Nine Movies That Almost Starred the Beatles
The Beatles starred in three full-length movies, a made-for-television special and an authorized cartoon. There were a lot more films that didn't get made, however, and we're looking at them in the list below.
As had been the case with popular singers from Bing Crosby to Frank Sinatra through to Elvis Presley, the opportunity to branch out into acting seemed to be a natural step for the group as Beatlemania took a hold of Britain in 1963. Many films were offered, but having seen earlier movies starring Elvis Presley, Cliff Richard and many other rock stars, the Beatles wanted something different.
“We’d loved The Girl Can’t Help It, and we knew that you could make a rock n’ roll film,” Paul McCartney later said. “We’d seen these little American productions and, although they were low budget and not very good, they did have music and we always went to see them.”
Of all the scripts that were pitched to them in the early days, it seems that we only know about one: The Yellow Teddybears, a teenage-exploitation film that was ultimately accepted by a different band. Then A Hard Day's Night came along in 1964, and the critically acclaimed comedy-musical set a new standard for what a rock group could do on the screen. Help! followed a year later.
The search for the Beatles' third project proved more difficult, and the ideas considered ranged from lending their voices to a Disney cartoon to a film adaptation of The Lord of the Rings to movies tailor-made for them. Eventually, they chose to do everything in-house, writing and directing Magical Mystery Tour. It was shown on the BBC the day after Christmas 1967, and became their first misstep.
They were originally against the animated Yellow Submarine, and only showed up for the last few minutes out of contractual obligation. The Beatles' next movie focused on the making of their next album, though the original plan was much different. In the end, Let It Be possibly hastened their breakup a month before it was released.
Still, it's always fun to think of what could have been: One director even tried to get the surviving Beatles involved in a newer version of one of the movies that did get made. Read all about them below.