Backbeat (1994)

R  |   |  Biography, Drama, Music  |  15 April 1994 (USA)
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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 & 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


£1,133,831 (UK) (15 April 1994)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



| (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Ian Hart was cast a full year before production started. This was because director Iain Softley had seen his performance as John Lennon in "The Hours and the Times". See more »


The train carriage at Hamburg station has a date of 22.2.90 stenciled at the bottom. This will be the date of the last full service, 3 years before filming but 30 years after the action. See more »


Astrid: Tell me something, John Lennon. When you are rich and famous, when you are number one, when your name is in lights and everybody wants to be your friend, when somebody asks you, "Do you remember Astrid in Hamburg?" what will you say?
John Lennon: I'll say she was the girl I always wanted. The girl of me dreams, like Brigitte Bardot with better manners. I might have fallen in love with her. But she fell in love with me best friend. And that was the end of that.
Astrid: I love him, John.
Astrid: I do.
John Lennon: Yeah. Don't we ...
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 Andy Pandy (1950) See more »


Written & Composed by Chuck Berry
© 1958 ABC Music Corp New York
By kind permission of Jewel Music Publishing Co Ltd
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A Flavour of early 60's pop music in the raw
3 October 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I won't attempt to cover the detail that so many others have simply to add. Sheryl plays Astrid very well, she implies the flavour of those early days of popular music very much in the raw. Not musically perfect or electronically sanitised but real thumping music for kids which they (and I was of that time albeit a little younger than the characters) loved. Remember there had been nothing like it before. Even Elvis's influence lacked the raw dark, smoky, sweaty feel of Hamburg, the Cavern Club and many venues that have disappeared from history. Astrid's art work through pictures captured the early feel of the Beatles and their lives/times like no other. When you look at those photos you can almost touch that slightly dangerous era.

The various films about the Beatles early years all contribute varying flavours of that time without individually capturing the whole and I would recommend Beatles/film buffs to look up and watch all versions.

Most of all the individuals.John was THE leader. Paul the workaholic perfectionist. George dedicated to improving his art while not taking any of it too seriously. Stuart doing his best for his friend John but inevitably his destiny (sadly abbreviated) was art. Pete was only transitional and Ringo who had already performed with them became an important factor. Tony Sheridan and others in Hamburg made important contributions and Brian Epstien was the final and very important cog.

Enjoy all of the films.

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

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