IMDb > Backbeat (1994)
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Backbeat (1994) More at IMDbPro »

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


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Up 14% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
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Release Date:
15 April 1994 (USA) See more »
He Had To Choose Between His Best Friend... The Woman He Loved... And The Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Band In the World. See more »
A dramatization of the Hamburg, Germany phase of the Beatles' early history. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Nominated for BAFTA Film Award. Another 5 wins & 2 nominations See more »
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User Reviews:
Prehistory See more (28 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Sheryl Lee ... Astrid Kirchherr

Stephen Dorff ... Stuart Sutcliffe

Ian Hart ... John Lennon
Gary Bakewell ... Paul McCartney
Chris O'Neill ... George Harrison

Scot Williams ... Pete Best

Kai Wiesinger ... Klaus Voormann

Jennifer Ehle ... Cynthia Powell
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

Freda Kelly ... Mrs. Harrison
Paul Humpoletz ... Bruno
Christiana Uriarte ... Groupie
Abigail Wrapson ... Groupie

Galit Hershkovitz ... Groupie
Gertan Klauber ... Pimp
Stephan Grothgar ... Barman
Lynn Lowton ... Hooker
Manuel Harlan ... Johannes
Britta Gartner ... Exis
Dirk Winkler ... Exis
Wolf Kahler ... Bert Kaempfert

James Doherty ... Tony Sheridan
Paul Duckworth ... Ringo Starr
Joerg Stadler ... Policeman (as Joerg Stabler)
Alexei Jawdokimov ... Napoleon

Albert Welling ... Doctor
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Zacharee Lee ... Photographic model (uncredited)
Louise Samuels ... Existentialist (uncredited)

Directed by
Iain Softley 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Iain Softley 
Michael Thomas 
Stephen Ward 

Produced by
Paul Cowan .... line producer
Sarah Curtis .... co-producer
Finola Dwyer .... producer
Hanno Huth .... executive producer
Nik Powell .... executive producer
Stephen M. Williams .... co-producer
Stephen Woolley .... producer
Original Music by
Don Was 
Cinematography by
Ian Wilson 
Film Editing by
Martin Walsh 
Casting by
Dianne Crittenden 
John Hubbard 
Ros Hubbard 
Production Design by
Joseph Bennett 
Art Direction by
Michael Carlin 
Josef Plagge 
Set Decoration by
Barbara Herman-Skelding 
Costume Design by
Sheena Napier 
Makeup Department
Richard Glass .... contact lens optician
Pat Hay .... makeup artist
Stephen Rose .... hair stylist
Production Management
Sarah Lucraft .... production manager: Hamburg
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Paul Gray .... third assistant director: Hamburg
Jonathan Karlsen .... crowd assistant director (as Jon Karlsen)
Cliff Lanning .... second assistant director
Josh Robertson .... third assistant director
Mary Soan .... first assistant director
Art Department
David Bowes .... art department assistant
Gordon Fitzgerald .... property master
Andrew Garnett .... scenic artist
Josh Jones .... carpenter
David O'Williams .... props driver
David Williams .... props driver
Bill Stallion .... storyboard artist (uncredited)
Sound Department
Nainita Desai .... assistant sound editor
Peter Elliott .... adr editor
Glenn Freemantle .... supervising sound editor
Dominic Lester .... assistant sound re-recording mixer
Nick Lowe .... dialogue editor
Chris Munro .... sound mixer
Chris Munro .... sound recordist
Robin O'Donoghue .... sound re-recording mixer
Steve Spencer .... foley artist
Steve Spencer .... foley editor
Special Effects by
Tim Baxter .... optical effects
Visual Effects by
Ray Short .... titles and opticals
Simon Dowling .... main title designer (uncredited)
Tony Willis .... effects cameraman (uncredited)
Steve Griffin .... stunts
Camera and Electrical Department
Alan Almond .... camera operator: second unit
Kenny Byrne .... focus puller
Pete Cavaciuti .... steadicam operator
Norman Smith .... gaffer
Mark Tillie .... still photographer
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Annie Crawford .... costume supervisor
Editorial Department
David Barrett .... assistant editor
Jim Heffernan .... negative cutter
Daryl Jordan .... first assistant editor
Scott Klein .... master colorist
Music Department
Terence Blanchard .... musician
David Campbell .... composer: additional music (as David Richard Campbell)
David Campbell .... conductor: strings
David Campbell .... orchestrator: strings
Greg Dulli .... singing voice: "John Lennon"
Don Fleming .... musician: guitar and vocals
Dave Grohl .... musician: drums
Bob Last .... music supervisor
Mike Mills .... musician: bass and vocals
Thurston Moore .... musician: guitar
David Pirner .... singing voice: "Paul McCartney"
Eric Reed .... musician
Transportation Department
Dean Ward .... transportation coordinator
Other crew
Marcus Agar .... publicity team
Jeff Bowen .... location manager
Catherine Charlton .... dialect coach: UK and Germany
Diana Dill .... script supervisor
Simon Downes .... floor runner
Polly Duval .... assistant to producer
Andrew Jack .... dialect coach
Peter Ogunsalu .... personal assistant: Stephen Dorff
Ben Rimmer .... location manager
Christopher Simon .... assistant accountant
Graham Smith .... unit publicist
Fran Triefus .... production coordinator
Will Tyler .... production accountant
Chris Wheeldon .... supervising location manager uk
Julie Adams .... dialect coach (uncredited)
Eddy Joseph .... special thanks
Astrid Kirchherr .... special thanks
Ulf Krüger .... special thanks
Michael Kuhn .... special thanks
Aline Perry .... special thanks
Russell Schwartz .... special thanks
Pauline Sutcliffe .... special thanks
Stewart Till .... special thanks
Klaus Voormann .... special thanks
Mark Wolfe .... special thanks

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated R for strong language, and for sexuality
100 min
Black and White | Color (Eastmancolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »

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 »
Continuity: 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 »
[the Beatles are being deported from Germany after it is discovered that George is underage. The police are escorting them to the train]
John Lennon:[to one of the police officers] You wouldn't pull me leg. It really is the showers you're taking us to, isn't it, Mr. Goebels?
See more »
Movie Connections:
References A Hard Day's Night (1964)See more »
Love Me TenderSee more »


From what did Stuart Sutcliffe die?
How much sex, violence, and profanity are in this movie?
What is Backbeat about?
See more »
12 out of 15 people found the following review useful.
Prehistory, 18 February 2006
Author: dbdumonteil

This is an excellent depiction of the Beatles ' Hamburg days .But the movie real heroes are actually Sutcliffe,Lennon and Astrid.The movie was made some years after Goldman's infamous book and there are hints at an homosexual relation between John and Stu ("you're jealous of me!"Astrid would have said to John!) but the director does not insist and he finally depicts a true friendship.He pits Stu's down-to-earth world against Astrid's chic elitist intellectual one : they go to the pictures to see Melville's "Les enfants terribles" (actually a Cocteau story),and she seems to be very fond of the French culture:Cocteau,Sartre ,Edith Piaf ,Rimbaud,;and she was ahead of her time since fifteen years later,rock singer Patti Smith had the same idols.The scenarists also sketch a parallel between the Klaus Voorman/Astrid relationship and "les enfants terribles" Ian Hart is an excellent John Lennon,in turn cynical,violent,delicate,nasty,hateful;Gary Bakewell resembles Paul,but he is not given a single moment to shine ;as for Georges ,he is completely insignificant.The music is very exciting .Even when Stu (Dorff) sings his ditty in a gleeful croak ,it's rock and roll ! At the end of the movie,the dialog begins to ring false.Everybody acts as if the Beatles were to become huge ;at the time ,who could have predicted such a career?It's a rebuilding of history a posteriori.And if the final lines about Astrid,Stu and Klaus are useful,those about the Beatles are overkill:everybody knows that they were the biggest group of all time.

A must for Beatles' fans anyway.

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Stuart Sutcliffe's accent zingzangspillip
Blue Drinks in bar scene? timmilar
Stuart couldnt play. applejacksoph24
A few little problems... ginger_sling
Stuart Sutcliffe Frida_Eriksson87
Preludin, drugs Hellokiddo
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