6.7/10
4,221
26 user 35 critic

The Special Relationship (2010)

A dramatization that traces former UK prime minister Tony Blair's relationships with Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

Director:

Richard Loncraine

Writer:

Peter Morgan
Reviews
Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 1 win & 22 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Michael Sheen ... Tony Blair
Demetri Goritsas ... Strategist
Adam Godley ... Jonathan Powell
Marc Rioufol ... Jacques Chirac
Mark Bazeley ... Alastair Campbell
Helen McCrory ... Cherie Blair
Nancy Crane ... Protocol Officer
Dennis Quaid ... Bill Clinton
John Schwab ... Reporter
Hope Davis ... Hillary Clinton
Kerry Shale ... Advisor to the Clintons
Lara Pulver ... Intern
Eric Meyers ... American Journalist
Rufus Wright ... British Journalist
Matthew Marsh ... Foreign Policy Advisor
Learn more

More Like This 

The Deal (TV Movie 2003)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

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

Director: Stephen Frears
Stars: David Morrissey, Matt Blair, Michael Sheen
Recount (TV Movie 2008)
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A chronicle of the weeks after the 2000 U.S. Presidential election, and the subsequent recounts in Florida.

Director: Jay Roach
Stars: Kevin Spacey, Bob Balaban, Denis Leary
The Queen (2006)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

After the death of Princess Diana, Queen Elizabeth II struggles with her reaction to a sequence of events nobody could have predicted.

Director: Stephen Frears
Stars: Helen Mirren, Michael Sheen, James Cromwell
Game Change (TV Movie 2012)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska becomes Senator John McCain's running mate in the 2008 Presidential election.

Director: Jay Roach
Stars: Ed Harris, Julianne Moore, Woody Harrelson
Path to War (TV Movie 2002)
Biography | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

In the mid 1960s, President Lyndon B. Johnson (Sir Michael Gambon) and his foreign-policy team debate the decision to withdraw from or escalate the war in Vietnam.

Director: John Frankenheimer
Stars: Michael Gambon, Donald Sutherland, Alec Baldwin
Into the Storm (TV Movie 2009)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Continuing the storyline of The Gathering Storm (2002), Churchill at War is a look at the former British prime minister's life and career at the end of WWII.

Director: Thaddeus O'Sullivan
Stars: Brendan Gleeson, Clive Mantle, Adrian Scarborough
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

This project is the film version of the Passion play that was performed throughout Port Talbot in Easter 2011.

Director: Dave McKean
Stars: Matthew Aubrey, Nigel Barrett, Jordan Bernarde
Heartlands (2002)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Expelled from his local darts team, a mild mannered newsagent rushes across the country to the final on his own.

Director: Damien O'Donnell
Stars: Michael Sheen, Mark Addy, Jim Carter
Longford (TV Movie 2006)
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A portrait of Lord Longford, a tireless British campaigner whose controversial beliefs often resulted in furious political debate and personal conflict.

Director: Tom Hooper
Stars: Lee Boardman, Jim Broadbent, Tam Dean Burn
All the Way (TV Movie 2016)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Lyndon B. Johnson becomes the President of the United States in the chaotic aftermath of John F. Kennedy's assassination and spends his first year in office fighting to pass the Civil Rights Act.

Director: Jay Roach
Stars: Bryan Cranston, Anthony Mackie, Melissa Leo
Frost/Nixon (2008)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A dramatic retelling of the post-Watergate television interviews between British talk-show host David Frost and former president Richard Nixon.

Director: Ron Howard
Stars: Frank Langella, Michael Sheen, Kevin Bacon
Biography | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Martyn Hesford's comedy-drama about the life and times of tortured comic Kenneth Williams based on his diaries.

Director: Andy De Emmony
Stars: Michael Sheen, Cheryl Campbell, Peter Wight
Edit

Storyline

In 1992, Labour leader Tony Blair goes to America and is impressed by the policies of President Bill Clinton, which he uses to reshape his party. Two years later, he is invited back for an audience with Clinton, who, rightly, predicts that he will be Britain's next Prime Minister. Thus begins the 'special relationship' between the two, though Clinton is clearly the senior partner with Blair seeking his advice on Northern Ireland. The situation in Kosovo however reverses the roles as Blair forces American intervention by a reluctant president and is seen in the American media as the hero of the hour. As Clinton accuses his ally of stabbing him in the back the special relationship starts to sour and, with Clinton ultimately out of the White House, Blair takes his first photo call with the next incumbent, George W. Bush. Written by don @ minifie-1

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

From the writer of The Queen and Frost/Nixon. See more »


Certificate:

TV-14 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Mark Bazeley reprises his role from The Queen (2006) where he portrays Tony Blair's aide Alastair Campbell in both movies. See more »

Goofs

During a Scene in the Oval Office, a phone is shown on the desk which is a Cisco 7900 series IP phone. This model phone did not exist in the 90's. See more »

Quotes

Bill Clinton: This Administration has been born in controversy, national shame and illegality, and it is my bet that that's the way they'll go out.
See more »

Connections

Featured in 17th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Lonely Blue Boy
Written by Benjamin Weisman and Fred Wise
Performed by Conway Twitty
See more »

User Reviews

 
The story of a beautiful friendship
29 August 2010 | by MaxBorg89See all my reviews

Following the "secret" story of his election (The Deal) and his first major crisis (The Queen), writer Peter Morgan ends his unofficial Tony Blair trilogy with one of the most famous aspects of the man's political career: his friendship with US President Bill Clinton, and the hopes and problems that came with it.

The film, made as a co-production between BBC and HBO (where it premiered in May 2010, though it has been picked up for theatrical release in other countries), starts in slightly familiar territory, showing us Blair (played, once again, by Michael Sheen) before he was elected, and the same goes for Clinton (Dennis Quaid), who immediately befriends the British politician on the grounds that they have a lot in common: young (politically speaking), ambitious and eager to make a difference in their respective governments. Once both men are in office, the cooperation goes very smoothly, prompting the media - and the two friends themselves - to talk about a "special relationship" between America and Great Britain. However, like most relationships, it has to face some hard times, most notably the conflict in the former Jugoslavia and, on a more private front, the Lewinsky scandal, which drives a wedge between Bill and Hillary (Leslie Hope) and Tony and Cherie (Helen McCrory, reprising her role from The Queen).

Like most of Morgan's work, The Special Relationship puts a lot of emphasis on character and performance, especially Sheen who, by now, wears Blair's clothes and mannerisms like they were a second skin, a fact that becomes more evident when archive footage is used to show the man's first encounter with a very different Commander in Chief (one George W. Bush), and he's ably assisted by the excellent Quaid who, having already played a President in American Dreamz, gets past the not-so-perfect physical resemblance between himself and the real Clinton to deliver a fully formed portrayal of a flawed, but very charismatic individual. On the female side, Hope is the usual guarantee of quality, while McCrory is a bit of a revelation, taking advantage of the increase in screen-time she has been granted compared to The Queen.

That said, the film is probably the least dramatically poignant of the trilogy. Maybe it has to do with the change in the director's chair (goodbye Stephen Frears, hello Richard Loncraine), but the real reason is the excessive familiarity of the material: whereas The Deal and The Queen dealt with the unseen (and largely fictionalized) side of their respective stories, The Special Relationship centers around a piece of Anglo-American history that has been widely covered multiple times, meaning there's very little on screen, no matter how entertaining, that people haven't heard of before.

Overall, a slightly underwhelming but consistently amusing look at the workings of English and US politics, propelled by a flawless double act and some Aaron Sorkin-like writing. If this is the last we'll see of Michael Sheen as Tony Blair, one thing is clear: it's been a very pleasant experience.

7,5/10


27 of 36 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 26 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

HBO | HBO - Photos | See more »

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

29 May 2010 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Untitled Peter Morgan Project See more »

Edit

Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$550,789
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color | Color (archive footage)| Black and White (archive footage)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Your Next Binge Watch Awaits

Looking for something to watch? Check out IMDb's "What to Watch" series to find out what's really worth watching.



Recently Viewed