Set Record Because The Damned United Is On TV Later

Set Record Because The Damned United Is On TV Later
Paul Moore
By Paul Moore
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While the question of 'what's the greatest football film of all time?' is subjective, it's telling that only two films rank above The Damned United in terms of a rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Those films are Offside (96%) and the wonderful documentary, Next Goal Wins (100%).

In terms of David Peace's book, the various historical inaccuracies have been well publicised - Brian Clough's family took umbrage with Peace's portrayal of Clough as a chainsmoker and borderline alcoholic that was constantly swearing - but when viewed strictly as a film, Tom Hooper's adaptation is sublime, mainly due to the incredible performance by Michael Sheen.

For those that are completely unaware, the story depicts Brian Clough's tumultuous 44-day reign as the coach of 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 were perceived by many to represent an aggressive and cynical style of football - the antithesis to the principled and charismatic Clough, who had achieved astonishing success as manager of Hartlepool and Derby County by building teams in his own vision with trusty lieutenant Peter Taylor.

In terms of the performances, Sheen absolutely nails the swagger, mannerisms, and charisma of Clough.

From the distinct dialect right up to that famous interview with Don Revie, the Welsh actor inhibits the character and brings every bit of ego, eccentricity, and brilliance of Clough to life.


Elsewhere, Colm Meaney (Don Revie), Timothy Spall (Peter Taylor), and Jim Broadbent (Sam Longson) are all excellent too.

Granted, there are a few historical inaccuracies - Clough's spell at Brighton is almost completely washed out of history, and the filmmakers take poetic licence with a few fixtures and results - but this doesn't detract from an excellent film.

With a 92% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and 81% on Metacritic,  it's clear that The Damned United is beloved by critics and football fans alike.


You can see why when The Damned United airs tonight at 10pm on BBC4.

Perfect viewing for when Bulgaria vs Ireland ends.

Take a look at what's in store.


Clip via Alex Fletcher

SEE ALSO: The Best Documentary About Football For People That Don't Even Watch Football Is Now On Sky

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