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26 of 27 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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26 of 27 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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3 of 3 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Good Film About Football, But. . . . . ., 22 Jan 2010
By 
E. A. Redfearn "eredfearn2" (Middlesbrough) - See all my reviews
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I used to live not far from where Brian Clough was born, and never did see him play for Middlesbrough at Ayresome Park since he had already moved to Sunderland by the time I started supporting Middlesbrough.

During the 1960s I used to watch that great Leeds side play often at Elland Road, Newcastle and Sunderland too when they played away. So, watching this remarkable film did bring back a few memories. However, although I do think it is a very good film about football as it was in those far off days, this film does not really explore entirely the difficulties Brian Clough had with the Leeds players during those 44 days when he was in charge. It may well be that the whole truth has never really emerged and perhaps the writer might have thought against providing too much speculation about what really went on behind the scenes taking into account that many of those players at Leeds are still around today.

It does explore Clough's arrogance though, and his lack of respect to the Leeds players and also to his arch enemy Don Revie who had laid down the foundation for the success and failures that Leeds United endured during those ten years from 1964 until 1974 when Clough took over the reins of management.

Michael Sheen as Clough and Timothy Spall as his side kick Peter Taylor are both superb in their respective roles. Their rapport is apparant throughout and both stole all the scenes in which they appeared together. Sheen of course, does come across as Clough, getting his mannerism right and also his dialect. Both actors are a joy to watch. Mention must be made of Irish actor Colm Meany (Star Trek Deep Space 9) who portrays Don Revie superbly

A great film to watch about football, but you need to overlook its weaknesses though.

As for the Blu-Ray discs, its superb. Picture detail and soundtrack are both very good indeed. Also numerous extras abound which are interesting.

Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A well delivered movie about football, 8 Sep 2009
By 
Mr. P. Datta "Pritthijit" (Stockton on Tees, Teesside) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Damned United [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
The Damned United is a well delivered and an excellent portrayal movie about football set in the 1960's to the 1970's. The movie was completely rented out on the weekend. Even returning on Monday, there were only 6 copied available in the selves. This proves football is a very popular sport in this country.

The subject matter of Damned United is about Brian Clough's managerial career at Derby Country and Leeds. He was remembered as a dynamic, outspoken and controversial figure to embrace English football. The movie looks at Brian as a person and manager. He was an over-ambitious manager, who wanted to do well for club, but it did not go well with the board and players, but it achieved results. The movie unfolds drama on and off the field. The area of professional football is nicely captured in the movie with the typical 1960's and 1970's settings. It adds realism to the movie.

Michael Sheen offers a superb performance as the outspoken Brian Clough, but maybe misunderstood. The Damned United is one best movie made about football ever made. I like the way it has shown real coverage of Brian Clough into the movie. This makes the movie feel real as if the events are occurring. The movie provides elements of drama and entertainment for viewers. It is real treat for football fans, as Brian Clough represents one of the greatest club managers. It is an interesting account and hugely absorbing with quality acting and great settings.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cloughie unhinged (though somewhat deleted), 7 Feb 2010
Football films that attempt to seriously tackle the personalities involved are few and far between, which makes The Damned United all the more worthwhile as a piece of fiction and social history. The lead actors are all on superb form and Michael Sheen's performance as Brian Clough is particularly revealing. Check out the remarkable deleted scenes and you will find a film that could/should have been even more controversial and groundbreaking. Clough's loathing of Don Revie manifesting itself in a scene where Brian destroys Don's desk with a chopper and then sets light to it in front of the gobsmacked Leeds directors. Clough sacking a long-serving female secretary at Elland Road, whose only 'crime' has been to work for Don Revie. Clough appointing former Derby County players to the Leeds squad and then demanding that they be his undercover eyes and ears in the dressing room. These and other deleted scenes point to Clough's egotistical personality reaching manic proportions at this stage in his career. He was a brilliant football manager but as a personality it seems he was seriously flawed. If only the film-makers had had the courage to include those deleted scenes and so crank up the mania to the max. That said, The Damned United is a fine film which will hopefully open the way to others of a similar nature. The rise and fall of George Best is another fertile subject begging to be given a no-holds-barred cinematic treatment.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Damned United, damned good film, 1 Nov 2009
By 
Mr. M. J. Pocock (Canvey Island, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Damned United [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
Those of us of a certain age will remember Brian Clough; his arrogance, his conceit; his brilliance. It has become a cliche, but nonetheless true, he was the best manager England never had. This film captures that magic perfectly.

Michael Sheen plays the part extremely well and is always believable as the main character but it is perhaps in the casting of the supporting players that the whole era is recreated so realistically. With the exception of Timothy Spall (a fine performance but he looks nothing like Graham Taylor) the rest of the cast make you believe you are there, at Elland Road or the Baseball Ground, all those years ago.

I've watched the DVD three times now and each time I have seen a facet of this incredibly complex man that I didn't notice on my previous viewing. You don't have to be a football fan to enjoy the film, but if you are you will be totally captivated.
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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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4.0 out of 5 stars It's definitely a football film, but it mostly avoids the cliches, 25 Sep 2009
By 
Mr. Stuart Bruce "DonQuibeats" (Cardiff, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Damned United [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
This is another nostalgic-yet-gritty film about tough Yorkshiremen, but "The Damned United" manages to avoid most of the cliches and come up with something new.

Timothy Spall and Jim Broadbent are, as ever, excellent, but they're not really challenging themselves here. They're practically playing themselves and letting Michael Sheen steal the limelight with his 99% perfect impersonation of Brian Clough. Clough is portrayed not as a one-dimensional joke figure (as he seemed in the media most of the time) but as a truly warm, multi-faceted guy who was driven, determined, cocky and also quite tortured in his way. It's a rich portrayal and the film is practically a one-man show.

Contrary to other reviewers, I'd have to say that while you don't have to have an encyclopaedic knowledge of football to appreciate the film, the film is definitely about football, and if football bores you, so will this movie about it.

No love story or feelgood happy ending is applied- not that you'd expect it to be in a story based in real-life events, but you can never tell with movies nowadays.

The DVD extras include a whole stack of deleted scenes- a whole sub-plot was removed from the movie, which thanks to those deleted scenes is helpfully reinserted. It's worth watching to get an extra element to the story, yet it would have made the overall film too long and it was the right move to cut them.

The DVD is packed with other extras- interviews with cast, raw rushes from some of the Clough interview imitations, and so on. A very nicely packed DVD of a very watchable film.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Funniest film I've seen in years., 2 Sep 2009
By 
Mr. T. Kovacs "Machine Head" (Wakefield, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Damned United [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
Honestly, it is. Having grown up watching Leeds United in the late 60's/early 70's this film was an obvious attraction. I had read the book when it came out and was hoping the film version would be better. It is. Spotting all the mistakes and real clips taken out of context was fun.

But seriously, I have to say that Leeds come out of it pretty well and old big 'ed as a flawed man. The film makers simplify his hatred of Don Revie and Leeds and condense it down to one particular moment. As with other incidents in the film, how true some of them are is irrelivent to the overall story. Michael Sheen's portrayal of Clough, while good, boarders on parody while Colm Meaney is spot on with his and Jim Broadbent is as excellent as ever. As a Deep Purple fan, it was great to hear so much of them in the film. Just like Leeds, they were at their height in the early '70's.

To my mind, the film takes the name of the book and that's just about it. Everything else seems to come from tv clips and incidents that are, if you are an old football fan, well know about. I do have to say that the dour, rainy image of Leeds is at odd's with my experience of the time which I remember as being joyfull and sunny, probably because we were winning a lot. Also, the image given of Leeds United as dirty is off the mark. That's what football was like at the time. After all, ask a Chelsea fan, you don't get a nickname like 'Chopper' for nothing.

This is a good film, you don't have to be a football fan to watch it but I just wish they would get the playing scenes right. I have never seen a film about football to get it right yet. The players in the film come across as cartoon like and again look nothing like footballers. Well, apart from the guy playing Mackay who I always remember being rather large.

Overall, well done but could have been better.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Glory Years, 2 Oct 2009
By 
Mr. T. Kennedy "Maybole1599" (Cheshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Damned United [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
This film is first and foremost about the dynamic between two men who had a unique working bond. It is about the relationship that exists between two guys thrown together in adversity - and the limits of it. It is of course about the genius, charisma, contradictoriness and self-destructiveness of Mr Clough. I have read enough about him to know that the portrayal is a highly accurate one. Clough was the number one TV pundit in the early 70s and his regular abuse of Leeds on TV was the source of the bitterness between the team and him.

The book was written from an anti Leeds United point of view and the film begins with footage of some robust challenges by Leeds from the 1970s. As a Leeds fan I am justly proud of the players who are portrayed in the film. People forget that all teams had hard men who would physically intimidate opponents, it was a rough game. Football was still like that to some extent till the 1990s when FIFA cracked down on tackling.

Leeds' Elland Road looks too modern, the old stands and floodlights looked totally different back then. But that is a minor flaw when one considers the accurate portrayals by the main actors, in particular Sheen. Colm Meaney's Don Revie is a delight. Tim Spall gives Peter Taylor all the pathos that the role required.

This is without doubt the best film about football ever.
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