The Beatles: Lesser-Known Films Inspired by the Iconic Band

Like many famous artists of the twentieth century, the Beatles occasionally acted in films. The group made five movies together before they disbanded in the 1970s. That wasn’t enough for the movie-going public. Here are a few of the overlooked films inspired by the Beatles

The Beatles posing together. From left to right: musicians George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, circa 1965.

‘Ringo’

Whether it’s fair or not, Ringo Starr has a reputation for being the least illustrious of the Beatles. His film career certainly hasn’t helped things. Most infamously, Ringo played the title character in the flop comedy Caveman. While the film Ringo isn’t as infamous as Caveman, it doesn’t have a very good reputation.

Ringo Starr | Michael Putland/Getty Images

The film stars Ringo as a fictionalized version of himself. In a dual role, he also plays his brother, “Ognir Rrats” (spell it backwards). The film is a loose adaptation of Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper and features appearances from a number of well-known actors, including Carrie Fisher, Vincent Price, and Art Carney.

‘Nowhere Boy’

Here’s a film about the Beatles that isn’t exactly about the Beatles. Nowhere Boy focuses on John Lennon’s adolescence and his membership in the Quarrymen, the band that would become the Beatles. The film also focuses on his complex relationship with his mother, Julia, the woman who inspired the song “Julia” from The White Album. The film was a hit with critics.

The film’s director, Sam Taylor-Wood, shocked the world when she graduated to more mainstream fare a few years later. While Nowhere Boy helped Taylor-Wood to become prominent, she would later become a major force in the film industry when she directed the first film in the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise.

‘Beatlemania: The Movie’

Much like ABBA and Queen after them, the Beatles inspired a Broadway jukebox musical. Titled Beatlemania, the musical was adapted into Beatlemania: The Movie. As you can imagine, trying to tell the history of the Beatles through their music is an incredibly difficult task, particularly since many iconic Beatles songs are not autobiographical; Beatlemania and its film adaptation try to do that anyway. Most critics trashed the film, and it remains obscure.

‘All You Need is Cash’

The Rutles | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

The history of the Beatles is so well-known and so iconic that it inspired a parody film. All You Need is Cash, a film about a fictional rock band called the Rutles, includes jabs at every other thing that the Beatles ever did and everyone associated with them. The film isn’t mean-spirited though, so it’s become a bit of a cult classic among Beatles fans. The television film was so popular that it inspired a sequel titled The Rutles 2: Can’t Buy Me Lunch, and an associated album. The fact that so much Rutles material exists is a testament to the Beatles’ massive popularity. 

‘John and Yoko: A Love Story’

John Lennon and Yoko Ono | Keystone Features/Getty Images

The romance between John Lennon and Yoko Ono might be the most scrutinized celebrity romance ever. It even inspired a television film, John and Yoko: A Love Story. The film is emblematic of television films of the time, which would often dramatize recent events. The film boasts a great performance by Kim Miyori as Yoko Ono.