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Overall Rating
4.65

Awesome82.43%
Worth A Look: 8.11%
Average: 5.41%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 4.05%

4 reviews, 50 user ratings


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Hard Day's Night, A
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by The Ultimate Dancing Machine

"Wonderful. Just wonderful."
5 stars

I think it was Elvis--wasn't it?--who started the whole rock-star-in-film trend. Most of his movies were horrible. This, the Beatles' first film project, was supposed to be a quick cash-in job along those lines, so what's really remarkable about A HARD DAY'S NIGHT is how good it is. It's not just a classic rock 'n' roll movie--it's a classic movie, period.

There is an infectiously breezy spirit running all the way through it; there's not a genuinely serious moment in this movie, which accounts for much of its appeal. It is a frivolous daydream of a movie--a bubblegum movie with bubblegum music--in which the closest thing to a tense situation occurs when Ringo inexplicably disappears right before air time. A good deal of their time is spent trying to evade rabid (but harmless) fans. Who wouldn't like to live like this? At least for a while.

Despite the understandable enthusiasm of countless Beatles fans who seem to think that A HARD DAY'S NIGHT was simply their idols spontaneously running riot before the camera, it is essentially a Richard Lester movie--he was doing this kind of hip surrealism before the Beatles came along, and he'd soon refine it further in 1965's THE KNACK, which would win the Palme d'Or. Visually, this is fantastic stuff--the handheld-camera loopiness never really seems forced. Just consider how relatively static the vast majority of films from 1964 looked like, and you'll get a sense of what an innovator Lester really was. Additional credit must go to screenwriter Alun Owen, an Academy Award nominee for his work here.

The Beatles weren't actors, of course, but here they didn't need to be. They were essentially being themselves, even if their repartee was (mostly) scripted and their personas slightly altered for effect. Their "performances" seem altogether natural--if they did not, the film's day-in-the-life pretense would be spoiled.

Somehow, the film doesn't seem dated in the slightest. I don't think it's just because the Beatles, the inspiration for God-knows-how-many bands, are still very much with us. This kind of artful lunacy doesn't really age, just as the best of the Marx Brothers doesn't.

Oh, and the songs are pretty good, too.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=817&reviewer=223
originally posted: 03/23/03 12:55:31
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User Comments

3/05/15 stanley welles a rock-and-roll movie classic 4 stars
6/22/13 PAUL SHORTT DELIGHTFUL COMIC FANTASIA WITH MUSIC 4 stars
5/25/12 Randy Love this movie, cannot tell you how many times that I have seen it. A real classic. 5 stars
10/14/11 Matt Ferrell Love this movie. Can watch it over and over, and it gets even more funny every time! 5 stars
9/07/10 Philly Cult Perfect screenplay, great music, a blast from start to finish. 5 stars
6/21/10 Sarah Why does this get great reviews? It's shit. The soundtrack is awesome though! 1 stars
10/11/05 Carolyn Rathburn I thought it was kind of silly really. 4 stars
9/06/05 Hannah This movie is really great for Beatles fans- especially if you can sing along! 5 stars
8/03/05 Eric Rollins Loved it as a pre-teen. It really shows its age at this point. 3 stars
7/18/05 Brandy Harrington The Beatles could just make masterpiece after masterpiece, couldn't they? 5 stars
10/05/04 Windseeker I gotta agree with everybody else. The movie absolutely, positively surprises. 5 stars
6/04/04 Craig Great songs. Great movie. Check out the awesome lighting during "And I Love Her". I<3GH 5 stars
4/20/04 Desperado Great movie the Beatles at their best they r still the greatest of all time hands down A+ 5 stars
1/21/04 Chlo Brody The best Beatles movie ever made... 5 stars
5/19/03 kate loved it, amazing film!!!! 5 stars
3/24/03 Charles Tatum So whimsical as to be imperfect 4 stars
12/30/02 John Aster Habig the music alone makes it awesome the humor is added flavor 5 stars
5/10/02 vanessa The Beatles did a great job but the best kudos go to the writer and director of this film. 5 stars
1/24/02 Andrew Carden Not Their Best Work, but Still Very Good. 5 stars
6/19/01 Paul's Uncle Very clean! 5 stars
6/15/01 Nicola This film shows a perfect example of the swinging sixties along with good music. 5 stars
4/05/01 Hawkeye It's only fitting that the best rock'n'roll band should get the best rock'n'roll movie. 5 stars
3/12/01 viking You're an idiot, Sorry Man. The Beatles are a million times better than that techno crap !! 5 stars
2/06/01 Sorry man poop poop poop 1 stars
2/06/01 Beatles r GAY THey r one of the most overrated bands ever! and plus they CANT act! 1 stars
1/12/01 Skip I'm a huge Beatles fan, but I found this kind of boring. Sorry. 3 stars
1/07/01 gabriel simply fab 5 stars
12/20/00 Jaymie Yes there is a reason the Beatles in beating the backdoorboys! 5 stars
12/16/00 Matt There's a REASON why the new Backstreet Boys CD is getting its ass kicked by the Beatles... 5 stars
12/05/00 Doug Outstanding! 5 stars
11/19/00 viking the fab four are still fab !!! 5 stars
11/18/00 salvo how did you find the film? 5 stars
11/10/00 skye bigger than big 5 stars
7/07/00 John I have it and love it. Help is fine too. 5 stars
12/12/99 Glenn I'd turn left at Greenland to see this one. Too bad it inspired the Monkees. 5 stars
10/10/99 john grove totally magnificent 5 stars
10/10/99 Viral Messiah I miss the Beatles... A hell of a terrific movie! 5 stars
10/03/99 Joe Schmoe Better than Spiceworld: The Movie, Beatles forever! 5 stars
9/27/99 Ann Tyer Any Beatles fan should see this movie and people that aren't Beatles fans will be. 5 stars
9/25/99 alyssa Did you really rent it for the ACTING?? 4 stars
9/20/99 Weird Andy I'm no Beatlemaniac, but I dug the movie. Not quite as good as Lester's Musketeer flicks. 4 stars
9/20/99 Ricky Urena The music rocks! 5 stars
7/31/99 Emily This movie is my all time favourite movie, no question about it! 5 stars
2/27/99 Jennifer Bennett This is the greatest movie I have seen it a million times and laugh out loud each time 5 stars
12/27/98 roxy if you don't like this movie you're retarded. 5 stars
11/04/98 Bad Kosh Hey, Beatles kick ass better than Spice Girls and Backstreet Boys. Woohoo! 5 stars
10/17/98 Mr Showbiz Shows the four lads from Liverpool in all their innocence and charm. 5 stars
9/03/98 Johny Saw it a long time ago, but I still don't like The Beatles 3 stars
9/02/98 pooky the bald After spawning The Monkees and Spiceworld, this film has more to answer for than Idi Amin. 3 stars
9/02/98 J-Guy I love this movie, great film, with a great soundtrack. you'll see me in the seats for this 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  11-Aug-1964

UK
  N/A

Australia
  15-Mar-2001 (M)




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