As A Lifelong Beatles Fan, 10 Key Events I Want To See In Sam Mendes’ Fab Four Movies

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I’ve been a fan of The Beatles since birth, or probably even before I was born on account of my dad being obsessed with the “Fab Four.” I was raised on a healthy dose of Beatles music and stories, and so like my dad, I’ve become what some would consider obsessed with the band and their impact on music and society in general.

When I found that Sam Mendes, the director of the Best Picture winner American Beauty, was developing not one but four movies about The Beatles (one dedicated to each member of the band), I was ecstatic about an ambitious project that won’t be released until well after the 2024 movie schedule concludes. That being said, I got to thinking about all the key events and moments I’d love to see told in the movies, and came up with this list… 

The Beatles in The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years

(Image credit: Hulu)

John, Paul, George, and Ringo’s Younger Days

Based on what I gathered from Deadline’s February 2024 announcement about the project, each of the four movies will focus on different members of the band with some interconnected stories. If this ends up being the case, Sam Mendes could do something unique and fresh with the origin aspect of his ambitious biographical drama. Focusing on each of the four members’ childhood experiences and early days of the band could be really cool to see in this format, especially the band’s first few years before Ringo Starr joined and finalized the lineup. We’ve seen various biopics like Knowhere Boy that tackled the formative experiences, but those mostly focus on the individual members without too much attention to the other three.

The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show

(Image credit: The Beatles)

The First Ed Sullivan Performance

The Beatles’ February 1964 performance of “I Want to Hold Your Hand” on The Ed Sullivan Show was one of the biggest moments in the band’s career as well as the history of TV and is something that’s still discussed 60 years later. I would love to see not only the appearance but also the before-and-after of the whole episode and how it impacted each of the members on both a personal and professional level. Was John excited? Was Paul on edge? Was George nervous? Was Ringo down for the ride? Breaking down the psychological aspect of it from each member’s perspective could be really cool to see.

The Beatles in A Hard Day’s Night

(Image credit: United Artists)

Filming A Hard Day’s Night

Like other musicians of their era, The Beatles made a handful of movies during their early days, including A Hard Day’s Night. Released in July 1964, the mockumentary film followed the group over the course of a single day and felt quite similar to their initial experiences with superstardom during that time. I would love to see the four movies dive into the production of the iconic film and how the members felt about transitioning from a quartet of musicians to a pop culture phenomenon with a budding big-screen career.

John Lennon being interviewed on KTTV

(Image credit: KTTV Fox 11 Los Angeles)

In July 1966, The Beatles became wrapped up in a major controversy after comments made by John Lennon months earlier led to international backlash and protests by religious leaders, government officials, and former fans. Lennon’s “more popular than Jesus” remark, which was taken out of context when published by Datebook teen magazine that summer, nearly upended the band’s massive wave of success and threatened their lives, per Rolling Stone.  The whole episode, which included the burning and demolition of the band’s records and memorabilia in the United States, would make for a memorable yet somewhat tragic portion of Sam Mendes’ planned movies.

The Beatles performing at Candlestick Park

(Image credit: CBS 5)

The Final Concert

On August 29, 1966, The Beatles played their final concert, a 11-song performance in front of 25,000 fans at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. The last stop of an 18-day tour that was marred by controversy (this was right after the “Bigger Than Jesus” episode blew up) and pushed the four members to their physical limits, the gig has become something of legend over the years. This was also the start of a big transition from the “Beatlemania” phenomenon to the more secluded and creative period in the band’s final years, making this a must for the movies.

Brian Epstein in Masters of Pop: Money Makers

(Image credit: BBC)

Brian Epstein’s Death

With the status of the Brian Epstein biopic only getting foggier as time goes on, it’s hard to say if we’ll ever see a proper movie dedicated solely to The Beatles’ longtime manager. That being said, his August 1967 death should be a major part of Sam Mendes’ four-picture project, as he was essentially the glue that kept the four members together during the tumultuous period that was the mid-1960s. Seeing how John, Paul, George, and Ringo hear about the loss of their manager and friend, as well as how they come to terms with it could make for an incredibly powerful moment.

George Harrision in The Beatles and India

(Image credit: Channel 4)

The Beatles’ 1968 Trip To India

In February 1968, the four members of The Beatles, their wives, and various other musicians traveled to Rishikesh, India, to study Transcendental Mediation with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a trip that would also lead to the band’s most productive songwriting period. There are a few factors that would be fun to explore from this trip including the varying levels of commitment to TM from the individual members to the isolated nature of the months-long excursion to the way it impacted the interpersonal and creative relationships of the four friends in the final years of their time together.

The Beatles in The Beatles: Get Back

(Image credit: Disney+)

The ‘Get Back’ Sessions

The “Get Back” sessions, which would ultimately lead to Abbey Road and Let It Be, the final two Beatles records, were explored in great detail in Peter Jackson’s The Beatles: Get Back. And while we’ve been treated to an exhaustive experience from those sessions, what we didn’t get to see in the Disney+ original title were the events before and after those intense hours spent in the rehearsal space. There’s a great deal of bitterness and contention in that doc, and I would love to see how each member felt about that process.

The Beatles rooftop concert in 1969

(Image credit: Disney+)

Playing On The Apple Records Roof

The Beatles’ January 30, 1969 concert on top of the Apple Corps roof is one of the most iconic moments in the history of rock and roll and one that is forever attached to the band. What would ultimately be the group’s final public performance together is the stuff of legend these days and a movie about The Beatles better include this in some form.

The Beatles in Get Back

(Image credit: Disney+)

The Break-up

The Beatles officially disbanded on December 29, 1974, almost four years after Paul McCartney filed a lawsuit to formally dissolve the partnership he shared with John Lennon. Though it’s going to be a bummer watching the band break apart, the thought of Sam Mendes potentially structuring his movies differently based on this timeline is something that has me extremely curious. So much time passed between McCartney’s December 31, 1970 filing and the finalization years later, which took place while Lennon was at Disney World, per Vulture.

Though we’re going to be waiting a very long time for the still-untitled Beatles movies, I’m excited about what Sam Mendes has in store (even if he doesn’t include all these big moments). But to pass the time, I’m going to watch these Beatles-centric documentaries.

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