6.7/10
4,956
28 user 20 critic

Backbeat (1994)

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

Director:

Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

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

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Ad

Genius (TV Series 2017)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A series which explores how patent clerk Einstein could not get a teaching job or doctorate in his early life, yet managed to go on to solve the secrets of the universe.

Stars: Geoffrey Rush, Johnny Flynn, Nicholas Rowe
Two of Us (TV Movie 2000)
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

John Lennon and Paul McCartney have a chat about their lives, and if "The Beatles" will ever reunite. The movie takes place in 1976.

Director: Michael Lindsay-Hogg
Stars: Aidan Quinn, Jared Harris, Ric Reid
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

An account of The Beatles during the Hamburg years, their signing with Brian Epstein and their inevitable rise during the early sixties.

Director: Richard Marquand
Stars: Stephen MacKenna, Rod Culbertson, John Altman
The Linda McCartney Story (TV Movie 2000)
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
Director: Armand Mastroianni
Stars: Elizabeth Mitchell, Gary Bakewell, David Lewis
Documentary | Biography | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A biography of the rock music star.

Director: Andrew Solt
Stars: John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Paul McCartney
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A fictionalized account of what may have happened when John Lennon and Brian Epstein went on holiday together to Spain in 1963.

Director: Christopher Munch
Stars: David Angus, Ian Hart, Stephanie Pack
Let It Be (1970)
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The filmed account of the Beatles's attempt to recapture their old group spirit by making a back to basics album, which instead drove them further apart.

Director: Michael Lindsay-Hogg
Stars: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison
Nowhere Boy (2009)
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A chronicle of John Lennon's first years, focused mainly in his adolescence and his relationship with his stern aunt Mimi, who raised him, and his absentee mother Julia, who re-entered his life at a crucial moment in his young life.

Director: Sam Taylor-Johnson
Stars: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Kristin Scott Thomas, Anne-Marie Duff
Imagine (TV Movie 1972)
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A surreal, half-fiction, half real life footage of a day in the life of John lennon and Yoko Ono, composed to music from John's historic 'Imagine' album and Yoko's 'Fly'.

Directors: Steve Gebhardt, John Lennon, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Fred Astaire, John Lennon, Yoko Ono
The Beatles Anthology (TV Mini-Series 1995)
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.4/10 X  

An autobiographical documentary of the greatest of the rock bands.

Stars: Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
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
Edit

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:

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:

 »
Edit

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
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

A scene dated March 1961 has George being wished a happy 18th birthday. George's actual birthday was in February (as was even mentioned earlier in the film.) See more »

Quotes

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.
[pauses]
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 »


Soundtracks

Long Tall Sally
Written & Composed by Richard Penniman [Little Richard], Enotris Johnson & Robert 'Bumps' Blackwell
By kind permission of Peermusic (UK) Ltd
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
As a Beatles fan, I found I enjoyed this much more than I expected to
18 December 2009 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

This is a film above all about the triangular relationship between John Lennon, Stuart Sutcliffe, and Astrid Kirchherr (four-sided if you include Astrid's boyfriend Klaus Voormann, five-sided if you include the band John and Stu were members of: the Beatles) -- a film about real events, about love and life and tragedy -- played out to a backdrop of the Beatles' visits to Hamburg and their performances there.

Based primarily on interviews with Stuart's mother and sister and with Astrid Kirchherr, it's been often criticised as a 'crude caricature', for its factual inaccuracies about the Beatles' time in Hamburg, about the musical performances portrayed, for the one-dimensional portrayal of the "minor" characters, including Paul, George, Pete and John's girlfriend Cynthia, and even for the fact that the actors aren't exact doppelgangers for the characters they portray (they're pretty good likenesses, though).

I can accept all these criticisms, but somewhat to my surprise they didn't spoil the film at all for me. If you want detailed accuracy about the Beatles, this is not for you. Read the books. But if you want to see a film which tells a good story well, and which will give you a real feel for the vibes of the time and for the characters it claims to portray, and an insight into one important aspect of the early history of the Beatles, I think you will enjoy this. I thought I wouldn't, but I did. And I will watch it again. And, did I say? it's about the Beatles.

This is not a biopic, nor does it pretend to be, but it does claim to tell the story of Stu and Astrid, and I thought it did that very well. I don't object at all to the use of some artistic licence, such as Astrid's excellent English. Contrary to some other reviewers, I found the portrayal of the quiet, enigmatic Stu by Stephen Dorff quite excellent, a perfect foil to the bitter, sometimes thoughtful, and wholly charismatic John Lennon, portrayed just as well by Ian Hart.

I first heard the Beatles just before their first British record "Love Me Do" became a minor hit in Autumn 1962. This film portrays events mostly more than a year before then, and even longer before their last stint in Hamburg, at the Star-Club in December 1962, the subject of a famous amateur recording. Apart from the Polydor recordings by Bert Kampfaert, we have little to judge objectively what the band sounded like in 1960-61, but judging from the 1962 live recordings, and the comments of those who heard them before they were famous, I'm quite prepared to believe the Beatles sounded then very much like the band used for the soundtrack to this film. OK, the band aren't the Beatles, and some of the details are a bit askew, but the rock-and-roll standards portrayed were all part of the Beatles' act, and are performed much as they performed them. Everyone tells how Stu Sutcliffe often played turning away from the audience, as often seen in the film. It's hardly a realistic portrayal of the Hamburg clubs on the Reeperbahn in the early 1960s, but I've seen worse, and if you have little idea what life was like for the band before 1962, this will not be a bad introduction.

Comparisons with "A Hard Day's Night" are ingenuous: that was a film made by the Beatles early in 1964 after they were famous (in Britain at least); this is a film about the band when they were teenagers, before pretty much anyone knew them outside Liverpool and Hamburg. Not the same at all. And of course, they didn't sound back then like the Beatles' later recordings, or even like they did on their tours of the US and elsewhere. Perhaps the only recording you can really compare is their first album "Please Please Me" (and the live Star-Club recording, if you have it).

It's a film, for goodness' sake. I enjoyed it as one, and I hope you do too. The characters rang true, especially Ian Hart as John Lennon, and the story is well worth telling, and well worth watching. And, did I say? it's about the Beatles.


10 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?