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

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1,820 ( 156)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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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

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Edward Wilson believed in America, and he would sacrifice everything he loved to protect it. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

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Details

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Release Date:

22 December 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El buen pastor  »

Box Office

Budget:

$90,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$14,142,760 (USA) (22 December 2006)

Gross:

£1,709,530 (UK) (9 March 2007)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Joe Pesci appears in one scene as a Mafia boss ("Joseph Palmi") whom, it is implied in the film, is a fictionalized version of Sam Giancana (in one scene it is mentioned that Fidel Castro has seized "three of [Palmi's] casinos and thrown him out of [Cuba]"; in fact, Castro did "nationalize" several Giancana-controlled casinos). The CIA recruited Giancana for several assassination attempts on Castro. See more »

Goofs

In the first of the Berlin scenes, set in 1945, in the background are two Soviet soldiers holding SKS rifles which were not adopted by the Soviet Army until 1949. See more »

Quotes

[Bill Sullivan visits Ed at home to let him know that they're forming the CIA as a peacetime OSS]
Bill Sullivan: I have to tell you, I have some real problems with this whole thing despite how much we need it. I'm concerned that too much power will end up in the hands of too few. It's always in somebody's best interest to promote enemies real or imagined. I see this as America's eyes and ears; I don't want it to become its heart and soul. So I told the president for this to work there is going to have to be ...
[...]
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Crazy Credits

The end credits feature the dedication "In memory of Gretchen Rau". See more »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

No Rain a Fallin'
Written and Produced by Bruce Fowler
Performed by Vince Giordano and His Nighthawks Orchestra (as Vince Giordano and The Nighthawks Orchestra)
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Know In Advance This Is Not An Action Film, And Then Sit Back & Enjoy It
15 April 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I had a huge advantage before watching this on DVD. I was told by a good friend that it was extremely slow, and be prepared to be bored out of "my mind." Well, I wasn't bored, maybe because I now expected a slower, non-action-packed CIA-type film....and I wasn't disappointed. Actually, I liked it, mainly because of the cinematography. This is stunning in its photography. Kudos to Director Robert De Niro and Director of Photography Robert Richardson for their work in here.

I also appreciated the low profanity in here. After watching "The Departed," this far-cleaner film was a treat for the ears, too. Yes, there are a handful of 'f-words," but not much else including no blasphemy.

But, I agree that this is a very slow film and it helps to know that in advance. It's also one you have to follow closely and time periods shift back and forth, mainly from 1961 back to the early 1940s.

The story winds up presenting an interesting question which is posed to Matt Damon's character, "Edward Wilson." He plays an extremely loyal CIA man, a guy who is straight-arrow and one whose priority is country-first. The dilemma occurs at the end when he must choose between what's best for his son or his country.

It's a thought-out, interesting story that takes a few sides to the left of center more than the right, but is not really a movie with any heavy-handed political agenda, mainly pointing out what it takes to be a successful "spy" and that this unemotional detachment can be rough on some people and their families.

Damon heads an all-star cast that includes Angeline Jolie (who looks spectacular as a woman in the early 1940s), Billy Crudup, Alec Baldwin, William Hurt, Timothy Hutton and many others.

This movie, I suspect, will either put you to sleep or fascinate you.


64 of 95 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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