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The Deal (2003)

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

Director:

Stephen Frears

Writers:

Peter Morgan, James Naughtie (based on the book by)
Reviews
2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
David Morrissey ... Gordon Brown
Matt Blair Matt Blair ... Ed Balls
Michael Sheen ... Tony Blair
Dexter Fletcher ... Charlie Whelan
Philippe De Grossouvre Philippe De Grossouvre ... Waiter
Eilidh Fraser Eilidh Fraser ... Returning Officer
Frank Kelly ... John Smith
Stuart McQuarrie ... Scottish MP 1
Ian Hanmore ... Scottish MP 2
Nick Falk Nick Falk ... Junior Tory Minister
Paul Rhys ... Peter Mandelson
Jon Snow Jon Snow ... Self
Stuart Bowman ... Journalist 1
Roshan Rohatgi Roshan Rohatgi ... Journalist 2
Gordon Morris ... Party Worker
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Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 November 2007 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Deal - Berättelsen om Tony Blair See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Granada Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (HBO Print)

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of a number of political films / politically themed pictures featuring actor Michael Sheen. The movies include The Deal (2003), The Queen (2006), Frost/Nixon (2008), The Special Relationship (2010), and Kill the Messenger (2014). See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Tony Blair: So do you think reticence like yours is a specifically Scottish trait? Because I've always thought there are broadly two kinds of Scot, the angry ginger kind and the brooding, intensely private saturnine kind.
Gordon Brown: You ask this as a Scot yourself, of course?
Tony Blair: You may mock, but I am a Scot.
Gordon Brown: As well as being black and working-class?
See more »

Connections

Followed by The Special Relationship (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The formula of politics
30 September 2003 | by paul2001sw-1See 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.


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