Backbeat (1994)

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… More

Directed By:
Rated: R
Running Time:
Release Date: April 15, 1994
DVD Release Date: August 12, 2003
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Critic Score: 74% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews
Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader

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.

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Geoff Andrew
Time Out

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

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TV Guide

First-time director Iain Softley makes the film more visually distinctive than most music bios.

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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone

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

Janet Maslin
New York Times

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.

Emanuel Levy

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

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Todd McCarthy

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.

Richard Harrington
Washington Post

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.

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Mark Bourne

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.

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More reviews for Backbeat

Flixster Audience Score: 66% Flixster User Reviews
Cynthia S.
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… More
Dean McKenna
Good true life and tragic story of a musician and artist Stuart Sutcliffe in the early days of The Beatles in Hamburg. He was known as the 5th Beatles.
Lady D'arbanville
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… More
Cameron Johnson
"And after all this time to find we're just like all the rest, stranded in the park and forced to confess to hiding on the backbeats, hiding on the… More
Red Lats
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… More
John Ballantine
The story of the Beatles while they were touring through Hamburg mainly doing covers prior to their superstardom. This version of the tale centres on Stu… More