The Beatles and their music have been the subject of countless award-winning documentaries throughout the years. This list contains some of the finest examples of the genre.
Beatlemania 2.0 is taking hold around the world. Due in part to Get Back, a lengthy but fascinating documentary on the filming of Let It Be and its subsequent TV special. That documentary’s viewers will be happy to learn that there have been a slew of films on the Beatles for decades.
Movies about the Beatles and the Beatles themselves can be found in both categories. Even those who are merely inspired by the band’s music are a source of inspiration for some. In any case, they’re all tied to the legendary Fab Four and were well-received by the public at large.
1. Magical Mystery Tour (1967) – 6.2
Magical Mystery Tour is one of the most well-known films in the history of cinematic drug use. Drugs were used to inspire the plot, although they weren’t explicitly mentioned in any way in the narrative.
Most of Magical Mystery Tour was shot without a script while the Beatles were in the middle of their drug-fueled heyday. Astonishing results have emerged. As a film, Magical Mystery Tour falls flat, but it excels as a time capsule for a really singular period in history.
2. Birth Of The Beatles (1979) – 6.4
It’s surprising how few films have been made on The Beatles. The Beatles’ birth is one of the few exceptions to this rule. The Birth of the Beatles was originally a television film, directed by Richard Marquand and produced by Dick Clark Productions.
Birth of the Beatles tells the story of the Beatles’ formation in Liverpool, including input from the group’s first drummer (Pete Best). Despite its lack of originality, it’s a worthwhile film on the history of the Beatles and is well-executed.
3. Yesterday (2019) – 6.8
“What would happen if the Beatles never existed?” posed by Richard Curtis and Danny Boyle in Yesterday.
To become famous, Jack Malik recreates the Beatles’ catalog from memory in a parallel universe where they never existed. The film is still one of Danny Boyle’s greatest and a must-see for every Beatles fan worth their salt, even if it doesn’t fully exploit its innovative premise.
4. Two Of Us (2000) – 7.0
Michael Lindsay-Hogg, the director of the Let It Be project, directed this television film (which eventually became Get Back). Six years after the Beatles broke up, Two of Us stars Jared Harris as John Lennon, and Aidan Quinn as Paul McCartney.
As part of a public plea on Saturday Night Live, Lorne Michaels offered The Beatles $3,000 to reunite and perform on his show. Paul and John joked discussed the possibility of this happening. Throughout Lindsay-TV Hogg’s movie, the plea and the friendship between the two frontmen are depicted in heartfelt fashion.
5. Nowhere Boy (2009) – 7.1
Nowhere Boy is a biography of the Beatles’ early years, focusing on John Lennon and Paul McCartney in particular. Aaron Taylor-Johnson portrays John Lennon, and Thomas Sangster portrays Paul McCartney in this excellent biopic about a rock musician.
The film focuses primarily on John Lennon’s childhood in Liverpool and his subsequent rise to fame. Nowhere Boy, a biopic of one of music’s greatest brains, doesn’t go into too much depth about The Beatles and their development, but it’s still worth seeing.
6. Help! (1965) – 7.2
‘Help!’, the band’s second feature film outing, was a watershed moment in the band’s career.
The group was eschewing its goody-two-shoes image in favor of a more avant-garde sound. A far more experimental style to filming, a more mature soundtrack, and a crazy plot made this film one of the most memorable of its time. While not the greatest Beatles film, it’s certainly worth a watch.
7. Across The Universe (2007) – 7.3
Across the Universe is a musical based on the music of The Beatles that includes more than 30 Beatles songs. Jude and Lucy (do the names sound familiar? ), a love tale that spans the late 1960s counterculture, Vietnam War era, and early psychedelic drug use, are at the center of Across the Universe, an unforgettable journey.
It’s unlike any other musical that I’ve ever seen. Because of this, it has enjoyed a long period of positive reaction from the band’s fan base.
8. Yellow Submarine (1968) – 7.4
Yellow Submarine, arguably one of the greatest animated films of all time, has had a profound impact on the art of filmmaking. Yellow Submarine, a 1968 animated adventure with a fantastic soundtrack, was released in a number of theaters across the country.
Many future animators, including Pixar co-founder John Lasseter, were influenced by this film, which helped establish animation as a legitimate art form. As a result of Yellow Submarine, there would have been no Toy Story or Beauty and the Beast if it had not been made. Films in the vein of “Yesterday” would be appreciated.
9. A Hard Day’s Night (1964) – 7.6
A Hard Day’s Night established that the Beatles were more than just music sensations when it was released at the height of Beatlemania. The Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night is a truly extraordinary musical, and the Fab Four bring it to life in a spectacular way. In this meta-film, the exhausted band prepares for a TV appearance.
The film has had a profound impact on not only musicals, but on the entire concept of music videos as well.
Even if you don’t think it’s one of the greatest films ever made, you should see it.
10. Let It Be (1970) – 7.7
The footage for Get Back was taken from Let It Be, but the tale it told was completely different. If Get Back is Beatlemania’s “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” then Let It Be is “Eleanor Rigby,” a dark and melancholy ballad.
With a gritty, colorless bleakness and an image of a band on the edge of breaking up, this is Get Back’s darker half-sibling. However, Let It Be offers a fascinating and heartbreakingly personal look at the band’s eroding cohesiveness in its closing days.