6.7/10
5,304
28 user 22 critic

Backbeat (1994)

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0:31 | Trailer

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

Director:

Iain Softley
Reviews
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 5 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sheryl Lee ... Astrid Kirchherr
Stephen Dorff ... Stuart Sutcliffe
Ian Hart ... John Lennon
Gary Bakewell ... Paul McCartney
Chris O'Neill Chris O'Neill ... George Harrison
Scot Williams ... Pete Best
Kai Wiesinger ... Klaus Voormann
Jennifer Ehle ... Cynthia Powell
Marcelle Duprey Marcelle Duprey ... Singer
John White John White ... Sailor 1
Bernard Merrick Bernard Merrick ... Sailor 2
Nicholas Tennant Nicholas Tennant ... Sailor 3
Finola Geraghty Finola Geraghty ... Model
Rob Spendlove Rob Spendlove ... Arthur Ballard
Charlie Caine Charlie Caine ... Lord Woodbine
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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:

5 guys, 4 legends, 3 lovers, 2 friends, 1 band. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong language, and for sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | Germany

Language:

English | German | French | Russian

Release Date:

15 April 1994 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A kezdetek See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$2,392,599
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Black and White | Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The only appearance of Ringo Starr in the film, laying sick on Stuart's bed, is not the only encounter that the Beatles had with the man who would eventually become their drummer. In reality, they had known Ringo back in Liverpool and he was apart of the Beatles' chief rivals Rory Storm & The Hurricanes (which many have said was a superior band to the Beatles at the time). They even hung out with Ringo in Hamburg and he sat in on jam sessions late at night when the club was nearly empty. Their time spent together in Hamburg would actually start the ball rolling on Ringo replacing Pete Best as the drummer. See more »

Goofs

At the end of the film, text describing subsequent events is superimposed over shots of a beach. One paragraph notes that Klaus Voormann played bass on John Lennon's album "Imagine" and designed the Beatles' "Revolver" album cover, but although the former title is placed in quotation marks, the latter is not. See more »

Quotes

Klaus Voormann: I liked your show. You had fun.
John Lennon: Fun? You call that fun?
Klaus Voormann: What do you call it?
John Lennon: I call it three days and nights without sleep. I call it too long between drinks. I call it dying for a piss. I call it hard fuckin' day's night.
Klaus Voormann: Is he always like this?
Stuart Sutcliffe: No. You'd be surprised. He can be quite bitter and twisted.
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 »

Connections

References ...And God Created Woman (1956) See more »

Soundtracks

Twist and Shout
Written & Composed by Bert Berns and Phil Medley © 1960
By kind permission of EMI Music Publishing Ltd
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A long, long time ago, in a country not too far away...
2 April 2006 | by lee_eisenbergSee all my reviews

I think that it's especially appropriate that "Backbeat" was released right after the 30th anniversary of the Beatles coming to America: everyone was remembering them, and then a really good movie shows their early days. Specifically, it focuses on when they went to Hamburg and met artsy photographer Astrid Kirchherr. I should identify that this movie is for mature audiences only: aside from the language and sex, it shows how John, Paul, George, Pete, and Stu got addicted to speed so that they could keep playing; as a result, they got little sleep and their eyes got all glassy as they laid awake.

A really effective scene is right after Stu leaves the Beatles. Hoping to devote his life to art, he goes out and gets all drunk. Around this time, East Germany's government erects the Berlin Wall. Watching it on TV, Astrid and Klaus hold hands to be supportive of each other. When Stu sees this, he gets all violent. This scene - possibly more than any other in the movie - shows his mental breakdown.

All in all, a great movie. We also see that they first met Ringo in Hamburg. I'm sure that we'll all be remembering "Backbeat" for years to come. Rock on, lads!


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