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I Wanna Hold Your Hand

I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1978)

tomatometer

82

Average Rating: 6.4/10
Reviews Counted: 17
Fresh: 14 | Rotten: 3

Its slapstick humor and familiar plot don't break any new ground, but I Wanna Hold Your Hand succeeds at recapturing the excitement of a pivotal cultural moment.

No Score Yet...

Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 3
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 1

Its slapstick humor and familiar plot don't break any new ground, but I Wanna Hold Your Hand succeeds at recapturing the excitement of a pivotal cultural moment.

audience

76

liked it
Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 2,787

My Rating

Movie Info

The time is 1964, and the Beatles, already a hugely popular group, are about to go on the Ed Sullivan Show for the first time, an appearance that launched them into a worldwide phenomenon. Already, girls are fainting during their concerts from sheer excitement at being in the same theater with them. Pam Mitchell (Nancy Allen) is happy enough to be getting married but wants to bed one of the "Fab Four" before she does. Grace Corrigan (Theresa Saldana), a dedicated fan, is certain that if she can

PG,

Drama, Musical & Performing Arts, Comedy

Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale

Sep 28, 2004

Watch It Now

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Latest News on I Wanna Hold Your Hand

September 12, 2007:
Total Recall: Across the Universe And The Beatles On Film
This week, Across the Universe hits theaters. Julie Taymor's film, starring Evan Rachel Wood and Jim...

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All Critics (17) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (14) | Rotten (3) | DVD (10)

I Wanna Hold Your Hand re-creates precisely the excitement the Beatles let loose 14 years ago; it transports the audience back to the eye of a phenomenal social hurricane.

June 1, 2011 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

In the best scenes, Zemeckis suggests how the Beatles' blend of irreverence, romance and innocence encouraged a kind of youthful rebellion that was almost completely sanctioned.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If there's a tray full of food within camera range, rest assured that somebody will knock it over. If a stuck-in-the-elevator-on-the-eve-of-an-important-event routine presents itself, rest assured that its staging will be tried and true.

May 9, 2005 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An engaging, slapstick look at the effect the Beatles had on the US when they crossed the Atlantic.

August 6, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Delightful sleeper pic about obsessed Beatles fans

December 7, 2006
Atlantic City Weekly

The film that started Zemeckis on his rise to fame. Coo coo kachoo.

November 8, 2004 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com | Comments (2)
Oz
eFilmCritic.com

Zany Beatles tale which has a lot of truth to it.

October 16, 2004
Kansas City Kansan

An interesting social document about a watershed media event as well as a thoroughly entertaining movie.

January 24, 2004 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

There are a few good moments (particularly for people who know the show's host and enjoy the spoof), but it seems an over heavy trip to the uninitiated.

May 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

Zemeckis has better in him...but this is a nice entree

September 17, 2002
Moviehole

Audience Reviews for I Wanna Hold Your Hand

I've said it countless time before and i'm going to say it again. Actually no I'm not. Wait, I can't resist, I'm saying it again, the 70's is the best decade for film. Probably. So how great was it to discover a great film that I'd never heard of! I Wanna Hold Your Hand is Robert 'I made Back to the Future and then made crap 3D cartoons' Zemeckis's debut film....and it's fantastic. Being the 70's and being young and inexperienced he really goes for it. How many teenage girls got injured in the making of this film? Doesn't matter, every bruise, break and ruptured spleen is worth it. Wendie Jo Sperber, rest her soul, performed the one of the funniest roles I've ever enjoyed, her and the brilliant Eddie Deezen were a match made in heaven. Each character holds their own in each given sequence and each sequence is as funny as each other. My wife and I laughed a lot. This isn't a classic! Why the hell not! Forget the Beatles, it's not really about them, unless you like the Beatles then you'll like it too but then every should like this. If you don't like it you must be mad or weird.
January 22, 2014
SirPant

Super Reviewer

A cute, funny, amusing tale of Beatles fans in the 60s. Also, look for (Back to the Future's) Marty McFly's siblings who both play characters in this movie! I really liked this movie, it's very funny.
January 6, 2011
ajv2688

Super Reviewer

Makes you wish you were alive in 1964
June 10, 2008
hobster1

Super Reviewer

It's the directorial debut of big shot director Robert Zemeckis and is produced by Steven Spielberg, and yet, there's not one single person in this cast who's name is recognizable, or if it is, it was probably attached to something you'd care not to remember. Some people might wanna hold their hands, but they don't want to have to recognize their names. ...Hello, is anyone back from getting lost after I mentioned Robert Zemeckis and Steven Spielberg as if they were two different people yet? Well, when it comes to that, I think the only people we need to worry about getting lost as I try to distinguish the two directors are New Yorkers, because Spielberg is Jewish and Zemeckis is Italian, and in the Big Apple, there's scarce difference. Okay, here's a good way to distinguish them: now-a-days, Spielberg makes consistently good movies, whereas Zemeckis, now-a-days, makes consistently excellent movies. Note that I emphasize "now-a-days", because let me tell you, this film is not among Zemeckis' greats. Don't get me wrong, it's a pretty decent film, yet nothing to write home about, and there are a couple of reasons why.

As much as I love Bob Zemeckis, don't go thinking that "Cast Away" was his first experiment with slow storytelling. Of course, if you're thinking that "Cast Away" was his first experiment with storytelling that should be slow, then you're right on the money, particularly when it comes to this film film, because this Beatles-based beat is a slow one indeed, which is to be expected, considering that this was Zemeckis' debut, before he honed his skills. Heck, even David Fincher wasn't killing it dead - as he always does now-a-days - with "Alien 3", and sure enough, this film drifts along, diluting resonance that was already hit pretty hard by limited development and the fact that when it's not slow and quiet, it's so frantic and noisy that really grates into your nerves after a while. This further distances you from the story and characters, and it doesn't help that the story and cast are already lacking in compellingness, because they're even more lacking in originality. From the fanatic fangirl to the satirical, cool, rebel boy that falls into slapstick humor, almost, if not every single character in this cast is a type that we had seen maybe a little too much by 1978, alone. Now, it's not like this film leans closer to being "that" mediocre lost film for Zemeckis than "Death Becomes Her", yet there's little that's top-notch or even terribly upstanding about his film, leaving it forgettable. Oh wait, becoming forgettable is something that would happen to your typical film of this type, which, don't get me wrong, this film doesn't transcend its conventions and flaws, but neither does it collapse under the weight up them, mostly because, even in the beginning, Zemeckis knew how to tell a joke.

Now, not all the jokes - particularly the slapstick ones - hit, but the ones that do really charm. As slow as the film is in pacing and resonance, you never fall out, because there's such an unrelenting aura of charm burning off of the screen, thanks almost entirely to Zemeckis' staging of these comedic set pieces. There are sight gags and snappy lines, and even moments where the film actually expresses awareness of its cliched story and characters in a more often than not genuinely effective fashion. This was before the Zemeckis era of dazzling visual effects and awesome, sweeping cinematography, so don't expect that to wake you up through all of the low points in the film, but you can always depend on the humor to keep you going. Of course, a joke means nothing unless someone is telling it, and while I will give plenty of credit to Zemeckis for the humor being so often effective - seeing as plenty of the effective jokes have a feeling that's common with Zemeckis' comedic acting directing -, I've got to say, in the immortal words of the clearly not immortal Jonh Lennon himself, power to the people. The cast is a familiar and sometiems obnoxious one, yet, at the end of the day, they win you over with charisma and their nifty, reasonably authentic embodyment of these products of his or her time, whether they be the raving fan of the pop, the protester of the pop or the guy who fancies himself just too cool for all this pop. The film's 1960s timeline isn't in your face; it's organic, it's charming and leaves you enjoying yourself way more often than not.

At the end of the day in the life (Get it, Beatles geeks?), you'll walk away having seen the same-old-same-old, only with less development and more slowness broken up by many obnoxious, if not just plain grating moments of noise, yet what leaves this film to stand its ground is Robert Zemeckis showing off his now notorious comedic skills, as well as the colorful cast of charismatic performers that charmingly recreate 1960s pop culture with subtlety and help make "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" an attention-grabbing debut for the now-great Robert Zemeckis and a generally entertaining film on its own.

2.5/5 - Fair
March 13, 2012
Cameron W. Johnson
Cameron Johnson

Super Reviewer

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