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Backbeat [VHS]


Price: £7.44
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Product details

  • Actors: Stephen Dorff, Sheryl Lee, Ian Hart, Gary Bakewell, Chris O'Neill
  • Directors: Iain Softley
  • Writers: Iain Softley, Michael Thomas, Stephen Ward
  • Producers: Finola Dwyer, Hanno Huth, Nik Powell, Paul Cowan
  • Format: VHS
  • Language: English, French, German
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Columbia Tristar
  • VHS Release Date: 3 Jun 2002
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004CP6N
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 290,692 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Focusing on the so-called 'fifth Beatle' Stuart Sutcliffe, this film tells of the The Beatles' adventures during the summer of 1960, when they moved to Hamburg and played gigs in red light district clubs. Sutcliffe (Stephen Dorff), an artist as well as musician, begins to drift apart from his famous friends after meeting and falling in love with Astrid Kirchnerr (Sheryl Lee), an avant-garde photographer. As the band takes off he has to choose between his art, his love, and his friends. The Beatles' musical performances were recreated for the film by an alternative rock supergroup, including members of R.E.M and Nirvana.

From Amazon.co.uk

Ian Hart's second performance as John Lennon (the first was the little-seen The Hours and Times) commands attention in this marvellous musical bio of the Beatles in Hamburg directly before their stardom. The focus is on the "5th Beatle" Stuart Sutcliffe (Stephen Dorff), a bluesy bass guitar player who finds Germany has more interesting things (art and a woman) than music. The woman, Astrid (Sheryl Lee), chronicles the early years of the Beatles and shefalls in love with Stuart, a move that would influence many aspects of the Fab Four. Nearly overpowering the film is Hart in a great, energized performance of an artist on fire. The music was adapted for the movie, rediscovering the raw sound and ballistic energy in the back street clubs. These scenes of rock and genius intermixed with a nervy lead singer evoke similarities to Kurt Cobain and Nirvana. Backbeat is directed by Iain Softley. --Doug Thomas

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Beowulf "Wulfie" Mayfield on 19 May 2002
Format: VHS Tape
THE treatment of Stuart Sutcliffe is good, very good, although the rest of the fledgling Beatles look terrible - particularly the George Harrison and Pete Best characters.
Overall, The Beatles are presented as a very loose set of relationships, John Lennon appears to hate everybody and while many biographies describe Lennon as a man with a twisted sense of humour, the kind of antics described in the Hunter Davis and Philip Norman biographies are missing completely. George and Paul are little more than extras much of the time which, as a devotee of history, grated rather a lot with me.
However, the film is about the relationship between Stu Sutcliffe and the beautiful Astrid Kirscher and this is dealt with sensitively and tenderness. Throughout, they are presented as beautiful people, made for each other but tragically torn apart.
Opening with Sutcliffe and Lennon being set upon by a bunch of Liverpool heavies, the die is cast for young Stu within five minutes, setting up the tragedy of this brilliant but humble and hugely likable young painter who keeps telling Lennon how great the Beatles are destined to be and seems quite happy to step aside and watch them rise to fame, happy to have stepped off the bandwaggon. Who knows, if Sutcliffe had lived he may have risen to similar heights himself in the art world. Perhaps the Sgt Pepper or Revolver album covers might have gone his way if he had been around to do them. . .
Musically, the film rocks from start to finish with excellent arrangements of classic Beatle covers and a recreation of the recording of My Bonnie with Tony Sheridan which actually comes out sounding much livlier than the original.
Although the Beatle history freak in me longs to see a film about the band in Hamburg, this is not a historical documentary.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 13 Mar 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Before I saw this film I had no time for the Beatles, but it changed my feelings about them and their music for good. It's really the story of Stuart Sutcliffe, who formed part of the Beatles' original line-up, and his experiences in Hamburg in the early 1960's. In additional to playing a less and less significant role in the band over this period, Sutcliffe (Stephen Dorff with a faultless Liverpool accent) matures as an experimental painter, strikes up a passionate relationship with Astrid Kirchner (Sheryl Lee - formerly Twin Peaks' Laura Palmer) and degenerates in mental health as he heads towards a brain haemorrhage. It's a sad story, but excellently acted and with an awesome, awesome soundtrack.
Ian Hart plays John Lennon (with a grouchy catchphrase, throughout the film, of 'It's all dick') - he's brilliantly cast, as the actor looks so much like the singer! The soundtrack is made up of early Beatles hits ('Rock and Roll Music', 'Twist and Shout', 'Twenty Flight Rock') all originally recorded before the band started writing their own material. The difference here is that the songs are revitalised by 'The Backbeat Band', a one-off combination of grunge / rock artists such as Greg Gulli (Afghan Whigs), Dave Grohl (Nirvana / Foo Fighters) and Mike Mills (REM) and the new versions are all fantastic. Get this video! Stuart Sutcliffe trivia: several of the artist's paintings were recently used as covers for Mansun's "Closed for Business" EPs.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ms. Kayleigh M. Richardson on 1 Feb 2009
Format: DVD
I hadn't heard many reviews of this film before I bought it, and being a major Beatles fan I already knew the story and probably wouldnt have bought it if I didnt know that Astrid Kirchherr had been present on set and thought that Stephen Dorff was so spookily like Stuart Sutcliffe that it gave her chills. So I bought and watched Backbeat not really knowing what I was going to think, the end result was amazing, I love this film! And Ian Hart plays an amazing John Lennon, it's so easy to see why he was chosen for the part, and strange to think that he went on to play Professor Quirril in Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone! The only critisism that I would have about Backbeat is Dorff's Liverpudlian accent, I kept hearing an American twang every so often which snapped you back to reality after being so engrossed in what is happening on screen that you can forget that it's just a film. And if that's the only critisism I can give then you can rest assured that this is a film worth watching.

All in all Dorff and Sheryl Lee (who plays Astrid Kirchherr) give a very emotional performance of the passionate but too short relationship of Kirchherr and Sutcliffe. Also featured is the passionate but too short relationship of Sutcliffe and Lennon, you have to remember that Lennon not only lost his best friend when he tragically died but he lost him the day that Stuart and Astrid met. All of the actors in this film play their parts perfectly and even though Chris O'Neill (George Harrison) has probably one of the smallest parts, he has Harrison's accent down to a T and you can feel the vulnerability that the 17 year old George probably felt as he travelled to Hamburg for the first time to play with the big boys (Harrison was the youngest member of The Beatles.)

I would recommend this film to any Beatles fan and hope that they love it as much as I do!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By @GeekZilla9000 TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 28 Feb 2008
Format: DVD
This film evoked a nostalgia in me, which might seem bizarre considering I was never around during the heyday of the Beatles, let alone the initial years. In fact, I was born the year John Lennon was shot. But as a teen, I idolised John Lennon and read every biography I could get my hands on - so the Beatles are very much part of my teen years.

Having read many a biography about Lennon and the Beatles as a band, I had a fair old knowledge about this period in the bands life, but the gaps I had were all to do with Stuart Sutcliffe whom I knew little about, other than his love of art, and his relationship with Astrid.
The film is only 96 minutes long - so you can't expect a true historical account of the `Hamburg period', and this film is mainly concerned with the story of Sutcliffe. It's for those reasons that you more-or-less forgive the exclusion of McCartney and Harrison from the film - they are relegated, it seems, to extras, but here it doesn't matter. This is the largely untold story of the fifth Beatle.

Stephen Dorff does an admirable job as Stuart Sutcliffe, the likeness is uncanny. In fact, during the photo session with Astrid, the Stephen Dorff Sutcliffe looks as identical to the actual Sutcliffe in the real-life photos. Sometimes he struggles with the accent, but it doesn't detract much away from a good performance.

It's Ian Hart though who steals the show. His John Lennon often seems a like a caricature - his lines saturated with witty one liners, but this feels like the concentrated essence of Lennon. The energy he gives lifts the film, without it the feature would seem a bit flat. I've yet to see Ian Hart in a film where he falls anything less than fantastic.
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