Premiere - 04/01/1994
"...Any old way you choose it, the music still kills..."
Sight and Sound - 04/01/1994
"...Fleshing out this engaging cartoon is an excellent performance by Ian Hart..."
New York Times - 04/15/1994
"...Lively, galvanizing and unexpectedly well made....[Softley] has done a fond, imaginative job..."
Entertainment Weekly - 04/15/1994
"...An exhilarating surprise....As thrilling as it is original..." -- Rating: A
Los Angeles Times - 04/15/1994
"...It's lively and full of good music and it plays around with a fascinating subject..."
Rolling Stone - 01/27/2005
"BACKBEAT nails the era's speed-fueled rocker spirit while mining the consequences of an artist following his bliss."
Uncut - 07/01/2005
"[I]t's Ian Hart as the young Lennon who steals the show."
This hard-driving, energetic drama chronicling the Beatles' ascendance to fame in Hamburg's club circuit centers on "fifth Beatle" Stu Sutcliffe and his close relationship to John Lennon. Driven by art rather than music, Sutcliffe ultimately must choose between his true passion and certain superstardom.
A reconstruction of the legendary British rock group's early days, before the advent of Beatlemania and world-wide fame. The story focuses on the turbulent and exciting period that the Beatles' spent in Hamburg, Germany in 1960-62, when they played in a series of rough-and-tumble dives and came into contact with cutting-edge artists. Among them was photographer Astrid Kirchherr, who helped shape the group's image, and with whom both John Lennon and former Beatle Stu Sutcliffe fell in love. Ultimately, Sutcliffe left the group, making way for the success of one of the greatest phenomena in rock music history.
Rock And Roll |
Theatrical Release |
Shot in Panavision. Co-produced by Scala Productions.
The "Backbeat Band," which recreates the Beatles' music, consists of Greg Dulli and Dave Pirner on vocals, Don Fleming on guitar and vocals, Thurson Moore on guitar, Dave Grohl on drums and Mike Mills on bass. Addition musicians are Eric Reed, Terence Blanchard, Buster Marbury, David McMurray, Don Was, Luis Conte, Mark Goldenberg, Jamie Muhoberac, Billy Preston, Jimmy Wood and Paulinho da Costa. David Campbell did the string orchestrations.
Ian Hart previously portrayed John Lennon in the 1991 Christopher Münch film, "The Hours and Times."
"Backbeat" was shown at the 1994 Sundance Film Festival.
Bassist Stu Sutcliffe, who quit the Beatles before the group became famous, died of a brain hemorrhage shortly after he left the group.
Rated BBFC 15 by the British Board of Film Classification.