Backbeat (1994)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

This film is a docudrama of the Beatles in the days of their Hamburg and Liverpool performances before they became international celebrities. The focus is on the friendship between John Lennon and the artist Stu Sutcliffe, whose participation in the band ended tragically with his sudden, unexpected death.

Rating: R
Genre: Musical & Performing Arts, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Iain Softley, Stephen Ward, Michael Thomas
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 12, 2003
Gramercy Pictures



as John Lennon

as Stuart Sutcliffe

as Astrid

as Paul McCartney

as George Harrison

as Pete Best

as Bert Kaempfert

as Tony Sheridan

as Lord Woodbine

as Sailor

as Arthur Ballard

as Lord Woodbine

as Mrs Harrison

as Johannes

as Policeman
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Backbeat

All Critics (35) | Top Critics (10)

There's nothing very profound here, but we do at least get a nice handling of period and milieu, and pretty good performances of the songs.

Full Review… | September 10, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

What pulls you over the bum spots is the electrifying immediacy.

September 10, 2007
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

The early, pre-fame days of the Beatles are a great subject for a film, but the potential has been only partly realized in Backbeat.

Full Review… | September 10, 2007
Top Critic

The music is loud and raw, but nevertheless evokes the excitement it generated.

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Backbeat, which for all its pretensions can often be impressively canny and affectionate about its subject, is helped enormously by newly recorded versions of Beatle records.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

At the end, I felt cheated.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Backbeat

This is an admittedly highly fictionalized version of the Beatles early days in Hamburg, but that is not the central theme of the movie. It's really about a love triangle between two best friends, and the woman they both are drawn to. There are a few great characters brought to life by a few very good performances by the actors portraying them, and that is what really drew me in. That said, any Beatles fan will also dig the stylized look at their early days. You can't really take it as fact, but you can have a hell of a lot of fun imagining that this is sort of the way it might have been.

Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer

Not just another film or story about The Beatles, this is the story of Stuart Sutcliffe; the fifth Beatle, his relationship with John Lennona and their time with the rest of The Beatles in Hamberg.

Whilst being a fan (although not a die hard fan) of The Beatles, I knew very little of Stuart Sutcliffe, so this made for interesting viewing and also showed John Lennon in a slightly different light to most portrayals and the obvsious bond between the two of them.

Lady D'arbanville

Super Reviewer

This is an OK movie. I suspect it had difficulty deciding whether it was made as a documentary about the Beatles early years, or a story about the unfortunate life of Stuart Sutcliffe.

Red Lats

Super Reviewer

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