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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.

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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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All our dirty secrets start here. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

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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:

$59,901,040 (USA) (2 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

The film cast includes seven Oscar winners: Robert De Niro, Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie, William Hurt, Joe Pesci, Timothy Hutton and Eddie Redmayne; and one Oscar nominee: Alec Baldwin See more »

Goofs

When Wilson copies the membership list of the American German Cultural Commitee, the list he copies contains a font that was only recently available on typewriters. None of the "photocopies" in the movie contain features of the mimeographs that would've produced those copies in the 40s, 50s and 60s. Likewise, the photos used to blackmail Wilson later in the film also appear to have been printed on an ink-jet or laser printer. See more »

Quotes

Bill Sullivan: I'll be looking for patriotic, honorable, bright young men from the right backgrounds to manage the various departments. In other words, no Jews or Negroes, and very few Catholics, and that's only because I'm a Catholic.
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Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in Megan Is Missing (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Shenandoah Song
Arranged by Henry Pedersen
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Finally a film that doesn't assume you're an idiot
28 December 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

After enduring trailer after trailer with endless stings of explosions, ridiculous CG-assisted stunts and mindless action, I felt very rewarded with an intelligent and intriguing film that defies the status quo of bigger and louder is better.

The Good Sheperd doesn't insult your intelligence, it stimulates it, sometimes confuses it, and forces you to look several layers beneath the surface. It feels like a throwback to another era of films when the complexity of a character was of greater importance than spectacle.

De Niro took a page from his producer's best work, Francis Ford Coppola, emulating films like The Godfather, The Conversation and Apacalypse Now. The drama rises not from the usual blatant conventional devices but rather by raising questions because of what we're not told and not shown. It requires a great deal of courage to use this style as films have gravitated more and more toward assuming the average moviegoer is of substandard intelligence. The scope of the film is enormous, yet the point of view is narrowly focused to be seen through the eyes of one man. There are a dozen of subplots, but all are carefully tied into the through-line of the story to match the main character's progression.

The film may require some understanding of American history from WWII through the Kennedy administration. It starts with the later years of the story, The Bay of Pigs debacle, and traces the steps that lead to it, one of the more embarrassing moments in the history of U.S. foreign policy. I found it a bit annoying that Matt Damon's character, Edward Wilson, barely seemed to age in the film while others around him did (the best way to determine his age is whether he's wearing wire-rimmed or horn-rimmed glasses), but it didn't ruin the film for me.

Overall though, definitely one of the best films of 2006. A rare film that makes you want to think and understand, rather than forget.


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