Top 35 Best Beatles Movies To Watch

Shivam ParasharShivam-Updated Jan 17, 2023

Top 35 Best Movies Based On The Beatles


There is no denying that The Beatles are credited with influencing just about every mainstream rock band that has come into being in the past five decades.


Even though the members of the Fab Four were only together for about eight years, their presence continues to be almost as powerful today as it was during the 1960s.


Needless to say, their impact isn't just musical as their body of work has gone on to inspire artists of all creative disciplines.


Their beloved compositions, which served as springboards for posters, films, books, and paintings, swept across the United Kingdom during the first half of the 1960s and, by 1966, started to make their presence felt across the Atlantic and, indeed, the world over.


Since the band was not only a musical but also a cultural phenomenon, it is not surprising that the reverberating effect of Beatlemania went on to inspire a host of motion pictures and critically acclaimed documentaries.


So, we strive to fetch you a list of the best movies and documentary features that not only help you relive the intoxicating impact of The Beatles but also help you comprehend what its members were like in real life.


Before we start with our compilation of titles, we'd like to notify you that there is a possibility that some of them might end up giving you a serious case of Beatlemania.



35. Secrets (1992)


Secrets (1992)


If you thought that you were the biggest fan of The Beatles, you probably hadn't met the teenagers who featured in this Michael Pattinson directorial venture.


The story follows five over-enthusiastic and sneaky teens who get stuck in the basement while trying to catch the Beatles in a local hotel.


As they continue to wait to be rescued, a lot of their well-kept secrets start coming to the fore.


The motion picture primarily takes place in a basement underneath a Melbourne concert venue where the band is set to make its much-awaited Australian debut.


While we get to see how obsessed the teenagers are with the band, what makes this otherwise mediocre movie worth seeing is that each of their identities revolves around the Beatles.



34. It Was Fifty Years Ago Today! The Beatles: Sgt. Pepper & Beyond (2017)


It Was Fifty Years Ago Today! The Beatles: Sgt. Pepper & Beyond (2017)


This documentary from filmmaker Alan G. Parker tries its best to provide a fascinating insight into the creation of one of the most ground-breaking and influential albums in music history.


The seminal album, which was described by Rolling Stone magazine as "the most important rock & roll album ever made" at the time, not only changed the course of music but also went on to become one of the best-selling records of all time.


It is not surprising then that this project includes interviews from fellow musicians, family members, and journalists, who go on to track the impact of the album.


Also, there's a ton of original and exclusive never-seen-before footage to look forward to in this one.




33. Lennon Naked (2010)


Lennon Naked (2010)


Starring Christopher Eccleston as John Lennon and directed by Edmund Coulthard, this television biographical film casts a light on the life of John Lennon between 1967 and 1971.


Even though this obscure feature aims to chronicle Lennon's life as the Beatles are set to fall apart, it doesn't really hang together much as a drama and, therefore, will only appeal to Beatles enthusiasts.




32. All This and World War II (1976)


All This and World War II (1976)


In this musical documentary directed by Susan Winslow, we get to see Beatles songs being covered by a variety of musicians against a montage of World War II film clips.


A relatively tough feature to chance upon today, it does a decent job of merging the horrors of the catastrophic war to the peaceful tunes of The Beatles; an idea, which, whether for the good or bad, makes it stand out.


Needless to mention, All This and World War II turned out to be contentious for a nation that was still reeling from the repercussions of the dreadful Vietnam War.


Even though the motion picture ceased to be released officially following its forgetful run in theaters, bootleg copies of the same have been readily available ever since.




31. Magical Mystery Tour (1967)


Magical Mystery Tour (1967)


Only the third film to have featured the band, Magical Mystery Tour has also been directed by members of the Fab Four themselves.


Not only does this surreal classic project blends sketches, ideas, and visual concepts with some of the much-loved tunes of the band but it also rides on its largely improvised script to strike a chord with the audience.


Paul McCartney was credited with conceptualizing and leading the title, which opened to rather underwhelming reviews by critics and audiences alike.


Magical Mystery Tour was released in select theatres in both the United States of America and the world over.




30. Beatles (2014)


Beatles (2014)


Based on the novel of the same name by Norwegian author Lars Saabye Christensen, this Peter Flinth directorial venture traces the journey of four friends who grew up in Oslo in the sixties.


They were so taken by the aura and music of the Fab Four that they started to think of themselves as members of the band.


This decent coming-of-age tale chronicles the life of four enthusiastic teenagers who decide to come up with a band of their own during a time of great political upheaval.


Beatles, the movie, can be seen for the charming character projections of the chosen boy performers.




29. Meeting the Beatles in India (2020)


Meeting the Beatles in India (2020)


When The Beatles visited India, it not only made headlines but also inspired a ton of other prominent personalities to give the nation a try.


Director Paul Saltzman was no different. In this documentary, we see the man reminiscing his time with the Fab Four in India while they were on a spiritual retreat under the mentorship of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1968.


While familiarizing the viewers with his time in the country, the filmmaker also goes on to elucidate the power of meditation and he does so through the eyes of innocence and childlike wonder.


Ardent fans of the band would be delighted to learn that its members were at their most relaxed and creative while in India.




28. Birth of the Beatles (1979)


Birth of the Beatles (1979)


Helmed for the screen by Richard Marquand, Birth of the Beatles tries to dramatize the band's Hamburg years, their signing with Brian Epstein, and their phenomenal rise during the early sixties for the big screen audience.


Since it was the only Beatles biopic produced during John Lennon's lifetime, it was only fitting that it focused not only on the band's early history but also on the termination of drummer Pete Best and the death of bassist Stu Sutcliffe.


Best also served as a technical advisor on the movie which aimed to bring to light the events that led up to one of the most electrifying watershed moments in 20th-century pop culture.




27. The Beatles and India (2021)


The Beatles and India (2021)


This rather unique documentary feature attempts to chronicle the enduring love affair between The Beatles and India that started more than half a century ago.


A ton of rare archival footage, photographs, and eyewitness accounts have been used to showcase how the band impacted a certain section of people within the country, while at the same time getting influenced by India's rich history and hospitality.


Fans of the Fab Four get to see them abandoning their high-octane celebrity lives in the West to live a remote life for a few days in a Himalayan ashram; all in search of spiritual bliss.


The Beatles and India need to be seen purely because it is the first serious exploration of how India may have helped shape the evolution of the iconic band.


Add to that the fact that their visit also led to the bridging of two vastly different cultures.




26. Beatles Stories (2011)


Beatles Stories (2011)


This Seth Swirsky-helmed project shows us how devoted a follower Swirsky was of The Beatles during the 1960s. As he continued to age, a realization dawned upon him that he got helplessly drawn to stories that people used to narrate about his favorite band.


So, he decided to purchase a video camera and set out on an 8-year journey to film the personal stories of fans and friends of the band.


Needless to say, this documentary is a commendable initiative taken by Seth Swirsky to bring several "Beatles Stories" to light.




25. The Hours and Times (1991)


The Hours and Times (1991)


This Christopher Münch directorial venture, which stars David Angus and Ian Hart in the lead, is a fictionalized account of what may have happened when artist John Lennon and manager Brian Epstein went on holiday together to Spain in 1963.


Even though this 60-minute-long feature film is inspired by the real-life vacation that the duo took to Barcelona, its historical accuracy has often been the subject of scrutiny by film pundits.


Be that as it may, this interesting footnote in Beatles cinema is certainly worth visiting for ardent fans of the band.




24. Beatles: How the Beatles Changed the World (2017)


Beatles: How the Beatles Changed the World (2017)


Written and directed by Tom O'Dell, this is yet another documentary that combines interviews and rare archival footage to trace the fascinating story of The Beatles and how their mammoth success led to a cultural, social, and musical revolution in the bygone century.


Props to the makers for not tracking the triumph of the band chronologically and, instead, tracing the impact that the four band members had on popular culture at the time.


While we do not get to see the Fab Four talking a lot in this feature, enough inputs have been provided by their friends and associates to put things into perspective.



23. John & Yoko: Above Us Only Sky (2018)


John & Yoko: Above Us Only Sky (2018)


Helmed ably by Michael Epstein, this documentary strives to tell the untold story of John Lennon's 1971 album Imagine; all while bringing to light the creative collaboration between Lennon and Yoko Ono.


Lennon agreed to capture the project on camera at Yoko's insistence. Therefore, not only do the viewers get to see the much-admired musician recording with George Harrison and a nattily dressed producer Phil Spector but they also discover interview clips and never-seen-before footage in this one.


Needless to mention, it wouldn't exactly be a hyperbole to call this documentary a treasure trove of home videos.



22. All Together Now (2008)


All Together Now (2008)


Director Adrian Wills fetches us the lesser-known story of George Harrison's friendship with Cirque founder Guy Laliberté.


Their meeting went on to become historical in the sense that it eventually led them to bring together the 20th century's most popular music with the world's greatest circus performers.


Needless to say, All Together Now does an amazing job of showcasing the making of the Beatles and Cirque du Soleil collaboration project, Love.



21. Ringo (1978)


Ringo (1978)


Ringo Starr features as both a fictionalized version of himself and his fictional half-brother "Ognir Rrats" in this made-for-television comedy film that has been helmed by Jeff Margolis.


We catch the titular character being stressed out by fame and, thus, deciding to trade places with a nincompoop who looks exactly like him.


However, the problems kick in sooner than expected. While this movie may not have gone too mainstream, it does a fair job of trying to demonstrate the possibility of the most famous rock drummer in the world getting bored with his life as an iconic pop star.



20. Backbeat (1994)


Backbeat (1994)


This on-screen dramatization of the Hamburg, Germany phase of The Beatles' early history prompted George Harrison to reportedly walk out of the screening five minutes into the movie.


While even Paul McCartney didn't seem to care much for it either, the feature film opened to mostly positive reviews from critics upon its theatrical release.


However, while McCartney may not have had a ton of great things to say about the movie, he couldn't withhold praise for Stephen Dorff, who delivers an astonishing performance as Stu Sutcliffe.



19. The Beatles: The First U.S. Visit (1991)


The Beatles: The First U.S. Visit (1991)


This Maysles brothers documentary does its best to cover the group's charm and musical euphoria at its peak; especially in the United States of America.


While the viewers get to catch the first arrival of Beatlemania in America, it also allows them to see the band's historical appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show.


Add to that the fact that the Beatles' trips to New York City, Washington, D. C., and Miami Beach have also been documented.


Additionally, if you are keen to look at footage of the Beatles in hotel rooms, this is the documentary to visit.



18. The Compleat Beatles (1982)


The Compleat Beatles (1982)


Helmed by Patrick Montgomery, this two-hour documentary has Malcolm McDowell narrating the history of the Beatles. While there is ample space given to the legendary British rock band's early days in Liverpool, England, a fair amount of time has also been allotted to projecting their eventual dissolution.


Live footage and photographs of the Fab Four are also included in the project. In addition, the viewers duly get to see interviews with many of the band's closest associates in this one.



17. Two of Us (2000)


Two of Us (2000)


Two of Us takes place in the hours following a 1976 episode of Saturday Night Live. The film, which is set years after the breakup of the Beatles, showcases Paul McCartney paying an unexpected visit to John Lennon in New York City.


A dramatized account of real-world events, it revolves around Lorne Michaels's announcement that he is willing to offer The Beatles $3,000 to come together on his show.


Lennon and McCartney claimed to be in each other's company when the episode aired. In fact, they even jokingly talked about taking Michaels up on the offer.


Be that as it may, Two of Us does a fine job of trying to look inside the minds of the two most famous Beatles.


Director Mark Stanfield, who is also credited with directing the documentary Let It Be, has helmed this project.



16. Yesterday (2019)


Yesterday (2019)


Heavy on the music of The Beatles and starring Himesh Patel and Lily James in crucial roles, Yesterday tracks the journey of a struggling musician, Jack, who meets with an accident during a blackout and wakes up to find out that only he remembers The Beatles.


Later, we catch him singing songs from the incredulously popular band to make a name for himself. Yesterday, which is a lighter fare than many of Danny Boyle's bleak and hard-hitting dramas, takes a rather tricky step of trying to explore a world without The Beatles.


Even though the motion picture takes a trite route at showcasing the rise and fall of a musical artist, it is a delightful romantic comedy that thrives not only on its interesting concepts but also on its engaging lead performances and music.



15. I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1978)


I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1978)


This historical comedy film has been written and helmed by Robert Zemeckis in his feature film debut. It is set in the early 1960s when The Beatles seemed to be ruling the western world with their enormously popular music.


The story, which is set in the year 1964, follows six teenagers from New Jersey who run off to see The Beatles perform on Toast of the Town.


While they hope against hope to meet their idols, they don't really have tickets to help their dreams materialize.


However, through the course of their journey, they get to learn a ton of important things about friendship and growing up.


The motion picture is set amidst the hysteria of the band's first trip to the United States of America.


It is an amusing, poignant, and pleasant comedy that does a satisfactory job of helping the current generation comprehend what the atmosphere was like at the start of Beatlemania.



14. Living is Easy With Eyes Closed (2013)


Living is Easy With Eyes Closed (2013)


Written and directed by David Trueba and starring Javier Camara as a Beatles-obsessed schoolteacher, Living is Easy With Eyes Closed derives its title from a lyric in the song "Strawberry Fields Forever", from the Beatles.


Set in 1966 and purportedly inspired by a true story, the film showcases a diehard middle-aged Beatles fan who pursues the chance to meet John Lennon in Spain.


The seriocomedy ended up grabbing six Goya Awards, including Film, Director, Original Screenplay, and Actor. While it was selected as the Spanish entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 87th Academy Awards, it failed to receive a nomination.



13. That Thing You Do! (1996)


That Thing You Do! (1996)


Believe it or not, not many mainstream features have been able to capture the magic of Beatlemania like this Tom Hanks directorial venture.


Set during the vibrant 1960s, it tracks the journey of a pop-rock band that goes on to recruit jazz lover Guy, whose refreshing beats help them gain name and fame in no time.


However, they are also one of the many bands that try to emulate the style of The Beatles. Even though the screenplay of this motion picture is devoid of Beatles music and does not refer to the popular band as often, it does use its fictitious band, The Oneders, to directly correlate to the early days of The Beatles.


The titular song of the movie was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song.



12. Nowhere Boy (2009)


Nowhere Boy (2009)


Based on Julia Baird's biography of her half-brother, the musician John Lennon, this British biographical drama motion picture has been helmed by Sam Taylor-Wood in her directorial debut.


The biopic does a commendable job of not only covering the legendary rock star John Lennon's adolescence but also his uneasy relationship with his mother.


In addition, fans also get an idea about the creation of his first band, The Quarrymen, which, eventually, evolved into The Beatles.


Those who have been admirers of the music of the band should give this feature a try for it strives to tell its life story through the eyes of a young John Lennon before it came into being.


Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who shares an uncanny resemblance to John Lennon, plays the artist convincingly in this one.



11. Across the Universe (2007)


Across the Universe (2007)


Helmed for the screen by legendary Broadway director Julie Taymor, Across the Universe may have come and gone with far less fanfare than it deserved, but it comprises a story that is definitely worth telling.


The film, which is set in the 1960s, introduces its viewers to an upper-class American girl, who is smitten with an impoverished Liverpudlian artist amidst the rising popularity of the Beatles and the raging Vietnam War.


Even though the film has a slightly uneven screenplay, it thrives on the wonderful performances of Jim Sturgess and Evan Rachel Wood.


Also featuring special appearances from Bono and veteran Beatles cover artist Joe Cocker, it has some inspired takes on Beatles songs.


The jukebox musical romantic drama premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. While it was a box office bomb, it received an Oscar nomination for Best Costume Design.



10. The Rutles (1978)


The Rutles (1978)


Helmed by Eric Idle and Gary Weis, this hilarious mockumentary is the most unique feature film to make it to our list.


The project, which is equal parts parody and tribute, features an astounding cast of talented performers such as Bill Murray, John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Mick Jagger, Paul Simon, and George Harrison.


It attempts to chronicle the journey of The Rutles by dedicating a series of short sections meant to cast a light on the rise and fall of The Beatles.


Better still, it does so in the wittiest ways possible. Needless to mention, its eccentric subject matter ensured that the movie found an audience among The Beatles and comedy fans alike.



9. I Am Sam (2001)


I Am Sam (2001)


Many of you would be wondering how this drama film is related to the insanely popular band. Well, let us assure you that this Jessie Nelson directorial venture has The Beatles built into its DNA.


The story follows Sam; a man with special needs who fights tenaciously for the custody of his daughter when her mother abandons them for good.


Sam tries as hard as he possibly can to prove that he is a more than capable father with the help of an infamous lawyer.


Although not directly related to The Beatles in terms of its plot structure, I Am Sam has a significant character named Lucy, who is named after the titular character of The Beatles’ hit song "Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds."  


Since Sam seems to possess encyclopedic knowledge of The Beatles, the film is peppered with references to the band, its memorable music, and its rich history; all of which come across as a pleasant surprise to the average viewer.


If that wasn't enough, the endearing titular character can be seen invoking stories about the band when he seems to be falling short of words.



8. Good Ol’ Freda (2013)


Good Ol’ Freda (2013)


This Ryan White-helmed documentary dedicates itself to exploring one of the most unexplored footnotes in the Beatles saga. The viewers are introduced to a reticent Liverpudlian teen, Freda Kelly, who works for a new local band, the Beatles, with the hope of making it big in life.


As the band's stardom goes beyond the roof, Freda bears witness to music and cultural history being rewritten, but without ever exploiting her coveted position.


Needless to say, Good Ol’ Freda is a remarkable project that allows fans of The Beatles to get better acquainted with Freda; a girl who ran the fan club of the popular band and, in the process, ended up being envied by thousands of teenage girls.



7. Yellow Submarine (1968)


Yellow Submarine (1968)


Helmed by animation producer George Dunning, this animated jukebox musical comedy adventure film has been inspired by the music of the Beatles.


The story follows the band agreeing to accompany Captain Fred in his yellow submarine and going to Pepperland to free it from the music-hating Blue Meanies.


The original Beatles team participated in the closing scene of the film which opened to widespread acclaim from critics and audiences alike.


Still regarded as a landmark animation feature, Yellow Submarine managed to attract cine-goers, courtesy of its wildly creative images and its soundtrack of Beatles songs.



6. Imagine: John Lennon (1988)


Imagine: John Lennon (1988)


In this Andrew Solt-helmed documentary feature, the viewers are permitted to get better acquainted with British singer-songwriter and former Beatles member John Lennon.


Credit has to be given to the makers for piecing together archival footage of the band and merging the same with interviews of personalities such as David Bowie, George Martin, and Julian Lennon.


Imagine: John Lennon does a fair job at recounting the ups and downs of the performer's life and career with special emphasis being put on his post-Beatles period.


The documentary was released two days before Lennon's 48th birthday and nearly eight years after his demise.



5. George Harrison: Living in the Material World (2011)


George Harrison: Living in the Material World (2011)


Be it motion pictures or documentaries, trust ace director Martin Scorsese to do justice to his subject no matter what the genre.


Through George Harrison: Living in the Material World, the filmmaker makes a commendable attempt at trying to bring the life and career of musician George Harrison to light.


While there are a ton of unseen interview clips, concert footage, and photographs included in this feature, its strength lies in the fact that Scorsese's empathetic camera work brings the complicated artist back to life.


In the process of making the average modern-day viewer familiar with Harrison, the director ends up paying a fitting tribute to his life.



4. Help! (1965)


Help! (1965)


The second film starring the Beatles following A Hard Day's Night, Help! showcases Sir Ringo Starr finding himself to be the human sacrifice target of a cult.


Needless to mention, we see his fellow members of The Beatles trying to protect him from a sinister eastern cult and a pair of mad scientists.


Even though this motion picture is considerably sloppier than its predecessor, it still manages to provide a decent amount of fun to its viewers; therefore, delivering on what it promises.


The film, which has a structured plot revolving around a mystical ring, had its Royal World Premiere at the London Pavilion Theatre in the presence of Princess Margaret, the Countess of Snowdon, and the Earl of Snowdon, respectively.



3. Let It Be (1970)


Let It Be (1970)


One of the most acclaimed projects to make it to our story, Let It Be is the filmed account of The Beatles' attempt to recapture their revered old group spirit.


In this Michael Lindsay-Hogg directorial venture, we see the band attempting to make a back-to-basics album. However, it, unfortunately, ends up driving them further apart from each other.


An enthralling experience for rock scholars and Beatles fans, this musical documentary features an unannounced rooftop concert by the band, which was, in fact, the last public performance of the four together.



2. A Hard Day's Night (1964)


A Hard Day's Night (1964)


This critically acclaimed Richard Lester-helmed musical comedy-drama film showcases the Beatles traveling from Liverpool to London to perform various concerts.


However, things take a rather dramatic turn when a realization dawns upon the band that their beloved drummer, Ringo, has gone missing.


Starring members of the English rock band the Beatles and filmed during the height of Beatlemania, A Hard Day's Night is widely considered to be a highly entertaining classic today.



1. The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years (2016)


The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years (2016)


Filmmaker Ron Howard deserves all our love and appreciation for trying to examine the early years of the Beatles, from their club dates in Liverpool, England, to their sold-out concert tours in Europe and the rest of the world.


Those who have followed the band patiently and religiously would be aware of the fact that they stopped performing live in 1966.


Post-1966, the Fab Four took a call to focus exclusively on studio recordings, and this well-executed and acclaimed documentary does a great job of telling the viewers why.


The project received Best Documentary at the 70th British Academy Film Awards and Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special at the 69th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards, respectively.




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