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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze


The Damned United [Blu-ray]


(Tom Hooper, 2009)

Sony (UK) - Region FREE - Blu-ray vs. Sony (US) - Region FREE - Blu-ray



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Columbia Pictures

Video: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:37:33.889  /  137:31.296

Disc Size: 47,734,024,095 bytes  / 47,998,191,868 bytes

Feature Size: 28,823,033,856 bytes /  26,172,180,480 bytes

Video Bitrate: 31.99 Mbps /  21.49 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: August 31st, 2009   /   February 23rd, 2010



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video / 23.976 fps



Dolby TrueHD Audio English 2939 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2939 kbps / 24-bit (AC3 Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)
Dolby Digital Audio English 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround


Dolby TrueHD Audio English 2924 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2924 kbps / 24-bit (AC3 Embedded: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB)
Dolby TrueHD Audio French 1532 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1532 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Embedded: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB)
Dolby TrueHD Audio Portuguese 1512 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1512 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Embedded: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB)
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround



English, English (SDH), Hindi, none


English, English (SDH), Arabic, Dutch, French, Portuguese, Spanish, none


Extras (duplicated):

• Commentary with Director Tom Hooper, Michael Sheen and Producer Andy Harries
'Perfect Pitch: The Making Of The Damned United' Featurette
'Creating Clough': Michael Sheen Takes on 'Old Big Head' Featurette
'The Changing Game: Football In The Seventies' Featurette
'Remembering Brian' Featurette
• 9 Deleted Scenes




Sony (UK) - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Sony (US) - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM




Description: Michael Sheen (THE QUEEN, FROST/NIXON), in another of his seamless performances, plays legendary football manager Brian Clough during his disastrous and brief tenure as manager of Leeds UTD in the 1970s. Talented but abrasive, Clough alienates some of those around him, including his rival, Don Revie, his predecessor on Leeds UTD’s bench. When Clough has the chance to coach Leeds, he takes on the difficult role of the manager of the country’s best soccer team. But outspoken Clough strongly disagrees with the aggressive soccer style the team has become famous for, while he has to struggle, quite unsuccessfully, to gain the trust and cooperation of his players. Also starring Timothy Spall, Jim Broadbent, and Colm Meaney, the film is based on the critically acclaimed book by David Peace and adapted for the screen by Peter Morgan (THE QUEEN, THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND).



The Film:

Peter Morgan's excellent script crackles with quotable dialogue and contains several laugh-out-loud moments, but also paints a genuinely moving portrait of the friendship between Clough and Taylor. Similarly, Hooper orchestrates several impressive scenes (in particular a fabulous sequence where Clough spends an entire match pacing up and down the changing room, listening to the cheers and gasps outside) and makes strong use of archive footage throughout.

The film is also beautifully shot, courtesy of Ben Smithard's cinematography, while the production design perfectly captures the smoky, grubby atmosphere of the 1970s, particularly during the boardroom scenes. Most importantly, the film is also careful to cater to both football fans and the uninitiated alike – rest assured that no prior knowledge of football is required to enjoy the film.

The Damned United is a hugely entertaining drama with a strong script, impressive direction and a pitch-perfect performance from Michael Sheen. Highly recommended.

Excerpt from Matthew Turner at ViewLondon located HERE



Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Image quality on The Damned United via Blu-ray is quite impressive due to the strong transfer and the excellent art direction and cinematography.  Heavy pastels, with plenty of green + blue, are rich and smooth.  Detail is strong with consistent and even grain showing minimally. This is a dual-layered disc - almost filling the 50 Gig capacity - and the feature covers almost 30 Gig alone. Skin tones seem realistic - contrast exhibits healthy, rich black levels. The vintage and stock football footage used has heavy grain and artifacts are apparent but this is to be expected. This Blu-ray probably looks like the film and is one of the better 1080P transfers we've seen from Sony recently.


Surprisingly the discs are not duplicated despite having the same extras and both being region FREE! The US edition, released 6-months later, has a lower video bitrate and colors and detail are marginally different. Possibly something was taken from the video side to add supplement audio and subtitles options - although the latter take up hardly any disc space. I suspect the system you play it on would have to be pretty discerning to notice any differences - I couldn't on mine but technically we can say that the UK edition has video rendered at a higher rate.




Sony (UK) - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Sony (US) - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM















Audio :

Audio is in the form of an occasionally rousing Dolby TrueHD 5.1 at a respectable 2939 kbps. Despite the film being about football the actually playing sequences are minimal and it is mostly dialogue driven. Hence, it is not overly aggressive and buoyancy and depth are more at the subtle end of sonic presentation. You won't find your rear speakers getting abundant usage but overall the track is a very competent one - essentially like the video - flawless. Robert Lane’s score seems perfectly suitable to the film and sounds assured in the background. There are English and Hindi subtitles (?) and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.


The original English audio seems exactly the same to my ears but the US editions offers two lossless DUBs (French, Portuguese) and another Dolby foreign language (Spanish) choice. The newer release also has more international subtitles language options. Like the UK release my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.




Extras :

Extras are abundant with the entertaining commentary from Director Tom Hooper, Michael Sheen and Producer Andy Harries. There are 4 featurettes running about 1 hour in total; Perfect Pitch: The Making Of The Damned United', 'Creating Clough': Michael Sheen Takes on 'Old Big Head', 'The Changing Game: Football In The Seventies' and finally 'Remembering Brian'. Because I wanted the film to run longer I enjoyed the nine deleted scenes and Cloughisms focuses on the TV interviews of the film optional commentary by director Tom Hooper.


Extras appear to be exactly the same on both, however the US edition is BD-LIVE enabled and has a few more trailers/previews to start the presentation.



For the legions of both football and 'Cloughie' fans this film is a dream come true. Regardless if the accuracy is somewhat embellished - this is pure entertainment that you wish would never end and follow through the Nottingham Forest successes of the managerial team of Clough and Taylor. This is also a great Blu-ray transfer with wonderful supplements - we strongly recommend!


Still a great release and, despite shipping or if you need the extra subs and DUBs, the UK edition seems more reasonably priced at this time, however both are recommended! 

Gary Tooze

September 12th 2009

February 11th, 2010




About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze








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