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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seconds Out
Don Revie and Brian Clough were great footballers and great managers, both from Middlesbrough (about 10 miles north of where I grew up) but the film sets them up as tragic enemies in a reputational boxing match in which stinging blow after blow is landed by each to the benefit of neither. David Pearce's novel has Clough as the admirer of Revie who turns against his hero...
Published on 6 Sep 2009 by Charles Vasey

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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
It's a real shame that top-notch performances from Michael Sheen (as Clough) and Colm Meaney (as Revie) are so deeply undermined by a script full of missed opportunities and jarring inaccuracy.

This film's crime isn't so much that it makes things up - lots of classic bio-pics have done that - it's that it ignores truths that are far more compelling and dramatic...
Published on 14 Jan 2010 by classic 1965


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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seconds Out, 6 Sep 2009
By 
Charles Vasey (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Damned United [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
Don Revie and Brian Clough were great footballers and great managers, both from Middlesbrough (about 10 miles north of where I grew up) but the film sets them up as tragic enemies in a reputational boxing match in which stinging blow after blow is landed by each to the benefit of neither. David Pearce's novel has Clough as the admirer of Revie who turns against his hero. They battle it out at key points of Clough's early career at Derby County, and at his short career at Leeds itself, and finish it off on TV. Revie leaves for disappointment at England, Clough to be reborn at Nottingham Forest, neither are ever the same again.

Michael Sheen is scary as Clough, Colm Meaney brilliant as Revie, both sound like their counterparts and even begin to look like the originals. The Leeds squad is recognisable even to me at this remove; and so is the pre-Thatcher world of self-made men running British sport with all the witless charm that they ran their businesses. The attitudes, the accents, the fashions and the locations are spot on; yet this is not a sports film, you see very little soccer, it's an old fashioned tragedy about rivalry and hubris, about genius and the deadening effect of the mediocre types who seem to run sport (as they run life). The cast are brilliant and the result a great tale.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I wouldn't say i'm the best manager in the country, but i'm in the top one, 3 Sep 2009
By 
moo moo (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Damned United [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
Brilliant film and Michael Sheen and Timothy Spall play there parts amazingly well. Sheen has proved here what a world-class actor he is in playing 'old big head' Brian Clough.
The only negative is some of the deleted scenes, especially the one when he comes in at half time and makes the players drink a bottle of brandy after a shocking first half against Leeds Utd. It just goes straight to Clough in his office which to any non football fan will make no sense at all as we are used to seeing managers in the dugout. Little things like that take the shine of it a little but there is no doubt its got a good plot with fantastic actors who pull off there roles exceptionally well.

Michael Sheen for the next James Bond??? Stranger things have happened (Derby County winning the first division for one!!!)
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 14 Jan 2010
By 
classic 1965 (New York, NY USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Damned United [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
It's a real shame that top-notch performances from Michael Sheen (as Clough) and Colm Meaney (as Revie) are so deeply undermined by a script full of missed opportunities and jarring inaccuracy.

This film's crime isn't so much that it makes things up - lots of classic bio-pics have done that - it's that it ignores truths that are far more compelling and dramatic than the fabrications.

One of the worst offenders for me is the injured players splayed out on the floor outside the dressing room after Derby's brutal encounter with Leeds. It followed scenes of players being stretchered off with blood pouring from open wounds and resembled some sort of bizarre spoof of a war movie rather than a football match. It's then implied that Derby suffered an early exit from the European Cup days later because the team was so depleted by injuries. But the European game in question happened weeks after the Leeds match and Derby fielded a full-strength team.

The real life events surrounding Derby's exit from the European Cup against Juventus were in reality far more dramatic.

In the film Clough blames Revie, Leeds and the shortcomings of his chairman, Sam Longston, for defeat. Whereas in real life he blamed corrupt match officials - or as he famously told the Italian press after the game: "I don't speak to cheating bastards." He then went off on one about Italy's military record in World War Two. Pure Clough! (And of course history proved him kind of right - Juventus were later proven to be habitual match-fixers and the referee was later found guilty of taking bribes.)

The worst travesty of all though is the depiction of the TV debate between Clough and Revie at the end of the film. It has Revie putting his nemisis firmly in his place and makes Clough out to be a broken man. This is pretty much the opposite of what really happened.

Buy the DVD of ITV's excellent "CLOUGH" documentary. The entire Clough/ Revie TV debate is on the additional features. It's half an hour of sustained verbal combat between two men who loathe each other - and Clough destroys Revie. Watch the real thing and it makes you wonder how a feature film can fail to recapture an ounce of the real-life drama.

This film makes Clough look like pompous twerp who's constantly out of his depth and hell-bent on self destruction.

The real Clough was far more complex and far more fascinating.

No wonder the Clough family are upset.
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24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Golden Era well evoked, 3 May 2009
By 
L. Davidson (Belfast, N.Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Damned United [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
"The Damned United" is a thoroughly entertaining movie about the early career of the legendary British football manager Brian Clough.It focuses mainly on his brief time as manager of Leeds United in 1974 following a successful few seasons as manager of unfashionable Derby County during which he won the League Championship for them.Clough never liked Leeds' style of football nor their manager Don Revie and publicly slated them in the media , making his decision to become their new boss following Revie's resignation a puzzling one. Clough's abrasive and disrespectful approach to the Leeds players alienated him from them even further and when results went against him early on in the 1974-1975 season, the writing was on the wall for Clough and he was duly sacked."The Damned United" chronicles this whole period.The remarkable Michael Sheen acts Brian Clough superbly in this film and he is ably supported by Timothy Spall who plays his sidekick Peter Taylor and Colm Meaney as his nemesis Don Revie. The acting is excellent throughout and the whole period is portrayed convincingly well."The Damned United" is one of the best films about football that I have seen.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yes, indeed, 23 Sep 2013
By 
Carl Hufton "Merlin Music" (Nottingham, Notts United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Damned United [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
I can remember the distaste everyone at my school, and my father who was a great footballer, had for Leeds United. No one really admired them and there was such glee when Sunderland beat them in the FA Cup final and WBA stopped them winning another league title in the last match of the season.
This DVD portrays the ludicrous appointmnet of Brian Clough as manager of Leeds - a team that he had vilified for years before hand. It is a rather flimsy remit for a film but it cleverley captures the atmophere of the times with clever usage of TV and newsreel footage of the times. At times you can almost feel that it is a documentary. Worth a watch. Michael Sheen is excellant as usual.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who Do You Bloody Think You Are?, 8 Feb 2013
By 
Keith M - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Damned United [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
This in(famous) sequence in which Leeds United chairman Manny Cousins puts this question to the (about to be) sacked manager Brian Howard Clough (in response to Clough's compensation pay demands) is just one of many golden moments in Tom Hooper's masterly 2009 depiction of the life and career of the best manager England never had. Indeed, although it undoubtedly helps, I don't think you actually need to be a 'football saddo' (like me) who is always thrilled to stumble upon an early Sunday morning showing on ITV4 of the Big Match from the 1970s (the period when I actually was a football fan), to appreciate the brilliance of Hooper's film, and of Peter Morgan's screenplay (making it, for me, up with the likes of The Hustler, This Sporting Life, Eight Men Out, etc as one of the finest ever sporting screen depictions).

Of course, in the role as the Middlesbrough lad we have an astonishing and uncanny performance from the great Michael Sheen - his other 'film impersonations' have been impressive (David Frost, Bliar, etc), but none gets anywhere near his Clough - it really is as if he inhabits the role. Not to be outdone, The Damned United also features another remarkably life-like performance with Colm Meaney doing a great (and typically dour) Don Revie, the Leeds United manager whose job Clough had inherited for his 44 days in the role (as Revie went on to manage England), and with whom Clough had a publicly vindictive relationship (which in the film is portrayed as stemming from an incident where celebrated Leeds manager Revie had snubbed Clough's offered handshake whilst the latter was languishing in the lower divisions managing the (soon to be big) Derby County).

However, The Damned United is not only an impressive display of consummate acting - for example, we also have Timothy Spall, typically superb and down-to-earth as Clough's managerial sidekick, Peter Taylor, the great Jim Broadbent as Clough's chairman at Derby County, Sam Longson ('Colin Todd - a salary of £300 a week, you can't pay a footballer that'), Maurice RoŽves excellent as the hard-bitten Scottish ex-miner and Leeds coach Jimmy Gordon, Stephen Graham suitably antagonistic as Billy Bremner, and (the one negative) Peter McDonald as the unconvincing (well, he's about a foot too tall, for a start) Johnny Giles - but is also a cleverly constructed, shot and edited piece of work, as it dovetails Clough's later period at Leeds, with his earlier aspirational time at Derby, thereby explaining his confrontational attitude on arriving at Leeds (whose initial training session at Elland Road is cinematic magic, as he lambasts the Leeds players for their past intimidatory approach 'You've never won any of them fairly, you've done it all by bloody cheating...'). The film's concluding sequence to the tune of Bowie's Queen Bitch in which we learn of the future trajectories of Clough and Revie's careers is also exhilarating and magical.

As you have probably guessed, I am rather a fan of The Damned United, both this film and David Peace's book on which it is based (and which paints Clough in a more negative personal light than does the film), and whilst I am sure I would be preaching to the converted in relation to anyone who has a nostalgic interest in this sporting episode, I do honestly believe that Hooper's (and Morgan's) tale should appeal to anyone interested in what is a compelling story of (variously thwarted and fulfilled) human ambition and tragedy - even my other half loves it, and she hates football!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 6 Nov 2012
This review is from: The Damned United [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
Michael Sheen does a wonderful job, bringing Brian Clough to the screen. The blustering manager, ably supported by Timothy Spall as Peter Taylor, shows all the traits which made Clough what he was, the gadfly of club chairmen and the FA. The Yorkshire accent was great, the characters generally believable, especially in the roles of Bremner, Mackay and McGovern. The actor playing Don Revie bore an uncanny resemblance to the original, whereas The character who played Giles looked nothing like him. I'm aware that former Leeds players were angry at their depiction and I've no doubt a good deal of licence was taken with the plot. Clough was larger than life and I'm sure that this movie went down well at Derby, if not at Brighton or Leeds. It is worthwhile looking at the TV documentary of Clough's career to get a proper balance and feeling about the man's character.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great football film that doesn't involve football!, 3 Jun 2012
This review is from: The Damned United [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
I don't mind football, but I doubt I could watch a movie containing lot of it, which is probably why I enjoyed The Damned United. It charts Brian Clough's ill-fated move from Derby to Leeds where he comes uncharacteristically unstuck in his managerial attempts.

Martin Sheen is (as always) brilliant at playing the self appointed `greatest manager in England' and he's backed up by the equally excellent Timothy Spall and Jim Broadbent.

You don't have to love, or even know much about, football to like this film. It's about someone who isn't quite as clever as he thinks he is. Therefore you can't help but take a little bit of evil delight in his fall from grace. However, although Clough isn't always the genius he believes himself to be, he's never far from it. So, even when he's down, you know he won't be there for long.

Good British drama - very entertaining.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars That Damned United!, 16 Dec 2011
By 
Brawny Withed (Leeds, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Damned United [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
A really entertaining film The Damned United is based on the novel of the same name by author David Peace. The story concerns up and coming football manager Brian Clough and his infamous tenure as manager of Leeds United.

Starring the impeccable Michael Sheen as Brian Clough, Sheen steals the show capturing Clough's arrogance and anger in getting his own back on previous Leed's Manager Don Revie (Colm Meaney) who as the story reveals has been a thorn in the side of Clough for years.

The film is engaging, exciting and quite humorous at times. The cast is well chosen and the costumes and sets including Elland Road football ground have all been carefully taken back to the time period of the early seventies when the film takes place.

Even if you're not a fan of football the film is so much more than the beautiful game. I highly recommend The Damned United.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Things are going to be a little different around here... without Don., 4 July 2011
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Damned United [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
A look at Brian Clough's 44-day reign as the coach of Leeds United.

The Damned United is an adaptation from David Peace's 2006 novel of the same name, a novel that although hugely popular and garnered critical acclaim, was altered in certain events so as to avoid libel issues from players and Clough's family alike. With that knowledge in mind, Tom Hooper's film about the battered mind of Brian Clough (Michael Sheen practically getting it down pat) during his 44 days in charge of Leeds United in 1974 (after inheriting the job from his hugely successful nemesis, Don Revie), has to be taken with a little pinch of salt. But that doesn't make this a bad film, because somewhat surprisingly, it's a very good one, in fact it's one of the better sports movies to have come out of Britain for some time.

Hooper and screenwriter Peter Morgan have wisely kept the on pitch action to a minimum, this is after all about a football man, not a film about football. Weaving the story of Clough's rise up the management ladder with his success at Derby County-with his egotistical and revenge fuelled tenure as Leeds boss-works a treat. It's a nice way to format the story, as is the fact that the film is told from the perspective of Cloughie himself. We are left in no doubt about what drives Clough on, and it's very refreshing that the special relationship that Clough had with his assistant Peter Taylor (imothy Spall) is formed and is obviously crucial to the story. However, if hampered with legal constraints or merely not enough time to cram it all in? Hooper's picture doesn't quite win the match outright as regards Cloughie's mania and fears. But he was such a much loved figure was Brian, and just maybe this film has gone as far as it should? We are left in no doubt that Clough had problems, and the film doesn't shy away from that fact, but he was also a very talented and successful manager. So it be that the film is not as biting as the novel apparently is, but that is no bad thing in the context of the Brian Clough story.

Engrosing from the first whistle to the one that brings full time. 8/10
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The Damned United [DVD] [2009]
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