Edward Wilson believed in America, and he would sacrifice everything he loved to protect it.
The tumultuous early history of the Central Intelligence Agency is viewed through the prism of one man's life.
167 min, Russia:139 min (cut version)
2.35 : 1
Rated R for some violence, sexuality and language.
English, Spanish, German, Russian
Cold War, CIA, Idealism, Suicide, Spy
SDDS, Dolby Digital, DTS
Unglamorized Spy Film, Period Film, Political Drama
Traitorous Spies/Double Agents, Double Life, Political Corruption
Atmospheric, Paranoid, Moody
Cold War, Soviet
Has Detailed Data (New)
1, 2, 3, 7, 8
Count - Awards
US Box Office
Country Of Origin
The Good Shepherd is a 2006 spy film directed by Robert De Niro and starring Matt Damon and Angelina Jolie, with an extensive supporting cast. Although it is a fictional film loosely based on real events, it is advertised as telling the untold story of the birth of counter-intelligence in the Central Intelligence Agency. The film's main character, Edward Wilson (portrayed by Matt Damon), is loosely based on James Jesus Angleton and Richard M. Bissell. This was Joe Pesci's first film appearance after his six year hiatus from acting between 1999 and 2005.
Has Detailed Data (New)
Youtube Video Code
A photograph and an audio recording on reel-to-reel tape are dropped off anonymously at the home of Edward Wilson (Matt Damon), a senior CIA officer, after the 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion of Cuba fails due to an undisclosed leak. While riding to work on the bus, Edward is approached by a young boy who asks if Edward has change for a dollar. Upon arriving at work, Edward's assistant checks the serial number of the dollar against a long list of serial numbers assigned to various code names and confirms that Edward has been given a dollar from "Cardinal". The movie then flashes back to 1939.
In 1939 Edward is at Yale University and joins Skull and Bones, a secret society that grooms future U.S. leaders. He is compelled to disclose a secret as part of his initiation: he reveals that as a young boy he discovered the suicide note left by his father, Thomas (Timothy Hutton), although he says he never read it. After the ceremony, a fraternity brother tells him that Edward's father, an admiral, was to be chosen as Secretary of the Navy, until his loyalties were questioned. Afterwards Edward is recruited by an FBI agent Sam Murach (Alec Baldwin), who claims that Edward's poetry professor, Dr. Fredericks (Michael Gambon), is a Nazi spy, asking Edward to expose his professor's background as well as implying that the Professor is homosexual: Edward's actions result in Dr. Fredericks' forced resignation from the university.
Edward begins a relationship with a deaf student named Laura (Tammy Blanchard), but while on Deer Island, Edward meets and is later aggressively seduced by Margaret 'Clover' Russell (Angelina Jolie), his friend's sister. General Bill Sullivan (Robert De Niro) asks Edward to join the OSS, offering him a post in London.
Later while Edward and Laura are at the beach, Clover's brother, John, privately reveals that Clover is pregnant with Edward's child and asks him to "do what is expected." Laura, an able lip-reader, sees and walks away. Edward marries Clover. At the wedding reception Edward accepts an offer of a position in the London OSS office from General Sullivan, requiring him to be in England in one week, leaving his newlywed wife. In London he meets his former professor Dr. Fredericks, who is actually a British intelligence operative who had sought to infiltrate a Nazi organization while at Yale, causing the American authorities to suspect that he was a Nazi spy. Despite this, Fredericks recognized Edward's gifts and recommended that he be trained in counter-espionage in London.
An intelligence officer in the British SOE, Arch Cummings (Billy Crudup), tells Edward that Fredericks' indiscriminate homosexual relationships pose a security risk; Edward is asked to deal with his mentor, but Fredericks refuses the chivalrous suggestion to protect himself by returning to teaching. He says he will understand if Wilson wants to "tie his shoe" (a signal to watchers that the meeting went badly). Edward delays, prompting Fredericks to kneel down and tie Edward's shoe for him. As their meeting ends, he advises Wilson to "quit... while you still have a soul", leaves, and is
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