Home Movie Vault Disc Vault Coming Soon Join Our Mailing List Articles About Us Contest Soundtrack Books eStore


Genre: Drama/Sports
Starring: Michael Sheen, Timothy Spall, Colm Meaney, Jim Broadbent, Henry Goodman, Maurice Roeves, Stephen Graham, Brian McCardie, Peter McDonald, Giles Anderson, Mark Bazeley
Director: Tom Hooper
Rating: NC-16 (Coarse Language)
Year Made: 2009




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


Languages: English/Japanese/Spanish
Subtitles: English/Thai/Chinese/
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Running Time: 1 hr 38 mins
Region Code: 3
Distributor: Origin Entertainment




Set in 1960’s and 1970’s England, THE DAMNED UNITED tells the confrontational and darkly humorous story of Brian Clough’s doomed 44 day tenure as manager of the reigning champions of English football Leeds United. Previously managed by his bitter rival Don Revie, and 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 Hartlepool and Derby County building teams in his own vision with trusty lieutenant Peter Taylor. 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. This is that story. The story of The Damned United.


Just for the record, I am an Arsenal fan. And one of the memorable films that involved my favourite football club was Fever Pitch (based on Nick Hornby's novel, not the one starring Drew Barrymore), and a bit part to play in the Ocean's Twelve heist. But that doesn't mean that I cannot enjoy this film, since it's based on historical characters of the beautiful game, and as far as I know, we haven't had a football movie that looks at the managerial aspects of the game, even though it's a highly fictionalized account of the legendary Brian Clough (played by Michael Sheen) and his 44 days at Leeds United set back in the 60s and 70s.

Any lesser film will go overboard with its football action on the field, but The Damned United made it right, never taking away the attention from its main themes and characters to carry the movie from start to end. Sure there are enough scenes that will involve the pitch, but in not detracting the audience, it became a richer film especially when exploring the friendship and rivalry amongst the characters. Two main themes and relationships stand out, that being between Clough and his assistant manager Peter Taylor (Timothy Spall) who is widely credited as the pragmatic technical brain behind their success, and that rivalry and obsession that Clough has for his peer Don Revie (Colm Meaney), who has gone on from being Leeds Manager to England Manager.

Michael Sheen is an absolute delight to watch here, and plays this version's Clough very much like Jose Mourinho, with an ego just as big as the Special One, and undoubtedly so because he had come with a pedigree football striker's background until injury ended his career on the pitch, and his success as a manager which had brought Derby County promotion from 2nd Division, and eventually League Champions too. Sheen carries off this brash cockiness with aplomb, as well as showing his vulnerability when things don't go his way, being left exposed as an individual lacking his right hand man, and a less than rationale brain that allowed his impulsiveness to get the better of him. His co-stars aren't pushovers as well, and everyone pulls their weight to deliver an excellent film with depth.

As this story goes, Clough's rivalry with Revie stemmed from the latter's perceived slight because of a handshake that didn't happen, coupled by the fact of a footballing philosophy that it should be played beautifully and fairly, very much in contrast to the dirty tactics that Revie and his players employ just to get the two points (the value of a win at that time), and the physical fracas off the ball when the referee's not looking, or playacting when the man in black is. What could have been a positive outcome with a minnow hosting the top flight team in terms of cash registers ringing, cannot make up for that hurt in pride.

So begins an obsession somewhat like Christopher Nolan's The Prestige, where it's always about one-upmanship, of wanting to top his now rival's achievements at Leeds United, only to start off on the wrong foot. With change, there's always this testy period between manager and players, since it's natural players need to be reassured of their game time, and the threats that come when new signings are made in their positions.. Clough doesn't endear himself from the get go, which spells disaster as history shows, because personal vendetta and wayward ambition can spiral out of control.

Art direction, cinematography and soundtrack all get combined together in a fantastic manner to make The Damned United one heck of a football management film, and I especially liked the reminder that one manager doesn't make the club, and there's a very large dynamics involved with the back room, the board room, and more importantly, the assistant manager.. Anyone who has experience, or at least armchair ones through games like Football Manager, I suspect will fall head over heels with this film, and its fictionalized slice of football life in the English league of old.

There's already a football movie done properly with the Goal! films, and now one based on the backroom activities. Who knows then, that this film may pave the way and open the floodgates for more football manager type of movies, exploring rivalries and motivations, and probably won't be long when we have something made of the contemporary legends like Sir Alex Ferguson, or Arsene Wenger even. Highly recommended film for football fans, and non-fans alike thanks to the rich dramatization. Don't miss this since it's gone straight to DVD, because the DVD itself is damn features-loaded!


Commentary with Director Tom Hooper, Michael Sheen and Producer Andy Harries-
This commentary is a must to listen to, as the trio share plenty of anecdotes on what went on during the shooting of the film, and other nuggets of information that you cannot find anywhere else in the other sections of the extras. It's a film school in itself, with details on Clough as well as about football in that era. The film's rating of NC-16 will also extend to this commentary as there's an uninhibited use of vulgarities here as well.

Deleted Scenes (35:26) - I kid you not, some half an hour had been removed from the film. A total of 9 deleted scenes are presented with scenes before and after in the film so that you'll know exactly where they fit in. As you would know by now I love this film enough to want to sit through the version with all these scenes put back inside, especially since they add in aspects of the game such as a half-time talk, and the transfer of new players. Comes with a play all function and an optional commentary with director Tom Hooper, where you can listen in to the rationale on why these scenes were ultimately removed, which curiously are mostly from Clough's stint at Leeds.

Cloughisms (9:29) - If you can't get enough of Michael Sheen's portrayal of Brian Clough, then this series of footage recreates some of the interviews that Clough had given, and as director Tom Hooper stated, it comes from Sheen's own memory of how Clough had conducted them, be it on screen or over the telephone. Presented in varying screen formats, this section contains 4 distinct interview clips which you can watch individually, or use the play all function. Tom Hooper also provides an optional commentary on the clips save for the last one on Russia, which is extremely short.

Perfect Pitch: The Making of The Damned United (16:25) Standard making of feature which contains interviews with cast and especially crew, with insights from the director, screenwriter, and choreographer on how the football games got recreated, plus the difficulties and challenges faced, especially with the hunt for appropriate stadiums and pitches to bring back that exact look and feel of football in the 70s.

Remembering Brian (9:34) – A biography of Brian Clough following his progression from player to manager, and contains precious anecdotes from ex players, journalists and coaches.

The Changing Game: Football in the Seventies (19:11) –The game today and the game of yesteryear has changed, and this feature piece covers quite a lot of ground, discussing the Leeds United team back then, how physical the game was as compared to today, the dismal standards of referees, and of player's loyalties, the almost non-reliance on foreign talent, how fans support had evolved and the impact of television revenues on the modern game. A succinct summary of the beautiful game from the 70s as compared to today.

Creating Clough: Michael Sheen Takes on "Old Bid 'Ead" (10:17) - It is almost impossible not to be impressed by Michael Sheen's acting in the film, and frankly I think he's one of the few quality character actors of our generation. Here he talks about the preparation to become Brian Clough through watching and listening, and how he internalized aspects of the characterization, together with a short discussion on the Clough-Taylor partnership, and the Clough-Revie obsessive rivalry in the film.


Visually presented in a gorgeous anamorphic widescreen format that brings out the 70s look vividly. Audio is decent as well, and comes alive during the limited featuring of football games.



(This is the damn proper way to feature load a 1-disc DVD of a damn fine film!)

Review by Stefan Shih

Posted on 8 February 2010


Other titles from Origin Entertainment:

. Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs

. Ben 10: Alien Swarm

. The Ugly Truth

. Sex, Lies In Sin City

. Hardwired

. Terminator Salvation [Blu Ray]

. Obsessed

. The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 [Blu Ray]

. Angels & Demons [Blu Ray]

. National Geographic: Sea Monsters [Blu Ray]

. Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children [Blu Ray]

. Paul Blart Mall Cop

. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (Blu Ray)

. Cadillac Records

. Underworld Rise of the Lycans

. Rachel Getting Married

. Not Easily Broken

. Anacondas Trail of Blood

. Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist

. Punisher: War Zone (Blu Ray)

. Seven Pounds

. Red Sands

. Fireproof

. Plasterhead

. Slam

. Quarantine

. Center Stage: Turn It Up

. Street Fighter

. The House Bunny

. The Cook

. Step Brothers

. Open Season 2

. Anaconda 3: Offspring

. Hancock

. You Don't Mess With The Zohan

. Prom Night

. Casino Royale

. Redbelt

. Felon

. Tortured

. Penelope

. Hellboy Animated: Blood & Iron

. Hellboy Animated: Sword of Storms

. Away From Her

. The Take

. Saawariya

. Black Book

. The Shepherd

. Conspiracy

. Cleaner

. Hero Wanted

. Shattered

. Breath

. Cashback

. Your Name Is Justine

. Death Sentence

. The Jane Austen Book Club

. Across The Universe

. The Triplets of Belleville

. The Ten Commandments

. CJ7

. Love Lies Bleeding

. Living Death

. La Vie En Rose

. Urban Justice

. Perfect Stranger

. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

. Reign Over Me

. Surf's Up

. 5ivegirls

. Vacancy

. Paprika

. Walking Tall: Lone Justice

. Dead Mary

. Spider-Man 3

. Priceless

. Trust the Man

. The Contractor

. Blood And Chocolate

. The Wicker Man

. Wind Chill

. Are We Done Yet?

. Android Apocalypse

. Elizabeth I

. The Proposition

. 3 Needles

. Ghost Rider

. The Pursuit of Happyness

. The Illusionist

. Catch & Release


This review is made possible with the kind support from Origin Entertainment


DISCLAIMER: Images, Textual, Copyrights and trademarks for the film and related entertainment properties mentioned
herein are held by their respective owners and are solely for the promotional purposes of said properties.
All other logo and design Copyright©2004- , movieXclusive.com™
All Rights Reserved.