[Screen It]


(2009) (Michael Sheen, Timothy Spall) (R)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
Moderate None Heavy Minor None
Mild None None None Extreme
Smoking Tense Family
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Drama: After taking over the famous soccer team he once coached against and criticized, a successful but cocky manager must contend with following in his predecessor's footsteps, all as we see what got him there and started the rivalry between the two men.
It's 1974, and Don Revie (COLM MEANEY), the most successful manager of the Leeds soccer team, has announced that he's leaving to become manager of the England team. Just as surprising is the choice of his replacement, Brian Clough (MICHAEL SHEEN). While he's been successful as manager of Leeds rival, Derby County, partly due to the work of assistant manager Peter Taylor (TIMOTHY SPALL), Brian has been quite vocal with his criticism of the Leeds team and, in particular, Don.

As he begins his new job without Peter there to help deal with players such as Johnny Giles (PETER McDONALD) and team captain Billy Bremner (STEPHEN GRAHAM), the story rewinds six years to show not only how Brian made a name for himself, but also how the rivalry with Don began.

By taking Derby County from the bottom of a second tier division to an eventual equal competitor to Leeds -- much to the joy but also irritated chagrin of chairman Sam Longson (JIM BROADBENT) -- the cocky manager quickly makes a name for himself. But as strives to best Don both on the field and then by replacing him as manager of the Leeds team, his obsessive behavior threatens to undermine everything he's tried to accomplish.

If they're into soccer (football outside the U.S.) and/or are fans of anyone in the cast, they might be interested. Otherwise, it doesn't seem too likely.
For language.
  • MICHAEL SHEEN plays a cocky but successful soccer manager who tries to best his rival (Don) for several years, both on the field and then by replacing him as manager of the Leeds team. But he lets that rivalry get the best of him, as it drives his condescending behavior toward others. He uses strong profanity, smokes and drinks.
  • TIMOTHY SPALL plays his loyal assistant who puts up with his ego until the end, and is quite good at scouting new players for their teams. He smokes and uses profanity.
  • COLM MEANEY plays the legendary, obsessive coach for Leeds who leaves the team and then enjoys watching his replacement fail in the job.
  • JIM BROADBENT plays the chairman of the Derby County team who enjoys the success that Brian brings him, but isn't happy that he makes player hiring choices without his permission and badmouths him to his face and to the press. He smokes and uses strong profanity.
  • STEPHEN GRAHAM plays one of the Leeds' players who isn't happy with Brian replacing Don or his different style of coaching.


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.

    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).

    Here's a quick look at the content found in this R-rated drama. Profanity consists of at least 42 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also present. A man's bare butt is briefly seen in the background of a shot, while some shirtless male players are occasionally seen.

    There's some hard contact (incidental and purposeful) during games, while bad attitudes are present. Various characters drink and smoking is present throughout the film, and some potentially imitative behavior is present.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the screen, there's some of that from camera flashes.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there's camera movement in the film.

  • At a board meeting, Brian jokingly asks about no one offering him a drink.
  • Brian gets out a good bottle of wine for a later meeting with Don, but that never occurs.
  • The team celebrates with champagne in the locker room, and then later at a party where people have champagne, drinks and such.
  • Brian drinks.
  • Brian, Peter and others have champagne.
  • Various players have drinks.
  • Brian has a drink.
  • We see miscellaneous people with drinks.
  • Peter offers Brian a drink and mentions something about sherry, with Brian saying he can't say no.
  • None.
  • We hear that Brian was critical of the Leeds team back when he competed against them. When reminded that they were the champions, Brian says they weren't good champions (meaning they played dirty, etc.).
  • Peter refers to Don as a "superstitious tw*t."
  • Whether purposeful or accidental, Don doesn't acknowledge Brian upon their first meeting (Brian takes it as a slight).
  • One of Don's players fakes a fall in order to draw a penalty call against the opposing team.
  • During a scrimmage where he's also playing, Brian is bumped hard by one of his players (on purpose) and hits the ground.
  • Brian overhears his own Leeds players laughing about him.
  • Brian repeatedly goes over Sam's head in terms of who gets hired to play on the team.
  • Some viewers might be offended by Brian using the term "wandering Jew" as an analogy, or a player sheepishly using the same about himself (and trying not to be that) in regard to that earlier comment.
  • Sam asks Brian to lose a game (for money reasons), but Brian refuses. The two then have it out, with Brian telling Sam he'd be nothing without him as the manager of his team.
  • Brian badmouths Sam to the local press.
  • Trying to leverage his position as a bargaining tool, Brian offers his and Peter's resignation to Sam, not realizing the latter will take him on that (and thus makes Peter lose his job without any say in the matter).
  • Brian isn't happy about the potential of coaching a team from the south, stating that the people down there are not like him and Peter.
  • The term "poof" is used (although no character is noted as being gay).
  • Despite having just accepted the offer from another team, Brian wants to renege on that when he's offered the manager job with Leeds. He and Peter then have it out about his desire, with Brian being mean and condescending toward his friend and colleague, saying all sorts of bad things, including calling Peter "history's f*cking afterthought."
  • A TV reporter doesn't let Brian know, until Brian sees his rival arrive, that Don will also be in an interview segment about Brian being fired from Leeds.
  • Peter has a heart attack, but all we see at the moment is him looking uncomfortable (and then later in the hospital, in no pain, chatting with Brian).
  • None.
  • Phrases: "Here's to happy f*cking families," "Like a f*cking carpet," "F*ck off," "Who the f*ck are they?" "Thing of f*cking beauty," "For f*ck's sake," "That's just f*cking fine," "That fat f*ck," "He wouldn't f*cking dare," "History's f*cking afterthought," "The f*cking end," "A superstitious tw*t," "Some cocky little tw*t," "Bloody," "Don't be cheeky," "He's old as bloody time," "Who the bloody hell are you?" "Dirty buggers," "Bollocks to that," "Clever bastard," "You're buggered," "You bloody fool," "Don't be daft," "Poof" and "You bastards."
  • One of Don's players fakes a fall in order to draw a penalty call against the opposing team.
  • Billy repeatedly scratches/moves his clothed crotch before a game (in public).
  • None.
  • None.
  • None.
  • At least 42 "f" words, 5 slang terms using female genitals ("tw*t"), 2 asses, 2 bollocks, 2 uses of buggered, 1 hell, 2 uses of "God" and 1 use each of "For God's sakes," "Good God" and "Jesus."
  • We see a shirtless male player.
  • In another scene, we see some shirtless male players.
  • Billy repeatedly scratches/moves his clothed crotch before a game (in public).
  • We see shirtless male players on the field.
  • In the background of a scene, we briefly see partial male rear nudity in the locker room.
  • We see Brian and other men shirtless at the beach.
  • Bryan, Peter (cigars), Sam (cigars) and many minor and miscellaneous characters (mostly cigarettes, but also cigars and a pipe) smoke throughout the film.
  • None, although we don't ever know what became of Brian's wife (he's seen traveling in the present with their two sons, but not her).
  • The historical accuracy and/or any artistic license taken with the true story.
  • Brian letting his ego and/or desire to one-up Don cloud his judgment and undermine his rise to success.
  • Trying to follow in the footsteps of a legend.
  • There's some brief fighting (kicking, etc.) during a game.
  • During a scrimmage where he's also playing, Brian is bumped hard by one of his players (on purpose) and hits the ground.
  • Giles pushes an opposing player, followed by another hit later.
  • There are several instances of hard contact during a game.

  • Reviewed October 16, 2009 / Posted October 23, 2009

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