A Hard Day’s Night (1964)

Directed by Richard Lester

Who’s in it? John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr

What’s it about? Providing the inspiration for the Monkees TV show, the Superman II director’s pop cultural music doc following a day in the life of the Fab Four was released at the height of Beatlemania and unlike, say, The Spice Movie, was both a hit at the box office and acclaimed by critics as one of the most influential music documentaries ever made. Listed by Time Magazine as one of the 100 Great Films of all time, critic Leslie Halliwell called A Hard Day’s Night “a comic fantasia with music…” and its 99% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes is evidence that the film has stood the test of time to become a true Rock n’ Roll classic.

Memorable Moments? Aside from the obvious soundtrack highlights like She Loves You played live in front of a squealing audience, A Hard Day’s Night features a charming blend of Beatlemania and swinging 60s nostalgia which manages to be entertaining as well as important from the musical history angle. In one scene a girl asks Ringo if he’s a Mod or a Rocker, to which he replies, “I’m a Mocker”, and another sees the cheeky drummer put his coat on the ground for a girl to walk across just before she falls down a large hole. Light-hearted slapstick with a soundtrack of Beatles hits makes this a must for music fans.

Look Who’s Talking: ‘For fans this is a chance to enjoy The Beatles’ legendary music and charisma with unprecedented clarity.’ – Film 4

Like that? Try this: Help! (1965) was Richard Lester’s second film starring the Beatles and follow up to the critical success of A Hard Day’s Night the previous year, with this sequel, of sorts, following the band on the run from a cult.

Trivia Pursuit: The film had a budget of only $500,000 and was produced in just six weeks.  

Ronan Wright writes from Belfast and blogs at Filmplicity

Ronan Wright is a graduate in Film Studies from The Queen’s University of Belfast. As well as contributing to MercatorNet as a film critic since March 2011 he has run Filmplicity, a Belfast-based film...