In "Norwegian Wood," the Beatles song of the same name inspires a man to reflect on his emotionally wrought college years. Perhaps it's because their songs are so well known, but Beatles music has served as an emotional motif in many movies.
"Across the Universe" (USA, 2007)
Director: Julie Taymor
Starring: Jim Sturgess, Evan Rachel Wood
The Beatles' music is integral to the heart and soul of "Across the Universe," an innovative musical that borrows an idea from "Moulin Rouge!" (2001): adapting Beatles songs for a musical tale of love, war, protest, disappointment, and triumph. The outstanding musical numbers are complemented by striking visuals and an unforgettable story, brought to life by a talented cast. Warning: If you watch this film, you might find yourself buying the soundtrack!
"I Wanna Hold Your Hand" (USA, 1978)
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Starring: Nancy Allen, Bobby Di Cicco, Marc McClure
In this comedy, several New Jersey girls travel to Manhattan to catch the live performance of the Beatles on "The Ed Sullivan Show." Throughout the movie, 17 original Beatles songs underscore the action. While the film didn't do well at the box office, it's notable for the fact that it is the directing debut of Robert Zemeckis ("The Polar Express," "Cast Away," "Forrest Gump," "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," "Back to the Future") and also the first film to be executive produced by Steven Spielberg.
"All This and World War II" (USA, 1976)
Director: Susan Winslow
Starring: Winston Churchill (archival footage), Adolf Hitler (archival footage)
In a experimental "documentary," director Susan Winslow marries documentary footage from World War II with Beatles songs performed by a variety of artists. The film tells a Cliff's Notes version of the war, with film montages telling the story. Contributing their talents were: Frankie Valli, who did "A Day in the Life"; Rod Stewart, who performed "Get Back"; Elton John, who sang "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"; Bryan Ferry, who gave his version of "She's Leaving Home"; and a host of other musicians.
"I Am Sam" (USA, 2001)
Director: Jessie Nelson
Starring: Sean Penn, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dakota Fanning
While the movie, which stars Sean Penn as a mentally challenged man fighting for custody of his 7-year-old daughter, has been panned by critics, the soundtrack features some outstanding Beatles covers, including: "Across the Universe" by Rufus Wainwright; "Blackbird" by Sarah MacLachlan; "I'm Looking Through You" by the Wallflowers; and "Mother Nature's Son" by Sheryl Crow, among others.
Other Notable Scenes
Instead of filling the soundtrack with Beatles tunes, many movies use one key song in order to provide subtext to a scene. Beatles music plays an important role in the following scenes: the opening credits of "The World According to Garp" (1982), where "When I'm 64" plays underneath a baby being bounced; the parade scene near the end of "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" (1986), where Matthew Broderick's Ferris jams on a parade float to "Twist and Shout"; the ending credits of "The Social Network" (2010), underscored by the highly appropriate song "Baby, You're a Rich Man"; and the opening sequence of "The Royal Tenenbaums" (2001), which used an orchestral version of "Hey Jude" as it introduced the characters.
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- Arts & Entertainment
- Arts & Entertainment/Media
- The Beatles
- Robert Zemeckis