February 25, 2017


The Damned United – 2009 | 98 mins | Drama | Colour


Plot Synopsis

The Damned United

Adapted from David Peace’s best-selling novel and written by Peter Morgan, this is the confrontational and darkly humorous story of legendary football manager Brian Clough. Written by Peter Morgan, who removes much of the novel’s controversial elements, it stars his muse Michael Sheen as the opinionated manager who triumphed at Derby County before failing spectacularly at Leeds United, where the shadow of latest England boss Don Revie loomed large. British television director, known for small-screen triumphs like ‘Longford’ and ‘Daniel Deronda’, recreates the tempestuous atmosphere of conflict between managers and directors, and with a tight budget, the period of shabby stadiums and the 1970s. Sheen is cheeky, likeable, and pitch-perfect in his bombastic impersonation of Clough. Jim Broadbent’s Derby chairman is deliciously old-school, and there are notable performances from Timothy Spall and Colm Meaney. The biggest failure is the film’s portrayal of the Leeds team: Stephen Graham’s tubby Billy Bremner requiring some suspension of disbelief.

Set in 1960′s and 1970′s England, “The Damned United” tells the story of Brian Clough’s (Michael Sheen) doomed 44 day tenure as manager of the reigning champions of English football Leeds United. Previously managed by his bitter rival Don Revie (Colm Meaney), Clough took over on the back of their most successful period ever as a football club. Leeds was perceived by many to represent a new aggressive and cynical style of football – an anathema to the principled yet flamboyant Brian Clough, who had achieved astonishing success as manager of Derby County building teams in his own vision with trusty lieutenant Peter Taylor (Timothy Spall). Taking the Leeds job without Taylor by his side, with a changing room full of what in his mind were still Don’s boys, would lead to an unheralded examination of Clough’s belligerence and brilliance over 44 days. The film highlights Clough’s reliance on his faithful assistant Peter Taylor and his manic obsession with Don Revie. The rivalry between Clough and Revie culminates in a face-off on Yorkshire television following the dismissal of Old Big ‘ead.

Production Team

Tom Hooper: Director
Andrew Holden-Stokes: Art Direction
Leon McCarthy: Art Direction
Ben Smithard: Cinematography
Mike O\’Neill: Costumes
Melanie Oliver: Film Editing
Jan Archibald: Makeup Department
Liz Gallacher: Music Direction
David Peace: Novel
Rob Lane: Original Music
Grainne Marmion: Producer
Andy Harries: Producer
Eve Stewart: Production Design
Peter Morgan: Script
Martin Beresford: Sound


Stephen Graham: Billy Bremner
Mark Bazeley: Austin Mitchell
Jim Broadbent: Sam Longson
Timothy Spall: Peter Taylor
Colm Meaney: Don Revie
Michael Sheen: Brian Clough

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