Talk:The Good Shepherd (film)

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Plot summary is incomplete[edit]

Even though some comments point out the plot summary is rather long, it does help those who might have missed one or two finer points of the film to explain their significance. However, I've noticed that the plot summary omits certain scenes that, in my opinion, are crucial to the plot (Edward's first trip to the Congo, for example, and all the "flash-forwards" of the unravelling of the Bay of Pigs mystery which lead to that scene). Rather than shortening this section, them, it should be expanded.Barmispain (talk) 22:58, 28 February 2011 (UTC)

Why not go to the producers and ask them nicely if they would put the whole screenplay in this article.Jodosma (talk) 19:23, 11 February 2013 (UTC)

The film's plot is somewhat convoluted, and this quality, plus its structure -- its movement forward and backward in time -- prevent it from being readily accessible to those disinclined to study it raptly, such as on video, stopping the film and rewinding to review scenes not fully understood on first viewing. I found the detailed plot synopsis here extremely helpful in better comprehending and appreciating the film, and concur with Barmispain that more, rather than less, detail would be an improvement. It seems to me more consistent with the spirit of Wikipedia to enhance understanding through elaboration rather than pander to short attention spans. To whom, then, would one direct an appeal to delete the rather churlish "This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. Please help improve it by removing unnecessary details and making it more concise"? Martin Pasko (talk) 03:50, 21 April 2013 (UTC)

England and Pirate flag scene[edit]

In scene at about 1:23 Edward Sn gives his son Edward Jr. a gift that he made. It has the image of a ship with a flag of England and a Pirate flag. I am wondering if the ship's pirate flag (a skull and cross bones) has any connection to the "Skull And Bones" club that Edward was a member of. And more so, I wonder if there is any significance of the flag of England also being on the gift, as opposed to a ship with a flag of the USA, of which Edward and his son are a citizen of. Thoughts? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:49, 14 August 2008 (UTC)

I believe the skull and bones are a group of Anglo Saxon Protestant leaders of industry and politics. Most of their bloodlines can be traced back to England, and conspiracies suggest that perhaps the entire American social experiment is a cover. The United States could be, as is hinted in this film, simply a gold mine owned by the white anglo protestant elites, and worked by the rest of us. The British flag represents their cultural and ethnic heritage, and the pirate flag represents their true role of robbing free enterprise — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:54, 24 February 2017 (UTC)

Clover already pregnant?[edit]

It used to say after the introduction of Clover that she, more likely, was already pregnant and was looking for "the perfect husband." I removed it because a) there is absolutely no allusion to this in the film and b) I think that the idea the Ed Jr. might not have been Edward's son undermines Edward's motivations later on in the film. While I think it's highly plausible that Ed Jr. was not his son, it diminshes the effect of the latter half of the movie. - catgirl667

I think the relevant consideration here is that the notion of the Clover character being pregnant and looking for a husband and legal father for her child, though it's strongly implied by Clover's dialogue before her seduction of Edward, is not, as catgirl667 points out, an explicit "reveal" in the film. I'd argue that the purpose of a plot synopsis is to do nothing more than summarize explicit content; anything else -- such as catgirl667's second reason for her edit -- is critical commentary or speculative interpretation, which is beyond the purview of a "plot summary." Martin Pasko (talk) 05:39, 21 April 2013 (UTC)

Who did it?[edit]

I am still confused over, who was the source of the leak about Bay of Pigs? Please explain better--Drussel3 12:06, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

Edward's son.

My take would be to say that the leak comes from the Valentin Mironov/Arch Cummming's treachery and maybe or in a more minor way from Edward Jr.'s indiscretion. The latter having further been instrumentalised by "Ulysses" as a mean of pressure upon Wilson. It seems to to me that Wilson unmasking Valentin/Cumming after having discovered that the sex-tape/photo was of his son supports this. Since stopping the investigation after having identified the "stranger" would be logical. But honestly I'm rather confused over the plot too so...
While Mironov & Cumming's were both spys (obviously), the source of the leak was Edward's son. Ulysses had the tape of Edward's son saying the Spanish word for "Bay of Pigs", which was how they knew where to find the Americans. Bjewiki 12:39, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
Ah yes, you 're right on this. But then what was the point of Ulysses attempted blackmail with the sex-photo/tape? Since nor Ed Jr. neither Wilson himself were rendered responsible for the leak after the photo was identified. The only thing CIA did was to kill off Ed Jr.'s fiancee. Did the KGB really bet on Wilson compassion for his son's love-life and a woman he doesn't even know, a russian agent nonetheless? Or maybe it wasn't CIA who killed off the fiancee? I'm still confused. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 18:44, 18 January 2007 (UTC).
Although, it's never made precisely clear who killed the fiance, I think we were led to believe that the Russians did it ("she knew too much"), because Ulysses pretty much gave Edward the chance to stop it, but Edward didn't. As for the blackmail, that's a good question, but it seem that Ulysses was trying to get Edward to do him a favor sometime in the future, which as your pointed out wasn't very effective. I would watch it again to try to figure it out, but to be honest, I don't think I could take it for another 2hours, 40 minutes. Bjewiki 18:52, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
I think, the Russians killed the fiance. So they sacrified one of their sources of information, while Wilson sacrifies an CIA Agent in return (identifying to Ulysses him by giving "cardinal" the dollar note). 09:12, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

"Tufano" vandalism[edit]

Note that edits inserting supposed information about "Marc Tufano" are vandalism and should be reverted on sight. This has affected multiple articles (Robert De Niro, The Beatles, etc. etc.) -- Curps 18:40, 24 December 2005 (UTC)


I just saw this movie yesterday (it was my mother's birthday present to me, actually) and while I enjoyed it, something's been nagging me since. Both my mom and I have asked several others who've seen it what the title of the film means- since unless we missed it, there is no such reference to it in the film itself. Mom surmises that it could be a reference to James Jesus Angleton's middle name. Any ideas? -- 01:23, 24 December 2006 (UTC)dethtoll

My husband and I just saw this movie this afternoon. I believe the title might refer to Jesus Christ calling himself "The Good Shepherd". That is one who puts all before the good of his sheep. In the movie, Matt Damon might be looked upon as a good shepherd as he put everything (family,friends, soul) before his sheep (his country). The website for the quotation is: -- 07:03, 26 December 2006 (UTC)


While I think that you are right about the reference to Jesus Christ, I think that what you mean to say is that he put the good of his sheep before everything, rather than putting everything before the good of his sheep. Edward put the good of his country before everything else. Not to get into a religious discussion here, but if Jesus put everything ahead of the good of his sheep, we'd all be completely out of luck! -catgirl667
I'm not too sure what the films title does mean but i do remember watching the film and hearing them say 'shepherd' but i cant remember when, perhaps getting the script and searching for the word might give a clue to the meaning. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Blah0401 (talkcontribs) 05:33, 27 December 2006 (UTC).
See The Good Shepherd (religion). --Mathew5000 14:11, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

I think I agree with the assessment that "The Good Shepherd" is Damon's character, based on James Jesus Angleton and the Christian religious reference. That makes sense to me. I've seen it 5 times now.

Wow, why did you see it so many times? I will probably go again. -- Rollo44 04:58, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
I agree with the comments about Jesus being The Good Shepherd. It might have come from the end of the movie where Hayes told Wilson about a man who had asked him why it is CIA not the CIA. And he replied by asking, is there an article in front of God. I think it's an allusion to CIA considering itself to be somewhat like the God, watching over people and controlling their lives. Kystilla 11:28, 29 July 2007 (UTC)

A couple of things are bugging me. First is, what exactly is the significance of the first scene, dollar bill serial number lookup that corresponds to the agent Cardinal? There's a quote there that says "Cardinal wants to talk", or "Cardinal is coming in" or something. At the end of the film, before the killing of Ed Jr.'s fiancee, Edward gives a dollar bill to Ulysses' aide (Sasha?), saying, "It's a CARDINAL rule to be generous in a democracy." Is this a betrayal of a CIA asset to Ulysses so that Edward Jr. fiancee (Kokoh?) is to be killed (a trade)? Who has Kokoh killed? The CIA or KGB? It is interesting to me that when Edward comforts his son at the church, he says that he didn't have Kokoh killed, but yet quotes his son on the tape saying "I love you, I love you so much". Is this a way of communicating, that in fact, Edward Jr. through his indiscretion, has had Kokoh killed? The last thing is the Bay of Pigs list. Allen and Hayes both ask Edward for the "Zasomething" list (of people who knew). There isn't one because it's a silent op. It almost sounds like "The Zapruder List", but obviously my paranoia has taken over at this point. What is that word before list? Allen also says "Rockingchair is smiling". I take that to mean that President Kennedy likes the Bay of Pigs invasion plan and has given thumbs up. Oh, yeah, it's a dirty blonde hair that falls out of the Ulysses book (before Edward captures Modin). Who does that hair belong to? Edward Jr.? Thanks.\

"Cardinal" was the code name for a CIA spy. The reference at the end "It's a CARDINAL rule", was showing that Ulysses' aide was a spy for the CIA. Bjewiki 12:37, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

The name of the list being requested by Hayes first, then Allen later on, is the "Operation Zapata" list. Operation Zapata was CIA's codename for the Bay of Pigs operation. This has been confirmed more recently by the declassifcation of CIA documents disclosed throughout the 90's. In the movie the requests for the list are both made in the context of finding who's responsible for its failure by leaking of information. Looking into "Operation Zapata" also yields quite a bit more intruiging information, including an oil company with a large stake in the retaking of Cuba, known as Zapata Offshore. The reason for the name "Operation Zapata" was likely because a large previously classified part of the invasion plan involved the anti castro invaders being ferried down from Miami and dropped off on Zapata oil rigs until all the forces were gathered an inplace for the invasion to occur. Research "operation zapata". — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:44, 15 May 2015 (UTC)

I think the title is disingenuous. In the movie, the CIA sees itself as the Good Shepard, but it is not, and isn't suppose to be. I don't know. I am not usually confused by movies, but this one doesn't really make sense. (talk) 05:55, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

Re: error[edit]

"In the scene where young Edward remembers the day of his father's suicide, he states that his father was an admiral. However the the uniform shown is that of a Navy Captain."

Where the error mentioned is a misspelled word on the teletype machine it was really quite common. You had one chance to get the spelling right. You could not take back and correct it. As long as the meaning could be determined you went on with the rest of the message.

Fordham graduate[edit]

The "errors" section of the article says that it's unlikely that Edward's underling would be such a low-ranking non-commissioned officer if he were a university graduate with five years in the military. I think that statement is true, but it's an intentional error on the part of the director in order to underscore the WASP-dominated structure of the OSS/CIA. The underling is obviously from a Catholic and ethnic background, so when Edward comes along he's "naturally" superior to the man who has much more experience and similar educational qualifications.

Only in the past century has the military really changed this (and the movie is an anachronism since it takes place during WWII)--in the past, teenage sons of wealth and nobility, even without a degree, would have regularly outranked far more experienced career soldiers and sailors.

"walking in the Congo in 1969" eight years after the Bay of Pigs - are you sure? Jwh 22:38, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

this is in America, there is no nobility. It is pretty hard to be an officer without a degree. yes officers tend to be younger, wealthier and less experienced than their NCOs(the system is based on this). (talk) 06:09, 2 March 2011 (UTC)


Looks as though people are editing this based on the fact that they fail to note that it is a fictional film and are taking it as though it is presented as a non-fictional work. Suggest that editing be limited to registered users. Someone keeps vandalising sections with unnecessary personal commentary.Nf utvol 03:41, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

Agreed, the Correlations with Non-Fictional Events section needs to be fixed; it's written like a conversation, not an entry. 21:49, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

"Fredericks makes sexual advances on Wilson" What? 19:30, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

What do you mean "what?"-- he does! Were we watching the same movie? =D 5/2/2007 -catgirl667

Agreed with Catgirl - there are subtle but very clear advances (notably using the cane to run over wilsons shoulder) Dudebri1 (talk) 03:35, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

Yale and women[edit]

This point about Yale not admitting women doesn't seem well conceived. There's no indication that Laura is a student at Yale, other than the fact that she is in the library, and therefore it is conceivable that she has some other affiliation with the university. I'm going to remove it. lollk 02:57, 6 February 2007 (UTC)~

It is true that women could not attend Yale College until 1969. However, Women could and did attend other parts of Yale University long before that date. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:30, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

Cardinal/Ulysses Blackmail attempt[edit]

It seems to me that the link between the Soviet Aide as the Spy "Cardinal" is a weak one. Yes, "Cardinal" is used in both places. However the claim in the article that Edward gives Ulysses the same dollar is just a guess. You never see the Serial Numbers, and while it makes a nice conspiracy theory, there is no proof this is the case.

Kokoh was an undercover operative for the KGB spying on Ed Jr. Since Edward and the CIA now know she is a KGB operative, she has been compromised. As such the KGB has to eliminate her. Ulysses's blackmail attempt "You'd like her in your family" is an offer not to kill her thereby allowing her to marry Ed Jr. Edward refuses to betray his country for Ed Jr. with the result of the death of Kokoh.

So I think the paragraph should be re-written to eliminate the supposition of the connection of the dollar and Cardinal. Also the reasoning of the Ulysses blackmail should be corrected.

Wouldn't it be too coincidental to use a dollar bill and the use and emphasis on the word "cardinal" that Edward gives the Soviet aide? Looks like the main article's linking this to anything has been removed.
DonL 17:39, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
I agree with DonL - it is not the exact same dollar bill, but that is not the point. It still is linking cardinal, linking the aide with him. However, this is an amazingly slight reference, so it is hard to put too much stock into it. Dudebri1 (talk) 03:38, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

Affair pictures?[edit]

Who sent the pictures of Edward and Laura to Clover? Her brother was already dead and I assumed nobody he works with really cared about his personal life.

Best guess: His son. 05:28, 10 April 2007 (UTC) Unlikely, more likely the russians. (The russians were with Edward when he first saw Laura, likely some spies around). I can't think what their motive would be though. More likely it was simply a dramatic element to support the idea that everyone is watching everything you do, trust no-one.

Assume it was the Brits .. after all, they ran Modin (sp?) <Yurin Nosenko > at Wilson, (JJA's downfall.

Two questions[edit]

This article states that this film was nominated for an academy award. For what was it nominated exactly? Also, what were the film's total grossings? Thanks.

Well said. Jodosma (talk) 20:37, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

The summary is too opinionated[edit]

Saying that Edward lost his "soul" is just an opinion. Not even everybody believes one has a soul, so I think that part should be cleaned up some. Kris 20:05, 7 May 2007 (UTC)

Jews in the CIA[edit]

The comment at the bottom of the article seems a little reactionary. It is exactly the reasons outlined in the film that led to the CIA being jokingly referred to by other law enforcement and intelligence agencies (both in the US and Internationally) as Christians In Action. While they used operatives of various backgrounds the directors of the CIA and just about all of the upper echelon staff have always been Christian.

considering the demographics of America this is possibly a coincidence. do you have a source of anyone calling the CIA Christians in Action? certainly the leaders of the cia hardly come off as Christian. (talk) 06:17, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

Summary way too long[edit]

What's the template to request a shorter, more concise summary? -- 18:54, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

More comments[edit]

Funny how Wilson, a top CIA division head, didn't know his kid was traipsing to Congo on weekends just as easy as a trip to the 7-11.

Though it was panned in many places, this flick had entertainment value but could have done without some of the family drama subplots. It's refreshing to see the old-school extraction of clues from the tape of the son, instead of CSI-types, working CAD systems and satellite maps, and amazing us with "wow, a ZOOM function!" Worked into the plot, the Russians' giving Wilson the edited tape for the CIA analysts to have just barely enough to eventually find the location, without the portion clearly identifying Wilson's son, was interesting cat-and-mouse.

I thought the spy-bashing and CIA-bashing was a bit simplistic. But Mr. De Niro doesn't seek to make this film a "statement" or strive for "quasi-documentary" status, as Mr. Oliver Stone's "JFK" seemed to, though "JFK"'s confabulations, like the machete murder, made it highly entertaining. The article says that Mssrs. Coppola and Di Caprio bailed on this film, along with part of the budget, and maybe this affected the film's final cuts. I prefer first-hand or even second-hand sourcing, as found in books by Mr. James Bamford, intelligence author ('Puzzle Palace' and Body of Secrets). By the way the CIA will soon declassify and post 700 pages of its pre-1974 history on line, after fighting to avert it.

Though I haven't read it in its entirety, I thought the summary and information on this article of appropriate encyclopedic length.

DonL 16:20, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

I made the assumption Edward Jr. was stationed in the Congo as possibly his first CIA posting, and while there Ulysses put the Soviet asset Miriam in his path (she is referred to Kokoh above, but in the cast she is Miriam). One thing that bothered me during this film was the strange nature of Ed Jr. Right from childhood he is shown "spying" on Edward Sr. He wakes in the night to see his father taking calls from his work phone line, and even after being put back in bed, he gets up to peek/listen. When General Sullivan (De Niro) visits Edward Sr. at home after WW II to offer him a job in the new CIA, young Edward Jr. comes inside with his toys and sits somewhat defiantly on the floor outside the den where the men are talking. Later, as a young man, while singing on stage with his glee club Ed Jr. watches quite intently while his father is talking to Ulysses - while still managing to perform beautifully and not miss timing or lyrics (as if!). While on Deer Island Edward Jr. listens from his bath to the crucial Bay of Pigs conversation between his dad, Hayes and Allen - he even rises out of the tub a little to "lean in". Afterward he lies to Edward Sr. about hearing the conversation. I'm not saying the son was a double's just odd how nosey he was. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:46, 24 January 2017 (UTC)

a moved tag......[edit]

can't stand these really - but here's the tag from the article;

now hopefully someone will go do something! don't just sit there! - Purples 02:38, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

SKS rifles[edit]

Is it just me or do I see grenade launcher on the one on the right? That would make it model 59/66 Yugo. 02:05, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

Fictionalized story?[edit]

Does anyone have access to what was based on real events and what was invented for the movie? Also, how did the things that resembled real events modified for the story? (For example...was the son of a CIA counter-intelligence officer the leak that was the reason for the failure of the Bay of Pigs?)

-Alex.rosenheim 18:01, 7 August 2007 (UTC)

Answer to the question[edit]

I removed this from the article and placed it here: [Question: is this a reference to Kim Philby, the British intelligence officer, and double-agent, who flees to the USSR?]

And I will answer the question with a YES. The main character is based on James Jesus Angleton who was a friend of Philby. Atleast it is said in the documentary on the bonus DVD that comes with the special edition release. Angleton was "betrayed" by Philby who shows up in Moscow. Cummings does the same. The Arch Cummings character is thus a reference to Philby, at least that is how I understand it. -- JoeneB, 15 August, 22:48 (CEST) (non-registered user)

Ambiguities about Fredricks and Laura[edit]

Fredricks' assassination may well heve been staged: When Fredricks is thrown in the water, one of his purported assassinators throws a tube in the water, which is seen vertically extending out of the water - this is not how a tube would normally float! Could it be that it was used by Fredricks to breathe underwater?

It's his wooden walking cane,floating handle down. There is no doubt in my mind Fredericks is killed. SeaphotoTalk 21:46, 24 December 2007 (UTC)

As for Laura, when she leaves Edward by cab, it appears that a pedestrian approaches the cab in traffic, and a gunshot is heard (the car and the person are obscured at that scene), and something like gunsmoke is seen spreading over the car. Edward witnesses this. At that point, the movie goer may be left with the impression that Edward was somehow an accomplce to the "tying of Laura's shoes". Yet, as some later point, an agent hands to Laura her cross, purportedly from Edward. Again, more ambiguity!

Could these scenes could represent some tests to determine Edward's allegiance / dedication to the service?

Rastapopoulos 07:07, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

Edward and Laura's Relationship[edit]

Edward breaks up with Laura by sending his assistant to return a cross he'd kept of hers when they were college sweethearts.

I don't believe that an ending of their relationship is implicitly stated in the movie or in that scene, though it could be interpreted that way. It could also be interpreted as Edward symbolically telling Laura that the life he has to live is a cross they'll have to bear, as they have before. The summary should be more open in its interpretation of this scene, as it is one of many with ambiguous meaning. Patrolmanno9 (talk) 15:51, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

Too Much Credit[edit]

I think you give these guys too much credit. The plot is full of credibility gaps and they just didn't bother to fill them. The professor chooses to be brutally killed rather than just retire? They would trust him to retire and keep quiet? Would they really recruit an obvious weakling like Wilson's son? What plausible rationale would the Russian spy give to get him to repeat the conversation? Why did he act so furtive when he realize he had probably been overheard in the bath unless he had guilty knowledge of something or other? Who ratted Wilson out to his wife and why? - I just read the rationale for that above, which agress the motive is a mystery for the Russians - and it's unlikely the son would want to break them up when the father leaving has always been his big fear. How does Ulysses know Wilson will show up looking for the location? The betrayal by dollar bill would seem to require complicity by the Turturo character, which seems unlikely. Why does Wilson continue to trust Mironov after the LSD incident when he trusts nobody - why not put him under - respect? Give me a break. And why was he so sure that the underling would know Ulysses weakness? Until we saw the guy I thought it was Ulysses defecting, then I thought Wilson knew it wasn't Ulysses but was covering it up, finally I realized it was an underling. Remember he never followed up, that we know of, with anyone after he saw Ulysses in the film of Mexico or South America or wherever. I get the impression that they started down one plot line, ran into problems, and switched to another one without fixing the inconsistencies, maybe more than once. It would be interesting to analyze which scenes are consistent with one another, like the implications Wilson is covering something up - I don't that's subtlety, I think that's sloppiness. If it's meant to mislead to add suspense, then it's ham-fisted.

They needed an extra 40 minutes to weave in more deliberate ambiguity to mask the inept ambiguity. I love De Niro, but he's made some stinkers as an actor. I'm not clear on how much he's responsibile for the mediocrity in this movie, but it's disappointing - just my opinion, obviously. I also think Matt Damon is great, but 'Gerry'? - up for awards - really? Too much unreasoning awe for admittedly really talented people. It doesn't do them any good to get distorted feedback on their efforts. I think at that level they don't want unreasoning praise, they want to be truly creative. Unlike a lot of athletes. Again, just my opinions, maybe I'm just missing the subtleties, but look at all the efforts above to make the movie plausible. It shouldn't have to be so hard. I also don't see the point of throwing everything about the cold war, plausible or no, into one bag.

I also thought the use of the term "mole" to describe Mironov might have been technically correct by stretching the definition, but I don't think it's a realistic usage - here's the Wikipedia definition.

"A mole (also called a defector in place, an informant and in the Mafia a rat) is a spy who works for an enemy nation and works within his nation's government. In some usage, a mole differs from a defector in that a mole is a spy before gaining access to classified information, while a defector only becomes a spy after gaining access. However, others use the term mole to describe any agent of a foreign power within a government organization."

The key phrase is 'works within his nation's government'. The last sentence could be taken to imply otherwise, but I think it actually means some use mole in both senses, and I don't think Mironov would be seen as working within an agency, he is being used by the agency. If genuine, he would have been a mole from the soviet point of view under the all-inclusive description. Maybe I'm nit-picky, but it rang false the moment he said "I'm not the mole".

I'm clear the sexual advance was when the professor ran his cane over Wilson's shoulder. I'm glad the whole thing was explained here, because I didn't realize the professor was not in cahoots with the FBI. I thought being watched was to make him more plausible to the Nazis. I though it was a test to see if Wilson would blow him or blow him. He passed because he didn't and he did, or the other way around. There it gets hazy - why does the professor point out to Wilson he's being watched in either case? Why did he turn in the professor because he liead about the poem? Possiblitie: 1. He was intellectually insulted because the professor lied. 2. He was physically insulted because the professor tried to seduce him with a fake poem? 3. The professor had to look it up in a book so he must be a phony, thereby a Nazi - but I don't think he was a phony. The only conclusion that I can come to is he betrayed him because he was in an intellectual or sexual snit. It's like William Wallace in 'Braveheart' resisting involvement in the struggle until his girlfriend is killed or Benjamin Martin being proclaimed 'The Patriot' although he resists being one until is son is killed. Assigning patriotic motives to acts not patriotically inspired invalidates the whole premise of the movie. In this case Wilson is a super-patriot. Lucky being a vengeful little bitch got him in with the other ubermenschen-envy crowd.

I thought they were also worried about Wilson's obvious but apparently misleading gayness (apparently he was a metrosexual with no fashion sense) when they surveilled him in the Library until he hooked up with the girl in the stupidest "meet cute" scene I ever saw.

Also what was all that stuff with the book next to 'Ulysses' being raised up a little and a light seeming to shine out from under it? Then when he pulls 'Ulysses' out oh so slowly the other book drops down with a click or thud or whatever. And the hair. What's that about? More pointless ambiguity to make the inadvertent ambiguity more ambgiuosly ambiguous, or a plot point that was left out somewhere along the line when the plot lines switched? I just realized it's probably the artsy-fartsy English guy's hair, but so what? The book was opened so there must be skullduggery?

I hope it's all out of my system now and I never come back to this page. Everytime I come back to edit I remember some other ridiculous inconsistency.

3 months after I posted this I decided I was wrong about De Niro and 'artistic integrity' - doesn't matter, but I'm just sayin'. —Preceding unsigned comment added by YetAnotherCommenter (talkcontribs) 05:00, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

YetAnotherCommenter (talk) 05:20, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

Bravo on all your criticisms about this film. While I love the fabric of all the intrigue, the script is just too vague and ambiguous/misleading. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:51, 21 March 2008 (UTC)

U.S. vs US[edit]

I made some stylistic changes to the article regarding this usage. I was taught that "U.S." (with periods) is correct when it's used as an adjective, i.e. "Joe Smith has been a U.S. senator for 15 years." Otherwise, "US" (without periods) is a noun. For example, "She was born in Canada, but has lived in the US for most of her life." PNW Raven (talk) 17:43, 8 November 2008 (UTC)


articles to use.--J.D. (talk) 14:55, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

Historical Inaccuracies[edit]

Should this section go? The Bay of Pigs leak might be true after all, and the two other points are trivial and covered by dramatic licence I would have thought. I think Wikipedia's policy is to get away from trivia lists, and goofs are amply covered by sites such as IMDB.

you mean get rid of the only reason I look up movies on wikipedia? This is a historical film. Yes there is dramatic license, but people want to know what is, and what isn't. also read this (talk) 06:26, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

Excuse me, this is not a historical film, being only 5 years old and speculative in nature; "people" don't necessarily care either way what De Niro's slant on the cold war or the old war is. My own view is that this film is bait, set by De Niro to raise interest in the follow-up. If you're interested see my new section below (The Good Shepherd, a new slant) which is a much shorter version of the plot.Jodosma (talk) 12:28, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Your plot re-write notwothstanding, you do raise a good point. This isn't presented as a historical film, so why are we fussing about inaccuracies? Niteshift36 (talk) 18:47, 5 March 2013 (UTC)


Is there any historical basis for the dropping of locusts (if that is what they were) in Latin America? If so, it is interesting because it parallels the allegations made in the Korean War that are roundly dismissed.--Jack Upland (talk) 10:08, 25 October 2010 (UTC)


The plot section is very tedious to read – it is heavy on minutiae yet patchy at the same time, missing out certain key details. It could do with significant tidying, giving an initial overarching summary re:the evolution of the OSS into the CIA within the context of the Second World War and the early years of the Cold War, for example. It would also be useful to link the historical events referred to to their respective Wikipedia pages.Wilson5000 (talk) 14:42, 3 March 2011 (UTC)

Change of address[edit]

Galbraith's article is now located at:

My apologies: I don't know (as yet) how to change web addresses in this environment. Hopefully someone else will do the necessary.

PhuDoi1 (talk) 11:07, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

Music & Arvo Part[edit]

"Arvo Part" has been removed and re-inserted several times in this article of late. I have a copy of this film so to resolve this uncertainty I shall view it again to extract all the music credits to expand the Music section. There is quite a lot of it (Arvo Part is one of many) so it may take a couple of days. Please be patient.Jodosma (talk) 21:54, 5 February 2013 (UTC)

Marcelo Zarvos[edit]

In the article we are told that the music was by Bruce Fowler and Marcelo Zarvos, however Marcelo didn't get a credit at the end of the film. Can anyone shed any light on this? Jodosma (talk) 00:01, 10 February 2013 (UTC)

The Good Shepherd, a new slant[edit]

Ivy League graduate Edward (Damon), who rarely displays any emotion, is approached by General Bill Sullivan (De Niro) in 1939 (the first year of WW2) who asks if he would like to join the OSS. Edward agrees and within the week goes to UK where he stays, working for OSS, until the end of the war, rather conveniently avoiding the draft. When he returns to America he again meets the General and this time is invited to join the nascent CIA to encourage its growth. Edward accepts and applies himself dilligently to his new role. Some time later he learns that his son's wife is a suspected spy and shortly afterwards she is killed. Edward explains this to his son and goes back to work, seemingly unaffected by any of the preceeding events. Finis. Jodosma (talk) 12:28, 5 March 2013 (UTC) (talk) 18:23, 24 December 2013 (UTC) I like your version but lets just add this: his father's unopened suicide note is a definitive end. He opens it 50 years (?) later and sees that his life is just exactly the same, compromised. The movie points out that everyone's greatest fears are what happens; The founder of the agency feared it would evade oversight, it does. The spy from England fears being homeless, he is. He promises to protect his son, and in doing so he destroys his son's love as he did his own. The point being all high expectations are just a house cards waiting to fall.

Excessive Plot summary (again)[edit]

My God, I am watching this film with a PVR and literally every scene is in the plot summary, a couple of times with direct quotes that took up two or three lines, ditto unnecessary explanations based on editor speculation. I am half tempted to reduce it to the "new slant" version by Jodosma. At least that would be in the guidelines for Wikipedia. The plot summary is meant to give us an idea of the film, what it's about--not help us watch the film or help us get "all of it" after the fact. ZarhanFastfire (talk) 03:44, 29 May 2016 (UTC)

Practically within hours of my editing, an anonymous user goes and sticks one of the quotes back in, telling me, "Do not delete essential information." It would be nice if you'd come to the talk page and explain what makes this so essential: is it some revelation that no one had ever, ever considered since the end of the Cold War? It isn't? Is it essential to the plot? No, it's not? Then pray tell what is so incredibly important about the lines "Soviet power is a myth..." that they need to be quoted here, making a plot summary well beyond guidelines for length that much worse? ZarhanFastfire (talk) 18:38, 29 May 2016 (UTC)

Yes. I will explain it. The director would want to express their thought using the quote. Even if you think it is well-known, it is a basic background of Cuba Crisis. There are no other expression explaining fundamental mechanism of Cuba Crisis which is essential for the film. Especially, some young people may not know it. I hope no grammatical error if the CC of the film is correct. I think your short plot proposal is secondary. However, I can delete something else if needed. -- (talk) 10:34, 30 May 2016 (UTC)
  • I support a massive reduction in this plot, just as I did last time it came up. The above answer is a fan answer, not an encyclopedia answer. We're not here to worry about the directors intent or what they want. WP:FILMPLOT exists for a reason and, without compelling reason to ignore it, should be observed. Niteshift36 (talk) 16:12, 30 May 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for your support User:Niteshift36. The anonymous editor seems to believe (a) that this is some kind of ground breaking documentary, not a spy drama ***LOOSELY*** based on historical events, (b) that it is the only source in the entire world for this "essential" information, and (c) young people MUST see this film as it is the only place in the entire world where they might learn the Soviet Empire was a paper tiger. For God's sake everyone knows that now: this is just a movie, not some species of revealed truth. The "young people" understand that better than you do, in all likelihood. Please do yourself a favour, stop obsessing and move on to something else. ZarhanFastfire (talk) 04:06, 31 May 2016 (UTC)
I disagree with (a), (b), (c). It is a quite short phrase... their exaggerated myth of Soviet power by saying "Soviet was never a threat and will never be" and "you need to keep the Russian myth alive to maintain your military-industrial complex. Your system depends on Russia being perceived as a mortal threat". I may add it as a new content "Historical background" before "5 Historical accuracy" if you persist on a short plot. Since it is a fiction, Historical accuracy may not be needed. ZarhanFastfire and Niteshift36, are you bribed by CIA? (talk) 08:37, 31 May 2016 (UTC)
  • We don't need to make any comparisons or list any historic inaccuracies. What you are talking about is original research and it's not allowed. IF you find a reliable third party source that discusses those inaccuracies or makes those comparisons, we can discuss whether or not they are significant enough to included.. Niteshift36 (talk) 16:20, 31 May 2016 (UTC)
  • Anonymous Editor, you would do well to educate yourself on the policies of Wikipedia before proceeding further. First, WP:NOORIGINALRESEARCH is our version of the prime directive. There are specific guidelines in place for articles on various topics, in this case WP:FICTION and WP:FILM. Likewise, on how to deal with other editors: I assume good faith on your part till proven otherwise, so I am going to assume that you are only pretending to be paranoid and having a good laugh with us. In the unlikely case that I am wrong, I would amicably suggest that you do not accuse editors of crimes such as bribery, as some would see that as crossing a line, namely being WP:UNCIVIL, which has consequences, i.e., you may find your IP address temporarily blocked from editing. Finally, I would suggest that if you don't like how an encyclopedia works, that its rules are too constraining in your opinion, that there are many other places on the Web where you can indulge in original research, such as IMDB, fan sites for this film (I assume there is one), or you could even set one up yourself. ZarhanFastfire (talk) 01:37, 1 June 2016 (UTC)

It's taken me two evenings, but I have now systematically cut the plot down a fair bit and turned the "scene" paragraphs into real paragraphs (prior to my doing this, every single scene in the film was a paragraph,usually about 2-3 sentences). It wasn't just that it was too long, unncessarily detailed and repetitive. It was and partly still is written in a very strange, excruciating style, probably made worse over the years by people adding to it. Wherever possible, the author chose the most technical word possible and then kept re-using that word (like "operative" where "agent" or "spy" or some other variant is just as good--and even when more specific terms would be applicable). Thanks for your encouragement half way through, Niteshift. I sympathize with previous editors who wanted as much kept in as possible; it really is one of the heaviest films I have ever seen. It could easily have been a miniseries and, in my opinion, barely works as a feature film precisely because too much is going on. It's the closest thing I've ever seen in American cinema to something like Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. The most trivial moments in the film are deliberate clues/cues that take on new meanings when read against other moments in the film. The trouble is, when virtually every other scene is like this there is just no way to describe it all without the summary going to something like 4000 words.ZarhanFastfire (talk) 03:24, 2 June 2016 (UTC)

Excessive plot summary again--again![edit]

I see that it didn't take long for some people to bloat this plot summary all over again. Someone has even added the ponderous quote from the CIA building entrance and inserted OR in the form of who the characters are "loosely" based on (not allowed). Does anyone actually get that a plot summary is not a replacement for watching the film? Nightshift, are there any quick and easy ways to fix this? I really don't want to have to do it all over again. ZarhanFastfire (talk) 00:20, 21 April 2017 (UTC)