The Good Shepherd

Theatrical Release: December 22, 2006
The Good Shepherd


The tumultuous early history of the Central Intelligence Agency is viewed through the prism of one man’s life in The Good Shepherd, an espionage drama starring Academy Award® winners Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie and Robert De Niro and directed by Robert De Niro. Edward Wilson (Matt Damon) understands the value of secrecy—discretion and commitment to honor 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 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.

Dove Review

This movie is a fictitious story based on events surrounding the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1961. While the actors perform well in their respective roles, the storyline is fractured by constant bouncing back and forth between 1939, 1941, 1960 and 1961. As a result, the screenplay does not present a very compelling story of Cold War intrigue between the Soviet Union KGB and the United States CIA. “The Good Shepherd” is a failed attempt to match the suspense and excitement of Matt Damon’s popular role as Jason Borne.

The first 40 minutes does not contain a single profanity, violent act, or inappropriate gesture. The remainder of the story becomes increasingly animated and violent with several on-screen graphic portrayals of adultery, fornication, brutal beatings, murders, suicides, and profanities.

Content Description

Faith: None
Integrity: None
Sex: three cases of adultery and fornication
Language: F-2; A-1; H-1; SOB-1; P*ss-1; slang for male genitles
Violence: brutal beating; point blank execution; two suicides; woman thrown from a plane; severed finger
Drugs: man given LSD
Nudity: female partially nude; males partially shown;
Other: man urinating on another man


Company: Universal Pictures
Writer: Eric Roth
Director: Robert De Niro
Producer: Jane Rosenthal
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 160 min.
Reviewer: Dick Rolfe