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The Damned United (2009)

R  |   |  Biography, Comedy, Drama  |  27 March 2009 (UK)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 29,407 users   Metascore: 81/100
Reviews: 74 user | 144 critic | 27 from Metacritic.com

A look at Brian Clough's 44-day reign as the coach of Leeds United.

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(screenplay), (novel)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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David Roper ...
Jimmy Reddington ...
Oliver Stokes ...
Ryan Day ...
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Mark Cameron ...
Frank Skillin ...
Dylan Van Hoof ...
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Storyline

Taking over England's top football club Leeds United, previously successful manager Brian Clough's abrasive approach and his clear dislike of the players' dirty style of play make it certain there is going to be friction. Glimpses of his earlier career help explain both his hostility to previous manager Don Revie and how much he is missing right-hand man Peter Taylor who has loyally stayed with Brighton & Hove Albion. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

"They say Rome wasn't built in a day, but I wasn't on that particular job." See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 March 2009 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Az elátkozott Leeds United  »

Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£618,929 (UK) (27 March 2009)

Gross:

$449,558 (USA) (5 February 2010)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to published reports, Kenneth Branagh was considered for the role of Don Revie. See more »

Goofs

A game against Leeds is described as being four days before the 1973 European Cup semi final in Turin versus Juventus. Derby actually played Arsenal on that particular Saturday. The events shown in that game are completely false and notice that no score for that game is shown. See more »

Quotes

Manny Cussins: I hired you to do this job because I think you're the best young manager in this country.
Brian Clough: Thank you. I'm the best old one, too.
Manny Cussins: I also did it under the assumption that you would be coming here wanting the best for this club. For the city of Leeds. So why do I get the feeling this is all about you and Don?
Brian Clough: Of course it's just about me and Don. Always has been. But instead of putting frowns on your foreheads, all you elders of Leeds in your blazers and your brass-fucking-buttons, it should put ...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Damned United: Remembering Brian (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

When the Saints Go Marching In
Traditional
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Damned Brilliant
29 March 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Football has been poorly served by the cinema to date. "The Damned United" goes a long way to rectifying that. A bravura performance from Martin Sheen as Brian Clough and a faithful, intelligent screenplay by Peter Morgan combine with a well chosen storyline to deliver a convincing tale. Crucially, this is not a film about football, it uses football as a framework for ambition, greed, success, failure, friendship and love.

The traditional traps surrounding a football film are avoided. "Live" action is limited, and team sequences brief. Consequently the characters are given a chance to breathe and develop , not just Clough's, but those of Peter Taylor, marvellously captured by Timothy Spall, and others . Chairmen Manny Cousins and Sam Longson enjoy rewarding cameo parts and the footballers themselves are picked as actors rather than surrogate footballers.

Critics may carp about the odd anachronism and unconvincing physical shape of the Leeds United team in particular but it is the ego of Brian Clough which bestrides this story. The 90 minutes barely does justice to his 45 days at Leeds as his career up to the appointment is interwoven into the main tale. Although faction is a dangerous device, for me it does justice to both the lovingly recreated era and the characters. Cloughs family have apparently repudiated this work, which is a shame. It is broadly favourable with the wrinkles as foibles rather than damnable weaknesses.

The film closes with a re-creation of the YTV interview with Clough and Revie sitting side by side immediately following Clough's dismissal. The atmosphere is electric, Clough is surprisingly conciliatory whilst Revie delivers an, "I told you so", tour de force. Echoes of the Sheen/Morgan collaboration Frost / Nixon abound as does the repeated device of the late night telephone call from the arch protagonists, this time Clough to Revie, last time Nixon to Frost. The final reconciliation between Clough and Taylor is as brave a depiction of a male platonic relationship as has been screened for a very long time.

A triumph for all concerned.


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