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Release Date:April 15, 1994
Running time:100 minutes
Cast:Ian Hart, Sheryl Lee, Stephen Dorff, John White, Bernard Merrick
Director:Iain Softley
Producer:Nik Powell
Writer:Iain Softley, Michael Thomas
Distributor:Gramercy Pictures

Description: The Beatles' early days as a struggling bar band are depicted in this fact-based drama, which tells the little-known story of original member Stuart Sutcliffe (Stephen Dorff). A close friend of John Lennon, Sutcliffe acts as the band's original bassist, accompanying them on their early gigs in Liverpool and Hamburg, Germany. The friendship becomes strained, however, when Sutcliffe falls in love with a German art student and starts to question his commitment to the band. With Sutcliffe's story taking center stage, the stories of the more famous Beatles largely fade into the background. The exception is John Lennon, thanks to a fierce performance by Ian Hart, who had previously portrayed the musician in the more intimate and provocative The Hours and the Times. While Backbeat does provide a new perspective on the band's beginning, and numerous opportunities for a group of modern rock musicians to recreate the band's energetic early performances, it never makes Sutcliffe's story seem more than a footnote to musical history.~ Judd Blaise, All Movie Guide

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