Backbeat
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The Beatles' early days as a struggling bar band are depicted in this fact-based drama, which tells the little-known story of original member Stuart Sutcliffe (Stephen Dorff). A close friend of John Lennon, Sutcliffe acts as the band's original bassist, accompanying them on their early gigs in Liverpool and Hamburg, Germany. The friendship becomes strained, however, when Sutcliffe falls in love with a German art student and starts to question his commitment to the band. With Sutcliffe's story taking center stage, the stories of the more famous Beatles largely fade into the… More
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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 74%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"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."
‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"The music is loud and raw, but nevertheless evokes the excitement it generated."
‑ Geoff Andrew, Time Out
"First-time director Iain Softley makes the film more visually distinctive than most music bios."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"The music, done here by a group of grunge all-stars, doesn't even attempt to sound dead-on, but remains mostly true to the raucous spirit of the time."
‑ Brad Laidman, Film Threat
"All the cast give credible performances."
‑ , Film4
"What pulls you over the bum spots is the electrifying immediacy."
‑ Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
"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."
‑ Janet Maslin, New York Times
"The film tells the story of the original, little-known fifth Beatle, Stuart Sutcliffe, a young painter with rock n' roll sensibility who in 1960 forgoes his promising art career to join his best friend John Lennon (nicely played by Ian Hart) in Berlin"
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"points to the tragic irony of immortality being achieved through early death"
‑ Dragan Antulov, Draxblog Movie Reviews
"A raucous film about the Beatles before they made it big"
‑ Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice
"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."
‑ Todd McCarthy, Variety
"Working with a time period and two crucial characters probably not too familiar to less-than-avid Beatles or rock fans, Softley needs a great performance, and he gets it from Hart."
‑ Richard Harrington, Washington Post
"You can't miss the affection and sincerity Backbeat carries from start to finish.... Softley bottles the attitude and energy, the excitement of the new, that were as integral to the Beatles' success as their songs."
‑ Mark Bourne, DVDJournal.com
"Iain Softley directs his feature debut with simplicity and feeling, and you don't have to have been a Beatles fan to get with the beat. Gives you hope for the British film industry."
‑ Angie Errigo, Empire Magazine
"Even non-Beatles fans -- myself included -- should give this one a try."
‑ Luke Y. Thompson, New Times
More reviews for Backbeat on Rotten Tomatoes