The Beatles besides being known for great music are also known for great films either as a band or on their own. To the MUBI community what is the best piece of film (ie. feature, documentary etc…) that deals with the Fab Four ?
there is only one
the rest are crap. just my opinion of course
I think Yellow Submarine is fun :)
it is fun tho aside from the music the beatles had little to nothing to do with it.
i’m sure brad s. will have much to say on this topic so i just wanted to get in first :P
@ Ruby Stevens
And also, AHDN never mentions the word “Beatles” once throughout the film. It shows the 4 members as an average popular band in the midst of 1960s musical culture. I don’t know whether it was done on purpose or was unintentional.
Yeah, but it’s got a whole lotta Beatles vibe lol. I know, I thought Brad started the topic :)
the film is a satire or mockumentary (a brilliant one) and i think the band’s name was intentionally left out. it’s one of the great british films of the 60s and led to a whole slew of mod ‘swinging london’ films
looking through my ratings right now it seems that quite a few people hate this film. perhaps we could hear from some of them too? maybe they just hate the beatles lol
I agree with Ruby. Only one.
Help! is the most fun and has the best music.
Let it Be is the most dramatic and engrossing.
Magic Mystery Tour is the most personal.
Yellow Submarine and Hard Days Night are good as well just not as.
I think I lean toward Help! as the best
I would like to see some of Ringo Starr’s movies. He is clearly the best actor of the group.
@ Ruby and Bijoux
I love that you think of me when The Beatles come up!!!
Ruby, you’re very correct in your top pick, but too quick to dismiss the rest. To answer the OP. whether from a film or Beatles POV, nothing comes close to A Hard Day’s Night, their only film masterpiece. Here we have the Beatles caught in their magic moment of 1964. This was the cultural and creative climax of Beatlemania and, though scripted, A Hard Day’s Night had a fly on the wall feeling of being in the middle of it. I would talk about how it was one of the first films to utilize French New Wave techniques in a popular format or gush about the absolutely gorgeous black and white cinematography (especially in Ringo’s solo wanderings), but the real point is that this is one of the purest expressions of exuberant joy ever captured on film.
Talking about the other Beatle films always begins with the caveat that it’s not going to be in the same league as “A Hard Day’s Night,” but that doesn’t mean they don’t have something to offer. Help! while saddled with a very silly plot, still has moments where the Beatles’ charm and comic timing lead to some funny schtick. Richard Lester’s use of color here was influential to Martin Scorsese. Both The Monkees’ TV show and Monty Python were certainly influenced by the chaos. But if you want a plot that makes sense though, Help* won’t be there to… um… help.
Of course it’s a model of coherency compared to the botched TV movie, Magical Mystery Tour. Even I can’t claim it’s a good film, but let’s say you’ve had a few drinks (or something) and are looking for something completely off the rails. Here’s the Beatles following some drug induced fucked up mind trips. Also, there’s a bunch of great songs and you can look at it as a long music video.
Yellow Submarine is pretty trippy itself, but regains enough control to be kid friendly and tell a coherent story. Great animation that really doesn’t look like anything else plays off Beatle lyrics and the psychedelic times for a fun ride. This is also the one improved most by the big screen with all those middle period songs, particularly George’s “Only a Northern Song” blasting in your ear.
Let It Be is another fly on the wall film, but it’s a much darker wall. Where A Hard Day’s Night fictionalizes them at their most boisterous, Let it Be witnesses the seeds of the breakup and demonstrated how “creative differences” really look in practice. It’s also filled with Beatles music, so that’s not too shabby, but the tension in the room was so thick, it comes right out of the screen.
The real point is that this is one of the purest expressions of exuberant joy ever captured on film.
Heck yeah!! I can see Ringo grinning and bobbing right now.
There are two key documentaries on the Beatles. The Beatles Anthology was made with cooperation from the surviving three and the Lennon estate. At 9 hours, you’re not going to beat this for comprehensiveness and seeing George, Paul and Ringo so extensively interviewed separately and together is really only available here.
For a more bite–sized serving, try to find The Compleat Beatles, a 1984 doc narrated by Malcolm McDowell and with detailed interviews about the recording sessions by their producer, George Martin. If you ever wanted to hear how Strawberry Fields Forever was constructed, here you will. This has sadly never been released on DVD.
Don’t forget The Rutles: All You Need is Cash, a hysterical 1978 send up of the Beatles written by and starring Eric Idle and produced by Lorne Michaels. As a result, this features most of the Monty Python and original SNL cast (as well as Mick Jagger, Paul Simon and an even more impressive guest whose identity should be a surprise.)
Imagine John Lennon, The U.S. vs. John Lennon and Scorsese’s Harrison doc, Living in the Material World are also essential for Beatle fans. McCartney’s best solo film is his Wing’s concert movie, Rockshow. Avoid Give My Regards to Broad Street at all costs.
I love them all but as a film yes A Hard Day’s Night
is the best by a league. The Beatles had absolutely nothing to do with Yellow Submarine short
of contributing songs and filming a sliver at the end so I put that at the bottom with the caveat that it has Beatle songs in it so it can’t be that bad.
also if you’re a dork about the Beatles
you could do worse thanThe Beatles AnthologyImagine: John Lennon
both of which have merits and shortcomings
I’ve heard lots of good things about the Rutles.
I watched the anthology once and really enjoyed it.
Didn’t a new doc about George Martin just come out??
It all depends on what you’re looking for with the four lads as The Beatles. As a fictional representation of themselves there is only “A Hard Day’s Night” to consider both in elevating their public persona and in sheer filmmaking virtuosity. However, for a more realistic representation of The Beatles as the four lads there is only “Let It Be”- even more than “The Beatles Anthology” and “The Compleat Beatles” as those films may document the breaking of the group, but “Let It Be” relentlessly takes you inside the wound; and as a wistfully sad coda, it ends with the single greatest piece of performance film of the group joyously (even after the endless acrimony) in sync, making one conjure the vast potential of things still to come that would go unrealized.
Help! and A Hard Day’s Night
See her in the arms of Paul / Say it, I can say no more
The worst (by far) – Across the Universe
George Harrison: Living in a Material World
man fuck the haters.
I loved Across the Universe.
Just watch it really high. It is so damn good.
HARD DAY’S NIGHT is the best — the rest are footnotes.
>>The worst (by far) – Across the Universe<<
Oh, I can do you one better (actually worse) than that. Behold if you dare:
The worst Beatle film is McCartney’s Give my Regards to Broad Street. Nothing but second rate performances in acting and music and an uneven storyline. Sorry Paul, it just doesn’t cut the mustard.
^ Truth is I agree with you. Even the Sgt. Pepper movie had camp value. Broad Street couldn’t even muster that. Paul is the least talented actor of the four, which may have been recognized as he’s the only one not to get a featured alone bit in A Hard Day’s Night (his scene was cut.) Just to clarify, I’m actually a huge McCartney fan and consider him every bit as great as Lennon, but acting was not his bag.
One Beatle film scene comes to mind, and it shows just how legendary they were and still are. Here’s the link:
@ Brad S.
I know what you mean that Paul was the least talented actor. The other 3 had more of a personality where they can naturally act well. Paul’s personality strictly lies in his music.
I thought Nowhere Boy was a pretty good film, actually. Surprised nobody mentioned it yet.
I stand with those who think A Hard Day’s Night is the best though. Pure cinema magic and it influenced mockumentaries for years to come.
“A Hard Day’s Night” is my first choice. As for a movie about the Beatles, I really like “Backbeat”.
I didn’t like Nowhere Boy, but The Hours and Times is an interesting imaginary riff on Lennon.