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The Beatles' 10 Best Movie & TV Roles, According To IMDb

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For the first time in 25 years, the Eurovision Song Contest is returning to the United Kingdom. It is not just a Will Ferrell/Rachel McAdams comedy vehicle, the contest is real, and the 67th event will be hosted in the Beatles’ hometown of Liverpool on May 13, 2023.

This cultural center of musical royalty is a perfect location for the song contest. The Beatles may very well be the most famous band of all time, and it’s Liverpool that gets to be forever associated with the musical group. The band has not only had a history of music making, but they have a significant filmography in both fictional and documentary movies and television events. There is so much to unpack with the legendary band that each documentary and film has something new to say and the best films in their canon stand up there with any other biography or documentary.


Magical Mystery Tour – 6.1

This made-for-television film was created in 1967, and while the film itself was received lukewarmly, the accompanying soundtrack was considered a huge success. It is a messy film that was made without a script and the significant amount of improvisation makes the film noticeably directionless.

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The basics of the film are based on the “Furthur,” a school bus that was famous in the 1930s in California for driving a group of artists up and down the coast, attending parties and experimenting with drugs. Magical Mystery Tour tries to capture that youthful, free-spirited journey, and it sometimes succeeds.

Help! – 7.1

The second film made by the Beatles, Help! is a mad-cap caper movie with a psychedelic plot about Indian rituals and eastern mysticism, themes the Beatles were obsessed with at the time. Ringo stars as the unlucky recipient of a cursed ring and he and the Beatles’ flight from a cult is reminiscent of some early Jump movies.

After the success of A Hard Day’s Nightdirector Richard Lester was given a much bigger budget, and he used this to film all over the world, giving Help!a globetrotting quality. While critics applauded the film, the bandmates did not enjoy the filming or the final product, believing much of the direction was taken away from them, as reported in The Beatles on Film: Analysis of Movies, Documentaries, Spoofs and Cartoons by Ronald Reiter.

Yellow Submarine – 7.4

Yellow Submarine did as much for adult animation as it did for the Beatles. It was the first of the Beatles’ films to be appreciated critically and commercially, which was particularly unusual because the film was done in animation, a medium considered reserved for children up until this point. It created a confidence in the art form that led to some of the best animated movies today.

The actual voice actors for the Beatles are not the band members, but they do appear on the incredible soundtrack with songs including, “Eleanor Rigby,” “All You Need Is Love,” and of course, “Yellow Submarine.” The incredible, psychedelic animation became a staple of the group and is still associated with to this day.

A Hard Day’s Night – 7.5

At the height of Beatlemania, A Hard Day’s Night came out to capitalize on the success of the group. This fictionalized account of the band 36-hours before a show was not a shameless cash grab and ended up being nominated for two Academy Awards.

The film became the standard for the best musical films based around pop bands and the performances by the young band members is much better than one would expect. A Hard Day’s Night perfectly captures the quiet and funny confidence the band had and their relationship with England and English culture.

Let It Be – 7.7

Even if someone has not seen let it be, they’ll surely have seen the rooftop concert that has been spoofed, parodied, and paid homage to no end. In order to create an ending for the documentary, the band and filmmakers decided on an impromptu concert that lasted 45-minutes before police broke it up.

It is an incredibly raw music documentary with very little in the way of commentary and most of the filming was done just by placing cameras around the group as they practiced. The rooftop performance was the last time the band ever played together and the fracturing of the Beatles can be seen playing out on screen well-beforehand.

The Beatles: Eight Days A Week – 7.8

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years is a 2016 documentary created by Ron Howard and one of his best movies. The documentary covers the touring career of the band from 1962-1966 and ends with the band’s final concert in San Francisco.

The film uses archival footage of the band that had never been seen before, some of it coming from amateur fans filming on their own. Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Olivia Harrison, and Yoko Ono all had a hand in the development and Howard’s editing of the content has been widely praised.

The Beatles: The First US Visit – 8.0

This documentary released in 1990 is a re-edited version of the documentarians’ 1964 documentary film, What’s Happening! The Beatles in the USA Albert and David Maysles followed the Beatles on their first arrival in the United States and documented their tour, including their famous appearance on the Ed Sullivan show.

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The footage is notable for capturing the band in their hotel rooms and behind the scenes where they drop the superstar facade and act like irreverent young men. The 1990 re-edit adds over 20 minutes of the Ed Sullivan show performance to the original.

The Complete Beatles – 8.2

Released in 1982, The Complete Beatles was considered the definitive documentary about the band. It is an incredibly in-depth chronicle of their entire career, as by that point in 1980, it had been about 10 years since the band had broken up.

Malcolm McDowell, from A Clockwork Orange, narrates the film. It is interspersed with interviews from those close to the Beatles during their heyday as well as never before seen archival footage of past interviews, performances, and behind-the-scenes antics.

The Beatles: Get Back – 9.0

When it was announced that Peter Jackson would be creating The Beatles: Get Back there were some who wondered what more could possibly be said about the band. But when Jackson went to look at archival footage from the original let it be documentary, he saw that there was a huge amount of footage that did not make the final cut.

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Using the film restoration techniques he used in They Shall Not Grow Old, Jackson and his team put together over eight hours of footage for the docuseries. The new footage offered a completely different angle of events than those shown in let it be. In the restored footage, it’s clear the band still got along very well leading up to the break and the issues widely discussed in the media may have been in part invented.

The Beatles Anthology – 9.2

The Beatles Anthology was released in 1995 as an eight-part series. It had originally been planned to release as a 90-minute feature documentary in 1980 to coincide with the triumphant reunion of the Beatles, but John Lennon’s murder ended all of those plans and the film was shelved.

Finally, in 1993, the project was brought back to life with the help of the living members of the band who originally weren’t involved, and the film was expanded. This anthology is still the best way to watch the interviews, concerts, and behind-the-scenes footage of the band’s entire career.

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