The Beatles in a screenshot from the trailer for their 1965 film Help!
The Beatles in a screenshot from the trailer for their 1965 film Help!

The Beatles were an English rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960. With a line-up comprising John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, they are commonly regarded as the most influential band of all time.[1] Between 1964 and 1970, they appeared in five major motion pictures, beginning with A Hard Day's Night (1964) and ending with Let It Be (1970). From late 1965 to 1969, the group also appeared in several promotional films for their singles, which have been credited with anticipating music videos and the rise of MTV in the 1980s.

During the years of Beatlemania, the Beatles appeared in two films, A Hard Day's Night (1964) and Help! (1965), both directed by American director Richard Lester. A Hard Day's Night was shot in black and white and featured the band as fictionalised versions of themselves during the height of Beatlemania, while Help! was shot in colour and saw the group struggle to record music while trying to protect Starr from a sinister cult and a pair of mad scientists, all of whom are obsessed with obtaining one of his rings. Following the recording of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967), the Beatles produced and starred in their third major feature, Magical Mystery Tour (1967), a mostly unscripted television film which saw the group and friends on a British mystery tour. The band cameoed in the animated Yellow Submarine (1968), which featured cartoon versions of the band members and a soundtrack that included then-unreleased studio recordings. The band's final major film was Let It Be (1970), which documented the group rehearsing and recording songs for their final studio album of the same name.

Most of their films were very well-received, except Magical Mystery Tour which was panned by critics and the public alike. Each of their films had the same name as their associated soundtrack album and a song on that album. The individual Beatles also had their own film careers outside the band to varying degrees; Starr became a successful actor, Harrison became a successful producer with his production company HandMade Films, McCartney appeared in three films and Lennon had a co-starring role in How I Won the War (1967). The Beatles have also been the subject of numerous documentary films, have been portrayed onscreen in both film and television, and have inspired other films.

Films starring the Beatles

A Hard Day's Night

Richard Lester, the director of A Hard Day's Night and Help!
Richard Lester, the director of A Hard Day's Night and Help!

A Hard Day's Night was the Beatles' first major film. Shot in black and white, the film focused on fictionalised versions of the band during Beatlemania and the band's hectic touring lifestyle. It was directed by the up-and-coming American director Richard Lester, who was known for having directed a television version of the successful BBC radio series The Goon Show as well as the off-beat short film The Running, Jumping and Standing Still Film, with Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan. A Hard Day's Night is a mockumentary of the four members as they make their way to a London television programme. It created a lasting impression of their individual personas. Lennon became known as "the smart one", McCartney "the cute one", Harrison "the quiet one", and Starr "the lucky one".[2] Starr's personality as the band's affable, self-deprecating drummer proved especially popular with fans and the press in the US.[3] The film also starred Wilfrid Brambell as Paul's grandfather John McCartney, Norman Rossington as their manager Norm, and John Junkin as Shake, their road manager.[4]

A Hard Day's Night was released in 1964 at the height of Beatlemania and was very well received by critics, and remains one of the most influential jukebox musicals.[5][6] The film broke new ground in the field of British and American musical feature films,[7] particularly in its abandoning of the genre's standard rags-to-riches premise for a comedic presentation of the artists playing themselves.[8] Film historian Stephen Glynn describes it as "the canonical pop music film".[9] He highlights the innovative techniques Lester uses in the sequence for "Can't Buy Me Love",[10] as does Saul Austerlitz, who deems it the precursor to the modern music video.[11]

Help!

Help! was the Beatles' second major film. Directed again by Richard Lester, it was the group's first film shot in colour. It starred the Beatles, Eleanor Bron, Leo McKern, Victor Spinetti and Roy Kinnear. In Help!, the Beatles struggle to record their new album while trying to protect Starr from a sinister eastern cult (a parody of the Thuggee cult) and a pair of mad scientists, all of whom are obsessed with obtaining a sacrificial ring that Starr secretly acquired through a fan letter by the victim. Like A Hard Day's Night, the group performs several songs in the film that appear on their soundtrack album of the same name. It was shot in exotic locations, including Salisbury Plain, with Stonehenge visible in the background, the Bahamas, Salzburg and the Austrian Alps.

With Help!, Lester presented the Beatles in "one of the central surrealist texts" of the 1960s, according to Bray.[12] The film uses pop art visuals[13] and satirises James Bond films,[14][15] particularly the latter's depiction of the British Secret Service as an efficiently run organisation, and one enjoying a level of influence equal to its US counterpart in their shared operations.[16] Released in 1965, Help! was greeted with positive reviews but was not as well-received as A Hard Day's Night;[13] nevertheless, the film is retrospectively regarded as being very influential, including in the subsequent development of music videos. It is described by Glynn as "the colonial pop music film" for its conveying of the "clear racial undertones" and imperialism evident in Bond films from the period, and the clash that results with the Beatles' Swinging London personas.[17] In addition to inspiring the Monkees' self-titled television show, the film influenced the 1960s Batman TV series.[13][18]

Magical Mystery Tour

Magical Mystery Tour was the Beatles' third major film. Unlike the previous two, it was a television film and not a feature film, with a running time of less than an hour.[19] The film follows a group of people on a British mystery tour in a 1967 coach, primarily focusing on Ringo Starr and his recently widowed Aunt Jessie (Jessie Robins). During the course of the tour, "strange things begin to happen" at the whim of "four or five magicians", four of whom are played by the Beatles themselves and the fifth by the band's long-time road manager Mal Evans. The film is interspersed with musical interludes, which include the Beatles performing "I Am the Walrus" and "The Fool on the Hill", Harrison singing "Blue Jay Way" while waiting on Blue Jay Way Road, and ending with the Beatles dressed in white tuxedos, highlighting a glamorous old-style dance crowd scene, accompanied by the song "Your Mother Should Know".[19]

The idea for the film was essentially McCartney's, which was thought up as he returned from a trip to the US in the late spring of 1967, and was loosely inspired by press coverage McCartney had read about Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters' LSD-fueled American bus odyssey.[20] McCartney felt inspired to take this idea and blend it with the peculiarly English working class tradition of charabanc mystery tours, in which children took chaperoned bus rides through the English countryside, destination unknown.

Magical Mystery Tour was broadcast in the UK on BBC1 on 26 December (Boxing Day), but in black and white rather than colour.[21][22] It was the Beatles' first critical failure.[23] As a result of the unfavourable reviews, networks in the US declined to show the film there.[21][24] Beatles' management team member Peter Brown blamed McCartney for its failure. Brown said that during a private screening for management staff, the reaction had been "unanimous ... it was awful", yet McCartney was convinced that the film would be warmly received, and ignored Brown's advice to scrap the project and save the band from embarrassment.[25]

Yellow Submarine

In 1968, United Artists released the animated musical fantasy film Yellow Submarine, which featured cartoon versions of the band members, voiced by actors. Other than a live-action cameo at the end of the film, the Beatles had little direct input in the film. Instead, the group contributed four previously unreleased songs that made their debut in the film.[26] These included "All Together Now", "Hey Bulldog" and Harrison's "Only a Northern Song" and "It's All Too Much". It was acclaimed for its music, humour and innovative visual style.[27] The Beatles are said to have been pleased with the result and attended its highly publicised London premiere.

The film's soundtrack album, released in early 1969,[28] featured the four previously unreleased songs, two previously released songs: "Yellow Submarine" and "All You Need Is Love" and a re-recording of the film's orchestral soundtrack by producer George Martin. Numerous songs from the film were later remixed and released on the Yellow Submarine Songtrack in 1999.[29] Yellow Submarine provided a revolution in animated film[30] and allowed animators to fully express ideas using psychedelic visuals.[31] It marked a departure from the confines of Disney's productions and was credited with saving the feature-length animated film.[32]

Let It Be

Let It Be was the Beatles' final major feature film. Directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, it is a documentary film that documents the group rehearsing and recording songs for their twelfth and final studio album Let It Be. It was shot over a four-week period in January 1969, and includes an unannounced rooftop concert by the group, which was their last public performance. The documentary — originally intended to be a chronicle of the evolution of an album and the band's possible return to live performances — captured the prevailing tensions between the band members, which would ultimately lead to their break-up.

Let It Be observes the Beatles from a "fly on the wall" perspective, without narration, scene titles, or interviews with the main subjects. The first portion of the film shows the band rehearsing on a sound stage at Twickenham Film Studios. The songs are works in progress, with a heated exchange between McCartney and Harrison while recording "Two of Us" shown.[33] Also present are Mal Evans and Yoko Ono, who's at Lennon's side at all times. The group is then shown arriving individually at Apple headquarters, where they record several songs, some complete and some works-in-progress. Complete performances of "Two of Us", "Let It Be", and "The Long and Winding Road" are also shown. The film's final portion shows the Beatles and Billy Preston giving an unannounced concert from the headquarters rooftop. They perform "Get Back", "Don't Let Me Down", "I've Got a Feeling", "One After 909" and "Dig a Pony", intercut with reactions and comments from surprised Londoners gathering on the streets below, before being shut down by the police.[34]

The band initially rejected both the film and the album, instead recording and issuing the Abbey Road album. But with a large investment spent on the project, it was decided to finish and release the film and album (the latter with considerable post-production by Phil Spector) in the spring of 1970. When the film released in May 1970, it was after the group's breakup was announced, which gave the film's depiction of the band's acrimony and attempts to recapture the group's spirit a significant poignancy.

Individual projects

In late 1966, following the Beatles' cease in touring and before the recording sessions for Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Lennon took time off to play a supporting character, Gripweed, in Richard Lester's How I Won the War. A satire of World War II films, the film's dry, ironic British humour was not well received by American audiences. Lennon would later produce avant-garde films with his second wife Yoko Ono, such as Rape which was produced for the Austrian television network ORF.

In addition to his roles in the Beatles' films, Starr has received praise from critics and film industry professionals regarding his acting; director and producer Walter Shenson called him "a superb actor, an absolute natural".[35] By the mid-1960s, Starr had become a connoisseur of film.[36] Starr has acted in Candy (1968), The Magic Christian (1969), Blindman (1971), Son of Dracula (1974) and Caveman (1981).[37] In 1971, he starred as Larry the Dwarf in Frank Zappa's 200 Motels and was featured in Harry Nilsson's animated film The Point![38] He then co-starred in That'll Be the Day (1973) as a Teddy Boy and appeared in The Last Waltz, the Martin Scorsese documentary film about the 1976 farewell concert of the Band.[39] Starr played the Pope in Ken Russell's Lisztomania (1975),[40] and later appeared as himself and a downtrodden alter-ego Ognir Rrats in Ringo (1978), an American-made television comedy film based loosely on The Prince and the Pauper.[41] For the 1979 documentary film on the Who, The Kids Are Alright, Starr appeared in interview segments with fellow drummer Keith Moon.[42]

Harrison achieved success as a film producer. He helped finance Ravi Shankar's documentary Raga and released it through Apple Films in 1971.[43] He also produced, with Apple manager Allen Klein, the Concert for Bangladesh film.[44] In 1973, he produced the feature film Little Malcolm,[45] but the project was lost amid the litigation surrounding the former Beatles ending their business ties with Klein.[46] In 1978, in an effort to produce Monty Python's Life of Brian, he and Denis O'Brien formed the production company HandMade Films.[47] Harrison financed the production of Life of Brian in part by mortgaging his home, which Eric Idle later called "the most anybody's ever paid for a cinema ticket in history".[48][49] Harrison would later produce Time Bandits (1981),[50] which featured a new song by Harrison, "Dream Away",[48] Mona Lisa (1986), Shanghai Surprise (1986), Withnail and I (1987)[44] and made cameo appearances in several of these films, including as a reporter in All You Need Is Cash and as a nightclub singer in Shanghai Surprise, for which he recorded five new songs.[51]

McCartney appeared in a cameo role in Peter Richardson's 1987 film Eat the Rich and released his own film Give My Regards to Broad Street in 1984 in which Starr co-starred as a fictionalised version of himself.[52] He also appeared in the 2017 film Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, as a character named Uncle Jack.[53][54]

Unmade films

During the 1960s, there were many ideas pitched for films, but these were either rejected or else never saw the light of day; such projects included A Talent for Loving, a Western film written by Richard Condon; Shades of a Personality; film versions of The Lord of the Rings and The Three Musketeers starring the group (Richard Lester, who directed the group's first two films, went on to direct The Three Musketeers without the Beatles' involvement); and a script by playwright Joe Orton called Up Against It.[55] Robert Zemeckis was planning a remake of the film Yellow Submarine with motion capture technology but it was cancelled in 2011.[56]

Critical reception

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
A Hard Day's Night 98% (107 reviews)[57] 96 (24 reviews)[58][A]
Help! 91% (22 reviews)[59]
Magical Mystery Tour 62% (12 reviews)[60]
Yellow Submarine 96% (47 reviews)[61] 79 (18 reviews)[62]
Let It Be 75% (11 reviews)[63]
Average ratings 85% 87.5

Promotional films

Main article: Music video § 1960–1973: Promotional clips and others

Starting with "Day Tripper" and "We Can Work It Out" in late 1965, the band filmed promotional clips for their singles to circumvent the industry norm of having to make numerous personal appearances on television shows.[64] They continued to make promotional clips for their non-album singles until 1969, the final being Harrison's "Something". The Beatles' promotional clips anticipated the music video[65][66][67] and the rise of MTV in the 1980s.[68] All of their promotional films were remastered and released on 1+ in 2015.[69]

Song Year Director Description
"Day Tripper" 1965 Joseph McGrath[70] The Beatles filmed three promotional clips for "Day Tripper" and "We Can Work It Out" at Twickenham Film Studios in south-west London on 23 November.[71][72] In all three for "We Can Work It Out", Lennon was seated at a harmonium.[73] The most frequently broadcast of the three was a straightforward performance piece with the group wearing black suits.[74] Another clip shows the group wearing the stage suits from their Shea Stadium performance.[73] The third clip opens with a still photograph of Lennon with a sunflower[75] in front of his eye.[76]
"We Can Work It Out"
"I Feel Fine" During the filming of "Day Tripper" and "We Can Work It Out", the Beatles filmed promotional films for previous singles "I Feel Fine", "Ticket to Ride" and "Help!" for inclusion in Top of the Pops' round-up of the biggest hits of 1965.[73]
"Ticket to Ride"
"Help!"
"Rain" 1966 Michael Lindsay-Hogg[77] The Beatles created three promotional films for "Rain". One features the Beatles walking and singing in a garden and a greenhouse at Chiswick House in west London while the other two feature the band performing on a sound stage (filmed 19 May 1966, one in colour for The Ed Sullivan Show and the other in black and white for British television).[citation needed]
"Paperback Writer" Four promotional films for "Paperback Writer" were shot on 19 and 20 May 1966. On the first day, they recorded a colour performance at EMI Studios, for The Ed Sullivan Show, and two black and white performance clips for British television. On 20 May, a second colour film was made at Chiswick House, which featured the Beatles miming to the song in and around the conservatory in the grounds of the house.[citation needed]
"Strawberry Fields Forever" 1967 Peter Goldmann[78] The promotional film for "Strawberry Fields Forever" was filmed on 30 and 31 January 1967 at Knole Park in Sevenoaks, Kent.[79][80] Instead of a performance of the song, the clip relies on abstract imagery and features reverse film effects, stop motion animation, jump-cuts from day- to night-time, superimposition and close-up shots.[81] The Beatles are shown playing and later pouring paint over the upright piano; at one point, McCartney appears to leap from the ground onto a branch of the tree.[82][83] The clip presented the Beatles' with moustaches for the first time,[82] which sharply contrasted with the youthful "moptop" image of their touring years.[84]
"Penny Lane" The promotional clip for "Penny Lane" was filmed in Liverpool,[85] Stratford,[82] and Knole Park[83] in early February 1967.[79][83] Like "Strawberry Fields Forever", it does not feature the band performing the song.[86] Instead, it features the number 86 bus to Penny Lane, the shelter on the roundabout, and a fireman riding a white horse,[87] the Beatles riding horses,[79] and the band dressed in matching red tunics arriving at a table set up in the park, bearing a large candelabra.[79][88] It closes with the members being presented with their musical instruments.[88]
"Hello, Goodbye" Paul McCartney[89] The Beatles made three promotional clips for "Hello, Goodbye".[89] Filmed on 10 November 1967 at the Saville Theatre in London,[90] the first clip shows the Beatles dressed in their Sgt. Pepper uniforms,[91] apart from a brief cut-away where the group are wearing their 1963-era matching collarless suits.[92] In author John Winn's description of the three clips, this version shows the Beatles performing the song against a psychedelic backdrop, while over the coda they are joined on the stage by female hula dancers. Starr is seen playing a miniature drum kit and, unusually, Lennon appears without his granny glasses. In the second clip, the Beatles mime to the song dressed in more conventional attire and with the stage backdrop depicting a rural setting. The third version combines footage shot during these two scenes with the band playing the song before what Winn terms a "glittery pastel backdrop".[92]
"Lady Madonna" 1968 Tony Bramwell[93] Two promotional films were made for "Lady Madonna".[94] Filmed at EMI Studios on 11 February 1968, the footage consisted of the Beatles recording Lennon's "Hey Bulldog",[95] which they supplied United Artists for use in the Yellow Submarine animated film.[95] Little attempt was made to marry up the footage of the Beatles' playing and singing with the audio of "Lady Madonna"; in the second of the two clips, Harrison is shown eating a plate of beans, while both clips show Starr listening to a playback and the Beatles playing alternative instruments from those heard on the song.[94] In 1999, the footage was re-edited by Apple to create a new clip for "Hey Bulldog", to help promote the reissue of the Yellow Submarine film.[96]
"Hey Jude" Michael Lindsay-Hogg[77][97] The promotional clip for "Hey Jude" features the Beatles performing the song live in front of a controlled audience.[98] It was shot at Twickenham Film Studios on 4 September 1968.[99] In the clip, the Beatles are first seen by themselves, performing the initial chorus and verses, before the audience moves forward and joins them in singing the coda.[100] The band sung live but otherwise performed to a backing track.[97]
"Revolution" The promotional clip for "Revolution", like "Hey Jude", was shot at Twickenham Film Studios on 4 September 1968.[97] Two finished clips of "Revolution" were produced, with only lighting differences and other minor variations.[101] In them, the Beatles sang the vocals live over the pre-recorded instrumental track from the single version.[102] Their vocals included elements from "Revolution 1":[103] McCartney and Harrison sang the "shoo-bee-doo-wap" backing vocals,[104] and Lennon sang "count me out – in".[105]
"Something" 1969 Neil Aspinall[106] The promotional clip for "Something" was shot in late October 1969, not long after Lennon privately announced that he was leaving the band. By this time, the individual Beatles had grown apart, so the film consisted of separate clips of each Beatle walking around his home, accompanied by his wife, edited together.[107] Harrison's segment shows him and Boyd together in the garden at Kinfauns; Winn comments on the attractiveness of all the wives in contrast to the unkempt appearance of McCartney, who had sunk into depression at the realisation that the Beatles were over.[107] The four segments were edited and compiled into a single film clip by Neil Aspinall.[106]

Documentaries

The Beatles have been the subject of a number of documentary films.

Title Year Director Description
The Beatles in Australia 1964 Warwick Freeman A documentary that follows the Beatles' 1964 tour of Australia
Around the Beatles Rita Gillespie A television film featuring the Beatles performing at Wembley Park Studios in London on 28 April 1964.
What's Happening! The Beatles in the U.S.A. Albert and David Maysles A documentary film about the Beatles' first visit to the US in February 1964.
The Beatles at Shea Stadium 1965 Bob Precht A 50-minute long documentary about the Beatles' concert at Shea Stadium in New York City on 15 August 1965
The Beatles in Japan 1966 A television special featuring the Beatles performing in Japan during their 1966 tour.
A Salute to the Beatles: Once upon a Time 1975 David Frost (presenter) A television special chronicling the career of the Beatles from their popularity in Liverpool in the early 1960s, through the era of Beatlemania and unprecedented commercial success and cultural influence, to the band's demise amid the business problems surrounding their Apple Corps enterprise.[108]
The Compleat Beatles 1982 Patrick Montgomery A documentary film chronicling the career of the Beatles, from pre-fame to the breakup. It was narrated by Malcolm McDowell.[109]
It Was Twenty Years Ago Today 1987 John Sheppard A television film about the 1967 Summer of Love and presents Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band as the central factor behind the events and scenes that led to the full emergence of the 1960s counterculture.[110]
The Beatles: The First U.S. Visit 1990 Albert and David Maysles A re-edited version of What's Happening! The Beatles in the U.S.A.
The Beatles Anthology 1995 Geoff Wonfor and Bob Smeaton An eight-part television miniseries about the career of the Beatles, featuring interviews, archive footage and performances.[111][112]
All Together Now 2008 Adrian Wills A documentary film that chronicles the making of the Beatles and Cirque du Soleil collaboration project Love.[113][114]
How the Beatles Rocked the Kremlin 2009 Leslie Woodhead A television film that tells the story of the Beatles' effect on the Soviet Union.[115]
Good Ol' Freda 2013 Ryan White A documentary film about Freda Kelly, secretary of Brian Epstein and the Beatles Fan Club, about her life near to the Fab Four for 11 years.[116][117]
The Beatles: Eight Days a Week 2016 Ron Howard A documentary film that follows the group's career during their touring years from 1962 to 1966, from their performances at the Cavern Club in Liverpool to their final concert in San Francisco in 1966.[118]
How the Beatles Changed the World 2017 Tom O'Dell A documentary about the history of the Beatles and their influence on everything from music, art, and culture to fashion and politics.[119]
John & Yoko: Above Us Only Sky 2018 Michael Epstein A documentary telling the untold story of John Lennon's 1971 album Imagine, exploring the creative collaboration between Lennon and Yoko Ono and featuring interviews and never-seen-before footage.[120][121]
Meeting the Beatles in India 2020 Paul Saltzman A documentary about the Beatles' stay in Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's Ashram in 1968 by Canadian filmmaker Paul Saltzman who was there at the time.[122]
The Beatles and India 2021 Ajoy Bose with Peter Compton This is the second documentary about the Beatles' stay in India in two years.[123]
The Beatles: Get Back 2021 Peter Jackson A documentary about the Beatles' Let it Be project. It draws from material originally captured in January 1969 by Michael Lindsay-Hogg for his 1970 documentary of the album. Originally set for a September 2020 premiere, the release date was pushed back by Walt Disney Pictures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[124] With a running time close to eight hours, the three-part series premiered on the Disney+ streaming service in November 2021.[125]

Fictionalised Beatles

The Beatles (and the individual members) have been portrayed onscreen numerous times, through film and television. Below is a list of films and television programmes that have portrayed the Beatles.

Title Year Director Description
Birth of the Beatles 1979 Richard Marquand A biographical film focusing on the early history of the Beatles. It stars Stephen MacKenna as Lennon, Rod Culbertson as McCartney, John Altman as Harrison and Ray Ashcroft as Starr.
Beatlemania: The Movie 1981 Joseph Manduke A film adaptation of the Broadway show of the same name, starring Mitch Weissman (bass guitar; "Paul"), David Leon (rhythm guitar; "John"), Tom Teeley (lead guitar; "George"), and Ralph Castelli (drums; "Ringo").[126]
Give My Regards to Broad Street 1984 Peter Webb A film that covers a fictional day in the life of Paul McCartney, starring McCartney as a fictionalised version of himself.[127][128]
John and Yoko: A Love Story 1985 Sandor Stern A made-for-television film that chronicles the lives of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, beginning before they met in 1966 and concluding with Lennon's murder in 1980. It stars Mark McGann as Lennon and Kim Miyori as Ono.
The Hours and Times 1991 Christopher Münch The film tells a fictionalised account of what might have happened during a real holiday taken by Brian Epstein and Lennon in Barcelona in 1963, starring David Angus as Epstein and Ian Hart as Lennon.
Backbeat 1994 Iain Softley The film focuses primarily on the relationship between Stuart Sutcliffe (Stephen Dorff) and Lennon (Ian Hart), and with Sutcliffe's German girlfriend Astrid Kirchherr (Sheryl Lee).[129]
The Linda McCartney Story 2000 Armand Mastroianni A television film covering the relationship between Paul and Linda McCartney, starring Elizabeth Mitchell as Linda and Gary Bakewell as Paul.
Two of Us Michael Lindsay-Hogg A television film which offers a dramatised account of April 24, 1976, the day in which Lorne Michaels made a statement on Saturday Night Live offering the Beatles $3,000 to reunite on his program. It stars Jared Harris as Lennon and Aidan Quinn as McCartney.
In His Life: The John Lennon Story David Carson A Lennon biopic that focuses on his teenage years, starring Philip McQuillen as Lennon
My Dinner with Jimi 2003 Howard Kaylan An autobiographical film that tells the story of Kaylan and his band the Turtles' first tour of England, where they met many British rock stars, including the Beatles. It stars Brian Groh as Lennon, Quinton Flynn as McCartney, Nate Dushku as Harrison and Ben Bodé as Starr.
The Killing of John Lennon 2006 Andrew Piddington A film about Mark David Chapman's plot to kill Lennon, starring Jonas Ball as Chapman and Richard Sherman as Lennon.[130]
Chapter 27 2007 Jarrett Schaefer A film depicting the murder of Lennon by Mark David Chapman, starring Jared Leto as Chapman.[131]
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story Jake Kasdan A mock-biopic film that tells the story of a fictional early rock star named Dewey Cox. In the film, Cox and his bandmates go to India to pray with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, where they encounter the intentionally miscast Beatles with Paul Rudd, Jack Black, Justin Long and Jason Schwartzman as John, Paul, George and Ringo, respectively.
Nowhere Boy 2009 Sam Taylor-Wood A John Lennon biopic, focusing on his adolescence, his relationships with his aunt Mimi Smith and his mother Julia Lennon, the creation of his first band, the Quarrymen, and its evolution into the Beatles. It stars Aaron Johnson as Lennon.[132]
Lennon Naked 2010 Edmund Coulthard A television film based on the life of Lennon from 1967 to 1971 starring Christopher Eccleston as Lennon.[133][134]
Playhouse Presents: "Snodgrass" 2013 David Blair A television episode wondering what Lennon's life would have been like if he had quit the Beatles in 1962.
Cilla 2014 A British miniseries about the early career of Cilla Black that features the Beatles, Brian Epstein and George Martin in supporting roles.
Vinyl
Episode: "E.A.B."
2016 Jon S. Baird A short-lived HBO series about the 1970s music industry. It features an episode where Lennon and May Pang attend a Bob Marley & the Wailers show at Max's Kansas City. Lennon is portrayed by Stephen Sullivan and Pang is portrayed by Celia Au.

Inspired by the Beatles

Several fictional films not depicting the Beatles have been entirely based on Beatles themes and songs:

Title Year Director Description
Pinoy Beatles 1964 Artemio Marquez A Tagalog musical made in the Philippines. It was released three months after A Hard Day's Night.
The Girls on the Beach 1965 William Witney A beach party film in which college co-eds mistakenly believe the Beatles are going to perform at their sorority fundraiser.
All This and World War II 1976 Susan Winslow A documentary film of World War II using Beatles music.
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band 1978 Michael Schultz A musical based on the Beatles' album of the same name starring Peter Frampton and the Bee Gees.[135]
I Wanna Hold Your Hand Robert Zemeckis A coming of age film about Beatlemania and is a fictionalised account of 9 February 1964, the Beatles' first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.
All You Need Is Cash Eric Idle and Gary Weis A television mockumentary featuring the Rutles, a parody of the Beatles.
Yesterday 1985 Radosław Piwowarski A band of four teenagers play a concert full of Beatles hits for their high school graduation.
Secrets 1992 Michael Pattinson A drama film about five Australian teenagers who get locked in the basement of a hotel where the Beatles are staying.
I Am Sam 2001 Jessie Nelson A drama film about the story of an intellectually disabled father who loves the Beatles and his efforts to retain custody of his daughter
The Rutles 2: Can't Buy Me Lunch 2005 Eric Idle A re-telling of All You Need Is Cash featuring the Rutles in a modern-day setting
Across the Universe 2007 Julie Taymor A jukebox musical that centers on Beatles songs. The music and the Vietnam War form the backdrop for a romance between an upper-class American girl and a poor Liverpudlian artist.[136]
Living Is Easy with Eyes Closed 2014 David Trueba A Spanish film set in 1966 while Lennon is shooting How I Won The War in Almeria
Beatles Peter Flinth A Norwegian film based on the Lars Saabye Christensen novel Beatles. The plot centers around four friends growing up in Oslo in the sixties, who occasionally think of themselves as the Fab Four.[137]
Yesterday 2019 Danny Boyle A musical starring Himesh Patel as a struggling musician who, after an accident, finds himself the only person who remembers the Beatles and becomes famous after taking credit for their songs. It also stars Lily James as the musician's childhood friend and Ed Sheeran as a fictionalised version of himself.[138][139]

Other

References

Citations

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  8. ^ Marwick 2012, pp. 426–427.
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  10. ^ Glynn 2013, p. 92.
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  13. ^ a b c Ingham 2006, p. 159.
  14. ^ Jackson 2015, p. 161.
  15. ^ Gould 2007, pp. 275–276.
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