The Beatles appeared in five motion pictures, most of which were very well received. The exception was the (mostly unscripted) television movie Magical Mystery Tour which was panned by critics and the public alike. All of their films had the same name as their associated soundtrack albums and a song on that album.
Films starring The Beatles:
A HardDay's Night
The Beatles had a successful film career, beginning with A Hard Day's Night (1964), a loosely scripted comic farce, sometimes compared to the Marx Brothers in style. A black-and-white film, it focused on Beatlemania and the band's hectic touring lifestyle and was directed by the up-and-coming Richard Lester, who was known for having directed a television version of thesuccessful BBC radio series The Goon Show as well as the off-beat short film The Running, Jumping and Standing Still Film, with Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan. A Hard Day's Night is a mockumentary of the four members as they make their way to a London television programme. The film, released at the height of Beatlemania, was well-received by critics, and remains one of the most influential jukeboxmusicals.
In 1965 came Help!; an Eastmancolour extravaganza, which was also directed by Lester. The film was shot in exotic locations (such as Salisbury Plain, with Stonehenge visible in the background; the Bahamas; and Salzburg and the Tyrol region of the Austrian Alps) in the style of a James Bond spoof along with even more Marx Brothers-style zaniness: For example, the filmis dedicated "to Elias Howe, who, in 1846, invented the sewing machine." It was the first Beatles film filmed in colour.
Magical Mystery Tour
The Magical Mystery Tour film was essentially McCartney's idea, which was thought up as he returned from a trip to the U.S. in the late spring of 1967, and was loosely inspired by press coverage McCartney had read about Ken Kesey's MerryPranksters' LSD-fuelled American bus odyssey. McCartney felt inspired to take this idea and blend it with the peculiarly English working class tradition of charabanc mystery tours, in which children took chaperoned bus rides through the English countryside, destination unknown. The film was critically dismissed when it was aired on the BBC's premier television network, BBC-1, on Boxing Day — a dayprimarily for traditional "cosy, family entertainment". While the film has historical importance as an early advance into the music video age, at the time many viewers found it plotless and confusing. Compounding this culture clash was the fact that the film was made in colour and made use of colour filters for some of the scenes - particularly in a sequence for "Blue Jay Way". In December 1967practically no-one in the UK owned a colour receiver, the service only having started a few months earlier.
The animated Yellow Submarine followed in 1968, but had little direct input from The Beatles, save for a live-action epilogue and the contribution of five new songs (including "Only a Northern Song", an unreleased track from the Sgt. Pepper sessions). It wasacclaimed for its boldly innovative graphic style and especially stinging pangs of heartbreak, along with the soundtrack. The Beatles are said to have been pleased with the result and attended its highly publicised London premiere. Regarding the voices provided by voice actors for The Beatles in the film, each one of The Beatles thought his own voice was not quite right, whilst saying that the otherthree were perfect.
Let It Be
Let It Be was an ill-fated documentary of the band that was shot over a four-week period in January 1969. The documentary — which was originally intended to be simply a chronicle of the evolution of an album and the band's possible return to live performances — captured the prevailing tensions between the band members, and in this respect it...