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Damned United

The Damned United

5.0 1
Director: Tom Hooper

Cast: Michael Sheen, Timothy Spall, Colm Meaney


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The creators of such docudramas as The Queen and Frost/Nixon re-team for this period sports chronicle set in 1974. In England, the Leeds United players retain a status as the preeminent champions of their football league. Unfortunately, the manager to whom the team owes much of its success,


The creators of such docudramas as The Queen and Frost/Nixon re-team for this period sports chronicle set in 1974. In England, the Leeds United players retain a status as the preeminent champions of their football league. Unfortunately, the manager to whom the team owes much of its success, visionary Don Revie (Colm Meaney), promptly leaves the unit to take over the England team. His replacement, the slick and confident Brian Clough (Michael Sheen), is publicly known as a vociferous critic of the team's approach to games. Clough has some experience and success to back him up -- in flashbacks, the film details how he and his business partner Peter Taylor (Timothy Spall) coached Derby County from the bottom of the Second Division to the League Championships, though they had much less success working with the Brighton team later on. For various reasons, Taylor refuses to accompany Clough to his new post in Leeds, so Clough must go it alone. Clough wastes no time aggressively attempting to modify the playing style of the team -- he dictates that they play more attractively, and less violently. This clashes with the intentions of the team members, however. When the players hit the field, they find it extraordinarily difficult to adapt to the mandates of their new coach, which sets the stage for a series of losses and puts Clough's reputation on the line.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
A film about Carlton Fisk's game-winning home run in the 1975 World Series or Joe Namath's heroics in the 1969 Super Bowl likely would play to empty theaters in Great Britain. Likewise, many Americans may roll their eyes at the thought of seeing a film about the 1974 Leeds United soccer team, but The Damned United is thoroughly entertaining and, for those of us without extensive knowledge of English pro "football," a captivating bit of sports history. To say that former British soccer coach Brian Clough (rhymes with "rough") was outspoken is like saying that European soccer fans are a bit spirited. Clough, who between 1967 and 1972 took Derby County from the bottom of the Second Division to the League Championship, was downright arrogant and audacious. He openly insulted anyone whom he felt threatened the sanctity of English football, but he saved the worst of his ire and bile for his rival coach Don Revie, and his team, Leeds United. Clough lambasted the popular Leeds team and their legendary coach, calling them bastards, thugs, and cheats, so when Clough was hired to replace Revie with Leeds United in 1974, most of England thought it was a recipe for disaster -- and they were right. Director Tom Hooper and screenwriter Peter Morgan split the film between Clough's doomed 44-day stint with Leeds and flashbacks of his years moving up the ladder in Derby County, which allows them to alternate scenes of Clough's ego swelling, via his success at Derby, and then deflating during his dismal tenure in Leeds. The key relationship is between Clough and his longtime assistant, Peter Taylor, who many felt was the key to Clough's success because of his uncanny ability for scouting talent. The film includes several set pieces featuring reenactments of prominent events, such as a volatile joint television appearance between Clough and Revie, but the scenes work well even for Americans, who likely won't be distracted by the impulse to evaluate the accuracies and discrepancies between the film and history. Michael Sheen's mesmerizing performance as the charismatic Clough and the cathartic delight in watching a brash champion fail so completely are more than enough to carry the film. To paraphrase a Brian Clough quote (about his own coaching ability), The Damned United may not be the best soccer film of all time, but it is in the top one.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Sony Pictures
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Commentary with Director Tom Hooper, Michael Sheen and Producer Andy Harries; "Cloughisms" Perfect Pitch: The Making of Damned United; Creating Clough: Michael Sheen Takes on 'Old Big 'Ead'; The Changing Game: Football in the Seventies

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Michael Sheen Brian Clough
Timothy Spall Peter Taylor
Colm Meaney Don Revie
Jim Broadbent Sam Longson
Henry Goodman Manny Cussins
Maurice Roeves Jimmy Gordon
Stephen Graham Billy Bremner
Brian McCardie Dave Mackay
Peter McDonald Johnny Giles
Giles Anderson Colin Todd
Mark Bazeley Austin Mitchell
Martin Compston John O'Hare
Joe Dempsie Duncan McKenzie
David Roper Sam Bolton
Jimmy Reddington Keith Archer
Oliver Stokes Nigel Clough
Ryan Day Simon Clough
Mark Cameron Norman Hunter
Frank Skillin Younger Nigel Clough
Dylan Van Hoof Younger Simon Clough
Sydney Wade Younger Elizabeth Clough
Elizabeth Carling Barbara Clough
Mark Jameson Groundsman
Liam Thomas Les Cocker
Glenn Cunningham Syd Owen
Tony Gubba Himself
Gillian Waugh Lillian Taylor
Colin Harris John McGovern
Stewart Robertson Archie Gemmill
Laurie Rea Terry Hennessey
Michael Parkinson Himself
Ralph Ineson Journalist
Philip Childs Commentator (Wembley)
Terence Harvey FA Committee Chairman
Gordon Hall FA White-haired Elder
John Craven Himself
Isabella Eades-Jones Elizabeth Clough
Paul Bown Mike Bamber
Christopher Chilton Floor Manager
Rob Lane Conductor

Technical Credits
Tom Hooper Director
Jan Archibald Makeup
Martin Curry Asst. Director
Liz Gallacher Musical Direction/Supervision
Andy Harries Producer
Hugo Heppell Executive Producer
Dan Hubbard Casting
Paul Kelly Special Effects Supervisor
Rob Lane Score Composer
Christine Langan Executive Producer
Grainne Marmion Co-producer
Leon McCarthy Art Director
Peter Morgan Executive Producer,Screenwriter
Lee Morris Co-producer
Monique Mussell Production Manager
Mike O'Neill Costumes/Costume Designer
Melanie Oliver Editor
Ben Smithard Cinematographer
Eve Stewart Production Designer
Jachym Topol Executive Producer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Damned United
1. Scene 1 [2:56]
2. Scene 2 [3:31]
3. Scene 3 [3:46]
4. Scene 4 [1:39]
5. Scene 5 [2:56]
6. Scene 6 [2:16]
7. Scene 7 [2:53]
8. Scene 8 [1:43]
9. Scene 9 [3:55]
10. Scene 10 [2:00]
11. Scene 11 [4:43]
12. Scene 12 [3:02]
13. Scene 13 [2:00]
14. Scene 14 [4:34]
15. Scene 15 [4:24]
16. Scene 16 [4:03]
17. Scene 17 [4:19]
18. Scene 18 [3:45]
19. Scene 19 [3:46]
20. Scene 20 [2:52]
21. Scene 21 [3:56]
22. Scene 22 [4:41]
23. Scene 23 [2:37]
24. Scene 24 [1:43]
25. Scene 25 [6:04]
26. Scene 26 [1:00]
27. Scene 27 [4:36]
28. Scene 28 [7:20]


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The Damned United 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
LarryC More than 1 year ago
As I was stationed in England during the time of the film and very much into soccer I was very interested in this story. As I was very familiar with the reputations of Brian Clough, Don Revie, Derby County, Leeds United, etc. the anticipation was very high. The film met all expectations and them some. It was a very good depiction of the long-haired, gritty era of English soccer. Would recommend it to anyone that appreciates a good story and brilliamt acting.