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The Good Shepherd (2006)

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



2,420 ( 706)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:


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


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:



Official Sites:



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Release Date:

22 December 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El buen pastor  »


Box Office


$90,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$14,142,760, 24 December 2006

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


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Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Wayne Wang was set to direct, but management changes at Columbia ended Wang's involvement, and Philip Kaufman was the next person set to direct, but he eventually left the project. When it moved to MGM, John Frankenheimer signed on to make the movie and wanted Robert De Niro to star. Unfortunately, Frankenheimer died in 2002, and at the same time, De Niro was developing his own spy story. See more »


In 'Washington 1946' a Volkswagen is clearly visible. This car was first imported to the USA in 1949. See more »


[last lines]
Edward Wilson: [reading] They are right what they say about me. I was weak. A coward. I compromised myself. My honor. My family. My country. I am ashamed of myself. To my wife, I am sorry I've done this to you. To my son, I hope you will grow to be a courageous man. A good husband. A good father. I hope whatever you decide to do, you lead a good, full life. I hope whatever your dreams may be come true. Your loving husband and father.
See more »


Referenced in Up Late with Alec Baldwin: Episode #1.4 (2013) See more »


Let the Sun Shine Forever
Written by Lev Oshanin, Avraam Ilich Ostrovskij
Performed by Mark Ivanir
See more »

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 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.

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