In His Life: The John Lennon Story (TV Movie 2000) Poster

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8/10
Excellent
earbyc7 October 2009
Despite the reviews to the contrary I thought the film superb. It did capture very well the atmosphere of the time, when Britain emerged from monochrome into colour during the late 50's and early 60's. I know because I was there! The portrayal of The Beatles was incredible, why can I ask have these actors not gone on to better things? The capturing of Lennons early years was a masterpiece, in fact the actor should have gotten some kind of award, that is how Lennon was, a very talented rebel, who helped change the world, and would perhaps have made it a lot better place if that lunatic had not killed him.

I am trying to complete my ten lines but is does get difficult when has said all one wants to say, is that enough yet??
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Very interesting
Anji10912 January 2001
Okay, I admit it. I am a 15 year-old Beatles fan. That wasn't so hard, now was it?

As a Beatles fan, I have read almost every book worth reading, seen almost every documentary or movie worth seeing, and listened to countless interviews. In short, I just about know all there is to know about John Lennon. So when I heard about a new NBC movie based on his life, I had two simultaneous thoughts. The first one was, "Whoo-hoo!" The second was, "Gee, I wonder how badly they're going to distort John's life." It being a TV movie, I didn't expect too much.

I'm glad I got it on tape, because I think that nobody really gets every nuance of a movie the first time they see it. I recently viewed it again, and I think I can now give an better presentation of my opinions.

The movie, as far as movies can go, was very accurate. I only had problems with a few scenes: i.e., the scene with Julia at the docks, the scene where Stuart was beaten up, and the final scene. I'm not sure the first one ever happened; or if it did, the scene may well have been taken from different conversations, and then put together to make it all fit. The second scene I'm not completely sure happened, because according to various people's accounts, it occurred at Litherland Town Hall or at another place after the Beatles (or whatever their name was at the time) played a gig. And according to still others' accounts, it never happened at all. Incredibly confusing, but oh well. The final scene of the movie did in fact happen, yet probably not quite in that way.

I hope I didn't sound like *too* much of a dork just now. I have a tendency to get bogged down with detail, which has frequently been my downfall.

But back to the movie. It really was very good, in terms of historical accuracy, with relatively little dramatization. The actors were very good, too, though the guy playing John's accent was...well, strange, to say the least, and only slightly Liverpudlian. See this movie if you're into the Beatles, or even if you're not. It's a good watch.
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7/10
it would have been neat to be there
Lee Eisenberg23 July 2008
I came across "In His Life: The John Lennon Story" on TV a few nights ago. While not quite attaining the quality of "Backbeat", it certainly gives one a feeling of growing up in Liverpool in the 1950s. One can understand the teenage John Lennon's attitude towards society, especially since his love of rock 'n' roll fueled his political views. I'll probably never be able to understand how terrible it must have been for him to lose his mother so young (Paul also lost his mother young, and Ringo knew only his mother; George was the only Beatle who spent his whole childhood with both parents). I think that I might have heard about Brian Epstein's homosexuality, but I never knew that he was basically smitten with John.

All in all, this is certainly worth seeing, if you can find it. Not a masterpiece, but it sure made me wish that I could have been in Liverpool in the '50s. There will just never be anything else like the Beatles in our lifetimes.
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10/10
EXCELLENT SUMMARY OF LENNON'S EARLY YEARS
KoolJool81710 February 2004
This movie is a real treat for Beatles fans mainly because it was filmed entirely in Liverpool. All the historic sites written about over the years are shown -- the house where John Lennon grew up with his Aunt Mimi on Menlove Ave. (now a part of the National Trust), the Woolton Parish (where John and Paul McCartney first met), Penny Lane, Quarry Bank School for Boys, etc.

It's hard to condense several years of information into a 90-minute film, but this one manages to do it seamlessly. I especially like the importance the film puts on the Marketing and PR brilliance of Brian Epstein as the Beatles' manager.

This is a great "introduction to" film for new Beatles fans, and a great walk down memory lane for older ones.
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10/10
Really Great Flick
Dadumdill14 July 2002
This is a helluva little movie. Yeah, it's so much better than 'Backbeat.' I know the train spotters will quibble with some of the shortcuts they had to take to jam 6 years into 90 minutes but this movie has integrity and they tried to do it right. The music is accurate and well-done and all the actual locations were used. They guy playing Lennon is not a dead-ringer but he grows on you and in the end you do get a sense of how complicated, angry, insecure and talented John Lennon was. If this movie had been on HBO it would have won Emmys. It really smokes on DVD.
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9/10
A good way to spend an afternoon.
midev29 October 2004
I have just recently stumbled across this movie on a cable TV channel here in Thailand. As I have always been interested in the Beatles, I was curious to see how John Lennon's early life panned out. I have to say I really enjoyed the film. The performances of most of the cast were excellent. Notably, Phillip McQuillan as John, but especially Jamie Glover as Brian Epstein. I thought his portrayal of a man battling his career and sexual orientation in those times was outstanding. It was not a sycophantic opinion of John Lennon. It showed him as a lovable rogue and many times just as a rogue. The movie moved along at a brisk pace, which kept the interest high. For me it was a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon well spent.
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1/10
Absolutely Terrible
sonic_youth0819 June 2007
This movie was the worst acted piece of trash I've seen in a long time. For that matter, it was also the worst written piece of trash I've seen in a long time. It amazes me how people can watch this and not cringe at the terribly clichéd and horribly misguided attempts at imitating some of the most well-known figures of the past 50 years. Sure, some of the story may have been accurate, I'll give it that much, but if you're searching for accuracy, and accuracy alone, watch a documentary. The script completely over dramaticised so many events, most notably, any scene between John Lennon and Brian Epstein. Here's a question, did no one find it odd how much of an emphasis they put on John Lennon's supposed hatred of gays? I say supposed because I've never heard of any instance of John Lennon being toted as homophobic, but this movie seemed to have a lot of that. I could go on, but I'd rather not waste any more of my time on it. I will say this, if you want to see a good movie, stay away from this.
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6/10
Entertaining and worthwhile despite a skimpy script
Angus T. Cat7 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I caught this movie on a Saturday afternoon on the True Movies channel here in the UK. It was perfect for a gray Saturday afternoon- just right for forgetting the weather. I've seen several Beatles movies, including "Backbeat", "The Birth of the Beatles", and "The Hours and the Times". I didn't feel that "The John Lennon Story" contributed anything new to the genre of films about the Beatles' early years, but for a movie made for TV and obviously produced on a low budget, it's fairly well done. The events depicted are roughly accurate, and the cast does their best with the roles they're given.

It's a shame that the film couldn't have been produced as a mini series: the script tries to cover all the important moments in Lennon's life up to the Beatles' debut on the Ed Sullivan show, and with only 90 minutes to work with, the pace resembles the Reader's Digest condensed version of John Lennon's life. One minute the boys go to Hamburg, next they're on stage, the German audiences love them, the next minute they're deported, the next minute Stu Sutcliffe says he wants to stay behind with his girlfriend Astrid... Stu's death scene was so rushed it was almost comic. I had fun shouting out at the TV what the characters were going to say -- Cythnia's telling John how happy she is that the band is gaining popularity, oops she looks miserable, yes, the thing she says next is "I'm pregnant" and John immediately responds "Let's get married". The funniest moment is Cythnia saying of her newborn baby Julian, "He's going to be a big rock and roll star like his dad." However, the film doesn't shy from depicting John's dark side. Overall, it's entertaining for veteran Beatles fans and a worthy introduction to the band's history for new ones.
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9/10
Good movie that is mostly accurate
michael-mccarroll22 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
If you are familiar with John Lennon's early life, including the development of his various bands, and the evolution of the Beatles through Germany and the Liverpool scene, then this movie doesn't offer much in the way of history. The history is accurate by most accounts. The actors portraying the Beatles a relatively similar in looks. The music is good, they recreate scenes from the Quarrymen, the German era, and the Cavern Club performances. It is also interesting to note that many of the scenes were filmed on location in Liverpool, so you get to see the actual quarry, Strawberry Fields, etc. I would at least recommend watching this once if your a fan of early rock and roll, and would even purchase it if you are a fan of the Beatles and/or John Lennon.
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8/10
Minor problem with an overall great movie!
princessnesmith29 March 2001
"In His Life: The John Lennon Story" was a great movie, but it could have been a little bit better. I was really impressed with how accurate it was. I thought it was a good drama of the beginning of the Beatles.

However, the movie was supposed to be a John Lennon Story, not the story of the Beatles. All this movie was was a quick story of how Paul met John, how John grew up, la dee dah. Don't get me wrong, I thought it was absolutely wonderful that they actually showed all these important events in John's life, but they didn't outline any of his later years. I suppose the directors of this movie wanted to do something a little bit different then the 80s "John and Yoko: A Love Story."

Besides that minor detail, I LOVED this movie. I thought it was well acted out, a treat to all audiences. It was on the nose accurate! And the actors who performed in it were absolutely wonderful. It almost made me feel like I was watching the REAL Beatles.
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8/10
Quite an insight.
dy1585 August 2006
It's easy to see why the Beatles has always been such a phenomenon. For a person like me who is born in the late 80s actually, I am do aware how huge the four lads from Liverpool are.

As this is about the life of John Lennon, from his early days to the time he was with the Beatles, the TV movie is more focused about him and his life. The time when Beatlemania is everywhere, it was not ignored in the TV movie as well.

Given I am only aware of the Beatles' success, so much of what's happening in the TV movie is an eye-opener for someone like me.

It's quite an insight.
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7/10
not bad
twinstar-222 December 2000
i was interested in this one since i dont' know a lot about John Lennon's early life, and now that the Beatles are all hype again, i made it a point to see this. i was amazed at how little i really did know about John Lennon's life. i didn't entirely know how he treated his wife Cynthia and the birth of his son Julian. i didn't know about Paul McCartney's role in the band from the beginning and how he was actually stuck on drums first. i didn't know they actually started out pretty much in Germany. i didn't know John Lennon was such a homophobe too!

anyway the scenes with him and his mother are just so sweet that i don't know how he was able to pull himself so together after she died. he was definitely the man with the plan. i just wish now there is a continuing story! it ends just when the Beatles finally go to the States.

i loved the actors - philip mcquillan, christine kavanagh, gillian kearney, daniel mcgowan...make the continuing story! :)
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1/10
This Movie Was Terrible
rutger_ncc1169 October 2008
I don't know about all you people saying, "oh this was so accurate", because i watched the first part of this movie. It was awful. Now i know its a TV movie, so its gonna suck. Thats the nature of TV movies (They Suck). For one, with all The Beatles impersonators out there the John and Paul they got were awful. At no point did I believe it was Lennon. At no point did it show the very very dark side of John where he was pretty much a bastard, and I say that as a musician and critic who very much loves the genius of John Winston (not Yoko) Lennon. DID ANYONE SEE THIS MOVIE? Little hints at songs like Strawberry Fields. At no point as a teenager did John come up with the title or concept Strawberry Fields. Yes it was the Orphanage. But he didn't come up with calling it Fields not Field until 1967 when he wrote the song. Same goes with Eleanor Rigby. THAT WAS THE DUMBEST THING EVER. For one Paul wrote the song, but in the movie John and some kid see the tombstone. I'm sorry taking two British people and saying "hey this is John Lennon and this is Paul McCartney" doesn't make it an accurate portrayal. If I could give it a 0 I would.
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10/10
Best Beatle Movie Yet
bascum99-125 November 2001
Much better than 'Backbeat' this is a real treat for Fab Four fans. Filmed at all the actual Liverpool locations (including John Lennon's house, The Cavern, Strawberry Field, etc.) this is a rocking, realistic look at the young Lennon, warts and all.
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8/10
excellent
sandmank18 January 2001
Great directing, editing, photography and acting! It's difficult to make a movie about someone as well known as John Lennon and tell us something new, but the writer and his collaborators do just that. Phillip McQuillan is really exceptional, capturing the heady mix of hurt, anger and brilliance that John Lennon possessed. He has moments that are so right they're eerie. Christine Kavanagh, Blair Brown and Jamie Glover also shine. The mood of the early Beatles performances are captured perfectly by the hand-held camerawork and stylish, edgy cutting.
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6/10
Another life
jc-osms5 July 2015
Interesting to watch this US TV movie on the early life of John Lennon and compare it with Sam Taylor-Wood's recent, acclaimed "Nowhere Boy" which covers almost the same time-frame in the nascent Beatle's life. The latter is a more imaginative, if less judgemental work, but as a big Lennon fan myself, while accepting the inevitable duplication in both, I enjoyed this bio-pic too.

For one thing, the actors playing their famous counterparts did quite resemble them physically, while their acting too was largely competent. Blair Brown is probably the best known actor in the cast, as John's fusty, smothering but ultimately loving Aunt Mimi, who raises him as a child to manhood, to help her hapless but adored sister Julia, the boy's mother.

I'm fairly well versed, like most Beatlemaniacs I'm sure, in the chronology of events portrayed, including the early death of his mother, his key meetings with Stu Sutcliffe, Paul McCartney and future-wife Cynthia Powell as well as the fledgling group's struggles to get to the "toppermost of the poppermost" from it would appear the bottom of the bottomest. I didn't identify too many inconsistencies in the narrative from memory, and appreciated the depiction of the young Lennon as a temperamental, confused teenager, certainly no angel in his attitudes to women, gays and even those closest to him.

There were one or two over-obvious premonitions of future events, the group crossing Abbey Road, for example, or when John and a school-friend stumble on the gravestone of one long-deceased Eleanor Rigby (wasn't that a Paul song?) and later again, almost half-expected him to say, when sitting in the grounds of the local children's home that he wished he could stay in Strawberry Foelds, forever, but with un-flashy TV-movie direction, (although there was a lazy highlights recap at the end) convincing rendering of late 50's / early 60's Liverpool, good acting and fine musical reproduction of the group's early hits, I'd definitely award this film two out of three "yeahs".
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6/10
A poor and somewhat inaccurate portrayal..
jacko0725 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
This film came out in 2000 and I have just watched it all through for the first time. I had attempted to watch it once before but got bored with it. It is no doubt that The Beatles were the best band ever, well in my opinion they were. There are some great documentaries that chronicle the lives of the fab four much better than this low budget TV movie.

I am not going to slate the film to bits because it is based on some facts and it will give some an insight to Lennon and McCartney's coming together. Unfortunately, it strays away from the facts when the real story is far more worthy than this not very good attempt.

It will take one of the great directors to make a proper film about Lennon. Someone like Scorcese, Eastwood, Parker to name a few. I will look forward to it.
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9/10
Excellent bio on John.
drkstr-965-2811591 February 2011
Watched In his Life-John Lennon last night and i thought it was excellent. What i really liked were the real life film locations, such as Lennon's home on Menlove Ave, Strawberry Field, etc. Very well done. The actor who played John did a very good job with it.I hear that a new Lennon film is in the works with Brad Pitt(?)as Lennon. Wonder how he will do with it. The Paul character was well done too. George and Ringo could have had been better. Actors didn't really convey their personalities. Knowing a lot about Lennon's early life already, the film is fairly accurate in its content. After watching this though i can say one thing, now i know why John wrote a song called 'Julia' and never a song called something like 'Me Aunt Mimi'!
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7/10
15 year old English Genius
bbonacci-120 May 2007
I thought this movie was very well done. I am not a Lennon historian so I can not comment on the accuracy, but based on other comments it was pretty good. Speaking of other comments, I realize that there is no way to verify what users post here, and maybe I am REALLY out of touch, but did anyone else think the person who billed themselves as a "15 year old Beatle fan" was WAY too articulate. I am not sure why someone would pose as a 15 year old, or maybe they had someone else write the review for them, but I can not picture someone that old expressing themselves so well.

Being a huge Beatle fan rapidly approaching 50 years old, I am not questioning the fact that someone 15 can be a fan of the Beatles. Their music is timeless and I expect there will be Beatles fans for decades to come. Hopefully this person is that intelligent and can express themselves that well! I would be very happy to see that. I don't think any harm was done if there is something fishy here, but I just felt it was worth pointing out.
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9/10
A good insight to what I did not know about the young John lennon.
phillymc19 May 2001
While I was on Thanksgiving Vacation visiting my relatives in America. I saw the film "In his Life" The John Lennon Story. Being a big Beatle fan I enjoyed it alot.

I was impressed with the Dramatic performances from Irish Actor

Phillip McQuillan. I thought he represented Lennons esscence quite well in this movie. What I would like to know is when is he making a Sequel?
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