The Damned United [DVD] 
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From the Academy Award-nominated writer of The Queen and Frost/Nixon, The Damned United is based on the incredible true story of Brian Clough, one of England’s greatest soccer managers and his 44 controversial days at the helm of reigning champs Leeds United. Michael Sheen (Frost/Nixon, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans and Twilight Saga: New Moon) triumphs as Clough starring alongside a winning ensemble cast that includes Timothy Spall (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire), Colm Meaney (Layer Cake) and Jim Broadbent (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince). This inspiring and humorous sports drama is about the power of friendship in the face of adversity and the stubborn will of one man to play by his own rules.
Based on the best-selling book of the same name, The Damned United is the story of one of Britain’s finest ever football managers, Brian Clough, and his curtailed 44-day reign at the helm of Leeds United. It turns out it’s also the tale of his formative years at Derby County, the story of his rivalry with previous Leeds United boss Don Revie, and ultimately, the exploration of his relationship with his assistant, Peter Taylor.
The film explores the story by moving backwards and forwards in time, but always at the heart of The Damned United is its trump card. Michael Sheen has already richly deserved an abundance of plaudits in his acting career, not least for his superb portrayal of David Frost in Frost/Nixon, and he carves out another terrific performance here. Taking on the challenge of playing the larger than life Clough, his work here is tremendous, and the highlight of an already-strong cast that also features Timothy Spall and Colm Meaney.
On the screen, the story of The Damned United is actually distilled into quite a straightforward tale, albeit one considerably enhanced by its aforementioned cast. It wisely keeps its running time trimmed, and while you can’t help but suspect that there’s much to the story that’s not explored here, it’s a good, solid telling of a quite extraordinary tale. Sheen won’t, of course, attract Oscar-attention for such a resoundingly British role, but surely his time, on this latest piece of evidence, will come. --Jon FosterSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Written by the guy who brought us the 1974 trilogy, and presented on an excellent blu ray, this film is a must have if you lke football and even if you do not care much. You may end up loving it.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
May not have been 100% accurate but a hell of a watch. Colm Meaney as his adversary Don Revie is the perfect opposition to the brilliant Michael Sheen as Brian CloughPublished 1 month ago by Mr. Damian MacKle
top drawer acting and emotionally charged I found this to be a brilliant film full of excellence and drama.Published 1 month ago by sean paul mccann
We haven't watched it as it's a gift but delivery was as expected. No problems at all.Published 3 months ago by louise