All You Need Is Cash
DVD cover
Directed byEric Idle
Gary Weis
Written byEric Idle
StarringEric Idle
Neil Innes
John Halsey
Ricky Fataar
Michael Palin
George Harrison
Bianca Jagger
John Belushi
Dan Aykroyd
Gilda Radner
Bill Murray
Narrated byEric Idle
Music byNeil Innes
Distributed byNBC (US)
Release dates
  • 22 March 1978 (1978-03-22) (US)
  • 27 March 1978 (1978-03-27) (UK)
Running time
76 minutes
CountriesUnited Kingdom
United States

All You Need Is Cash (also known as The Rutles) is a 1978 television film that traces (in mockumentary style) the career of a fictitious English rock group called the Rutles. As TV Guide described it, the group's resemblance to the Beatles is "purely – and satirically – intentional".[1]

The film was co-produced by the production companies of Eric Idle and Lorne Michaels, and it was directed by Idle and Gary Weis. It was first broadcast on 22 March 1978 on NBC, earning the lowest[1][2] ratings of any show on American prime time network television that week, though those who did watch it gave almost unanimously good reviews.[1] It did much better in the ratings when it premiered in the UK on BBC2 on 27 March 1978.[3]


All You Need Is Cash is a series of skits and gags that illustrate the fictional Rutles story, closely following the chronology of the Beatles' career.




The film was co-written by Eric Idle and Neil Innes. The music and events of the Rutles paralleled that of the Beatles, parodying many of the latter's career highlights. For example, the 1968 animated film Yellow Submarine became the Yellow Submarine Sandwich, and the song "Get Back" became "Get Up and Go".


The Rutles were played by Eric Idle, John Halsey, Ricky Fataar, and Neil Innes. The band originally appeared in a sketch on Idle's programme Rutland Weekend Television in 1975.

The film has many cameo appearances by both English and American comedians, including alumni of Monty Python, Saturday Night Live, and Rutland Weekend Television. George Harrison has a cameo role as a television journalist conducting an interview outside the headquarters of Rutle Corps, oblivious to the stream of people coming out of the building carrying items stolen from the office; this is a reference to the Beatles' famously plundered Apple Boutique and Apple Headquarters, where even the ceiling lining was looted. The interview ends abruptly as the microphone is stolen out of his hand.

The film also features cameos from Idle's fellow Python Michael Palin; several SNL cast members including Gilda Radner, John Belushi, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Al Franken, and Tom Davis; Bianca Jagger as Dirk McQuickly's wife Martini; Ronnie Wood as a Hells Angel; and Mick Jagger, Paul Simon, and Roger McGough as themselves.


Innes, a former member of the English musical comedy group Bonzo Dog Band and an associate of the Monty Python troupe, became acquainted with the Beatles when the Bonzo Dog Band had a cameo appearance in the film Magical Mystery Tour, in which they performed "Death Cab for Cutie". Paul McCartney had also produced the Bonzos' 1968 hit single, I'm the Urban Spaceman, composed and sung by Innes.

Fourteen of Innes's songs were released on a soundtrack album (the CD version added six songs omitted from the original vinyl album) named The Rutles. The album was both critically and commercially successful and was nominated for a Grammy award for Best Comedy Recording of the year. The orchestrations and arrangements for the Rutles recordings were made by film composer John Altman. John Halsey, Ricky Fataar, and Neil Innes performed their own respective musical and vocal parts, but Eric Idle's vocals were sung [slightly sped up] by Ollie Halsall, who also played the lead guitar parts.[4]

Home media

The show has been released on DVD, originally in a 66-minute version incorporating cuts for syndication, later in a "special edition" restored to its full length of 76 minutes and with extras including a commentary by Idle. The full-length version replaces a spoof newsreel voiceover by Idle with an American-sounding announcer. In 2013, the show was given a Blu-ray release in the form of a double pack with "The Rutles 2: Can't Buy Me Lunch", once again in including All You Need Is Cash in its original 76-minute version.[5]

The soundtrack was reissued on CD. It included additional tracks from the original television sessions remixed in stereo by Neil Innes. Innes, Fataar and Halsey returned in 1996 to record The Rutles Archaeology, but without the involvement of Eric Idle.

See also




  1. ^ a b c "The Rutles - All You Need Is Cash - On Television".
  2. ^ "|". Entertainment Weekly.
  3. ^ "The Rutles". 27 March 1978. p. 35 – via BBC Genome.
  4. ^ Simmonds, Jeremy (1 November 2012). The Encyclopedia of Dead Rock Stars: Heroin, Handguns, and Ham Sandwiches. Chicago Review Press. ISBN 978-1-61374-532-8.
  5. ^ The Rutles Anthology Blu-ray, retrieved 14 January 2018

External links and references