A Hard Day’s Night (1964): For the Greatest Band Ever™, the Fab Four are an awfully underrepresented presence in the annals of the biopic. That may be because people have access to the real deal—sort of. Brilliantly avoiding the Elvis-movie path, Richard Lester’s whirling dervish starred the Beatles as themselves, living their hectic, mob-fueled life. Well, a heavily scripted version of it, anyway. The real deal, featuring a lot more calm times and smoking, was captured by the Maysles Brothers in a doc currently retailing as The First U.S. Visit.
Birth of the Beatles (1979): Before being tapped to close out the Star Wars trilogy, director Richard Marquand recreated the Beatles’ teeth-cutting days, with music supplied by the famous Beatles tribute band Rain and the only major technical advising coming from ousted drummer Pete Best. The Beatles tried to have it killed. They didn’t, but it only played America on TV screens.
The Hours and Times (1991): Lennon told Playboy that nothing was consummated during his four-day Barcelona trip with Brian Epstein, their not-so-privately homosexual manager. That didn’t stop director Christopher Münch from making this speculative account, a black-and-white, minimalist affair in which the two go so far as to kiss in a tub.
Backbeat (1994): Ian Hart was such an uncanny Lennon in The Hours and Times that he returned for this more conventional biopic concerning the Beatles’ Hamburg days, specifically Lennon’s doomed relationship with doomed crap guitarist Stu Sutcliffe (Stephen Dorff, aptly oily).
Nowhere Boy (2009): Of course, if you wanted a real piece of art about Lennon’s traumatizing relationship with his flaky mother, you’d do better to dust off your copy of Plastic Ono Band.
Yellow Submarine (2012?): The Beatles only contributed a couple never-released songs and three minutes at the end to the original psychedelic toon, and they’ll have even less to do with Robert Zemeckis’ latest work of titanic importance. But hey, Look Around You’s Peter Serafinowicz as Paul!
Six Long-Running Film Franchises