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A dramatization of the Hamburg, Germany phase of the Beatles' early history.


Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 5 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Gary Bakewell ...
Chris O'Neill ...
Marcelle Duprey ...
John White ...
Sailor 1
Bernard Merrick ...
Sailor 2
Nicholas Tennant ...
Sailor 3
Finola Geraghty ...
Rob Spendlove ...
Arthur Ballard
Charlie Caine ...
Lord Woodbine


A pre-fame Beatles head for the seedy clubs of Hamburg in search of success. The band meet up with a group of trendy German beatniks, one of whom (Astrid Kircherr) bass guitarist Stuart Sutcliffe falls in love with. Whilst best friend John Lennon can only watch, Sutcliffe has to choose between rock 'n roll and a new life in Germany... Written by Douglas Baptie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He Had To Choose Between His Best Friend... The Woman He Loved... And The Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Band In the World. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong language, and for sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






| | |

Release Date:

15 April 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A kezdetek  »

Box Office


$2,392,599 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



| (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In the film, Stephen Dorff as Sutcliffe played a Hofner President Bass with chrome humbucker pick-ups. In real life, Stuart Sutcliffe played one with wood single coil pick-ups. See more »


There are at least one movie posters visible, that aren't from that period. "Svezia, inferno e paradiso" (aka Sweden: Heaven and Hell) movie released in 1968, and it can seen in movie theatre scene (At 01:05). See more »


Stuart Sutcliffe: I like the blonde but I prefer the brunette.
John Lennon: Blondes have more fun.
Stuart Sutcliffe: Says who?
John Lennon: Swedes.
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the very end of the end titles, long after all the other music credits have run, one last music credit appears on the otherwise blank screen: "TIME TO GO HOME, Written by Maria Bird, Published by Minder Music." See more »


References A Hard Day's Night (1964) See more »


Money (That's What I Want)
Written & Composed by Berry Gordy & Janie Bradford (as Janine Bradford) © 1960
By kind permission of Jobete Music (UK) Ltd
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

The Story of Stu Sutcliffe, the lost Beatle...Who cares?!
2 July 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Honestly I expected much more of this film than what I got. As a dedicated Beatles fan I was appalled by what I was watching. First of all the script is clearly flawed, there are a lot of historical inaccuracies, among one of the things that enraged me was that they basically made Paul McCartney out to be the villain of the story when in fact that was the farthest thing from the truth. In fact John wasn't actually that upset when Stu told him he wanted to leave the band he was more upset with the fact that Stu was staying in Germany and not returning with them to Liverpool.

Another thing that didn't anger me, but annoyed the hell out of me was Stephen Dorff's awful Liverpudlian accent. It was just really annoying and it took me completely out of the story. No matter how much Dorff resembles Sutcliffe he is the worst choice to play this role. I don't believe that at the time he was an experienced actor that was prepared for a role as demanding as this one. The dialogue was pretty shoddy, apart from the stuff being uttered by Hart, Bakewell and O'Neill. Honestly every time Sheryl Lee and Stephen Dorff opened their mouths I wanted to puke. The love scenes were cheesy and dated. Also in real life Miss Kirchherr didn't even know a word of English and had to communicate with Stu and the rest of the lads with a dictionary. Wouldn't it had been easier for them to have hired an actual German actress who spoke English to play the role of Astrid rather than an American with a crappy German accent. Also the music being played is very punk rock, a genre and a style that didn't even exist back then. The producer of the film said "this was done to better convey the way the music came across to the audience, at the time", well as "wonderful" as an idea as that is, what it does is to confuse and annoy the audience especially real Beatle fans like myself that have seen footage of the real Beatles performing classics like Long Tall Sally which was by the way massacred in this film. Another thing, the whole movie sells it self as the story of Stu Sutcliffe, the Beatle that could have been. Honestly who cares? What people want to see going in to this film is John Lennon, or Paul McCartney or even George Harrison, or poor Ringo, who doesn't even have lines in this movie he's in it for less than a minute and he's lying on a bed sleeping for the entire two seconds he's on the screen. Could it have hurt the producers to give the poor guy a line or two if merely for the fans' sake, also Ringo was one of their closest friends in Hamburg and even played a few gigs with the Beatles themselves when Pete Best didn't show up to some gigs, which was actually quite often. So it wasn't like they were going to stretch the truth if they gave the actor playing Ringo a bigger role. But no instead they write more crappy love scenes between Dorff and Lee who barely have any chemistry. Poor Astrid Kirchherr, she is portrayed in this movie as a lovesick, slutty harpy who tore Stu and John apart. She was actually very close to all the Beatles even Paul, who had his differences with Stu.

It would have been more interesting (and better) if the film focused not only on Stu, but on all the Beatles and presented the growing problems with the band, like Pete Best's absence and his lack of interest, or the songwriting partnership between John and Paul and the fight for leadership, or George's frustration as the youngest member of the band, or their growing friendship with Ringo.

But not all is bad, there are some good things though not many. Ian Hart is absolutely fabulous as John Lennon, if there is one person who can completely embody the icon it's him. He delivers the lines so well that it feels like he's improvising some of the stuff, and who knows maybe he did. Gary Bakewell looks and acts like a young cocky Paul McCartney and does what he can with what is given to him. He's written like a villain, even though for most of the film we actually agree with him but that's also due to the fact that the writers in trying to make Sutcliffe interesting and sympathetic due the exact opposite, he's just an annoyance and as soon as he's on the screen you want him to go away. Scot Williams and Chris O'Neill also do a pretty good job with the little they're given. Lee's accent is atrocious as is Dorff's and that pretty much messes their whole performances. Jennifer Ehle is passable as Cynthia

No wonder the real Cynthia Lennon was upset when this film came out, she's portrayed as a pathetic melodramatic woman. It's not Ehle's fault though it's more the writers and director's fault. I don't even know what kind of pathetic research Ian Softley did when he wrote the script and made this movie, but obviously he should of done more.

The ending is sappy and melodramatic, but what do you expect from such a cheesy and historically inaccurate biopic.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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