George Harrison: Living in the Material World
Theatrical release poster by F. Ron Miller[1]
Directed byMartin Scorsese
Produced byOlivia Harrison
Martin Scorsese
Nigel Sinclair
CinematographyRobert Richardson
Martin Kenzie
Edited byDavid Tedeschi
Grove Street Pictures
Spitfire Pictures
Sikelia Productions
Grove Street Productions
Distributed byHBO
Release date
  • 5 October 2011 (2011-10-05)
Running time
208 minutes[2][3]
CountryUnited States
Box office$367,734[4]

George Harrison: Living in the Material World is a 2011 documentary film co-produced and directed by Martin Scorsese, based on the life of George Harrison, musician and former member of the Beatles. It earned six nominations at the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards, winning two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Directing for Nonfiction Programming and Outstanding Nonfiction Special. A companion book was released alongside the film, as well as an album of Harrison's demo recordings called Early Takes: Volume 1.


The film follows musician George Harrison's story from his early life in Liverpool, the Beatlemania phenomenon, his travels to India, the influence of Krishna Consciousness movement in his music, and his relevance and importance as a member of the Beatles. It consists of previously unseen footage and interviews with Olivia and Dhani Harrison, friends, and many others.



After Harrison's death in 2001, various production companies approached his widow Olivia about producing a film about her late husband's life. She declined because he had wanted to tell his own life story through his video archive. Upon meeting Scorsese, she gave her blessings and signed on to the film project as a producer.

According to Scorsese, he was attracted to the project because "That subject matter has never left me...The more you're in the material world, the more there is a tendency for a search for serenity and a need to not be distracted by physical elements that are around you. His music is very important to me, so I was interested in the journey that he took as an artist. The film is an exploration. We don't know. We're just feeling our way through."[5]

Throughout 2008 and 2009, Scorsese alternated working between Shutter Island and the documentary. Scorsese, his editor David Tedeschi, and a small army of researchers spent five years assembling interviews, music, film clips, photos, and memorabilia.[6]


The documentary premièred at the Foundation for Art and Creative Technology in Liverpool on 2 October 2011.[7] It was shown on HBO in two parts on 5 and 6 October 2011 in the United States and Canada[8][9] and as a two-part Arena special on BBC Two on 12 and 13 November 2011 in the United Kingdom.[10] It was first theatrically released in Australia on 20 October 2011.[2]

Deluxe edition CD

See also: Early Takes: Volume 1

All songs written by George Harrison, except where noted.[11]

  1. "My Sweet Lord" (Demo) – 3:33
  2. "Run of the Mill" (Demo) – 1:56
  3. "I'd Have You Anytime" (Early Take) (George Harrison, Bob Dylan) – 3:06
  4. "Mama, You've Been on My Mind" (Demo) (Bob Dylan) – 3:04
  5. "Let It Be Me" (Demo) (Gilbert Bécaud, Mann Curtis, Pierre Delanoë) – 2:56
  6. "Woman Don't You Cry for Me" (Early Take) – 2:44
  7. "Awaiting on You All" (Early Take) – 2:40
  8. "Behind That Locked Door" (Demo) – 3:29
  9. "All Things Must Pass" (Demo) – 4:38
  10. "The Light That Has Lighted the World" (Demo) – 2:23


Olivia Harrison authored an accompanying book, titled George Harrison: Living in the Material World and published by Abrams in 2011.[12][13] The book was edited by Mark Holborn and contains a foreword by Scorsese and an introduction by author and literary critic Paul Theroux.[14]


Box office

George Harrison: Living in the Material World grossed $0 in the United States and Canada,[2] and a worldwide total of $367,734.[4]

Critical reception

The film holds an 86% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes, based on 37 professional reviews, with an average rating of 7.5/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "Clocking in at nearly three and a half hours, George Harrison: Living in the Material World is a moving portrait of the so-called Quiet Beatle's spirituality and troubled existence that highlights the best of Scorsese's sensibilities."[3] On Metacritic, the film holds a score of 74 out of 100, based on 13 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[15]


The documentary earned two Primetime Emmy Awards, Outstanding Nonfiction Special and Outstanding Directing for Nonfiction Programming for director Martin Scorsese. It also earned nominations for Outstanding Cinematography, Picture Editing, Sound Editing, and Sound Mixing.[16]


  1. ^ "George Harrison: Living in the Material World Poster". IMP Awards. 9 September 2011. Retrieved 17 August 2021.
  2. ^ a b c "George Harrison: Living in the Material World (2011)". Box Office Mojo. IMDbPro. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  3. ^ a b "George Harrison: Living in the Material World". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  4. ^ a b "George Harrison: Living in the Material World (2020) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Nash Information Services, LLC. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  5. ^ Carlick, Stephen (17 May 2010). "Martin Scorsese to Unveil George Harrison Documentary in 2011". Archived from the original on 15 May 2010. Retrieved 7 March 2012.
  6. ^ Hale, Mike (4 October 2011). "A Life of Guitars, Girls and Gentle Weeping". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 12 September 2015. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  7. ^ "Scorsese's George Harrison film gets Liverpool premiere". BBC News. 15 September 2011. Retrieved 19 September 2011.
  8. ^ "George Harrison: Living in the Material World Official Trailer Is Released". Retrieved 31 August 2011.
  9. ^ "George Harrison: Living in the Material World". HBO Canada. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  10. ^ "George Harrison: Living in the Material World". BBC. Retrieved 13 November 2011.
  11. ^ George Harrison – George Harrison: Living In The Material World at Discogs (list of releases).
  12. ^ Rabey, Steve (9 October 2011). "George Harrison, 'Living in the Material World'". Huffington Post. Retrieved 12 August 2018.
  13. ^ "George Harrison: Living in the Material World – in pictures". The Guardian. 4 October 2011. Retrieved 12 August 2018.
  14. ^ Harrison, Olivia (2011). George Harrison: Living in the Material World. New York, NY: Abrams. p. iii. ISBN 978-1-4197-0220-4.
  15. ^ "George Harrison: Living in the Material World Reviews". Metacritic. Red Ventures. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  16. ^ "George Harrison: Living in the Material World Awards & Nominations". 16 September 2012. Retrieved 16 September 2012.