The Good Shepherd

  • 15
  • Robert De Niro (2006)
  • US
  • 160 min
The Good Shepherd
Film Review
Reviewed By
3 out of 5

The second directorial outing of screen legend Robert De Niro ambitiously charts the secret history of America's Central Intelligence Agency, from the beginning of the Second World War to the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961. There's little chance here for star Matt Damon to reprise his Jason Bourne-style superspy heroics in his role as Edward Wilson, a patriotic desk jockey who sacrifices everything (his marriage and perhaps even his soul) to become an automaton in this vast bureaucratic machine. Concentrating on the humdrum reality of paperwork, files and folders, Eric Roth's well-researched screenplay strips the spy movie of its glamour, while telescoping history through one man's personal tragedy. It's a bold narrative move that succeeds only fitfully - not least because De Niro's ploddingly competent direction robs the drama of the impact it deserves. Terrific supporting turns from William Hurt, John Turturro and Angelina Jolie (as Wilson's wife) add gloss, but they can't prevent the film from feeling as coldly dispassionate as its protagonist.

Plot Summary

Spy drama directed by Robert De Niro, who also features in a cameo role alongside stars Matt Damon and Angelina Jolie. The development of the Central Intelligence Agency is seen through the experiences of agent Edward Wilson, from the Second World War to the aftermath of the Bay of Pigs disaster in 1961.

Cast and crew


Edward Wilson
Matt Damon
Clover / Margaret Russell
Angelina Jolie
Sam Murach
Alec Baldwin
Tammy Blanchard
Arch Cummings
Billy Crudup
Bill Sullivan
Robert De Niro
Sen John Russell Sr
Keir Dullea
Dr Fredericks
Michael Gambon
Hanna Schiller
Martina Gedeck
Philip Allen
William Hurt
Thomas Wilson
Timothy Hutton
Joseph Palmi
Joe Pesci
Ray Brocco
John Turturro


Robert De Niro

Other Information

Theatrical distributor: 
Violence and swearing.
Available on DVD
Released 23 Feb 2007
Certificate 15