6.7/10
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28 user 21 critic

Backbeat (1994)

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

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 5 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

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

Taglines:

5 guys, 4 legends, 3 lovers, 2 friends, 1 band. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

| | |

Release Date:

15 April 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A kezdetek  »

Box Office

Gross:

$2,392,599 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

| (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

As seen in the movie, The Beatles are given "uppers" pills so they can keep performing when they're getting tired. Also, as seen in the shot after John accepts the pills for the first time, the Beatles are performing "Long Tall Sally" like crazed maniacs with eyes bulging and sweating profusely. The reason for this is that the uppers were actually prescription strength speed pills. According to all of the Beatles in various interviews (most prominently in the "Beatles Anthology" film and book), the band was forced to perform up to 8 hours a night, far and away more than a band can possibly play given the normal fatigue that sets in from singing and playing. Whenever they grew tired, the bartenders or the waitresses would often give the Beatles (and other performers) uppers to keep them going. Because of this, and their horrible living conditions in the Kaiserkeller Club's back room, the Beatles were often sweaty, smelly, pale, and shockingly thin (speed pills back then doubled as diet pills) because they rarely bathed, hardly ever washed their clothes, or more importantly, ate healthy meals. However, after Stuart Sutcliffe began dating Astrid Kirchherr, she would feed the band and wash their clothes and allow them access to her bathroom for bathing. All of the Beatles have said that Astrid, more or less, kept them alive and healthy. See more »

Goofs

At the end of the film, text describing subsequent events is superimposed over shots of a beach. One paragraph notes that Klaus Voormann played bass on John Lennon's album "Imagine" and designed the Beatles' "Revolver" album cover, but although the former title is placed in quotation marks, the latter is not. See more »

Quotes

John Lennon: Green tea, anyone?
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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 »

Connections

Version of Stuart Sutcliffe: The Lost Beatle (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Chocolate Drop
Written by Howlin' Wolf
Performed by Howlin' Wolf (as Howling Wolf)
Published by Powerforce Music
Recording courtesy of Flare/??? Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A long, long time ago, in a country not too far away...
2 April 2006 | by (Portland, Oregon, USA) – See all my reviews

I think that it's especially appropriate that "Backbeat" was released right after the 30th anniversary of the Beatles coming to America: everyone was remembering them, and then a really good movie shows their early days. Specifically, it focuses on when they went to Hamburg and met artsy photographer Astrid Kirchherr. I should identify that this movie is for mature audiences only: aside from the language and sex, it shows how John, Paul, George, Pete, and Stu got addicted to speed so that they could keep playing; as a result, they got little sleep and their eyes got all glassy as they laid awake.

A really effective scene is right after Stu leaves the Beatles. Hoping to devote his life to art, he goes out and gets all drunk. Around this time, East Germany's government erects the Berlin Wall. Watching it on TV, Astrid and Klaus hold hands to be supportive of each other. When Stu sees this, he gets all violent. This scene - possibly more than any other in the movie - shows his mental breakdown.

All in all, a great movie. We also see that they first met Ringo in Hamburg. I'm sure that we'll all be remembering "Backbeat" for years to come. Rock on, lads!


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