The Best Movies About The Beatles


 

1. Yesterday (2019)

The Verge

The newest movie about The Beatles, Yesterday takes a slightly different route when it comes to representing the legendary band. In fact, it almost erases them altogether!

The film follows a struggling young musician named Jack (Himesh Patel), who awakens from being hit by a bus to find that he is the only person on earth who remembers The Beatles or their music. Also missing is the Harry Potter series, and household brands Coca-Cola and Oasis. He soon finds fame and fortune for performing their songs as his own. However, the success leaves him hollow and alienates his childhood sweetheart, and he eventually admits to the world that he has plagiarised his work.

From legendary director Danny Boyle and household favourite writer Richard Curtis, the film also boasts a stellar cast, including Lily James and Ed Sheeran, who do good work with their roles. Lead actor Patel was selected after performing the famous Beatles songs ‘Yesterday’ and ‘Back in the U.S.S.R.’ for Boyle during his audition. It’s a lighthearted feel-good film, like all of Curtis’s work, and has a great deal of heart underneath. It is a perfect watch for fans of The Beatles looking for something a bit different.

2. Nowhere Boy (2009)

Roger Ebert

Nowhere Boy is a rarity in that it explores the life of The Beatles singer John Lennon in the years before the band’s success, something which few other films or documentaries have explored to any length.

We join Lennon, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, aged just 15, being brought up in Liverpool by his aunt and uncle after being separated from his mother Julia (Anne-Marie Duff). He believes the couple to be his biological parents, but the truth quickly comes to light, and he reconnects with his mother who introduces him to rock ‘n’ roll music. Lennon forms a band named the Quarrymen, soon after meeting Paul McCartney and guitarist George Harrison. Over time, Lennon overcomes his difficult family relationships, and the band eventually evolves to become The Beatles.

If director Sam Taylor-Wood’s name sounds familiar, it’s because after this success, she went on the helm the phenomenally successful Fifty Shades of Grey film adaptation. A true life love story also came out of the film; after meeting on set, Taylor-Wood and Taylor-Johnson began a relationship and went on to get married.

The film was released in America on 8th October 2010, a day before what would have been John Lennon’s 70th birthday.

3. The Hours and Times (1991)

The New Yorker

Set in 1963, The Hours and Times also explores a period in John Lennon’s life which fans and the general public know little about. This time, it is a weekend in Barcelona which Lennon spent with The Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein.

It is April 1963, and star Lennon leaves his wife and child at home for the trip with Epstein. In real life Epstein was a closeted homosexual, though this was not publicly known until some years after his death. It has often been said that The Beatles, as well as close friends and music industry colleagues, were aware of this during their time being managed by Epstein.

The events of the film are purely speculation, but they expand upon rumours that Lennon and Epstein engaged in an affair in 1963, sparked by the trip to Spain. In 1980 Lennon gave an interview to Playboy magazine in which he elaborated on their relationship, saying “Well, it was almost a love affair, but not quite. It was never consummated … but we did have a pretty intense relationship.”

Whether or not the films events are true, the two enjoyed a close working relationship, and it provides a fascinating insight into a lesser-known part of Lennon’s life.

4. I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1978)

Rolling Stone

Although The Beatles are an English band, this film is set in America, and is a fictionalised account of the Beatlemania which gripped New York City when the band visited for an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964. It was the directorial debut of now famous director Robert Zemeckis and was executive produced by Steven Spielberg.

The story follows a group of teenage superfans as they attempt to gain access to The Beatles at their hotel and see them in person. Many hijinks ensue as the friends use any means necessary to gain access to the hotel and find the musicians. The Beatles themselves are never shown, in a fun creative twist, which prevents the use of any bad wigs or accents and keeps the focus solely on the main characters of the film.

For many younger fans who weren’t alive during this period of Beatlemania, the film is a light hearted and eye opening take on the extremes of fan behaviour in a time before people could get greater access to their idols online and on social media. For anyone who dies recall this period, it provides a good dose of nostalgia for the iconic times at the height of The Beatles fame.

5. George Harrison: Living in the Material World (2011)

BBC

From legendary director Martin Scorsese comes this fascinating documentary into the life of George Harrison, the lead guitarist of The Beatles who died from lung cancer in 2001.

Many argue that Harrison is one of the more underrated members of The Beatles, after Lennon and McCartney’s high profile stardom. If so, this film sheds a little more light onto his fascinating life as part of The Beatles and beyond. Scorsese includes tributes and testimonies from Harrison’s wife and son, as well as from his famous friends such as Eric Clapton and Tom Petty. Of particular interest is Harrison’s life after the band, such as his solo career.

The film apparently took many years to be made, with Scorsese dedicated to unearthing a wealth of information and never before seen footage. It’s an essential watch for anyone interested about the members of The Beatles and Harrison in particular as individuals, not just members of the most famous band of all time.