- Actors: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, The Beatles
- Directors: Richard Lester
- Writers: Alun Owen
- Producers: David V. Picker, Denis O'Dell, Walter Shenson
- Format: VHS
- Language: English, German
- Classification: U
- Studio: Buena Vista
- VHS Release Date: 7 May 2001
- Run Time: 84 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (212 customer reviews)
- ASIN: B00005JD75
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 250,170 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
A Hard Day's Night [VHS] 
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The Beatles (John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr) head for London to appear on television, accompanied by their manager and Paul's grandfather (Wilfrid Brambell). Grandad gets into some trouble at a casino and then convinces Ringo to strike out on his own, but the boys find him just in time to play the big concert. Richard Lester's freewheeling directorial style set the tone for the Swinging Sixties.
A Hard Day's Night may have been the Beatles' first big-screen experience but, as they had become the biggest band in the world by the time of its production, the Moptops were able to ensure it was a bit different from the band-movie norm. "We'd made it clear that we weren't interested in being stuck in one of those nobody-understands-our-music plots," John Lennon would later recall, "The kind of thing where we'd just pop up a couple of times between the action, all smiles and clean shirts, to sing our latest record."
Instead the quartet recruited a young director named Richard Lester--who had previously worked with the Fab Four's beloved Goons--to make a movie that followed them as they enjoyed and endured the phenomenon that was Beatlemania. "The film wrote itself right in front of our eyes," says Lester. "We just took the dirty bits and cut them out." The result is a frenetic hour and a half inside the Beatles' personal space as they engage in all manner of surreal hijinks--more often than not involving Paul's "grandfather" (played by Steptoe and Son's Wilfrid Brambell) while dodging the ever-present horde of screaming fans. Although the result now seems a little dated, there remains an almost heartbreakingly good-natured aura around the foursome's naïve performances, while few could argue about the quality of a soundtrack that includes "Can't Buy Me Love", "And I Love Her" and "A Hard Day's Night" itself, to name but a few. Whether the film would have been quite so successful if Lester had followed McCartney's suggestion and called it "Oh, What a Lovely Wart!" will, sadly, never be known. --Clark Collis --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
In Their Own Words- interviews with the Beatles along with behind-the-scenes footage and photos.
You Can't Do That: The Making of `A Hard Day's Night,' which is the documentary hosted by Phil Collins, released on video in 1995. I know a lot of fans really wanted this included on the last DVD release of the film, so I am sure that many will be delighted to have it in this package.
Things They Said Today - this includes many interviews with people involved with the film, most of which I have seen before. Still, it is interesting to hear the stories from everyone from Alun Owen, actors and those behind the scenes.
Picturewise -a new piece about Richard Lester's early work and includes an audio interview. A real shame that the UK release does not include The Running Jumping and Standing Still film, which is on the US edition of this. I am not sure what the reason is, but hopefully it may appear on the next repackaging...
Anatomy of a Style -another mini documentary on Dick Lester's methods and style
Audio commentary with cast and crew
New 50th Anniversary Trailer
For those who have never seen the film, you are in for a treat. This is the Beatles in the midst of Beatlemania, when their huge success was just taking off and everything was new and exciting. They are also good actors - even Paul, who always seems to come in for criticism, is pretty good, ("I'd ask you myself, only I'm shy...."). They all acquit themselves well and the script and direction allows them to be natural and not have too much acting to do or lines to deliver. Experienced actors help carry the action, without perhaps overshadowing the Beatles themselves, in the way that John Lennon complained of in "Help" and it is fast moving; showcasing the Beatles charm, humour and charisma. Of course, it is meant to be a semi-fictional day in the life of the Beatles and it helped to highlight them as individual personalities, although some of the stereotypes did not perhaps do the Fabs many favours as time went on. Still, in this film they turn from `The Beatles' and become, "John, Paul, George and Ringo." Thank goodness some of the movie's backers did not get their way and allow the Beatles voices to be dubbed by other actors...
Overall, this has a nice clean and crisp picture and excellent remixing of the music by Giles Martin. The film stands head and shoulders over any `pop' or `rock' movie made up to that point - and beyond. My own children, 7 and 9, love it and the appeal of the Beatles will live on forever. Now, can we fans please have The Beatles at Shea Stadium released on DVD?
Then along came "A Hard Day's Night", which not only has a story line but a plausible one to boot!
John, George, Paul and Ringo are delightful as themselves but I cannot but draw attention to the wonderful performance of Dublin-born Wilfred Bramble (Steptoe senior in the television series Steptoe and Son) as Paul's grandfather.
Richard Lester not only fulfilled his brief to create a showcase for the Beatles but created a delightful comedy in the process.
This is nothing less less than a little masterpiece of the genre.
Two little asides, while filming George Harrison met Patti Boyd, his first wife who also appears in the film and in that lovely scene of Ringo walking along the canal bank the music playing is "This Boy" which does not feature on the soundtrack album. It is in fact one of their most difficult tracks to trace. Originally it was the "B" side of "I Want to Hold Your Hand" but can be found on The Beatles, Past Masters Volume I.
Well worth watching!
I decided to purchase this film with some of my Amazon promotional credit. Watching it again not only brought back some wonderful memories, but I began to appreciate the music more. I especially liked “I Should Have Known Better”, “And I Love Her”, “Can't Buy Me Love”, “If I fell” and of course “A Hard Day’s Night” I think my favourite Beatle would have been George back then, he had such a cheeky smile.
This is a great film and although it has taken me a few years to appreciate it I would certainly recommend it, after all why else would Time magazine rate it as one of the all-time great 100 films.
Thank you for reading.
Richard Lester had a script but it seems he just let the Lads go through the motions and improvise when they wanted. The genius in this film shows it has great moments and is one of the funniest movies ever made with a group.
This DVD has tons of excellent extras. The film alone is worth the price. Watched more than once already.
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Most recent customer reviews
Great feel good film, lots of fantastic songs