end.

Some might wonder how so many actors could be recruited for such small roles, like Alec Baldwin, Michael Gambon, and Joe Pesci, but one only has to see as far as the director to get their answer. Don't let the big names and the anagram CIA get you. This movie is as edgy as it is intricate with twists and turns that take the viewer through the world of trust and the human element. A man like Edward Wilson is just the perfect vessel for the journey.


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