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The Damned United (2009)

7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 26,480 users   Metascore: 81/100
Reviews: 72 user | 142 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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Title: The Damned United (2009)

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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:

$32,065 (USA) (9 October 2009)

Gross:

$449,558 (USA) (5 February 2010)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The scenes in the film set at the Derby County training ground were actually filmed in Leeds at a football pitch ironically overlooking the Leeds United stadium. See more »

Goofs

In the car scene where Brian Clough is going to try and sign Dave McKay, Pete (Timothy Spall) is seen eating a salt and vinegar packet of crusader crisps. Crusader crisps are a Netto own brand product, and Netto first opened in 1981, a few years after the film was set. See more »

Quotes

Sam Longson: His salary's 300 quid a week? You can't pay a footballer that!
Brian Clough: That's the way things are going, Uncle Sam...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Changing Game: Football in the Seventies (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Tom Hark
Written by Rupert Bopape
(c) 1958 EMI (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd.
peermusic (UK) Ltd
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Frequently Asked Questions

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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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