Film: Backbeat

A film about The Beatles in Hamburg — but not simply that. If it were simply that, the first name listed in the opening credits would not be female.

It's really about the love affair between Astrid Kirchherr and Stuart Sutcliffe. The Beatles are just necessary for Back Story and conflict.

We start in Liverpool. Stuart Sutcliffe and John Lennon are at a club; Stu has sketched the girl onstage. Some big men confront them. John and Stu leave the club, but the men follow, and we end up seeing Stu pounded heavily. This will be important later.

We see several scenes of John and Stu bonding, and one of Stu choosing to be a bassist. We do not see any other Beatles until the ferry to Europe, about 15 minutes in.

We see the seedy nightlife of the Reeperbahn played to the hilt.

And finally, we are at the Kaiserkeller, and we see Klaus Voormann and Astrid. John does not get along with them. Stu falls in love...

From here on, we alternate between scenes with The Beatles and scenes with Stu and Astrid (and sometimes others).

There is a Foregone Conclusion.


  • Ambition Is Evil: Paul McCartney—in this film, and with what little time he's given, most of what he does is for the success of the band.
    • Somewhat subverted, with a dose of Jerkass Has a Point. Paul was correct in noting that Sutcliffe wasn't really good enough to play with the rest of the band. Sutcliffe himself, who basically joined The Beatles because he was John Lennon's best friend, was aware of this.
  • The Beatles
  • Beware the Nice Ones
  • Blood from the Mouth
  • Cannot Spit It Out
  • Cassandra Truth: Paul's warning that Stu has to leave the Beatles and denial that John will leave with him. John doesn't believe it until it happens.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Ringo Starr shows up in an early scene, but his role is limited to laying sick in Stu's bed. Of course, he later shows up as the Beatles' drummer, replacing Pete Best, after they achieve success.
  • Fake Brit: Stephen Dorff, who plays Stu, is American.
  • Fanservice in spades.
  • Foregone Conclusion: A few:
    • Stu leaving the Beatles to pursue his ambitions in the art world.
    • Stu's death.
    • The rest of the Beatles striking it big later on.
  • Heroic BSOD
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: John Lennon
  • Love at First Sight: Stu and Astrid first see each other at an early gig in the first club the Beatles perform in in Hamburg, and though Stu is busy performing it is clear that they both see each other and feel something.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Stu is in love with Astrid, who John claims to have fallen for, while John is also accused of being in love with Stu. Oh, and there's also John's fiancee Cynthia.
  • Mythology Gag: "I've been working eight days a week," says Stu to a doctor.
  • The Pete Best: The trope namer is present, and true to form he is forgotten about throughout the entire movie, mostly just being a background character and having no lines of dialogue. And then he's replaced by Ringo in the end without any mention of this occurring.
    • When he finally pipes up and says something everyone else is astonished.
  • Pungeon Master: You can't have a film about the Beatles without their trademark wit.
  • Stripperiffic: This film is full of strippers.
  • Women Are Wiser: Astrid.