A list from the esoteric brains behind Filmhash. If you have a list topic, e-mail us!
Besides being the Greatest Band of All Time, The Beatles have also had an illustrious career in film both as themselves and as an inspiration. So as Nowhere Boy enters limited American release, I thought I would share my favorite Beatles-related moments on screen.
A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
Filmed on a shoestring budget, this film is not only a great rock mockumentary that predates This is Spinal Tap, but an all time classic that shows The Beatles as they were: a couple of lads trying to have fun while over their heads in terms of the fan base they were required to deal with. Full of the classic threads of British humor, including puns, wordplay, weird supporting characters, and slapstick comedy, this would still be worth a watch if the principal cast wasn’t actually The Beatles. And to top it all off, the soundtrack album is one of their best.
Kind of a cross between a Bond parody and a Marx Brothers homage and filmed through a haze of marijuana smoke, Help isn’t anywhere near as good as it’s predecessor, but it’s fun nonetheless.
Yellow Submarine (1968)
Easily my personal favorite of those on this list, due to my constant watching as a child, this was an animated film that featured The Beatles traveling to Pepperland across a wild psychedelic landscape to defeat the Blue Meanies. The Beatles themselves only appear as their singing voices and as a live action epilogue, but that doesn’t stop this from being a fun cartoon with an imaginative backdrop that uses several different kinds of animation.
Across the Universe (2007)
Although they are not mentioned by name or never appear, this Julie Taymor (director of the upcoming Tempest film and Spider-Man stage musical) film uses The Beatles’ music as the backdrop to characters who are living through the tumultuous 1960s. While not a landmark film, it’s definitely fun, and like all of Taymor’s projects, absolutely fascinating even when it fails.
Bonus Beatle “cameos:”
Disney’s adaptation of The Jungle Book features four vultures who are commonly understood to be inspired by The Beatles, although they sing barbershop quartet:
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story features an extended Beatles cameo with Jack Black, Justin Long, Paul Rudd, and Jason Schwartzman that spoofs their time with the Maharishi as well as Yellow Submarine. (Warning, language is NSFW).