Metascore
81

Universal acclaim - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
  1. 100
    It's a classic and even charming yarn of vanity, hubris and redemption, played out against the bizarre, intense alternate universe of '70s English soccer.
  2. 100
    The rare sports movie that deals with -- indeed positively relishes -- humiliation and disappointment.
  3. 100
    There's barely any on-field footage in The Damned United. What we get instead is fine acting and directing, splendid dialogue and a story too outrageous to be made up.
  4. A pitch-perfect portrait of a man full of inspiration and ambition - and full of himself.
  5. It stands out as one of the best films of the genre, on the strength of the storytelling and wonderful performances.
  6. 100
    It's more than a detailed account of one man's petty vindictiveness in a bygone era. It's about how our hatred can consume us so deeply that we lose sight of everything.
  7. 91
    It’s a fascinating story about ambition and vanity and pride, and in Sheen’s performance and the atmosphere capture by Hooper it contains truly fine and rare things.
  8. Reviewed by: Elias Savada
    90
    Elevates a significant moment in the history of this massively passionate spectator sport.
  9. 88
    Avoids all sports movie cliches, even the obligatory ending where the team comes from behind.
  10. What's lost in translation is recovered easily enough in Michael Sheen's astonishing performance as Clough.
  11. Sheen is startlingly good here, and so is Timothy Spall as Clough's trusted and much abused lieutenant.
  12. Reviewed by: Chuck Wilson
    80
    A movie about soccer that doesn't spend a lot of time on the field, The Damned United, like everything Morgan writes, is an intimate character study, one that is enriched by a stellar ensemble of British pros, including Jim Broadbent as Derby's team owner.
  13. Hardly the heady stuff of "Frost/Nixon"--or then again, maybe exactly the same thing. This one’s more rude and fun.
  14. Ultimately it's Sheen, finding new facets of his character in every scene, who shoots and scores.
  15. Reviewed by: Bob Mondello
    80
    A dramedy laying out the dueling coaching philosophies of guys who doubtless meant a great deal to fans, but of whom I'd been blissfully unaware for decades -- is enormously engaging. Enormously.
  16. 78
    The Damned United is Shakespearean in its tragedy.
  17. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    75
    What vaults the film above the standard sports movie is the stellar performance by Michael Sheen.
  18. 75
    Hooper, the director, doesn’t include lots of amazing football sequences to upstage his star. He just moves everyone out of Sheen’s way. It’s about time.
  19. 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.
  20. Director Tom Hooper ("John Adams") ably balances the games (surprisingly little football footage, actually), the personalities and the drama.
  21. Reviewed by: Leslie Felperin
    70
    Telling with a light, surefooted touch a legendary tale from British soccer history, The Damned United reps the latest collaboration in factual fiction between chameleon thesp Michael Sheen, screenwriter Peter Morgan and producer Andy Harries ("Frost/Nixon," "The Queen").
  22. More Eurocentric but quite enjoyable, even for those of us who don’t follow British “football.”
  23. 70
    Michael Sheen, who adds to his gallery of public figures (Tony Blair, David Frost) with a sharp performance here as the legendary UK soccer coach Brian Clough.
  24. 67
    Meaney’s Flintstone-ian brute makes a terrific foil to Sheen’s prissy arrogance, but the other supporting players don’t make much of an impression. Ditto for this slice of history itself, though mileage may vary for soccer fans.
  25. 63
    As the two coaches head for a faceoff in a climactic live TV interview, writer Morgan starts to seem like a rip-off -- of himself.
  26. Reviewed by: William Thomas
    60
    Sheen thrives in the guise of the idiosyncratic Clough in a brilliantly candid, if bitty, football parable.
  27. Like a skill player who just can't score, The Damned United is all dazzle and no finish and, ultimately, damned frustrating.
User Score
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 42 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 9
  2. Negative: 0 out of 9
  1. Nov 30, 2014
    8
    Overall, The Damned United is a good film. Great performances from Michael Sheen and Timothy Spall, as well as assured direction from TomOverall, The Damned United is a good film. Great performances from Michael Sheen and Timothy Spall, as well as assured direction from Tom Hooper ensure that The Damned United always stays entirely riveting and fulfilling. It feels a bit short at just a little over 90 minutes, but all the same, I would not change much here. It may not be the most historically accurate film ever, but watching Clough's career unfold was incredibly dramatic and, as a soccer fan, informative as well as entertaining. The shots of soccer were done brilliantly as well, as were the interactions between the managers and players. As a whole, there is not a ton to say about this one, other than: you will enjoy this even if you are not soccer fan, but if you are a soccer fan, boy do I have the movie for you. Full Review »
  2. Oct 6, 2010
    9
    Not only the best football film ever, but also one of the best films of 2009. Admittedly, football fans will get a lot more out of it thanNot only the best football film ever, but also one of the best films of 2009. Admittedly, football fans will get a lot more out of it than non-believers, but anyone can appreciate the very well done script (though sometimes a bit off) and excellent performances. Not a big, blockbuster drama about blue men, but at least this has something to keep your attention. With a certain film also out this year that was a case of style over substance, The Damned United delivers a solid, realistic and genuinely great film. Full Review »
  3. springonion
    Oct 19, 2009
    9
    Superb film which sees Sheen capture the memory of Clough in his own way. Indeed the whole movie seems to capture the era that was 1970s Superb film which sees Sheen capture the memory of Clough in his own way. Indeed the whole movie seems to capture the era that was 1970s football in Britain; wonderfully engaging. Full Review »