This film tells the story of the founding of the American secret service, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and a man who is prepared to sacrifice anything and everything to protect his country. His unimpeachable biography, his profound belief in American values and his tremendous mental agility make Edward Wilson an ideal candidate for a career in the USA's newly founded foreign secret service; he later becomes a co-founder of the strategic department of the CIA. Edward Wilson is a patriot who knows the meaning of secrecy, a man who has grown up imbibed by terms such as discretion and honour. An assiduous student at Yale, in 1939 he joins the Skull and Bones Society, a secret brother hood seeking to recruit future political leaders. The astute, idealistic young man is later himself recruited by the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), a forerunner of the CIA during the Second World War. This career move will not only change the course of his future life, it will have an enduring effect on the entire geo-political situation - right up to the present day: for Wilson and his co-workers found the most powerful secret service the world has ever known. As one of the CIA's founding fathers, Wilson works in a world in which deception is a part of life and nothing is as it appears to be. His idealism soon gives way to a permanent feeling of mistrust which finds its expression in the long-term paranoia of the Cold War. Wilson rises to become a leading figure in the CIA, and his methods become standard secret service procedure. Like some global chess game, Wilson is determined to defeat his opponents in the KGB. But Wilson pays an increasingly high price for his unquestioning commitment. Even his wife Margaret's growing doubts fail to prevent him from pursuing a goal that will finally lead him to sacrifice everything for his job.
by Robert De Niro
with Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie, Alec Baldwin, Tammy Blanchard, Billy Crudup, Robert De Niro, Martina Gedeck, William Hurt, Timothy Hutton, Joe Pesci