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The Damned United (2009)

tomatometer

94

Average Rating: 7.5/10
Reviews Counted: 127
Fresh: 119 | Rotten: 8

Better than your average football pic, Damned United is carried by another star turn from Michael Sheen as Brian Clough.

97

Average Rating: 7.7/10
Critic Reviews: 31
Fresh: 30 | Rotten: 1

Better than your average football pic, Damned United is carried by another star turn from Michael Sheen as Brian Clough.

audience

85

liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 55,948

My Rating

Movie Info

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

R,

Sports & Fitness, Drama

Peter Morgan

Feb 23, 2010

$0.3M

Sony Pictures Classics - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (129) | Top Critics (31) | Fresh (119) | Rotten (8) | DVD (6)

Two things that the British know that most Americans don't: Michael Sheen is the best actor in the English-speaking world; and soccer is the only football that matters.

November 24, 2009 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Damned United is a most entertaining study in obsession wrapped in a traditional sports movie.

November 11, 2009 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Damned United is a thoughtful and entertaining study on the perils of ambition that has little to do with soccer and a lot to do with being human. Well-played.

October 30, 2009 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

One of [its] primary pleasures...is that, in choosing a topic as narrow and parochial as the fate of an English soccer club, Morgan has relieved himself of any duty to persuade us that the events he describes are of world-historical import.

October 23, 2009 Full Review Source: The New Republic
The New Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A finely constructed and fiercely entertaining soccer movie that deals more in pride and obsession than penalty kicks.

October 23, 2009
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[Michael Sheen] adds to his gallery of public figures (Tony Blair, David Frost) with a sharp performance here as the legendary UK soccer coach Brian Clough.

October 23, 2009 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

as foreign for American audiences as a story about one of Billy Martin's stints with the Yankees would be in the U.K.

January 31, 2011 Full Review Source: Las Vegas CityLife | Comments (5)

If soccer is a Shakespearean drama, then The Damned United is Richard III.

October 27, 2010 Full Review Source: Quickflix
Quickflix

Michael Sheen has played vampires and werewolves, but works up his most insatiable bloodlust as Brian Clough in this sharply observed, superbly acted drama that realizes sports forms as nasty a symbiotic relationship with a nation's people as politics.

September 25, 2010 Full Review Source: Suite101.com
Suite101.com

Morgan, Hooper and Sheen have crafted a moving, funny and loving tribute to the spirit of a man who effortlessly defined the spirit of the greatest sport ever.

August 9, 2010 Full Review Source: sbs.com.au
sbs.com.au

A provocative, darkly funny and particularly damning character study of hubris couched in idealism.

April 20, 2010 Full Review Source: Concrete Playground
Concrete Playground

This slice of British football sports history won't have any cultural resonance for us Yanks... but the portrait of ambition and hubris run amok resonates in any arena...

March 25, 2010 Full Review Source: Seanax.com
Seanax.com

"The Damned United" is a fascinating look at a very complex man, both talented and tone-deaf, arrogant and insecure, caring and hard-hearted.

March 12, 2010 Full Review Source: Capital Times (Madison, WI)
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

Finds its riveting story in the locker-room and board-room wranglings of competitive team leaders, and dissects them with documentary-style precision.

December 23, 2009

Refusing to devolve into a routine sports flick (see Invictus), The Damned United is instead more interested in the off-field clashes than the on-field skirmishes.

December 19, 2009 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

Offering just enough football to satisfy the fans in the stands, The Damned United is also a pleasingly high-quality British drama with some terrific performances.

December 15, 2009 Full Review Source: Screen International
Screen International

That Clough is still remembered enough to have a film made about him is no surprise. But that he is remembered fondly suggests memory is a dish best served cold.

December 10, 2009 Full Review Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

THE DAMNED UNITED is an intriguing study in human ego, and its ability to interfere with sound management.

December 6, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinemalogue.com
Cinemalogue.com

Sheen gives a magnificent performance. His Clough is a character you can neither like nor admire. You watch this walking train wreck in amazement as he continually steps on his own feet with his overactive mouth.

December 1, 2009 Full Review
Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)

...the real story isn't about football, but about the competing agendas of two strong-willed individuals: one apparently playing the supporting role to the other's lead...

December 1, 2009 Full Review Source: Playback:stl
Playback:stl

egoless acting, tight editing, and intelligent dialogue

November 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Old School Reviews

...nothing like a conventional sports bio-pic; it's a character study of a difficult personality, a charming, enigmatic victim of self-sabotage.

November 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Michael Sheen is pitch perfect again in this tale of a man and his ego

November 17, 2009 Full Review Source: jackiekcooper.com
jackiekcooper.com

'The Damned United' is a soccer movie that's really about a man's struggle with his most dangerous opponent--his own ego.

November 14, 2009 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
eFilmCritic.com

The Damn United has a far better chance of turning American blokes onto soccer, errr, football than David Beckham's frosted tips.

November 14, 2009

Audience Reviews for The Damned United

A very interesting story that, if we didn't know that it eventually works out for Clough (later in his career, managing Nottingham Forest), could be filed as a classical tragedy: the brash and egomaniacal protagonist gets so high on himself that he forgets how he got to his station and alienates his friends and colleagues until it ends his tenure at the top club in England (Leeds United, at the time) in a mere 44 days. The plot was indeed the best part, as the scenes often seemed overstretched and the emotions in them often hokey; and though the cast is a who's-who of second-fiddle Brits, there's not much for these talented actors to do. I thought too much of the story was spelled out in on-screen text, as well - there were definitely elements that were obvious from the scenes (shown) that didn't need to be noted (told). A mediocre film that unfortunately sucks a lot of the life out of its promising material.
November 4, 2012
danperry17

Super Reviewer

Im not into football movies at all and i will avoid them as much as possible but it takes one football movie to star Michael Sheen to actually get me to watch this movie and much to my surprise i actually enjoyed this movie. Its entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable and is actually highyly amusing.
Worth a watch and like me it may change your minds about movies focused on football!
November 15, 2011
FiLmCrAzY
Film Crazy

Super Reviewer

I'm not much of a football fan but there's no denying it's a sport full of fascinating characters, Brian Clough being one of the more colourful. Tom Hooper's direction is great, the attention to detail compositionsion of every shot is beautifully shot. The acting is also very good from all of the cast, although Timothy Spall looks nothing like Peter Taylor but I suppose it doesn't matter too much, he still did a great job. This might befavouriterate sports film, although it really doesn't feel like one.
June 6, 2011
SirPant

Super Reviewer

Movies Like The Damned United

    1. Brian Clough: I wouldn't say I was the best manager in the country. But I'm in the top one.
    – Submitted by Bram S (19 months ago)
    1. Brian Clough: We're from the north, Pete. What do we care about Brighton? Bloody southerners. Look where we are! We're almost in France!
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
    1. Brian Clough: Things are going to be a little different around here... without Don
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
View all quotes (3)

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Foreign Titles

  • The Damned United - Der ewige Gegner (DE)
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