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The Deal (2003)

TV Movie  |   |  Drama  |  8 November 2007 (USA)
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Follows the rise to power of Tony Blair, and his friendship and rivalry with his contemporary, Gordon Brown.



, (based on the book by)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Matt Blair ...
Charlie Whelan
Philippe De Grossouvre ...
Eilidh Fraser ...
Returning Officer
John Smith
Scottish MP 1
Scottish MP 2
Nick Falk ...
Junior Tory Minister
Jon Snow ...
Journalist 1
Roshan Rohatgi ...
Journalist 2
Gordon Morris ...
Party Worker


Follows the rise to power of Tony Blair, and his friendship and rivalry with his contemporary, Gordon Brown.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

politics | based on book | See All (2) »




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Release Date:

8 November 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Deal - Berättelsen om Tony Blair  »

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| (HBO Print)

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Did You Know?


Much of the plot is reportedly derived from the book "The Rivals" by James Naughtie. See more »


Despite being set in the 1980s and early 1990s, no attempt has been made to disguise the scenes shot in Central London, so modern cars and buses (as of 2003) are regularly seen behind the characters. See more »


Followed by The Special Relationship (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

The formula of politics
30 September 2003 | by (Saffron Walden, UK) – See all my reviews

In some ways, the story of Gordon Brown and Tony Blair is profoundly uninteresting. Two men with a similar political philosophy consider challenging for the leadership of the party, eventually decide not to compete with one another but subsequently (in events not covered by this film) fall out. Of course, there are many "what ifs", but politics is full of these. The absence of a philosophical clash, or a deep personal emnity, makes their deal in some senses trivial - one guy stood aside for the other, so what? If any other job than that of potential Prime Minister had been at stake, would anyone care? Because of that job, their decision clearly had some significance. But politicians make deals all the time with one another

  • and had we not a media obsessed with political minutiae, that history

might well have been forgotten. According to the briefings, it certainly hasn't been forgotten by Brown - but that doesn't necessarily make it important.

Stephen Frears' film tries hard to reconstruct these events, but it fails to really gain life, telling us what we know already without really adding anything new. David Morrissey, as Brown, is less convincing than when given free rein to play a fictional politician as he did recently in 'State of Play'; Michael Sheen, as Blair, is always just a little bit more callow and hollow than the real thing. The story suggests there was little real friendship between the two, which reduces the tale to a series of empty manoeverings. And while it's fun to see representations of various political characters, we get too little sense of their whole lives. There are a few nice touches (Blair's instinctive family values, Brown's genuine grief at John Smith's death) but 'The Deal' still feels like a compilation of yesterday's newspapers. History will certainly remember both men, but their deal will surely rate only a footnote. For good or ill, Blair stood and won - and that's all we really need to know.

17 of 24 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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