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The good shepherd - Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie, Joe Pesci, Robert De Niro

Threat advisory: Guarded - General risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

All our dirty secrets start here.

The true story of the birth of the CIA through the eyes of a man who never existed.

From director Robert De Niro comes this espionage thriller about the tumultuous early history of one of the most covert and powerful government agencies in the world is viewed through the prism of one man's life.

Edward Wilson (Matt Damon) understands the value of secrecy-discretion and commitment to honour have been embedded in him since childhood. As an eager, optimistic student at Yale, he is recruited to join the secret society Skull and Bones, a brotherhood and breeding ground for future world leaders. Wilson's acute mind, spotless reputation and sincere belief in American values render him a prime candidate for a career in intelligence, and he is soon recruited to work for the OSS (the precursor to the CIA) during WWII.

As one of the covert founders of the CIA, working in the heart of an organization where duplicity is required and nothing is taken at face value, Edward's idealism is steadily eroded by a growing suspicious nature, reflective of a world settling into the long paranoia of the Cold War. As his methods are adopted as standard operating procedure, Wilson develops into one of the Agency's veteran operatives, all the while combating his KGB counterpart. However, his steely dedication to his country comes at an ever-increasing price. Not even his wife Clover (Angelina Jolie) or his beloved son can divert Wilson from a path that will force him to sacrifice everything in pursuit of this job.

Theatrical propaganda posters

The good shepherd theatrical one sheet image
The good shepherd theatrical one sheet image

Target demographic movie keyword propaganda

  • Film spy CIA thriller hero World War II USSR USA Cold War Soviet Central Intelligence Agency patriot OSS

Persons of interest

  • Matt Damon .... Edward Wilson
  • Robert De Niro .... Bill Sullivan
  • Angelina Jolie .... Clover Wilson
  • Joe Pesci .... Joseph Palmi
  • Alec Baldwin .... Sam Murach
  • Billy Crudup .... Kim Philby
  • Peter Cavnoudias .... Giorgio Demella
  • Marcos Cohen .... Dr Ibanez
  • Lars Gerhard .... Mr Haupt
  • Nyasha Hatendi .... Thomas Lumumba
  • William Hurt .... Philip Allen
  • John Turturro .... Ray Brocco
  • Jeff Applegate .... Michael Johnson
  • Michael Gambon .... Dr Fredericks
  • Ryan Gayda .... Anthony De Santine
  • Nyasha Hatendi .... Thomas Lumumba
  • Eric Roth .... Screenwriter
  • Robert De Niro .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

As a dramatisation of "How we came to be here", The good shepherd is fulfilling and revealing. As a movie, it's long, plodding and - despite several sexy shots of Matt Damon - pretty boring. Watch The Bourne identity instead.

Security censorship classification

M (Moderate violence, moderate coarse language, moderate sex scenes)

Surveillance time

167 minutes (2:47 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 15 February 2007

Cinema surveillance images

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