Synopsis by Mark Deming
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.
CIA (Central-Intelligence-Agency), government-agent