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The Good Shepherd

7/10
History . Thriller . Drama
 

Edward Wilson, the only witness to his father's suicide and member of the Skull and Bones Society while a student at Yale, is a morally upright young man who values honor and discretion, qualities that help him to be recruited for a career in the newly founded OSS. His dedication to his work does not come without a price though, leading him to sacrifice his ideals and eventually his family.

 
Actors: William Hurt , Martina Gedeck , Michael Gambon , Keir Dullea , Robert De Niro , Billy Crudup , Tammy Blanchard , Alec Baldwin , Angelina Jolie , Matt Damon
Directors: Robert De Niro
Country: USA
Release: 2006-12-22
More Info:
  • Walter Addiego

    A remarkable study of the corrosive effects of fear and power on an establishment insider who puts duty above all else.

    San Francisco Examiner Full Review
  • David Denby

    One of the most impressive movies ever made about espionage.

    The New Yorker Full Review
  • Shawn Levy

    It's the type of film that may be forgiven its imperfections when they are compared with the vastness of its accomplishments.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • James Berardinelli

    De Niro pulls the viewer into the world he has created and holds him there, sometimes spellbound, until the story is over and the end credits roll.

    ReelViews Full Review
  • Kirk Honeycutt

    While a bit unwieldy at nearly three hours and at times slow going, the film is absolutely fascinating for anyone who shares De Niro's passions.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Kenneth Turan

    It's taken a dozen years for Eric Roth's smart, thoughtful, psychologically complicated script to reach the screen under Robert De Niro's careful and methodical direction, and it is easy to see why.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Richard Corliss/Richard Schickel

    Damon is terrific in the role--all-knowing, never overtly expressing a feeling. Indeed, so is everyone else in this intricate, understated but ultimately devastating account of how secrets, when they are left to fester, can become an illness, dangerous to those who keep them, more so to nations that base their policies on them.

    Time Full Review
  • Stephen Hunter

    The Good Shepherd is serious adult moviemaking, a truly surprising effort from De Niro, a man deeply interested in the art, craft and psychology of espionage. He seems to believe that we'd better be interested in it, because it's interested in us.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Steven Rea

    A cool-headed thriller, and a richly detailed character study that traces the birth and evolution of America's foreign espionage bureaucracy, The Good Shepherd also marks a significantly more mature, assured directing turn from Robert De Niro.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Maitland McDonagh

    Roth's screenplay, steeped in the peculiar rituals, lock-jawed repression and smug sense of superiority of the WASP ruling class that both shaped America's intelligence community and made it vulnerable, is less interested in derring-do than back-room deals and the day-to-day drudgery of spying, driven by the notion that espionage is a cynical high-stakes game played with people's lives and the ante is human decency and connectedness.

    TV Guide Full Review
  • Claudia Puig

    Deliberately paced, epic and ambitious, The Good Shepherd feels related in tone, mood and style to "The Godfather."

    USA Today Full Review
  • Scott Brown

    Here, he's (Damon) the ultimate enigma machine, a man willing to erase himself for his country. Does that make him a hero? The Good Shepherd is too closemouthed to let on.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Peter Rainer

    The problem with The Good Shepherd is that it's a closed-off movie about a closed-off individual. Wilson is inscrutable from the get-go, and remains so. Damon does subtle work within the narrowest of confines.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • David Ansen

    Still, even if the movie's vast reach exceeds its grasp, it's a spellbinding history lesson. The Good Shepherd demands you watch it like a spy: alert, paranoid, never knowing whom you can trust, or who will stab you in the back.

    Newsweek Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    Shepherd wants to say something profound about the effect of a deceitful government on human values. But it's tough to slog through a movie that has no pulse.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • Michael Phillips

    It's fitting that a drama trading in classified information would turn out to be such a cryptic bugger.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Elizabeth Weitzman

    Even with its first-rate cast, current political relevance and tangled mysteries, The Good Shepherd remains as remote as Wilson himself. But frankly, if the lives of CIA spies are really this dreary, they may as well keep their secrets to themselves.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Wesley Morris

    Leaves you longing for the other, better political thrillers it evokes.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Kim Newman

    Well-crafted and well-acted, but ever-so-slightly worthy and strangely unaffecting. Given the track record of the CIA, it probably ought to be angrier.

    Empire Full Review
  • Manohla Dargis

    The most interesting thing about The Good Shepherd is how hard the filmmakers work not only to demystify the agency, but also to strip it of its allure, its heat.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • William Arnold

    In some ways, De Niro does a competent job in his second directorial effort but his characterizations are clumsy, and his members of the Power Elite always seem less real people than stick figures in a propaganda movie.

    Seattle Post-Intelligencer Full Review
  • Michael Sragow

    If only De Niro or screenwriter Eric Roth had the instinct to play some of this for laughs or even outrageous burlesque. Despite their conviction and intelligence and their game, amazing cast, all they do is eke out a series of straight-faced dramatic reversals and personal betrayals that leave the dramatis personae, and the audience, numb.

    Baltimore Sun Full Review
  • Rene Rodriguez

    The Good Shepherd, for all its noble intentions, manages to make even espionage boring.

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • Lou Lumenick

    A glacially paced, emotionally frosty epic (with a top-drawer cast).

    New York Post Full Review
  • Rick Groen

    Where's 007 when you need him? Neither shaken nor stirred, The Good Shepherd is a flat draft of history that looks at the Central Intelligence Agency's early years through the horn-rimmed gaze of a fictional spook.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Lawrence Toppman

    If serious intent led inevitably to greatness, The Good Shepherd would be a masterpiece. It turtles forward for 160 minutes with unrelenting, humorless solemnity, as if everyone involved were unaware that it has arrived three decades too late to matter.

    Charlotte Observer Full Review
  • Marjorie Baumgarten

    Despite successfully creating the illusion of forbidden glimpses, The Good Shepherd slogs through most of its lengthy running time.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Stephanie Zacharek

    The Good Shepherd, soft when it needs to be sharp, is all cloak with very little dagger.

    Salon.com Full Review
  • Robert Wilonsky

    The Good Shepherd needed to be either considerably longer -- more like 1979's "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" miniseries -- or considerably shorter (word has it De Niro cut 30 minutes). Right now, it's stuck in the deadly dull middle in which everything happens but nothing matters since the filmmakers can't stick with one event or idea long enough for it to, well, stick.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Staff (Not credited)

    Robert De Niro's second film as a director adopts a methodical approach and deliberate pace in attempting to grasp an almost forbiddingly intricate subject, with a result that is not boring, exactly, but undeniably tedious.

    Variety Full Review
  • Andrea Gronvall

    Perhaps it's fitting that a movie about the early CIA be tangled and opaque, but this drama loosely based on the life of uberspook James Angleton verges on incoherence.

    Chicago Reader Full Review
  • Keith Phipps

    De Niro made the right choice in making this a film of cold, gray Leiters rather than dynamic Bonds. But he never makes us feel the chill.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Ella Taylor

    De Niro is damned if he's going to make a standard thriller out of this view from within the CIA, which might be refreshing if his solemn moral parable weren't so lacking in any other kind of juice, and if its hero were less of a round-shouldered, whey-faced organization man.

    L.A. Weekly Full Review
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  • mentor

  • return

  • cold war

  • kongo

  • leaving one's family

  • kgb

  • childhood memory

  • wife

  • invasion

  • bay of pigs

  • family

  • child

  • o.s.s.

  • student

  • poetry

  • marriage

  • suspicion

  • flashback

  • soviet

  • idealism

  • death

  • reference to dwight d. eisenhower

  • pre war

  • post war

  • political thriller

  • murder of a pregnant woman

  • blood splatter

  • pregnancy

  • reading poetry

  • tailor shop

  • diabetic

  • horn rimmed glasses

  • playing the violin

  • newspaper headline

  • mobster

  • locust

  • military coup

  • glee club

  • reference to nikita khruschev

  • italian american

  • fall to death

  • speaking russian

  • third degree

  • black eye

  • jump out of window

  • water boarding

  • sex in bed

  • year 1962

  • u.s. foreign policy

  • hazing

  • male rear nudity

  • bare chested male

  • woman shot in the forehead

  • man with glasses

  • deer island

  • foreign intelligence service

  • isolationism

  • isolationist

  • ceiling fan

  • church bell

  • exit visa

  • swiss chocolate

  • soviet flag

  • men's choir

  • poetry magazine

  • listening to a radio

  • radio news

  • backstage

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  • dead body thrown into a river

  • beating

  • dead body in water

  • magnifying glass

  • wedding cake

  • wedding reception

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  • russian

  • russia

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  • german american

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  • telephone call

  • unfaithfulness

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  • intrigue

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  • flash forward

  • undressing

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  • flashback within a flashback

  • teenage boy

  • prologue

  • washington d.c.

  • historical event

  • 1950s

  • father son relationship

  • mother son relationship

  • lifelong friendship

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  • seduction

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  • congo

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  • poet

  • patriotism

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  • husband wife relationship

  • family relationships

  • cuban missile crisis

  • cigar smoking

  • xenophobia

  • racial slur

  • racial tension

  • racial segregation

  • racial prejudice

  • race relations

  • ethnic diversity

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  • wetting pants

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  • suicide of father

  • shot in the head

  • shot in the forehead

  • shot in the chest

  • severed finger

  • secret

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  • male nudity

  • loss of father

  • jumping through a window

  • marital infidelity

  • fling

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  • estranged wife

  • cross dressing

  • corpse

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  • beaten to death

  • directed by star

  • yale university

  • cia agent

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  • death of father

  • reference to south pacific the stage musical

  • magazine editor

  • deafness

  • deaf girl

  • lip reading

  • library

  • campfire

  • beach

  • hearing aid

  • reference to winston churchill

  • jew

  • jewish

  • catholic

  • black american

  • african american

  • church

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  • death of brother

  • death of brother in law

  • brother in law brother in law relationship

  • dancer

  • dancing

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  • secret society

  • top secret project

  • party

  • christmas

  • christmas party

  • santa claus

  • rifle

  • berlin germany

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  • reference to charles dickens

  • reference to a christmas carol

  • book

  • treason

  • execution

  • double life

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  • syphilis

  • bomb shelter

  • cellar

  • london england

  • london blitz

  • slide projector

  • slide show

  • watching a movie

  • movie theatre

  • secret ceremony

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  • ship in a bottle

  • bus

  • u.s. president

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  • briefcase

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  • gay teacher

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  • u.s. secretary of the navy

  • bicycle

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  • reference to anton chekhov

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  • cuba

  • cia

  • spy

  • usa

  • berlin

  • london

  • wife husband relationship

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