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The Damned United depicts the story behind Brian Cloughs 44 day reign (or lack of) at Leeds United in 1974, as well as showing how he got to manage the club, with a story from 1968 – 1974. With Michael Sheen as Brian Clough and a screenplay by Peter Morgan, it also shows the relationship he had with Peter Taylor who helped him by scouting some of the best players he ever signed.

The Damned United – Movie Review

There is very little in the way of live-action, which is usually filmed poorly with a few notable exceptions. Instead, most of the key scenes are build-ups, pre-FA Cup matches (mainly against Leeds), Pre-UEFA Cup ties (Juventus). The retro scenes are well filmed – I was constantly looking out for continuity problems, i.e. satellite dishes on houses, etc. but it could easily have been filmed in 1974.

The film could easily have been titled “Brian Cloughs EGO” as that issue is one of the main storylines.  Clough was a master of football management, hiring great players, including Roy Keane at his time in Notts Forrest, however, Cloughs family has apparently discredited the movie (not sure if this is true) as the film is quite favorable – less so for Billy Bremner who is painted as quite a villain of the soccer world in 1974.

I really enjoyed the Damned United with huge applause for Michael Sheen’s performance as Brian Clough. The film is very well scripted and is actually packed full of clever quips and humour. Although Brian Clough was not considered a very nice person at the time Michael Sheen makes him seem almost likable. Brian Clough had unusual ways of motivating for the team and this included punching or slapping his players but this was his way and he was a very great and very successful football manager at this time with a remarkable record. The teams he managed went on to win the English championship, and the European Cup twice with Nottingham Forest, and in 1973 Derby lost in the semi-finals to Juventus – all in all a great record.

Some may say that the depiction of Brian Clough at Leeds was depicted fairly – that is what the Damned United is about. Indeed the level of on-pitch violence has been increased for the movie. Likewise, Billy Bremner, Johnny Giles, and Norman Hunter are portrayed as gangsters in some respects; all 3 of these players were well respected and excellent players.

Overall I enjoyed the movie. It was clever and well written and Michael Sheen is brilliant as Clough. Sheen is a very talented actor and he can turn his hand to anything.

Very enjoyable as a film and one of the best soccer films in ages. There are some wonderful one-liners and great quotes that only Mr. Clough could utter. You Don’t need to be a soccer fan to go see this film – that cannot be stressed enough. This is a story about ambition, ego, a man with a desire to succeed at all costs … and then soccer.

Running Time: The movie is 90 mins with 7 mins of injury time.

Overall Score : 8½/10