Over two "typical" days in the life of The Beatles, the boys struggle to keep themselves and Sir Paul McCartney's mischievous grandfather in check while preparing for a live television performance.

Director:

Richard Lester

Writer:

Alun Owen (original screenplay)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
The Beatles ... The Beatles
John Lennon ... John
Paul McCartney ... Paul
George Harrison ... George
Ringo Starr ... Ringo
Wilfrid Brambell ... Grandfather
Norman Rossington ... Norm
John Junkin ... Shake
Victor Spinetti ... T.V. Director
Anna Quayle ... Millie
Deryck Guyler ... Police Inspector
Richard Vernon ... Man on Train
Edward Malin Edward Malin ... Hotel Waiter (as Eddie Malin)
Robin Ray Robin Ray ... T.V. Floor Manager
Lionel Blair ... T.V. Choreographer
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Storyline

A day and a half in the life of the Fab Four leading up to a televised concert gig. The boys seem to be constantly on the run, from their crazed fans and from their manager, who is constantly trying to rein them in. Sir Ringo Starr however is arrested and still isn't in the studio half an hour before air time. With Sir Paul McCartney's grandfather available for additional comical relief, the group performs a dozen or so songs. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

6 exciting new songs! (Posters). See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Musical

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Premiered in England on the eve of Sir Ringo Starr's twenty-fourth birthday. See more »

Goofs

During the performance of "She Loves You" a man in a light-colored outfit can be seen running through shot on two of the cameras views as seen in the monitors (John can be glimpsed being momentarily distracted by him). No reference is made to this major error, not even by the director who otherwise is shown reacting in shock when Paul's grandfather appears on stage. See more »

Quotes

T.V. Director: I won an award.
John: A likely story.
T.V. Director: It's on the wall in my office.
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Crazy Credits

Opening credits: All characters and events in this film are fictitious. Any similarity to actual events, or persons living or dead, is purely coincidental See more »

Alternate Versions

In France the film was titled "4 Garcons Dans Le Vent" which translates as "4 Boys in the Wind." See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Crawling Hand (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

If I Fell
(1964) (uncredited)
Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney
Performed by The Beatles
Published by Capitol Records
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User Reviews

 
Pipers At The Gates Of Dawn
26 October 2004 | by slokesSee all my reviews

What can you say about the film that started it all? Where popular culture as we know it took shape in a "let there be light" Genesis kind of way? Where pop rock became worth listening and not just dancing to? Where John, Paul, George, and Ringo became firmly established as individual personalities as well as the premier entertainment troupe of the 20th century?

Only this: "A Hard Day's Night" is good, yes, and significant, but it's fun, too. Still, and above everything else, it's a lot of fun.

"A Hard Day's Night" is probably more responsible for the Beatles' enduring image in our culture than any single song they made. It came out in 1964, within a few short months of the Fab Four's sensational appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show that truly launched them globally, though they had been making great pop music for more than a year which was all the rage across Europe. "Hard Day's Night" captures the band when they were still relatively provincial and innocent, not yet in the "marijuana for breakfast" phase they were well into the following year when they made the zanier "Help!" LSD, Yoko, and the Maharishi were not even on the radar, nor was the psychedelic era the Beatles would usher in less than three years later. Finally "Hard Day's Night" clicked not only with the kids but the adults, who previously viewed the band as a motley band of overplayed haircuts. It gave all the generations of the time something they could agree on. These guys were good.

The story of "Hard Day's Night" is thin by design. We see the Beatles in slightly fictionalized form, with a manager named Norm and a roadie named Shake, traveling by train across England and ducking into a studio to make a TV appearance. Paul has his grandfather along, a codgy old troublemaker who nevertheless is "very clean." The irony of the movie is that the old guy, played by British TV star Wilfrid Brambell, is the one that continually ruffles the feathers of society while the Boys themselves play things fairly straight and legal.

Grandpa has the best take on the meager storyline: "I thought I was supposed to be getting a change of scenery, and so far I've been in a train and a room and car and a room and a room and a room!" Brambell works very well in the film, a needful focal point in a film that requires some bearings in order to work. Of the Beatles themselves, Ringo makes the strongest single impression by showcasing his vulnerable side while John probably has the best moments with his wacky, caustic humor. George shines, too, in a scene with a trend-happy fashion maven, and married one of the girls on the train in real life, so he did pretty well here, too.

Is it the best Beatles film? I think "Yellow Submarine" is better for what it's worth, but "Hard Day's Night" is the best film actually featuring the Beatles for who they were and what they were about.

Great music, too. The sequence on the train with "I Should Have Known Better" still works as a video, with all the baggage-car bric-a-brac thrown in for ambiance. Then there's "Can't Buy Me Love," which shows the Beatles in full-tilt boogie mode after momentarily escaping their studio confines. "And I Love Her" has some of the film's greatest camera work, very moody and intense in its focus on how well the Beatles worked in a TV studio setting.

As a film, "Hard Day's Night" lacks a bit of heart. Not that it's cold or cruel, just a trifle too detached to get enveloped by, the way one does with great cinema. I don't really miss the fact that "Help!" wasn't a true sequel; "Hard Day's Night" works for its 90-plus minutes but doesn't leave you wanting more. The relationships between the band members, and with Grandpa, Norm, and Shake, are left unexplored, and you don't really miss that as much as you maybe should.

But as a collection of small, witty moments interspersed with great music, "Hard Day's Night" is a pleasure through-and-through. Like the scene where John cuts the tailor's measure ("I now declare this bridge open") or has that absurd corridor chat with Anna Quayle ("She looks more like him than I do.") Or when Ringo tells the crotchety train passenger who complains he "fought the war for your sort" that "I bet you're sorry you won!"


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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | German | French

Release Date:

7 July 1964 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

A Hard Day's Night See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$560,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$50,445, 3 December 2000

Gross USA:

$1,480,356

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,360,561
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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