Taking over Englands top football club Leeds United, previously successful manager Brian Cloughs 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.
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This is probably the best football-related film so far. I generallydon't like reality-based films about specific persons because of allthe epic nonsense that I can't stand, but this one really cuts to thechase. Whatever is shown is there for a reason. To focus on somethingthat is more like a weird sidenote in the heroic career of BrianClough, was very clever. That's where most other films would fail;they'd try to just salute Clough as a genius in a predictable andboring manner. Photography-wise it's very neat, the score is brilliant,and I absolutely loved the way they showed images from the rise ofDerby County accompanied by Deep Purple's "Hush". The acting is alsosolid, especially thanks to the supporting roles.I won't give it a 10 because of some factual errors that were there toserve the story rather than the actual events, and because I don't buytheir interpretation of the Clough-Taylor relationship. And because ofthe last scene of the "story" which I felt was a bit unnecessary,considering how brilliantly the film as a whole ended.
If you grew up in England in the 70s or 80s, you'll understand that Brian Clough was something of a legend. His career as a footballer saw him score goals at a higher ratio than any other player in England, before an ACL injury forced him to retire. At the age of 30, he started a job in football management.Clough's career began to take off when he became manager of Derby County in 1967. He brought in Peter Taylor as his assistant and the two turned the club into a successful team, gaining promotion to the top division in 1969. The title refers to Clough's hatred of Leeds United, after being snubbed by Leeds manager Don Revie during an FA Cup tie.As unlikely as it may seem, Clough eventually went on to manage Leeds United in 1974, but he was sacked after 44 days.The movie jumps between Clough's time at Leeds, and earlier in his career, showing events that led to his hatred of the team, and the reasons he became manager.Director Tom Hooper treats Clough like the hero he was, but doesn't ignore the many mistakes he made during his long management career. Having grown up in the era myself, I feel that the movie does a great job creating the look and feel of the 70s. I remember many of the events, and always smile when I think of Brian Clough. He was outspoken and regarded himself as the best manager in the game. He wasn't afraid to criticize his employers, opposing managers, players, or the media. As a result, his interviews were always entertaining as he apparently didn't care what people thought of him.Michael Sheen perfectly captures the spirit of the man, as well as the voice and the gestures. It's like watching a good impressionist with excellent acting ability. Sheen also worked with writer Peter Morgan on Frost/Nixon and The Queen, playing David Frost and Tony Blair. All three performances are noteworthy and worth your time.Timothy Spall was a good choice for the role of Peter Taylor, and Hooper manages to convince us that the two were close friends for much of the time they worked together. Their relationship was more important than the relationships with their wives in some ways. Other notable performances come from Colm Meaney as Don Revie and Jim Broadbent as Derby County chairman, Sam Longson.The story focuses on the effect Clough on those around him, and ends with a brief summary of what he went on to achieve. Although football is the reason all of this happened, the movie doesn't spend much time showing the players in action. It's more about management and the relationships that Clough formed with employers, colleagues, players and fans.I can't imagine American audiences being very interested in the subject matter, but anyone who was a fan of English football in the 70s will love the nostalgic feel and the accuracy of Sheen's portrayal. It's not hard to see why Tom Hooper has been successful in recent years with The King's Speech and Les MisÃ©rables. It's clear that the man knows how to make entertaining movies.
The life of the egocentric one gets the big screen treatment - anotherfeather in his cap, and one to put over Shanks, Busby, Mercer, Allison,Paisley etc. The fact he shares the spotlight with Don Revie would behis only disappointment. One may find the numerous anachronisms andinaccuracies distracting, i.e. Dave Mackay had left Derby before Cloughand Taylor's resignation, and that 5-0 Leeds triumph came the yearafter County's championship triumph (or robbery as devout GeldardEnders would maintain) - I know, I was there that great day wallowingin revenge for the previous year's injustices.Without resorting to caricature, Sheen effortlessly conveys Clough'srampant narcissism and hubris. His obsession with Revie is portrayed assomething he needs to work out of his system before getting his lifeback on keel. Revie is depicted as such a cartoon villain that one isalmost disappointed that he doesn't appear clad in top hat and blackcloak, chuckling evilly as he twirls his moustache and ties Cloughs'two sons to the railway line. Colm Meaney is uncanny in his depictionof the Elland Road supremo and his face captures the haunted look ofthe man who must have felt the fates were against him at times. Spallseems physically miscast as Taylor but puts across the fact that Petewas Clough's often unheeded moral conscience - a fact illustrated byhow Clough went to the bad in his later years at Forest when Taylorwasn't around. Jim Broadbent is every provincial businessman made goodas Sam Longson who must have needed the patience of a saint in hislatter years at Derby.Occasionally, the script's pace works against it. Clough and Taylorhave barely signed the contract with Mike Bamber when they're off toMajorca. It might have been better to have a scene or two showing theirtribulations at Brighton which increased Clough's desire to snatch atthe first decent offer that came his way. I still remember hearing thehumiliating defeat they suffered at home to Bristol Rovers on the coachback from Elland Road on the radio - and the ensuing hystericallaughter. To think, one year later, we were laughing the other side ofour faces.
I didn't become an avid fan of football until the mid-nineties, caught up in the euphoria of Barnsley's promotion to the Premiership in 1997, a glory chaser I became but have remained loyal to my home town and given the many seasons of pain and despair I feel I have redeemed myself. Being a fan of football I had heard of the legendary manager Brian Clough but he had achieved his greatest feats before I was born so the opportunity to learn more about him was one I didn't want to miss when I approached The Damned United.The film was advertised as being about Brian Clough's (Michael Sheen) 44-day management of Leeds United in 1974 but it is divided between that turbulent tenure and the early days of Clough's managerial career when he turned lowly Derby into the champions of England. Clough's time with Derby is initially one of admiration for Leeds United, the best team in the country, and their successful manager Don Revie (Colm Meaney). When Derby have a Cup game against Leeds when they're a lowly Division Two team, Clough is excited at the prospect of footballing greats coming to Derby. However, the meeting does not end well with Revie ignoring Clough and his team winning 2-0, courtesy of their trademark nasty tackles and cheating tactics which infuriate Clough and convince him and assistant manager Peter Taylor (Timothy Spall) to turn Derby into a success story and defeat Leeds and Don Revie. Given the vicious rivalry it is something of a surprise in 1974 when Clough takes the manager's job at Leeds following Revie's departure to become England manager but why and how does it all go wrong for Clough?The Damned United is based on the book of the same name which is said to be largely fictional in tying together the key events of Clough's time as Leeds manager. Further reading has confirmed many of the dates and events are not accurate but the film still offers a very good outline of Clough. It veers between the 44-day tenure at Leeds and Clough's days at Derby. The meeting with Leeds in the FA Cup is a dream come true for the ambitious manager who believes Don Revie will be a gentleman when he arrives at Derby with him and Clough having grown up in similar streets and played for the same clubs. Instead, the Leeds team enter Derby's ground like gods and Revie doesn't even look at Clough, who has overseen an intense makeover for the ground, personally taking on some of the cleaning duties himself. This snub from Revie clearly affects Clough who watches the game quietly only to become animated at the antics of the Leeds players. After Leeds win, Revie shakes hands with Peter Taylor and Derby's coaching staff but once again ignores Clough! It's in this moment that Clough and his Chairman Sam Longson (Jim Broadbent) first come to blows as the vengeful manager buys new players including Dave McKay (Brian McCardie) without consulting Longson. The result is an unbeaten run that propels Derby from the lower rungs of Division Two's ladder to the very top. The following season they rub shoulders with Leeds once more but suffer a 5-0 defeat. Undeterred, Clough signs more players and when the two teams next meet Derby win 2-1 while Clough waits in the dressing room, unable to watch the game himself. Clough and Taylor lead Derby to the top of Division One and the following season to the semi-finals of the European Cup. Prior to this mid-week game Clough gambles on playing his best team against Leeds just for the pride of beating them and Revie but Leeds' players go to work on Derby's team leaving them with injuries and a depleted squad for the European game against Juventus which Derby lose. It's the beginning of the end for Clough.Clough's days at Derby end with Peter Taylor having a heart attack, Clough criticising his chairman publicly and then issuing resignation letters for both him and Taylor to strengthen their positions only for the letters to be accepted! Clough and Taylor have an acrimonious fall out and go their separate ways when Clough agrees to join Taylor at Brighton only to spurn them in favour of Leeds. The 44 days at Leeds couldn't be worse. Prior to a press conference at the club Clough goes on Yorkshire Television and criticises Don Revie and Leeds as a bunch of violent cheats that have won nothing fairly and under him that will change. It doesn't! Clough faces a rebellion from the players, led by Billy Bremner (Stephen Graham), who criticise his every word and still long for the days of Don Revie. Revie's presence at Leeds' matches does not help Clough but equally his public criticism of Leeds and their players leads him down a path of no return. Outspoken and egotistical as Clough is, you have to have some sympathy for him as Leeds manager with the suspicion that the players are deliberately not trying. When Clough's brief reign ends he wants revenge in the form of another interview with Yorkshire Television but finds three seats waiting in the studio, one for him, one for the host and horrifyingly one for Don Revie!The Damned United may embellish some of the facts and indeed some of the dates of events while Clough was at Derby but it is never a dull experience. Sheen is excellent as Clough, a naturally gifted manager but one with a big mouth that led him into many controversies. The rivalry with Revie is fierce and much of the blame seems to be with Revie, especially when he denies ignoring Clough or not shaking hands with him when they first met. The film's highlight is Clough's friendship with Peter Taylor who he dismisses as nothing when he goes to manage Leeds but in the end it is Taylor that has Clough on his knees begging for forgiveness at the film's end. Wisely Clough acknowledges that all his success is Taylor's as well and this proves to be the case in the aftermath when we learn both men reunited to manage Nottingham Forest and together took the lowly team to the top and won two European Cups in a row, a feat yet to be equalled by another English manager. It's somewhat fitting that Clough emerged from the hellish 44 days at Leeds to build himself back up, while Revie failed as England manager and ended his football days in obscurity overseas. Beneath all the controversies Clough was a great manager and is aptly regarded as the greatest never to have managed the England team.The Damned United isn't completely accurate to the true events but it gives a fascinating outline to the darkest days of the managerial career of Brian Clough. Boasting some good performances and as much action off the pitch as there is on it, this should appeal to many football fans but also those who want to know more about the man who once said " I wouldn't say I was the best manager in the business. But I was in the top one."
I am not a huge soccer fan of football (unlike my boyfriend!) so I hadreservations about the Damned United. But in reality, football is notthe most important subject in the story, it is just a framework. Thefilm focuses on the relationship between Sheen and his assistant. Sheencaptures the man's ego, charisma and above all his weaknesses! He isarrogant, bitter, distant, intelligent and he has close relationshipswith his assistant. Then Sheen transforms into Clough, he is utterlybrilliant and his good performance is a key reason for what makes theDamned United a joy to watch. Moreover the support cast are excellentand live actions are brief (my boyfriend was very sad watching the film!). The film director creates a human drama about one man's battle withjealousy, bitterness, ambition and how that can destroy everythingaround you. It is wonderfully performed! My boyfriend told me there aresome inaccuracies in the story. It has been inspired from David Peace'snovel but I have never read it so I had no problem with accuracy. Inthe film, there are two stories with flashbacks; it can be confusing attimes. Finally, even if football is not your passion, I think you arelikely to enjoy it. Do not be prejudiced! I am repeating it: footballis just a framework! Now, I am not ready to play football with myboyfriend (even if he would be very happy!) in my garden, it is not thebeginning of a passion BUT thanks to this film I will not havepreconceived ideas about another football film in the future! I hopeSheen will be in the screenplay! I was very surprised by the filmbecause I have little knowledge of football but in the end, this is notimportant.
I had a few reservations about this film. Firstly we have seen MichaelSheen play a number of real life people in the last couple of years.Would it be possible for Sheen to cast aside these previous roles andplay another big well known (in the UK) character in Brian Clough. Ialso had the distinct feeling that this may be a made for TV film thatwas bumped up to a theatrical release based on Sheen's recent success.My final reservation was whether the football would look good as it isfrequently very poor when played by actors.I have got to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the film. The main focus ofthe film is the relationship between the young pretender in footballmanagement Clough and the master in Don Revie the Manager of LeedsUnited. The film focuses on Clough's short tenure as the manager ofLeeds after replacing Revie in 1974. The lead performances by Sheen andMeaney are excellent and it is at least as enthralling as theFrost/Nixon interplay.It is a perfect film for me as it covers a period when my footballpassion was at its peak as I was about 10 years old at the time. As forthe reservations I had nothing to worry about with Sheen. He transformsinto Clough and it is truly a remarkable portrayal. I still tend tothink that the film wouldn't lose very much on the small screen.Finally the film cleverly uses real life footage and we see very littleof the actors playing football. That's probably just as well as theyseemed a little older than the real players were. I'll have to checktheir bios to confirm that, but Bremner and Clarke looked the wrongside of 40 to me.I suspect that to get the most out of the film you'll probably need tolike football, but if you do you're more or less guaranteed to enjoyit.
"The Damned United" has turned out to be an impulse buy that is paying me back dividends. Michael Sheen plays Derby county/ Leeds United manager Brian Clough, A straight talking egotistical man who, along with this partner Perter Taylor(Timothy Spall), had an uncanny talent for taking sub par teams and turning them into champions. The film bounces around his time line by telling how he became a successful coach by leading Derby County, took over the reins of Leeds United from his arch enemy Don Revey(Clom Meaney)and eventually failed and fell into disgrace. Michael Sheen really shines in his roll as Clough and it was a joy to see him return to a roll that seems tailor suited for him. He had a bad run with this rolls in those lame Vampire/Werewolf flicks. He and Spall are the glue that hold the film together and had great chemistry. I didn't know about Clough's story before I watched this film and it's a truly remarkable one. What he did was like talking the Detroit Lions and making them Super Bowl champions. A virtually impossible task. Clough was one of those iconic "love him or hate him" type of characters that pop up in sports every once in a while. I liked him right away and his cocky way of telling his bosses off, keeping his players in line and his consuming hatred for that bloody Don Revey are a true joy to witness. "The Damned United" is a solid film with a cast made of superb actors. A must see.
The Damned United belongs to the the very limited category of the goodbiopics.The viewer is quickly sucked in by the story that deals with just afragment of the incredible career of the legend that was thecharismatic Brian Clough.The scenario is precise, almost surgical, and very dynamic from end toend so that it is impossible to get bored. It is carried by excellentactors, Michael Sheen on top, disconcerting of ease in its Clough role.As for the direction and photography, they are very polished and TomHooper offers us strong shots that emphasize the story perfectly.Fond of biographies, the latter will less successfully direct two yearslater The King's Speech, proving that the biopic genre is a risky one.
A lot of sporting themed movies are just not up to it, this moviehowever shows very little on field antics and sticks to the story ofthe contempt Brian Clough held for Don Revie. Now this movie may not be100% Historically accurate, only Brian Clough himself could answer thatand sadly he is no longer with us.I would have given this movie a 10 but had to knock it back two pointsbecause of the actors who played the footballers themselves as theydidn't seem credible.Now thats out of the way, Sheen is brilliant as Clough the Voice themannerisms is what we know of Clough is spot on. Spall though he looksnothing like Taylor as usual puts in a first rate performance, so doesColm Meaney who plays Revie. The movie brilliantly goes back andforward in time plugging the gaps as to why Taylor didn't join Cloughat Leeds and why Clough and Revie didn't get on. Added to the film isarchived footage including pieces from Ali and Parky. All the moviedoes is explains why he only lasted 44 days nothing else, does exactlywhat it says on the tin.
Although I do not follow soccer, I found this documentary type flick enjoyable, educational, and interesting. As a historical piece it let's an American such as myself in on how soccer works in Europe and how close it is to the hearts of it's spectators. The film was also entertaining, well played and reminded me that when things go well it takes more than one soul leader and that it is very easy to loose oneself and get off track, hurting the very people you have meant to lead to victory.
Damned United is excellently shot. Although essentially a film aboutfootball, the cinematography is its biggest strength. The man BrianClough is not really studied in depth but the film is enjoyable towatch.The film does not really portray Brian Clough in a light that isparticularly flattering. We see Clough as an altogether ambitious ifsomewhat flawed individual. Clough is arrogant and cocksure, and has anunhealthy obsession with out-doing Don Revie, one of the mostsuccessful English managers of the time.The special attention to the cinematography really provides the filmwith a greater realm of credibility; particular attention has evidentlybeen paid to every shot and it was very nice to see. Furthermore,credit should also be given to Michael Sheen who does a commendable jobof Clough offering moments of applaudable wit.Damned United does feel rather caricature and prefers to skim thesurface of the man Brian Clough rather than delve with any depth. Thefilm is excellently shot and the narrative is intelligently devised.Damned United is enjoyable, funny at times but it lacked a certaingravitas.
Brian Clough (1935-2004) has some claim to be regarded as the greatestever club manager in English football. Others, such as Bob Paisley andSir Alex Ferguson, may have won more in terms of trophies, but they didso after taking over clubs which were already wealthy, successful andestablished. Clough's unique achievement was to take over a struggling,unsuccessful Second Division club, Derby County, turn them into Englishchampions, and then to repeat this feat with a second struggling,unsuccessful Second Division club, Nottingham Forest, who went on tobecome not only English champions but also European champions.Clough's career in football management, however, was not anuninterrupted success story, and "The Damned United" tells the story ofhis greatest failure, his 44-day tenure as manager of Leeds United in1974. Over the past decade, under the management of Don Revie, Leedshad become one of the leading clubs in England, and in 1974 werereigning League champions. They were, however, also the most hated clubin England, having become notorious not only for a cautious, defensiveattitude to the game but also for gamesmanship and violent play.Although Clough and Revie loathed one another, they had much in common.Both came from the same town, Middlesbrough, growing up only a fewstreets apart. Both had enjoyed successful playing careers, playing atcentre-forward, both had been capped for England, and both had playedfor the same club, Sunderland. Revie had also taken over Leeds Unitedas a struggling Second Division club and had turned them intochampions. Yet they had very different attitudes to the game. Incontrast to Revie's "win-at-all-costs" attitude, Clough was an idealistwith a firm belief in fair play and open, attacking football; hefrequently referred to "the beautiful game", long before this phrasehad become the clichÃ© it is today. When Revie was appointed as Englandmanager, Clough therefore seemed a strange choice to replace him asLeeds manager, especially as he had been one fiercest critics both ofthe club and of Revie. (Many other managers, in fact, agreed withClough's opinions in private, but few had dared to express them quiteso publicly).Clough's main weakness as a manager appears to have been his lack oftact and diplomacy. He was fond of speaking his mind, and despitewinning the Championship with Derby had been ousted as manager of thatclub following clashes with the club chairman Sam Longson. According tothis film, Clough's first act as Leeds manager was to tell his playersto throw away all their medals and trophies, "because they won them bycheating". Given this attitude, it is hardly surprising that Clough wasdisliked by the Leeds players, most of whom had idolised Revie. Theywere determined not to take Clough's message of "good, clean attractivefootball" to heart; during his first match in charge of Leeds, theCharity Shield against Liverpool, the club captain, Billy Bremner, wasred-carded for brawling on the pitch with an opponent. (He received an11-game suspension and never played again under Clough's management).Discontent among the players was a major factor in persuading theclub's directors to dismiss Clough after a run of poor results.The film is not a comprehensive biopic of Clough; it concentrates onhis brief spell at Leeds, with the story of his days at Derby beingtold in flashback. It does not deal with his early life or playingcareer at all, only briefly touches on his private life outside thegame, and his successes with Nottingham Forest are only mentioned inpassing in an epilogue at the end. It presents a fictionalised versionof his life and occasionally takes liberties with the facts. (Contraryto the impression given here, Dave Mackay, a one-time Derby player whosucceeded Clough as manager, was not on the club's playing staff at thetime of his appointment).The film's main virtues are an excellent script from Peter Morgan andsome equally excellent acting. Michael Sheen seems to specialise inplaying real people, and although he bears a certain physicalresemblance to Clough he avoids the mistake he made when playing TonyBlair in "The Queen", that of trying to imitate his subject too exactlyas though he were a Mike Yarwood-style impressionist rather than adramatic actor. The other excellent contributions come from Colm Meaneyas the self-righteous Revie, genuinely unable to understand why anyonemight object to his team's playing style, from Jim Broadbent asLongson, a self-important small-town businessman who has attachedhimself to the town's football club despite an almost total ignoranceof the game, and from Timothy Spall as Clough's assistant, PeterTaylor. Unlike Sheen and Meaney, Spall bears very little resemblance tothe man he is playing, but as Taylor generally kept a much lowerprofile than Clough this does not really matter. Taylor, a moresubstantial figure than most assistant club managers, neverthelessplayed a key role at Derby, so he is an important character in thisdrama. He did not follow Clough to Leeds; had he done so, Clough'sappointment might have been a greater success.Despite its international popularity, football has inspiredsurprisingly few good films, and virtually no great ones. In the 2000s,however, the British cinema managed to produce two very good filmsabout the sport, of which this is the second. (The first was "Bend Itlike Beckham"). The film's main appeal will, I suspect, be to sportsfans and to those with an interest in football history, especiallythose who, like myself, are old enough to remember the events of the1970s. Nevertheless, there is enough human drama in "The Damned United"to appeal to film-lovers who have only a passing interest in football.8/10
Brian Howard Clough. "The greatest English manager never to manage theEnglish National side." Whether you agree with that sentiment or not,everybody knows Brian Clough was one of the great personalities of thegame. Based around David Pearce's bestselling novel 'The Damned United'(which Johnny Giles called: "fiction based on fact"), the filmsnarrative follows the events preceding and during those fateful 44-daysof management from the perspective of Cloughie (played by MichaelSheen).Sheen turns in, yet another brilliant performance as the arrogant,stubborn, distant, bitter, intelligent, yet highly flawed man who wenton to become a legend of British football. From his mannerisms to theway he speaks, Sheen projects the outward personality of Brian Cloughthrough to the audience to a tee. And more importantly he takes thefilm away from the touchlines of simply being 'another football film',and instead creates a human drama about one man's battle withjealously, bitterness and ambition and how that can destroy everythingaround you, quicker than Billy Bremner could break your legs. WhileMorgan's script keeps up the dry wit and humour, and Hooper's directioncarries the colourful scenery of 1960's and 1970's Britain, the filmcould have spent more time centred around the other players on thepitch, more specifically Clough's second in-command in Peter Taylor andthe Leeds United side of the Revie era. They are shown to be Revie'ssurrogate sons and nothing more. With that said however, I found it ahugely enjoyable film that went way beyond the stereotypicalassociation we have football films today and instead created a profileof a man who encompassed everything that was good, bad and all that inbetween about the beautiful game.
Brian Clough was one of Britain's greatest personalities. I am justabout old enough to remember the buzz generated when he was interviewedon TV. Life and TV were grey but Cloughie was not. He sparkled andspoke his mind freely, where other pundits were too scared to do so;with so few channels many could not risk upsetting the status quo. Forthat reason a grateful nation admired and loved the bright youngmanager. Whatever his insight about football you respected it becausehe'd proved he knew what he was talking about. His teams won. And withlimited resources he won big. This tells of the years Mr Cloughachieved his greatest success and how through belligerence, pride,passion and belief he threw it all away. It does not however giveinsight into the man himself, which I believe should have been the coreof the story. I am still non- the wiser as to what made Clough such agreat team manager. Yes he had beliefs and conviction but his realtalent was getting Derby County to play his way on the field, not hisgift of TV chat. All of Mr. Clough success was based on his ability tomotivate a team to outplay and outwit the wealthy and powerful.Watching the recent ITV Documentary 'Clough' calls attention to thispoint. Only one scene in the film touches on this, when he has a quietword with players in the changing room before sending them out to doexactly what he'd asked against Leeds United. For me these scenes werereal highlights I'd have liked more. Instead Dammed United leansheavily on the topsy-turvy relationship between Manager and AssistantManager during this time to give the story narrative. To its creditthis is not a film about football - but then even a few weeks afterseeing it Â I'm still not sure what it is about. It fails to give ainsightful portrait of the man, manger or times. One last though is itdid not make any attempt to compare today's soulless media controlledgame with the old days Â I'm sure Mr Clough would have had a lot to sayabout that.
I went to see this film with a certain trepidation as I don't alwaysunderstand the true workings of the so-called beautiful game. I'm oftenrather lost by the offside rule, not too sure what actually constituteshandball and can't quite understand why a good friend can kiss a posterof George Weah and refer to the Liberian as a God. However, I canrecognise what a worldwide phenomenon football has become and themassive status that the late Brian Clough held within in the sport.Clough was one heck of a character and very much of his time and thisis where 'The Damned United' really succeeds. You feel like you aretruly watching the 70s when men were men and modern players likeconstant diver Cristiano Ronaldo would have been laughed (or evenkicked) off the pitch. Sheen gives an excellent performance and Cloughis portrayed as a complex individual with the sort of charisma and wit,which may endear him to cinema-goers who have little knowledge offootball or the man himself.However, I saw this film with a friend who is a huge soccer fan and whoconfessed afterwards to having certain problems with the accuracy ofthe story. The film is after all based on a book by David Peace, whichmerges the facts with his own fiction to show what he thought mightbeing going on behind the scenes during Clough's reign as manager ofDerby County and his infamous 44 days in charge at Leeds United. Havingrecently watched some TV dramatisations of Peace's other novelsinvolving the real life Yorkshire Ripper murders it is easy to see whysome people find his particular way of merging fact with fictionlacking in credibility. I personally didn't have such a problem withthis film as I felt it really got to grips with who Clough was as afootball manager and his probable motives for how he went about the jobat Leeds.While the film's narrative sometimes veers confusingly back and forthbetween Clough's time at Derby and his short spell at Leeds, 'TheDamned United' is a really enjoyable piece of entertainment full ofgreat actors bringing to life intriguing characters. The ultimatestrength of the film is that the story manages to become more aboutfriendship (the relationship between Brian and Peter Taylor) and thedestructiveness of vanity rather than how many football matches Cloughwon.
This review is from: The Damned United (DVD) My family are huge Soccer fans and this is the greatest movie we have seen. We lived in England when Brian Clough was at his height and this movie reinforces everything we thought at the time. The acting is superb and we have watched this movie over and over again and will continue to do so.
They call it the "beautiful game" but sometimes things have to get alittle ugly in order to turn that game into a winning one. That atleast seems to be the conflicting philosophy of renowned Englishmanager Brian Clough who built a career out of transforminglower-league football teams into national and international triumphs.Fuelled by his own burning ambition and to a lesser extent, his greed,Clough spent the better half of the later nineteen-sixties and earlyseventies at the figurative throat of rival manager Don Revie, managerof the then prospering Leeds United. This drive to better his peer inevery regard would inevitably lead to his most famous moments in thegreat game, but not always for the best of reasons. The Damned Unitedwhich sets about documenting a small but potent personal tribute to thebrilliant but flawed man over the course of his five year "development"years before scoring the ultimate success in Europe works as a fine,nostalgic piece of work that does the legend a favour by distilling allthe facts with a sense of frail humanity. The result is a feature thatfills in as a history lesson well enough, but more importantly works asa humbled and fitting character study befitting of Mr. Clough in amanner that also works as an entertaining and interesting feature inthe same regard.Told in a leaping narrative that jumps back and forth between Clough'stenure at his first success story club, Derby and five years later whenhe took a position at rival club Leeds United for an abysmally poor 44days, The Damned United tells a varied but neatly focused tale. Mixedin amongst all the intriguing historical "facts" (it should be notedthat the movie's integrity has been questioned heavily by thoseinvolved directly in the actual events portrayed), the movie embedsboth a restrained sense of comedy about it, and also a distinctlytragic undertone to the central character of Clough himself. Workingthese elements in and out of the story, Morgan's screenplay which isbased upon the novel by David Pearce, transposes itself onto the screencomfortably. It's a biographical feature that feels like it was meantfor the screen, with perfectly tangible and natural moments of pathosand themes of betrayal, ambition and perseverance rippling throughoutand backing up the characters and their personal stories without toomuch obtuse attention to themselves. Instead the feature flows with aneven pace and works like any good piece of simple story-telling does.The character of Clough as portrayed here by Michael Sheen, whether ornot the facts are entirely correct or not, is nevertheless a fine andvery engaging persona. In addition to the themes mentioned previously,Clough comes across as a bit of an obnoxious hothead for the majorityof the feature, and yet still comes out being far more likable than hisimmediate associates and rivals. Although not quite as caricature innature, Clough is portrayed as something of a hilariously vivid crossbetween Alan Partridge and David Brent in his tendency to get caught upin his own image and sense of dignity when the same thing is up forgrabs with those he has to take care of. Sheen, who has by now morethan established himself as one of Britain's most talented "big name"actors, pulls out a performance that adds all these dimensions toClough and moreÂthere are moments when you can't help but feel contemptfor the man's obnoxiousness, and then the very next moment you're onhis side and feeling sympathy for him. For such a dynamic and potentcharacter, nailing this performance is vital to the success of the filmas a whole, and Sheen never misses a shot at goal.The movie as a whole, doesn't quite work as perfectly as Sheen'sperformance however, as there are segments here and there that meanderfrom time to time between insignificant details and distractions.Furthermore, by the time the feature reaches its close, you get thefeeling that perhaps more could have been done with the relationshipsbetween key characters in order to give the ultimate pay off a greateramount of emotional resonance, yet this isn't the case. For what it'sworth though, The Damned United is still a very enjoyable ninetyminutes that mixes nostalgia of the "good ol' days" of football with acompelling character study that mixes genuine pathos with a classictale of ambition overcoming one's life and leaving it in smoulderingrubble. What's more, is that the whole thing lands on a notably upbeatnote that sends the feature off on a tangent that is both respectful tothose involved in the actual events portrayed, and also to the viewer.It's not perfect, but it's clean, neat, gets the job done and most ofall it's an enjoyable ninety minutesÂa game-play Clough himself wouldsurely be proud to associate himself with.- A review by Jamie Robert Ward (http://www.invocus.net)
Â¨I wouldn't say I was the best manager in the country. But I'm in thetop one. Â¨ The Damned United is one of the best sports movies that Ihave seen recently, and it's very different from other films in itsgenre because it focuses more on defeat and humiliation than it does onovercoming obstacles and victories. It's based on the life of BrianClough, a very successful football coach in England during the 70's whoreally was ahead of his time because he probably was the firstcelebrity-coach and became famous for his cockiness and big mouth. If Iwould have to compare him to any coach from the present it wouldprobably be Jose Mourinho. However, The Damned United doesn't focus onall of Clough's triumphs and his glory days in Nottingham Forrest; itfocuses on the disastrous campaign he had with Leeds United that onlylasted for 44 days, and his personal rivalry and obsession with DonRevie, the coach he replaced at Leeds. The film is directed by EmmyAward winner Tom Hooper who is mostly known for his TV miniseriesElizabeth I and John Adams; and it is based on David Peace's novel TheDamned Utd. The screenplay was written by Peter Morgan who has workedwith Michael Sheen in the past in The Queen and Frost/Nixon. This isthe third historic figure that Sheen has played in a movie and in eachone he is truly outstanding and difficult to recognize because hechanges so much, but he truly does justice to each character.The movie opens in 1974, the year when the English national team wasn'table to qualify for the World Cup, so highly successful Leeds Unitedcoach, Don Revie (played by Colm Meaney), seemed to be the right manfor the job. Revie turned Leeds United into a powerhouse in the 70'sand dominated the league over the past few years. With Revie in thenational team, Brian Clough (Michael Sheen) is offered the position asthe Leeds boss, although he was known for being a critic of Leeds styleof play which he called dirty and constantly criticized coach Revie forcheating. It makes perfect sense now why Clough wasn't the right manfor the job and that he was doomed to fail from the get go, even moreso considering he wasn't joined by his assistant Peter Taylor (TimothySpall). The movie takes place in 1974, but we have constant flashbacksinforming us how the rivalry between Clough and Revie began. The firstflashback takes place during 1968 when Clough and Taylor were traininga bottom placed second division team, Derby County. Clough was excitedthat his team was going to face first placed division one Leeds Unitedfor the FA Cup. He admired coach Revie because they grew up in the sameneighborhood, but when the team arrived at the stadium, Reviecompletely ignored Clough (probably because he didn't even see him) andthus the bitterness and rivalry began. The movie continues in thepresent (1974) with the tense relationship Clough had with the Leedsplayers, while returning through flashbacks from 68 to 73 focusing onthe rivalry with Revie, the arguments with Derby chairman Sam Longson(Jim Broadbent) and Clough's relationship with Taylor that help explainthe present situation.The strongest thing about this movie is that it takes a different spinin the sports genre that usually focuses on overcoming adversity andturning a bunch of losers into winners. This time Clough has thedifficult task of filling in for a successful team and a group ofwinners and somehow his ego gets in the way and ends up having one ofthe worst opening campaigns for the team. The team was destined to failfrom the beginning after so much criticism and rivalry built over theyears. Clough was a very successful coach and even went on to win backto back European titles with another club, but the film decides tofocus on his failures instead. The movie really works outside of theconventions of the sports genre and Michael Sheen is excellent in hisportrayal of Brian Clough. There are some very strong performances fromthe supporting cast as well: Jim Broadbent, Colm Meaney, and TimothySpall all give strong performances that helped build this movie. Ireally enjoyed this film and recommend it even though you are notsports fans because Clough had such a unique personality and was lovedby some and hated by others. It is said that he was the greatestEnglish manager to have never coached the national team.http://estebueno10.blogspot.com/
DidnÂ´t know much about Brian Clough but loved the story - thought the football was of good quality and the visuals seemed to capture the era. Would highly recommend.
A compelling rewarding movie, destined to become a classic.The book The Damned Utd which anyone should read that finds this movie interesting along with a number of others on the subject uses a lot of creative license as well but the big difference is that in this movie, Clough is basically a hero as well as being the sport icon he was in the seventies. In the book and surely there is some truth to it since Clough surely suffered from alcoholism in his life, Clough somewhat self-destructs especially in the second half of the book. First off, we need to remember that the movie and the book "The Damned United" are both works of fiction, the movie loosely based on the book and the book loosely based on the truth and to go one further, there also exists an additional book We Are the Damned United: The Real Story of Brian Clough at Leeds United, as indicated an indeed realistic portrayal of Clough's brief rule at Leeds United. This movie though seems to reach out at portraying much of the essence of the story of the 'Damned United' and scores points for doing so. Clough wanted a clean, talented and honest soccer game, he in fact, discouraged his players from lively 'hotdog' types of celebrations in real life as just one example of his coaching. Clough's philosophy towards the game can be analyzed in some of his famous quotes such as upon arriving at Leeds, he told the players "You can all throw your medals in the bin because they were not won fairly" used in the movie.What I do enjoy in the movie is that in the book whereas some essentials might become lost or obscured was how in fact, Cloughie's success truly was in large part to his co-partnership in managment with Peter Taylor, a teammate of Clough going back to his playing days in Sunderland and/or Middlesbrough, Taylor who was a goalkeeper sounded out Clough way back then on ideas and would say things to him to give him confidence. Another famous quote by BC was his saying and yes, it is in the movie, "I wouldn't say I was the best manager in the business. But I was in the top one." Now, what does this mean? To me, it dawned on me that he probably means that he was "in the top one" in being mindful of his collaboration with Peter Taylor, the two of them as one. Events did not exactly transpire as indicated in the movie but the depiction is nonetheless, basically accurate in the 'big picture' of how things were.The story goes on from here as books on Brian Clough are now a virtual cottage industry with even a sub-category of the ol' Leeds team as well, Leeds, traditional enemy of the Monarchy in English history as well of all things I've heard. One should probably start out with Provided You Don't Kiss Me: 20 Years with Brian Clough as required reading on Clough, penned by the journalist Duncan Hamilton who spent close to 20 years with the 'Gaffer' (manager, coach) at the Nottingham Forest club and was the William Hill sport book of the year. Questions some viewers have about this movie are answered in the books which though I have gone on about and this is the movie, the books give us an idea of whether we are seeing a truthful representation. There are also a number of videos around one can watch of the actual interviews presented in this movie. Brian Clough surely had his downside as well but for the most part, in this movie, he is a hero and it's a fair place to start studying the man. In light of the recent incident so well reported on over the past week involving the mishap with the Wales and Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey, something you might not know if you only see the movie is that in fact, around 1959, Brian Clough's brilliant career as a player came to an end as the result of his leg being broken. He does allude to his career in the movie by stating something like "I scored 251 goals in 274 games", a phenomenal record. His being denied a further career as a player and it coming to such a sudden end, probably added an impetus to him to coach as well as he did. Yes, he was probably "the best manager England never had" but being as outspoken as he was, he also enjoyed a sprite career as a TV pundit while still managing and Clough derided the then-manager for England, Sir Alf Ramsey, criticisms Clough later felt some regrets over making when England were eventually eliminated from making the 1974 World Cup and Sir Alf Ramsey was dismissed. That's why that although Clough is a coaching legend and often highly likeable, there's definitely 2 sides to the story and at times, he could be a polarizing figure, as reflected also during his tenure at Leeds and as the reason for his departure from Derby County and not being selected as manager for the England team. Sir Alf Ramsey by the way, was in charge of England's triumph in 1966. Still, polarizing or not, to be a manager anywhere, you are bound to encounter difficulties, if it be in Bob Bradley's position with the USA National soccer team or any other. Of course, anyone who sees the movie 'Queen' is probably struck by Michael Sheen's close resemblance to Tony Blair, so I was skeptical at first on how well he could do Brian Clough. After reading about Clough in a number of books and magazines and watching actual video footage of the man, Sheen does in fact, do a convincing job. The cinematography additionally is quite fantastic in this movie. "Goal", "A shot at glory" and "(Escape to) Victory" may have a bit more soccer action but this movie has the action combined with the managerial duties of Taylor and Clough and that makes this a real winner.The extra features are outstanding and tell one a lot more about this movie including a segment giving a contrarian view of Leeds United versus being the 'dirty team' that they are portrayed to be in the view of Brian Clough. It is worth evaluating to be even-handed in viewing these past events because, yes, this is a point of debate even until today. I'd give it additional high marks for authenticity, the special features point out the stadium used in the movie is from Chesterfield who still retain the same old time stadium with terraces at least for now, add in a pouring rain at some of the matches as one can still see at a number of Premier League games being played nowadays and the setting is very realistic. The only thing I wonder about is if the gold of the Derby County Team would have seen their original stadium painted in the green color scheme (the name of the original stadium the Derby County Rams played in was called of all the things, the Baseball Grounds).We see so many movies where songs from that period are added on to add to the feel of the time. Interestingly, the producers pulled out Deep Purple's 'flight of the rat' and it actually works exceedingly well in a 'soccer' movie, I had to listen to it again a few times. The whole soundtrack is good but I'm not sure if it has come out on CD.