Across the Universe (2007) Poster


In the beginning of "Come Together", the man in the station is playing air guitar with his left hand strumming. Probably a reference to Paul McCartney being left-handed.
Director Julie Taymor watched the premiere of Across The Universe sitting next to Paul McCartney. She was nervous about what he would think so when the movie was over she asked if there was anything he didn't like about it and McCartney responded "What's not to like?" McCartney also sang along with "All My Loving" under his breath, a very moving moment for Taymor.
The following items are a list of references to songs by The Beatles:
  • The title of the movie, and many of the characters are named after various songs: Lucy, Jude, Max (Maxwell) Sadie, Mr. Kite, Dr. Robert, Prudence, JoJo, Rita.

  • "Helter Skelter" is heard in the pre-title montage, and is also a reference to the scattered method that the scenes are shown.

  • "Doctor Robert": When Jude, Lucy, and Max are at the party for Doctor Robert (portrayed by Bono) they are seen drinking from a bowl of unknown liquid. This is a reference to the lyric, "Take a drink from his special cup, Doctor Robert."

  • "Get Back": A voice is heard yelling "Get Back!" when Sadie leaves the stage during "Oh! Darling".

  • "Strawberry Fields Forever": During the Thanksgiving dinner scene, Lucy's and Max's grandmother remarks that "the cranberry sauce isn't as tangy as last year," referencing the use of the words "cranberry sauce" uttered by John (which was often misheard as "I buried Paul," adding to the myth that Paul was dead.)

  • "Maxwell's Silver Hammer": At college, Max generally goofs off and causes trouble. This is a reference to the song lyric, "Back in school again/Maxwell plays the fool again." Also, when Max and Jude first meet Sadie, she says they seem harmless, then looks at Max and says, "Then again, you coulda murdered your granny with a hammer." Max is later seen "fixing" a fan with a hammer.

  • "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da": The name Molly (Jude's Liverpool girlfriend) alludes to Molly in the song.

  • "The Word": When discussing Dr. Robert's bus Sadie's manager says "Spread the word".

  • "A Day In The Life": When Jeff Beck's instrumental cover of "A Day In The Life" plays, Jude is reading a newspaper - a reference to the lyric, "I read the news today, oh boy."

  • "I Want You": The famous Uncle Sam recruitment poster is animated to illustrate the song.

  • "Martha My Dear": Jude's mother's name is Martha.

  • "Lovely Rita": Prudence's friend's name is Rita.

  • "Sexy Sadie": Though the character of Sadie is a reference to Janis Joplin, it is also a reference to this song.

  • "Get Back": While JoJo's character is a reference to Jimi Hendrix, it is also a reference to "Get Back" (particularly the first line "JoJo was a man who thought he was a loner/But he knew it wouldn't last.")

  • "Revolution 9": The number of the building where the rooftop concert takes place is #9.

  • "Hello Goodbye": After Prudence enters through the bathroom window, Jude greets her saying "Hello, hello" which can be seen as a reference to "Hello Goodbye" (which was called Hello Hello by McCartney while he was writing it).

  • "She Came In Through the Bathroom Window": When Prudence first enters the apartment through the window, Jude comments "She came in through the bathroom window."

  • "When I'm Sixty-Four": The shipyard employee that gives Jude his paycheck says he thought he'd be doing something different when he was sixty-four.

Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono, Paul McCartney and Olivia Harrison praised the film after seeing it.
Paul McCartney enjoyed a private screening together with director Julie Taymor, and expressed how much he liked the film.
A scene when Prudence locks herself in the closet and has to be serenaded out by the other cast members - is a reference to a real occurrence in 1968 at the ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in India where The Beatles, Mia Farrow, Donovan, and others were studying. Mia Farrow's sister, Prudence, was reclusive and did not leave her living quarters to join the other students, inspiring John Lennon to write the song "Dear Prudence." The film also uses the song as a subtle reference to the fictional Prudence character's reluctance to 'come out of the closet' in relation to her sexual orientation.
Salma Hayek specifically requested to appear in the film. When director Julie Taymor mentioned the role of the Bang Bang Shoot Shoot Nurse, Hayek replied, "Just ONE of the nurses, Julie?"
In an interview, Evan Rachel Wood and Jim Sturgess said that they were at dinner one day and heard that Ringo Starr would be attending a screening in town. They promptly booked it to the theater and watched their movie with one of the original Beatles. Sturgess then asked Starr what he thought of it. He said he enjoyed it very much.
Sadie, with her fiery red hair and passionate temper, is a reference to Janis Joplin. Sadie is even seen drinking directly from a Jack Daniels bottle during her downward spiral, an action that Janis did regularly with Southern Comfort. Even Janis' throaty singing voice is used by Sadie in the movie.
Jude's life progression is similar to John Lennon's. As John Lennon did, Jude first lived in Liverpool then soon after that moved to New York City to work as an artist like Lennon. Jude then encounters trouble with the law and is deported (Lennon was arrested as well, but an attempt to deport him failed).
Daily Variety reported that the filmmakers had to pay the owners of the rights to the songs of The Beatles, publisher ATV/Sony Music and Michael Jackson, about $10,000,000 for the 30 songs used in the film (roughly $330,000 for each song). As a condition of the songs' use, the advertising posters for the film could not mention The Beatles nor the songwriters' names. However, the owners of the rights to the songs of The Beatles were unable to ban the names of John Lennon and Paul McCartney in the film credits.
The musical arrangement of "With a Little Help From My Friends" starts out being closely tied to the one used by the Beatles' original 1967 studio recording, but then it segues into sounding much more like Joe Cocker's radically re-orchestrated 1969 cover version of the song, which he performed at Woodstock (this was the version that was also used as the theme song to the TV show "The Wonder Years" (1988). Cocker performs on a different Across the Universe (2007) track, "Come Together" (with Martin Luther McCoy).
When Jude takes inspiration from the bowl of strawberries, he creates a Jackson Pollock-styled "splatter" painting. This seemingly alludes to Stuart Sutcliffe, once a bassist with The Beatles, who was a painter in the Jackson Pollock style.
The character of JoJo is a clear reference to Jimi Hendrix. Sadie dresses him up in the purple shirt and bandanna - one of Jimi's most famous stage costumes. JoJo also plays a Fender guitar - the same brand played by his prototype, Jimi Hendrix.
Paul McCartney and Yoko Ono were supportive during the film production, and were in touch with director Julie Taymor.
Bono wears a hat with the word YES written across it in reference to John Lennon and Yoko Ono's first meeting in her art studio, where he found a ladder propped against a white wall. After climbing the ladder at the top he found the word "yes". When he asked Yoko why she smiled and said "would you rather it tell you no?"
Jake Gyllenhaal was considered for the role of Jude.
The non-existent joint in the "With a Little Help From My Friends" sequence is non-existent to ensure that the movie is not R-rated.
During the number "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite", some of the text that appears in the background is taken directly from the vintage circus poster that inspired John Lennon to write the song.
Cafe Huh? is a reference to Cafe Wha?, originally in Greenwich Village.
During the number "With a Little Help From My Friends," a prominent poster of actress Brigitte Bardot is a reference to John Lennon's life-long obsession with her.
The psychedelically painted Porsche parked out in front of the (roof top concert) building was a reference to the 356C Porsche Cabriolet owned and driven by Janis Joplin.
Studio head Joe Roth disliked Julie Taymor's initial cut of the film, and had it re-edited to better suit mass audiences. While Taymor's contract gave her "final cut" rights, Roth hoped to persuade her to allow his version of the film to be released instead. This was unsuccessful though, and Taymor threatened a lawsuit if Roth failed to release her version. Moreover, in exchange for participating in the DVD release and the film's publicity campaign, Taymor forced the studio to sign an agreement that all copies of Roth's edit would be destroyed without ever being released to the general public, and that no further re-edits of the film (barring television edits) could ever be released without her express permission.
The father running away when Jude's mother was pregnant with Jude is based on when John Lennon's father left his family when John was only 4 years old.
When Jude decided to stay in America just to be with Lucy and to continue his artwork, it's a possible reference to the late ex-Beatle Stuart Sutcliffe, who decided to stay in Germany just to be with his girlfriend.
Apple Records, the studio owned by The Beatles, is referenced when Jude is trying to draw a green apple, then slices it in half, thus producing the two logos of the company. The close-up shows a sliced apple almost exactly as it is on the logo.
During the number "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite", the blue people surrounding Mr. Kite are a reference to the Blue Meanies from The Beatles animated movie: Yellow Submarine (1968).
The quote "you're either on the bus, or off the bus" is taken from the book "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test," by Tom Wolfe.
When the bus arrives at "Dr. Geary's," Jude asks "What is that place?" To which Sadie replies "headquarters of the League of Spiritual Deliverance." An obvious reference to LSD, not only using the letters, but also referring to the experiences that Timothy Leary claimed to result from LSD.
In the movie Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood)'s boyfriend enlists in the army and is killed in action in Vietnam. In the video for Green Day's song "Wake me up when September Ends" Evan's character's boyfriend enlists in the Marines and is possibly injured or even killed in Iraq.
Early versions of the script had a character named Sgt. Pepper, with "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" set to accompany his scene. The character was scrapped as the script was finalized for production.
The dancing priest in "Happiness is A Warm Gun" (the scene in the hospital) is choreographer Daniel Ezralow.
Some scenes are derived from actual 1960s events, such as the violent student protest at Columbia University. The actual explosion at a New York townhouse was the work of the Weather Underground and took place at 18 West 11th Street in Greenwich Village; a photograph of the actual house appears in the movie. The Beatles were also stopped by police while playing a rooftop concert in London while filming Let It Be (1970).
The rooftop concert toward the end of the film is a reference to the rooftop concert of The Beatles atop Apple Records' headquarters, their final public appearance. The police interrupting the show alludes to how it really was at the Beatles' last concert in London while filming Let It Be (1970).
The painted bus and Dr. Robert (Bono) singing "I am the walrus" is a reference to psychedelic painted bus The Beatles had in their film Magical Mystery Tour (1967), as well as Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters who traveled around the United States in his bus. The punch at the party is of course then "electric" Kool Aid, just like Kesey used at his parties. Finally, when Dr. Robert stops at "Dr. Geary's" place, this refers to Timothy Leary who also experimented with LSD and was often at odds with Kesey.
During the underwater scene, Jude and Lucy pose alludes to John Lennon and Yoko Ono on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine Issue 335 (Jan. 22, 1981). They were photographed by Annie Leibovitz.
This film was released in the United States on John Lennon's birthday (October 9th).
According to Julie Taymor she used 30 songs of The Beatles as a basis for the script that covers events from 1963 to 1969, but in the film those 6 years are compressed into two years.
Max in a veterans hospital having his next drug shot from a nurse (Hayek) is singing "Happiness Is a Warm Gun" while the hospital floor is spinning like a roulette, alluding to men being casualties of war like in a "Russian Roulette."
Director Julie Taymor created the part of Sadie for Dana Fuchs.
The "Why Don't We Do It In The Road" scene is alluding to how 'Brian Epstein' discovered The Beatles.
"Because" is sung by exactly nine actors - a reference to the way The Beatles recorded the song - the 3-part harmony vocal performance among John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison is overdubbed three times to make nine voices in all.
During the "Mr. Kite" scene, Mr, Kite says "Just tune in, turn off, drop out, drop in, switch off, switch on, and explode", which is a reference to a quote from Professor Timothy Leary.
The prosthetic faces of the soldiers during "I Want You" are casts of the face of 'Michael Balderrama', the lead dancer in this sequence.
During "Happiness is a Warm Gun", the dancing priest does the same dance the hippy in "Come Together" does across the crosswalk when he's in the area with the prostitutes.
Jude and his nude drawings of himself and Lucy are based on when John Lennon drew some nude drawings of himself and Yoko.
When Sadie plays at the Fillmore, she is billed as Sadie and the Po Boys, a reference to the Creedence Clearwater Revival album "Willie and the Poor Boys."
Release prints were delivered to some theaters with the fake title "Love and Freedom".
Joe Anderson was originally being looked at to play the role of Jude, but at the audition, he told Julie Taymor that he was the character of Max and would rather audition for that role instead.
The Army officers who tell Daniel's mother that he is dead wear the name tag "Poe" in reference to Lennon's "I am the Walrus".
Sadie's record company is called "Strawberry Jamz" - a play on The Beatles original company "Apple Corps."
During Jeff Beck''s instrumental cover of "A Day In The Life", Jude is seen wearing a mask and cloth cap. This is reminiscent of 'Ringo Star''s wearing the exact same clothing in during his "parading" in A Hard Day's Night (1964).
The stained glass windows in Jude's apartment feature 45 RPM records as the center of the flowers.
While Sadie and the Po Boys are performing, you can see a Gibson J-160E Acoustic Guitar on the stage, the same model played by John Lennon and George Harrison.
Although in the scene outside the high school everyone was dressed in jackets, coats, hats etc... It was actually near 80 degrees while filming. In fact, when the camera cut, they brought umbrellas over the principal actors to keep them in the shade.
The Cavernous club seen in the UK side of the alternating vignettes at the opening of the film is the 'New' Cavern Club in Liverpool. The original Cavern Club where The Beatles played in the 60s was closed in 1973 and the site became a ventilation shaft for Liverpool's underground railway. The new club opened in 1984 occupying about 50% of the original site and built with bricks from the original club.
Julie Taymor was inspired by Rafael Fracacio's Butterfly (2003), a psychedelic short film, to create the lethargic experience in the bus sequence and the "I Am The Walrus" clip, in the movie.
During the performance of Strawberry Fields, the main characters watch TV. In the counter shot we see the same image projected on their faces. This is a reference to the promotional video that the Beatles made to accompany the song when it was released.
The setting of the Mr. Kite scene - a small tent in the middle of a field, into which a disproportionate number of people enter - is a reference to a scene in Magical Mystery Tour (1967), which also appeared as a scene in a comic book that accompanied the original album.
In the scene where Jude and Molly are at the Cavern Club, one of the guitarists on stage is playing a Gretsch Duo Jet guitar, very similar to the one that George Harrison played.
The carnival music playing before Mr. Kite reveals himself is the same music used in a crucial scene in Julie Taymor's previous film Titus (1999).
In the film "Yellow Submarine" during the song "Eleanor Rigby" there is a man trapped in a phone booth. There is a scene in "Across the Universe" when Lucy is calling her mother and she becomes trapped in the phone booth during a riot.
Vermont's Bread & Puppet Theater and its circus band are the inspiration and visual references for many of the characters throughout the "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!" sequence. Notable characters replicated for the movie include Uncle Fatso, Washer Women, White Ladies, and the many armed Mother head. The Bread & Puppet Theater is also noted in the film credits.
Actors singing the song 'Because' are laid in a field with their heads clustered together as a flower and their bodies resembling flower petals. The grass surrounding them represents the field that the flower is in.
The intro of the film version of "If I Fell" is borrowed from The Beatles's intro to "Good Day Sunshine."
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When Jude returns to find that Lucy has gone, and sinks down to the floor in grief, a trumpet - very similar to the one Ringo Starr holds on the cover of' Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band' - is leaning against the wall under the window.
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The song played by the band before the song "For the Benefit of Mr. Kite" is the Washington and Lee Swing.
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Sadie's record company is called "Strawberry Jamz" - a play on the Beatles company "Apple Corps."
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The dancing club that Jude and his girlfriend Molly went to is based on the Cavern Club where the Beatles played in the 60s. You can even see 4 band members dressed in leather, based on the Beatles' outfits back in the late 50s.
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French visa # 118210.
Although the opening of the film is set at a "Dayton High School" in Dayton, Ohio, no such school exists or ever existed in Dayton. In the 1960s, Dayton had several high schools, none of which had Wildcats as a mascot.

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