The Good Shepard Movie Review

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I am choosing to write my paper on the movie “The Good Shepard” starring the talented Matt Damon. This was the untold story about of the most powerful covert agency in the world. Of course, some things represented in this movie was the Hollywood version. I choose this movie because it was a pretty recent movie and anything with the CIA very interesting to me with my dad being a branch of the CIA. I will be first giving you a small synopsis of the movie, followed by a small summary of what actually happened, then a comparison of the two, lastly, ending with a wrap up of the topics that I covered in my paper.

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“The Good Shepard Movie Review”

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The film begins with the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in April 1961. Edward Wilson (Matt Damon), based on the real CIA counterintelligence chief James Jesus Angleton, is watching it all fall apart. ‘They knew where to find us,’ intones his deputy. ‘There’s a stranger in our house.’ The film’s suggestion that the invasion failed because someone leaked the location is wrong, straight out of the bag. Fidel Castro knew an invasion was coming, but clearly did not know where it would strike. The evidence? He deployed forces evenly across Cuba and left the Bay of Pigs front halfway through the conflict when there was a fake diversionary attack on the other side of the island.

From this point on, the film gets hopelessly mired in a morass of complicated storylines, including a covert war in an unnamed Central American country; a cat-and-mouse game with a Soviet master spy; not one, but two are-they-or-aren’t-they-for-real KGB defections; a sojourn in Leopoldville; and Wilson’s distant yet doom-laden relationships with his dead father and characterless son. The only one of these that resembles Jim Angleton’s life is the KGB defections story, which – though fictionalised – is based on the genuinely intriguing cases of Anatoly Golitsyn and Yuri Nosenko.

Edward Paul Wilson (May 3, 1928 – September 10, 2012) was a former CIA and Office of Naval Intelligence officer who was convicted in 1983 of illegally selling weapons to Libya. It was later found that the United States Department of Justice and the CIA had covered up evidence in the case. Wilson’s convictions were overturned in 2003 and he was freed the following year.

Wilson’s first assignments were for the Office of Security; this included a stint in 1956 guarding U-2 spy planes in Turkey. In 1960, the Agency sent him to Cornell University for graduate studies in Labor Relations. He put this and his knowledge of psychology to use in the Agency’s International Organizations Division (IOD) tackling communism in trade unions around the world. Wilson was involved in attempts to destabilize European labor unions, for example, by using methods as diverse as involving Corsican mobsters and using plagues of cockroaches.

The movie is a great movie but it doesn’t really elaborate on all of the events that happened in his life. I wish they would have covered the “Arms of Libya Controversy”, I feel that was very important because that was a very important high profile assignment that he was assigned in his career. I hate that it mostly focused on the romantic parts and not really the depictions of what really happened with the ONI, the investigations, legal defense and civil actions that took place during his career. I would definitely recommend that they remove the Hollywood version and focus more on the events and cases, that is much more interesting than the romance.

The movie “The Good Shepard” was a great movie that was about the life of Edwin Wilson.

The true story of the birth of the CIA through the eyes of a man who never existed. Edward Wilson believed in America, and he would sacrifice everything he loved to protect it. The movie and the real-life story of Edward were not really on the same page. The movie focused more on the romantic side of Edward instead of the Arms for Libya controversy, the investigations, legal defense and civil action. But, of course it is Hollywood, so they make the movie so that it will sell tickets instead of depicting his life like they should have. The movie was a great movie though just wish they would have dived a little bit deeper. It was interesting enough to the point where I wanted to know more about Edward. Unfortunately, Edward was swept under the rug and there are not many articles out on him, but he was a very interesting man who needs more recognition than what he received in this movie. I would say that the movie was a close depiction but could have done better with elaborating on the many investigations and situations that he has to go through while being apart of the CIA and before. 

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The Good Shepard Movie Review. (2022, Sep 11). Retrieved November 26, 2022 , from

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