A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Work hard and believe in yourself. However, some of the main characters aim to accomplish their goals for dubious reasons, or cheat to succeed.
Positive Role Models
Brian Clough is portrayed as talented, hardworking, and ambitious. But also arrogant, egocentric, and rude. Some soccer players are shown to be good at what they do but several resort to underhand tactics.
The main cast is predominantly male, White, and British. Likewise the director and writer. Some females in supporting roles and some other nationalities feature. Some racist and homophobic language is used. People are dismissed because of their political leanings and are stereotyped based on where they live in the country, their age, or their nationality.
Did we miss something on diversity? Suggest an update.
Violence & Scariness
Sporting violence includes rough tackles, arguments spilling over into punches, shoving, and kicks. Players sent off for violent conduct. Others stretchered off injured. No serious injuries shown. Real-life archive footage used.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kissing. Soccer players are seen shirtless.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Language used includes "f---ing," "twat," "f--k," "bloody", "bugger," "bastard," and "bollocks." An Irish character is constantly referred to as "Irishman" rather than by his name and a character is heard saying "wandering Jew." "Poof" is used as a homophobic slur.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Some discussion of money as part of signing soccer players and how money affects professional sport.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters smoke cigarettes and cigars, including professional soccer players. Characters drink alcohol in moderation. One character is shown drinking alone as they struggle with life's pressures.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Damned United is a heavily fictionalized account of the life of English soccer manager Brian Clough (Michael Sheen) with strong language including discriminatory slurs. Focusing on his short, but turbulent, time managing Leeds United, Clough is among a number of hard-headed characters who clash as a result of their ambition. Clough can also be rude and condescending toward others. As such, the movie does not carry any real positive messages, but does show glimpses of what motivates highly successful people. Violence is infrequent and in a sporting context, sometimes with real-life archive footage showing rough challenges and fist fights that erupted between players. Language is strong and frequent, with variations of "f--k" used throughout. The homophobic slur "poof" is also used, and a character is heard referring to another as a "wandering Jew." Drinking and smoking are common and reflect the movie's late 1960s and early 1970s era, with Clough drinking alone in some scenes as he struggles to confront difficult periods in his career. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Adapted from the controversial novel of the same name, this sporting drama enlists a talented cast to bring to life one of the most eventful periods of soccer manager Brian Clough's storied career. Just don't expect The Damned United to be a true-to-life biopic, as many of the events here are compressed, distorted, and even invented for the sake of telling a (more) dramatic story. The action revolves around Clough's brief but memorable stint at Leeds United, with Sheen portraying our lead as relentlessly ambitious but also a man bearing a gnawing grudge against his predecessor, rival manager Don Revie (Colm Meaney).
While the movie sensibly focuses on a relatively short period of Clough's career to tell its story, there's no escaping the liberties it takes with what actually happened, something that is likely to make soccer fans who know their history tune out. What's left is a briskly delivered and well-acted rise and fall redemption story that just happens to revolve around a soccer manager. Sheen's foul-mouthed megalomania keeps things entertaining, though, and it's also a fond reminder of an era of English football that might lack today's abundance of world-class talent, but was a time when underdogs could defy the odds and triumph.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.