Good Shepherd

The Good Shepherd

3.1 11
Director: Robert De Niro, Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie, Alec Baldwin

Cast: Robert De Niro, Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie, Alec Baldwin


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One man bears witness to the secret history of America during the Cold War in this drama directed by celebrated actor Robert De Niro. In 1939, Edward Wilson (Matt Damon) is a young man with a bright future ahead of him -- he's a top student at Yale and the protégé of one of the school's leading English


One man bears witness to the secret history of America during the Cold War in this drama directed by celebrated actor Robert De Niro. In 1939, Edward Wilson (Matt Damon) is a young man with a bright future ahead of him -- he's a top student at Yale and the protégé of one of the school's leading English professors, Dr. Fredericks (Michael Gambon). But Wilson's life changes dramatically when he's invited to join Yale's powerful secret society, Skull and Bones. Through his Skull and Bones connections, Wilson meets Sam Murach (Alec Baldwin), an mysterious FBI agent who asks Wilson to investigate charges that Fredericks is a Nazi sympathizer working with the German government. Later, at a Skull and Bones party, Wilson is introduced to Clover Russell (Angelina Jolie), the sister of one of his classmates and the daughter of a powerful politician; their one-night stand leaves Clover pregnant, and Wilson must leave the woman he loves, Laura (Tammy Blanchard), to wed Clover and give their child a name. Shortly after their wedding, thanks to his work with Murach, Wilson is invited to join the Office of Strategic Services, a military intelligence organization organized by Bill Sullivan (Robert De Niro), and Wilson accepts. Through World War II, Wilson serves with the OSS, and learns he can trust no one in the game of international espionage, which helps make him little more than a stranger to his wife, his son, and his few friends. As the OSS evolves into the Central Intelligence Agency after the war, Wilson becomes party to America's darkest and most dangerous secrets, and in the wake of the futile Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961, Wilson is forced to make a terrible choice between the security of his nation and the safety of his family. Inspired by the true-life story of CIA founder James J. Angleton, The Good Shepherd boasts an impressive supporting cast, including William Hurt, John Turturro, Billy Crudup, Joe Pesci, and Timothy Hutton.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
The problem with making a film about a dry character is that those qualities can rub off on the film itself. Matt Damon's Edward Wilson is that kind of dry character, and The Good Shepherd is that kind of dry film. There's much to admire in Robert De Niro's ambitious first trip back to the director's chair after 1993's A Bronx Tale. The years from the 1930s through the 1960s are recreated with impeccable period detail, and the plot isn't too hard to follow, a potential stumbling block with spy films that feature numerous characters and numerous shifting allegiances. No, the biggest problem about The Good Shepherd is that Damon fails to generate interest in his character, a man known for being meticulous and humorless -- characteristics that have been attributed to the Central Intelligence Agency, so it's no surprise Wilson (modeled on James J. Angleton) was one of its founders. The details of Wilson's life are downright sensationalistic. His father committed suicide, and he has a wildcard son whose incautiousness could compromise national security. But the character is so rigid, so closed off from his emotions, and so frequently passive in the events of his life, it's hard to feel for him the way De Niro intends. This shouldn't be blamed on Damon; the supporting cast is filled with Hollywood heavyweights who are similarly incapable of making an impression. The most curiously misused performer is Angelina Jolie, whose aggressive seduction techniques introduce her into the proceedings as a much-needed firecracker. But she quickly blends into the scenery as a long-suffering wife, yearning in ways that just don't resonate. Ultimately, De Niro's removed approach may keep the film from being more interesting. At 2 hours and 47 minutes, The Good Shepherd becomes a tough slog that's easier to respect than like.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Universal Studios
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Special Features

16 minutes of deleted scenes

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Matt Damon Edward Wilson
Angelina Jolie Clover/Margaret 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
Eddie Redmayne Edward Wilson Jr.
John Sessions Valentin Mironov #1/Yuri Modin
Oleg Stefan Ulysses/Stas Siyanko
John Turturro Ray Brocco

Technical Credits
Robert De Niro Director,Producer
Tariq Anwar Editor
Chris Brigham Executive Producer
Francine Byrne Art Director
H.H. Cooper Asst. Director
Francis Ford Coppola Executive Producer
Sig De Miguel Casting
Bruce Fowler Score Composer
Cathy Sandrich Gelfond Casting
Robert Guerra Art Director
Howard Kaplan Executive Producer
Steve Kirshoff Special Effects Supervisor
Amanda Mackey Casting
Guy McElwaine Executive Producer
Tom Nelson Sound/Sound Designer
Kathy Nelson Musical Direction/Supervision
New Deal Studios Incorporated Animator
Jeannine Oppewall Production Designer
Robert Richardson Cinematographer
James G. Robinson Producer
David C. Robinson Executive Producer
Jane Rosenthal Producer
Ann Roth Costumes/Costume Designer
Eric Roth Screenwriter
Rick Schwartz Executive Producer
Warren Shaw Sound/Sound Designer
Marcelo Zarvos Score Composer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Good Shepherd
1. Good News (Main Titles) [5:22]
2. Stranger In Our House [7:16]
3. An Oath of Secracy [9:30]
4. Meeting Laura [10:21]
5. Strictly Confidential [6:22]
6. Kan and Wife [5:57]
7. Uses of Information [8:08]
8. Tie Your Shoe [9:31]
9. Formidable Adversary [12:31]
10. On the Side of Democracy [9:33]
11. Grown-Up Talk [9:54]
12. Ulysses [1:41]
13. Mysterious Encounter [5:14]
14. Tell Me Your Name [8:25]
15. Agency First, God Second [11:29]
16. Nothing Else to Know [8:25]
17. Playing the Violin [9:16]
18. Wedding Bells [5:06]
19. Safekeeping [10:08]
20. End Titles [4:57]


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The Good Shepherd 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Aglaia More than 1 year ago
I have seen this movie twice - I am still sort of divided on it. The film depicts the story of the CIA through a fictional person`s story, who serves quite high up in the system. The first part of the film I found very interesting, and then I sort of lost track, or rather, I found the place a bit too slow for my taste. I still think, however, that this is a good movie - although it could have been better. I wouldn`t even say that the directing or acting is bad - I think both are excellent. Matt Damon once again proves that he can play the understated very well, his lack of big emotions, scenes etc, revealing more about the character than a thousand words. So maybe it was the pace, or maybe they wanted to cram too much into the movie - I don`t know. I also admit that I don`t have a vast knowledge of the CIA and its history, so it might be more interesting for those who know their history in this area. I still thought this film has its merits, and not bad at all.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a tediously slow moving vehicle. I fell asleep halfway through. Needlessly slow 'action' and mindless flashbacks are the hallmarks of this film. One minute, you're in the Bay of Pigs invasion, the next you're learning that the U S may go into the World War II Arena. The characters are next to impossible to identify with on any level. Rent only if you're having difficulty sleeping.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Seriously Boring. Not worth writing more about it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Before you go to dissing this movie you might want to read Tim Weiner's "Legacy of Ashes," a history of the CIA. You will quickly realize that Robert DiNiro's character is "Wild Bill" Donovan, the founder of the OSS, later to be replaced by the CIA. Since I read the book I've always wanted to meet a CIA agent and ask "what is the mission of the CIA?" The CIA's mission is primarily to gather information about other countries, their cultures and any threats which may loom against our country. Instead, the history of the CIA is replete with black bag operations. The agency has sent thousands--the vast majority being trusting operatives in other countries--to needless, ridiculous deaths in places where their arrival was well known in advance. The agency has thrown away billions of dollars on failed operations and untrustworthy informants. The agency is the laughing stock of the intelligence world. And as for gathering reliable information on other countries the CIA has utterly failed throughout its history--from the Bay of Pigs to the Iraq War. The men running the agency did these things out of ignorance, a desire to please thier Presidents or a fantasy about being the reincarnation of James Bond. I think the movie does a fantastic job of presenting the egos, the deviousness, the patronizing and the flat-out stupidity of the perople responsible for keeping our leaders informed about the current state of affairs in the world. The film's basic theme that the Bay of Pigs invasion could hang in the balance based on personal grudges, threats and harassment of the agents among themselves IS the history of the CIA. Just ask Geroge Tennet. I think it's a good movie. The film addresses one our country's most serious defects in the world arena. If you don't know anything about the CIA you may want to brush up first.
Guest More than 1 year ago
THE GOOD SHEPHERD may take a lot of patience to sit through the nearly three hour tale written by Eric Roth (Munich, Forrest Gump, Ali, The Horse Whisperer, etc) and directed with meticulous attention to detail by Robert De Niro, but in the end the film about the creation of CIA ("ever notice that no one these 'the CIA' just like no one use 'the God'?"). And although the script confuses the viewer by its propensity to meander over many time frames and many places, the result is a tense attention holding look at the machinations of big government and frightening big Intelligence organizations. We first meet Edward Bell Wilson (Matt Damon, who carries the film well) as a son who witnesses his father's suicide, a fact he will hide for years. He follows in the family footsteps of attending Yale, participating in the infamous Skull and Bones secret club, and progressed to join the government as an agent for Intelligence, eventually helping to form CIA and participate in the Cold War tension with Russia and the Bay of Pigs incident. Wilson is a nebbish on the surface, but underneath lies a man devoted to his country and a man capable of maintaining heavy secrets, even from his wife-of-necessity Clover (Angelina Jolie) whom he marries solely because he got her pregnant. He is distant, covert, and seemingly cold, a trait that he will pass on to his son whose life following CIA results in tragedy. Along the way from this personal side of the story the plot is filled with politicians, spies, Russian, moles, double agents - all the expected and needed characters for a story of this sort. The cast includes such important actors as Billy Crudup, Joe Pesci, Alec Baldwin, a superb Tammy Blanchard, Robert De Niro himself, Keir Dullea, Michael Gambon, William Hurt, John Turturro, Timothy Hutton and Gabriel Macht, each performing excellent cameos. The production values are equally strong with Robert Richardson as director of photography mixing historical footage with atmospheric cinematography, a fine musical score by Bruce Fowler and Marcelo Zarvos, and a tight editing by Tariq Anwar. The film could easily have been cut by an hour without damaging the effect, but there is something to be said for the level of tension achieved by De Niro's choices that gives us a feeling of being a part of the Intelligence schemes. It takes patience, but the film is worth viewing. Grady Harp
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of the most eye-popping films to date in many years and one filled with integrity and merit, I don't truly understand why many critics in the media have called it "the godfather of the spy movie." I find that this is an offense against a general work of art and while Francis Ford Coppola is the executive producer, there is no outstanding or many tones of violence compared to gangster flicks. By the way, the good gangster film is over because all the mafias and mobs of the old Sicilian, Italian, and Irish, Jewish gangsters who had honor. On the surface, this may look like a criticism of the intelligence agency in their ruthlessness and secrecy, which it is, but argues that sometimes you can't have oversight for a covert, special operations group filled with Skulls and Bones. Interesting stance for a Democrat like DeNiro. So much for the "non-informed liberals of Hollywood," which right-wingers use to divide us.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I didn't actually see this entire movie... I left halfway through, couldn't keep my eyes open any longer. Watching Matt Damon play another stoic and lifeless character is not worth anyone's time or money! Save yourself!
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