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Film / Help!

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From left to right: Ringo, Paul, John (playing piano), George. Just in case.
Superintendent: Oh come on now lads, don't be windy, where's that famous pluck?
John: I haven't got any, have you George?
George: Did have.
Paul: I have had.
Ringo: I will have! Lead on!

In the mid-1960s, The Beatles were the hottest thing since sliced bread. The four guys from Liverpool not only topped the charts with their music, but they topped the box office with their movie A Hard Day's Night in 1964. So, in 1965, they, director Richard Lester, and producer Walter Shenson got back together to make another movie for United Artists. The result was Help!

The plot involves a cult from "the eastern country" (presumably, but not definitely, India, and loosely based on the Thuggee) who make sacrifices to their goddess, "Kaili". The person to be sacrificed wears a large ring with an enormous ruby in it. Unfortunately, the cultists find out at the ceremony that the girl who was supposed to be sacrificed mailed the ring to Ringo Starr, who is now wearing it. So, the cult scrambles to England to get the ring.

The problem is, nobody can get the ring off Ringo. Thus, the deadline for the ring going to its original sacrifice passes, and Ringo is now the official sacrifice for the cult. In their attempts to get the ring off Ringo, the Beatles approach two mad scientists. The mad scientists fail to get it off, and the Beatles cease co-operating with them. By this point, the scientists have decided that it's their ticket to world domination. This leads to a chase which leads the Fab Four and both sets of their pursuers to the Austrian Alps, Salisbury Plain (near Stonehenge), Buckingham Palace and The Bahamas.

The soundtrack album has its own entry.

Not to be confused with The Help or with Help (2021).

So these are the famous tropes, eh?:

  • Afraid of Needles: George passes out at the sight of a syringe.
  • Age-Progression Song: "Help" has Lennon sing that when he was younger than today he never needed any help, but nowadays when he's older he's more insecure.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: The shrinking potion, as well as the Mad Scientist's expander ray and "relativity credenzar".
  • All Animals Are Domesticated: The tiger that is sent to attack Ringo at the pub is actually from a zoo and won't attack Ringo if he has Ode to Joy sung to him.
  • Artistic License Ė Religion: The film is sometimes erroneously taken to be an example of this trope, because it features the goddess Kaili which is "obviously" a misspelling of Kali. However, according to the DVD commentary, this was done deliberately as they wanted a goddess who sounded like Kali without actually being her.
  • As Himself: The Beatles play more comic versions of themselves.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Clang's conversation with Bhuta on the train.
  • Audience Participation: The film has been called "The Rocky Horror Beatles Show" at some conventions (most notably Beatlefest Chicago), where screenings are frequently interrupted by audience members counting the number of times John dials the phone and handing out sticks of Wrigley's spearmint gum during the "Paul on the Floor" segment.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": The Beatles indulge in this occasionally, particularly any time they're supposed to be acting like they're having a carefree, fun time and instead just deliver the most stilted laughs humanly possible. (As mentioned above, they were usually stoned, to the point that many times they disregarded memorizing the script at all).
  • Bad Humor Truck: The Eastern death cult tails Ringo in a "Yippee! It's Mister Whippy!" ice-cream van. As thugs exit from the truck, one is eating an ice-cream cone.
  • Bad Impressionists: Superintendent Gluck does a bad impression of Ringo over the phone after boasting of his ability as a James Cagney impersonator: "Hello, this is the famous Ringo, gear, fab. What can I do for you, as it were, gear, fab?"
    George: Not a bit like Cagney.
  • Belly Dancer: Shown during the Indian restaurant scene. She's immediately taken away by the members of the cult, unbeknownst to the band.
    Paul: Doesn't the blood rush to your stomach?
  • Big Damn Movie: Granted, anything with the Beatles in at the peak of their power is fairly awesome anyway, but then you throw in the British Army's tanks surrounding the band playing near Stonehenge accompanied by Stuff Blowing Up, the stadium of people singing 'Ode to Joy' to calm a tiger. That last one may just be a shot of Stock Footage, but it's still epic.
  • Bigger on the Inside:
    • The Beatles' house looks like 4 separate townhouses from the outside, but it is all one big room.
    • The Eastern temple when it was brought to the Bahamas under a beach.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
  • Brick Joke:
    • About halfway through the film the scientists' bomb goes off and breaks a hole in an ice rink, with a cross-channel swimmer (played by the band's assistant roadie, Mal Evans) emerging from beneath and asking the way to the White Cliffs of Dover. He can be seen at the end emerging on a beach in the Bahamas, asking the same question.
    • In one scene Clang is on a train discussing religion with an English vicar. The vicar can later be seen in the audience for the sacrifice.
  • British Royal Guards: A small battalion of marching guardsmen immediately collapses mid-march after inadvertently getting hit with Knockout Gas.
    Ringo: It must be their tea break.
  • Buffy Speak: "Hey, it's a thingie! A fiendish thingie!"
  • Bumbling Henchmen Duo: Secondary villains Foot and Algernon, a somewhat bumbling mad scientist and his assistant who are out to get the sacrificial ring in order to Take Over The World... somehow.
  • The Calls Are Coming from Inside the House: Played for laughs when John uses this to prank the other Beatles with an alarm clock.
  • Caltrops: Parodied. The Kaili cult's disguised Harrods van has a front headlight which issues forth a stream of thumbtacks.
  • Caption Humor: Comedic captions and intertitles abound in this.
  • Captain Obvious: A tiger's appearance has the caption "A tiger".
  • Clingy MacGuffin: The ring. It can only be removed if the person wearing it does something brave. Too bad it's on Ringo...
  • Clothing Damage: A hilariously gratuitous version occurs when one of the villains attack the boys with a booby-trapped hand dryer that starts sucking away their clothes.
  • Coconut Meets Cranium: In the Bahamas, one of Clang's mooks waits up in a tree and hurls a coconut at Ringo (actually Paul in a Ringo mask), knocking him out.
  • Colour-Coded Characters: The Beatles' house, with John = red, Paul = white, George = green, and Ringo = blue.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: John, most notably, but really all of them; at some point, each suggests cutting Ringo's finger off (John does so holding a steak knife and says it would be like "having a tooth out"), and George, Ringo and John's complete non-reaction when Ringo supposedly squashes Paul.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Ringo, in a possible Call-Back to A Hard Day's Night. "What are you doing?" "Posting a letter."
  • Cool House: The Beatles' Bigger on the Inside house, with each Beatle having their own quirk to their own room: Ringo has several vending machines, John has a bookshelf and his bed is in a pit in the floor, Paul has an organ which surfaces from the floor, and George has a bed of grass complete with a gardener! There was also a deleted scene that showed that one of them also had a cow in a cupboard used for free milk.
  • Crazy Consumption: There's a moment where The Beatles are hiding in an alpine brass band and George takes a bite out of a cymbal he's holding.
  • Crazy-Prepared: The cult dons (sometimes) elaborate disguises and rigs up Scooby-Doo-like traps in places they anticipate the Beatles will wander into.
  • Creative Closing Credits: During the end credits, a many-faceted gem filters the cast members into multiple images as they file past - on the soundtrack, "The Barber of Seville" overture plays as The Beatles hum, laugh, and talk over it.
  • Crowd Song: Ode to Joy from Ludwig van Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, in German.
  • Cover Version: Dizzy Miss Lizzy, written by Larry Williams, which was ultimately not used in the film.
  • Dartboard of Hate: The opening credits — the Beatles are on a movie clip, and Clang throws darts at the screen whenever Ringo or the ring is visible.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Each of The Beatles.
  • Death Trap: The cultists set up increasingly elaborate death traps to get Ringo. Which, because of the requirements for the sacrifice, also involve painting the victim red.
  • Dedication: The film is dedicated to Elias Howe, inventor of the sewing machine. It's an idiosyncratic film.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The film made a big deal of being in colour - then, at the beginning, the scene shifts from a death-cult sacrifice being cut short to the band playing the title tune in black-and-white...turns out it's a film the cult is watching.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: It may seem disconcerting to see The Beatles (especially Lennon, although it's very obvious from his facial expression and tone of voice that he is mocking such attitudes) referring to "filthy Eastern ways" regarding their cultist pursuers, but all the deliberately stilted dialogue in the movie is meant to invoke old movie and adventure novel cliches.
  • Denser and Wackier: Whereas A Hard Day's Night had a documentary-style realism (with the occasional bout of surrealism), this feels more like a cartoon, with the band having madcap adventures across the world.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: In the pub, Ringo orders "Two lagers and lime, and two lagers and lime." for themselves.
    • After the fourth attempt in the bathroom, Paul says "Hey, my skin's soaked right through to the skin."
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: Clang and his thugs attempt to ambush The Beatles in an Indian restaurant, first nabbing the house musicians and replacing them, playing an instrumental medley of tunes from A Hard Day's Night on Eastern instruments.
  • Distracted by the Luxury: If one believes Clang, people selected for the sacrifice would go to the altar willingly just for the honor of wearing the ring for a day.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: John's line, "No doubt about it, we're risking our lives to preserve a useless member!" (In context, it's about Ringo's ring finger, which isn't necessary to his drumming but which he refuses to part with; taken with the Running Gag of Ringo's reputation, it sounds as if the line is meant to refer to Ringo himself as the useless member of the band.)
    • At first, Ringo thinks that all the talk of "ugly hands" is about the poker game, until George bluntly clears it up for Ringo:
      George: They're talking about your finger, you know.
  • Dull Surprise: Played for laughs when The Beatles fall victim to a hand-dryer trap, Ringo declares "There's more here than meets the eye!" Over the caption "Everyone laughs at Ringo's sudden apprehension", John and George exchange a long run of flat ho-hos. They all retain this quiet reaction to most every bizarre event through the movie.
  • Easy Impersonation: While the Beatles are at Scotland Yard, the bad guys telephone for them. The Inspector plays Ringo, bragging at being "a bit of a mimic, you know, James Cagney..." and proceeds with a ludicrous impression peppered with 'gear, fab'...George smirks "Not a bit like Cagney!"
  • Eating the Eye Candy: During the opening musical sequence, the girl on the sacrificing table is staring rather appreciatively at John.
  • Empty Piles of Clothing: When Paul gets injected with a shrinking serum he shrinks out of his clothes, leaving them behind in a heap on the bed he was sitting on.
  • Energy Weapon: Algernon has Foot turn a laser on the Beatles...but seconds later a fuse blows. The flunky stammers "...wrong plug. Just give me five minutes..."
  • Everything's Louder with Bagpipes: The Beatles once again run afoul of the pursuing Eastern thug cult at the London riverfront, disguised as a Highland band, with a bagpipe that spews sacrificial red paint.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Both John, who's not averse to a little seasoning in his soup (even if it's a season ticket), and George, who at one point takes a giant bite out of the cymbal that he's holding.
  • Fake-Out Opening: The Cold Open in which the cult is about to sacrifice the woman to Kalili. It's this cool, solemn, proto-Indiana Jones-like bit with elaborate Costume Porn....but then the ring's discovered to be missing....cue the Beatles singing '"Help!"....
  • Fanservice:
    • Probably most blatant in the "hand dryer ripping off the boys' clothes" scene, particularly George's shirt...cue the fangirls screaming.
    • The naked Paul from "The Exciting Adventure of Paul On The Floor". (In Real Life, though, he was wearing a pair of tan bathing trunks while filming the scene.)
    • Paul on the beach in tight t-shirt and jeans qualifies.
    • The beautiful girl who was going to be sacrificed at the beginning of the film (and who's later glimpsed enthusiastically watching the film of them singing, and later still in the bath being washed down by her mum) is this. Provided you can get over the whole red paint/sacrifice thing.
    • And who can forget the moment Ringo's pants fall as Algernon tries to remove the ring.
    • The variety of bondage Ringo is subjected to, originally meant to parody James Bond films, can easily be mistaken for this by modern viewers.
  • Fiction 500: Clang has a seemingly bottomless supply of resources to try to capture and killing Ringo.
  • The Film of the Song
  • Fingore: The others can't understand why Ringo won't let them just cut off his finger.
  • Flanderization:
    • The film versions of the band were supposed to exhibit exaggerated versions of their own personalities: John as a snarky smartaleck, Paul as a smooth lady killer, George as a miserly cheapskate, and Ringo as... well, Ringo. Most of this gets lost in the finished version, though.
    • Whereas A Hard Day's Night showed the band as individuals, Help! now shows them as one band living in the same house with four separate doors.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Algernon claims to be this.
    Algernon: I work better with animals. They trust me, you see. I should have gone into vivisection.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • George spends most of the movie doing funny or awkward things in the background, like putting things in his pockets in the jewellery shop or eating his cymbals in the Alps.
    • Audio version: after the cultists forcibly abduct the in-house musicians at the restaurant and take their places and their instruments, they begin playing... "A Hard Day's Night".
  • Genre Shift: A Hard Day's Night was a mockumentary. Help! is an action/adventure comedy.
  • Get Out!: A gang of death-cult thugs burst into the Beatles' home, and after a drag-out brawl are run out by a gun-wielding mad scientist, who turns the gun on the band, and it misfires. At this point John quietly growls "Get out." And they do.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: The Beatles hide from danger in a riverside pub, where a booby trap drops Ringo into the cellar. Clang, posing as a bartender, threatens the others with a broken bottle and they flee through the window.
  • Groupie Brigade: Amusingly inverted - the Beatles pull up to their homes, and the only girls around are a couple of middle-aged housewives, one of whom needs to be coaxed to wave.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: This happens after injecting the syringe into Paul's knee, which Ahme describes as "a dreadful miscarriage."
  • He's Got a Weapon!: "It's a thingie! A fiendish thingie!"
  • Hesitant Sacrifice: The plot revolves around Ringo being marked as a cult's human sacrifice - after some narrow escapes, the others suggest over his objections that he should 'take one for the team'.
    Paul: That bloke with Scott - I always admired how he went out into the snow for his mates.
  • High Priest: Clang, who at one point chats amicably with an Anglican priest about the importance of human sacrifice to focus the congregation.
  • Hiroshima as a Unit of Measure: As The Beatles record a song in the middle of Salisbury Plain with the Army protecting them, the bad guys burrow underneath, setting a massive amount of explosives labelled in military-grade stencil "Equal to exactly one millionth of the explosives exploded in one week of the Second World War".
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: When Ringo finally gets the ring off, he puts it on Clang's finger, making him the next sacrifice. Clang does manage to get it off in time, but it was still a good try.
  • Human Sacrifice: Played for Laughs. Spending the whole movie trying to kill Ringo, who has a sacrificial ring stuck on his finger, the cult leader muses to himself "Perhaps if we gave away free tickets to the youth organization annual sacrifice and dinner dance, all this could be avoided. It's a very real problem!" just before he turns a flame thrower on the band.
  • Improvised Clothes: After Paul accidentally gets shrunk, he improvises a wrap out of a discarded Wrigley's gum wrapper.
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: Getting accidentally injected with the shrinking serum results in "The Exciting Adventure of Paul on the Floor".
  • In the Style of:
    • "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away" is very Dylanesque.
    • "She's a Woman" (played on tape) is Paul's attempt at imitating Little Richard's vocal style.
  • Intermission: It's about seven seconds long and is entirely a Big-Lipped Alligator Moment.
  • Irony: While the Beatles were too stoned off their head most of the time during recording this film they do have a song aptly titled Act Naturally.
  • It's All About Me: Clang's true motive for retrieving the ring and/or sacrificing whoever has it is that he needs the ritual sacrifice to keep the Cult of Kaili going, and his power comes from leading the cult.
    "Without the ring, there is no sacrifice. No sacrifice, no congregation. No congregation, no me."
  • I've Never Seen Anything Like This Before: The Jeweler says the trope name after breaking all his tools trying to remove Ringo's ring.
    "Jeweler, you've failed!"
  • James Bondage: Parodied several times with Ringo, during the various attempts to remove the ring or sacrifice him. Much of the time, his restraints are quite sloppy and should be easy to break out of, but is still treated like a serious obstacle he needs to be rescued from.
    • For example, being wrapped in a blanket and having plenty of time with the car trunk opened to jump out and run off, but instead waiting for George to take five minutes to sabotage the car so that when it takes off again, and then breaks down, then Ringo and George can jump out and flee.
    • While Strapped to an Operating Table, basically every part of Ringo is restrained except his hands, which are right under the buckle of the strap going across his shoulders, and thus should be easy to undo and break out of. And he has enough energy to bite his captor, and run for it after someone else frees him, so we know he wasn't given any kind of paralyzing drug.
    • Fridge Brilliance kicks in when you remember that the Beatles are all beyond baked (both in and out of universe), explaining...well everything.
  • Knockout Gas: A sinister red gas takes out all of the Buckingham Palace guards in a matter of seconds.
    Ringo: It must be their tea break.
  • Large Ham: John Lennon is the hammiest of The Beatles, but the villains take the cake (Leo McKern as a Thuggee priest, Victor Spinetti's Mad Scientist...).
  • Latex Perfection: The other Beatles for Ringo, to set traps for the cultist. How that was actually managed boggles the mind.
  • Living MacGuffin: Ringo when wearing the ring, since the cult are not so much trying to take the ring from him as trying to sacrifice him because he's wearing the ring. (It's a different religion from ours. I think.)
  • The Load: After a series of events involving Paul getting shrunk, winter sports in the Austrian Alps, and being attacked by Clang, the rest of the group is getting weary of having their lives endangered because of Ringo, and they reason that he would still be able to play the drums with one less finger on his hand:
    John: Oh, why don't you chop it off, Ringo?
    Ringo: Look John, I've had some great times with this finger. [to Paul] And how do you know I wouldn't miss it?
    Paul: You're a rat underneath, aren't you?
  • MacGuffin: The ring. Interesting it has no power in and of itself, other than that it can't be removed even with the aid of Mad Science.
  • Mad Scientist: Professor Foot. Lampshaded by John when he says "This is absurd! You're nothing but a trite, hackneyed mad scientist!"
  • Magic Pants: An odd variation occurs where Paul is accidentally injected with a short-term shrinking solution - he shrinks out of his clothes and uses a gum wrapper as a Modesty Towel, then he manages to grow back completely inside his suit without as much as a skewed tie.
  • Mind-Control Music: In an scene dropped from the final movie, The Beatles, at an acting school, are put into a trance by droning music played by Clang and his thugs. A scene that was used has them trying again, all crammed in a phone booth calling the band up while they're in Scotland Yard. Clang intones "Go... to... the... window!... Go... to... the... window!"
  • Mouse World: When Paul shrinks down he uses a discarded chewing gum wrapper to cover himself and he also uses an ash tray as a bathtub.
  • Music Soothes the Savage Beast: Rajah, the famous Bengal tiger man-eater that corners Ringo, can be rendered completely calm by a performance of "Ode to Joy." Why? He was a gift from the Berlin Zoo where he was reared on "the classics."
  • No Sense of Direction: The Beatles' road manager Mal Evans, does a cameo as a swimmer who has this, looking for the White Cliffs of Dover while under some ice (in Switzerland — just roll with it) and again at the end in a Brick Joke in the Caribbean Sea.
  • Non-Action Guy: When the Cultists invade their home the Beatles attempt to fight them off. Except for Paul; he was shrunk to a few inches tall and is therefore unable to fight back. So he spends the melee just trying to avoid being stepped on.
  • Non-Actor Vehicle: The Beatles themselves, of course. Here it's a little more profound due to this film's Denser and Wackier storyline (compared to their more down-to-earth previous film A Hard Day's Night).
  • Noodle Incident: Ringo once got his head stuck in some railings.
    Ringo: The fire brigade once got my head out of some railings.
    John: Did you want them to?
    Ringo: No. I left it there when not at school. You can see a lot of the world from railings.
  • Nostalgia Filter: "Help", thinking about "when I was younger, so much younger than today. I never needed anybody's help in any way".
  • Not a Mask: After the cult members get rounded up in a snare knocking out who they think is Ringo (but is first Paul, then John in a latex mask) Algernon finds the real Ringo, first pulling at his face a few times before yanking him away by the nose.
    Ringo: I can't understand - they kept pullin' at me nose! And mine of all noses!
  • Obvious Trap: Several traps, particularly the last one, are comically obvious. The cast is cheerfully oblivious.
  • Only Sane Man: Ahme is the only person with any lick of competence in the movie, and she seems rather exhausted by it.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: When Clang sees Foot and Algernon make off with Ringo, having overridden his cage trap with a trapdoor, he does not take it well.
    Clang: HE'S MINE!
  • Outside Ride: George climbs on the roof of Foot and Algernon's car to save Ringo, even managing to stay on after their repeated attempts to ram him off.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: The Beatles go to the airport in fake beards and mustaches to avoid being noticed by Cult members. John even went so far as to stay in a wheelchair to avoid recognition, far from simply wearing a cloth cap.
  • Performance Video: It's a musical, and we get to see most of the songs performed.
  • Pinball Protagonist: All four Beatles for much of the film.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Ringo, sometimes aided and abetted by George.
  • Police Are Useless: Subverted. While the Royal Guards at first seem to be a literal bunch of Redshirts (who get knocked out by gas, trapped in weightlessness, etc), and seemingly play this trope straight (as also seen by the fact that they never turn up for such things as restaurants and private homes getting invaded), it all suddenly changes once the Beatles actually decide to go to the police. Indeed, in the third act the police actually ends up saving the Beatles. Twice (British and Bahaman police respectively)!
  • Portal Pool: The boys escape capture by jumping into a hidden hatch within the temple, and wind up in the swimming pool of a nearby hotel.
  • Potty Emergency: As Algernon makes his way to the Beatles in a motorized rubber raft he tells his lackey "You should've thought of that before we left!"
  • The Power of Love: Most of the songs are about this topic.
  • Primal Chest-Pound: As John, Paul and George search for Ringo, George yells Ringo's name in a Tarzan-esque manner, pounding his chest while doing so.
  • Product Placement: John is seen reading his own book A Spaniard In The Works in his house. Played for Laughs, since the obvious implication is that he's a narcissist.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: The film was a showcase for a lot of Beatles songs, and much of the soundtrack was their tunes done in a James Bond styleóbut then they also used Wagner's 'Lohengrin', Tchaikovsky's '1812 Overture', Beethoven's 'Ode to Joy', and Rossini's 'Barber of Seville'.
  • Punk in the Trunk: Ringo, courtesy of Foot and Algernon. Lucky, George is there to rescue him, having run away in terror earlier in the scene.
  • Racial Face Blindness: Swami Clang can't tell the Beatles apart: "They look all the same in their similarity and language!"
  • Random Events Plot: The Beatles just run from one country to another and encounter surreal events.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: The Beatles have admitted they more or less wanted a paid vacation, which is why they suggested some of the film's more exotic locations (The Bahamas, the Alps). Also, the song Help! perfectly summarized Lennon's feelings about the whole Beatlemania thing at this point, and filming the movie got them away from their fans for a while.
  • Reliably Unreliable Guns: The idiot "scientist" and his assistant have a recurring problem: none of their equipment works when it needs to, leading the assistant to invariably blame whatever country the object in question came from. As a result, this trope pops up twice: once with a "cheap" English pistol, leading them to bemoan their lack of a Luger, and once with their American-built time-slowing ray, leading them to cause a short due to the difference in voltage.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: When the Beatles notice a red smudge near Ringo's shoe they assume that Paul, who was shrunk earlier, has been stepped on. However, it's just red paint and Paul soon returns to his normal size.
  • Ridiculously Long Phone Number: In a surreal comedy bit, John dials one of these from his below-ground resting area in the Beatles' house to set off Paul, George and Ringo's alarm clocks late at night.
  • Running Gag:
    • John: "Getting nowhere, are you, jeweller/mad scientist/superintendent?"
    • People and things being referred to as "The famous X" ("the famous Beatles", "the famous Ringo", "the famous ring", "the famous temple", and so forth) primarily by the Superintendent, although the Beatles themselves as well as the written narration pick up on the trend.
  • Say My Name: After Ringo is kidnapped in the Bahamas, the other three Beatles go about looking for him, shouting his name the whole time.
  • Scenery Porn: The film does look good, with lush scenery from the Alps, the Bahamas, and Stonehenge.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: In a deleted scene, the Beatles go to The Sam Ahab School of Transcendental Elocution. "Sam Ahab" is Bahamas spelled backwards.
  • Shirtless Scene: The Beatles, taking refuge in a bathroom, get attacked by a hand-dryer that conveniently sucks up most of their clothing, George's shirt in particular. And that's not even getting into the part where Paul shrinks and his clothes don't...
  • Short-Distance Phone Call: Foot and Algernon are rigging up an exploding curling stone; Algernon describes his progress on a headset to Foot, who is standing right beside him.
    Algernon (when walking):"I am now moving my left leg....I am now moving my right leg...."
  • Shout-Out:
    • The version of "Help!" used in the movie's opening credits and on the American soundtrack starts with a snippet of a James Bond-style theme; in the film itself, said theme plays as Clang and his cult prepare to pursue the Beatles in their car. In another scene, Bhuta distracts a chef by imitating Oddjob's hat toss attack.
    • One of the orchestral cues is appropriately titled, "Another Hard Day's Night".
    • As John and Ringo walk down the sidewalk to mail a letter, John is heard reciting the first few lines to his In His Own Write poem, "I Sat Belonely". He also is shown reading his second book, A Spaniard in the Works, at the beginning of the film.
    • When Ringo is kidnapped and the other Beatles are calling for him, George beats his chest like Tarzan while looking for him.
    • "The Exciting Adventure of Paul On The Floor" segment references The Incredible Shrinking Man
  • Step Three: Profit: The mad scientists never actually explain how an indestructible ring will let them Take Over the World. Sure it's neat and everything but...
  • Step Up to the Microphone: "Yesterday", which was performed by Paul solo, without the other group members involved.
  • Sticky Fingers: The Beatles visit a jeweller seeking help to remove a ring stuck on Ringo's finger - in the background, George casually pockets several bits of merchandise.
  • Stoner Flick: The Beatles were stoned off their asses during the making of it, and the non sequitur and other ridiculous bits are far more entertaining.
  • Strange Salute: Klang and Ahme do one on the airport tarmac involving sticking their elbows and wrists out at right angles.
  • Strapped to an Operating Table: Parodied when the scientists attempt to amputate Ringo's finger to get the ring. The position of the straps should make it more than easy for Ringo to free himself (and he clearly has not been paralyzed in any way either), but it's played like he's completely restrained. (Justified, by the fact that he's stoned off his ass, both in and out of universe.)
  • Stuff Blowing Up: The cultists fire away and eventually do manage to take out the tank the Beatles were riding in. Luckily, the Beatles were no longer in it when it was hit.
  • Super Window Jump: The Beatles dive out the window in a pub to get away from bad guys. And earlier, bad guys dive in the window of the Beatles' flat, taking them by surprise.
  • Take Over the World:
    • The main reason the mad scientists want the ring. Exactly how they would take over the world with an indestructible but otherwise ordinary ring is unexplained. It's mad science, common sense would be cheating.
      "With a ring like that I could, dare I say it, rule the world! I must have that ring! Algernon, the laser!"
    • Later lampshaded, when Foot begrudgingly deduces that they probably couldn't interest anyone in the ring to begin with.
  • Take That!: Scotland Yard gets one.
    Chief Superintendent: So, this is the famous ring? And this is the famous Beatles.
    John: So, this is the famous Scotland Yard.
    Chief Superintendent: And how long do you think you'll last?
    John: Can't say fairer than that — Great Train Robbery, eh, how's that going?
  • Titled After the Song
  • Title Theme Tune
  • Took a Level in Badass: George in the Bahamas. After spending the entire time messing around in the background, cheating at cards, and just sort of going with things, he fights off four cultists and very nonchalantly leaps on top of the scientists' car to rescue Ringo.
  • Toplessness from the Back: Ahme's sister taking a bath in Part Two.
  • Trap Door: Ringo falls through at least two trapdoors. One of them is in a pub and uses a beer glass (glued to its coaster) as a switch; fortunately for those trying to rescue Ringo, its seams are just visible. Another one is inside the area covered by an electrified cage somewhere in the Bahamas...
  • Two-Faced Aside: When Ringo is about to have his finger shrunk with a potion so a magic ring can be removed, George speculates that there might be some insurance they could get out of it. John indignantly says "I wouldn't think of such a thing!", before whispering "Find out, eh?"
  • Two Scenes, One Dialogue: In the restaurant, the Beatles encounter the Eastern cultists. Clang and Bhuta explain the ring's significance to Ringo, George and John, while Ahme does the same to Paul.
    Clang: Pardon me, sir. That's a very fascinating ring you've got there. Unless I'm mistaken, is it...?
    Ahme: ...the dreaded sacred sacrificial ring of the dread Kaili.
    Paul: Please say no more.
    Ahme: I can say no more.

    Ahme: A victim is offered to the dread Kaili everyday. All are happy to go. He who wins is privileged to wear the sacred ring from sun to moon, from moon to sun. And at the end of the happy day, he is slaughtered jolly with a knife...
    Clang: ...and sacrificed jolly with a knife, so I'm told, with that ring.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight:
    • The people in the Indian restaurant seem pretty undisturbed by the sight of a number of cultists strangling, kidnapping and replacing the staff.
      Man (as his waiter is dragged off): Oh, rather a jolly place!
    • The Beatles seem rather undisturbed as well, at least until they see Ringo's hand nearly get chopped off. Of particular note is John's complete nonchalance over finding items in his food, the result of the chefs being knocked out during its preparation.
      John: What's this?
      Ringo: It's a season ticket. What did you think it is?
      John: Oh, I like a lot of seasoning in me soup.
  • Weapons That Suck: A hand dryer in a washroom is rigged to vacuum at high intensity to pull the coveted ring off Ringo's hand - it rips off bits of the guys' clothing and pulls the plumbing off the walls before it's shut down.
  • Wham Line: Algernon, assistant to the scientist Foot: "It's more than my job's worth to stop him when he's out like this. He's out to rule the world, if he can get a government grant." Following the revelation that the Beatles made a big mistake getting help from Foot, he saw what the ring that Ringo wore could do: "Fantastic! With a ring like that I couldódare I say itórule the world."
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The gardener from George's room is not seen again after playing the flute in "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away".
  • What the Fu Are You Doing?: Ringo during a fight scene. Everyone else pretty much ignores him, until he breaks down sobbing because they manage to paint him red.
  • Where's the Kaboom?: Algernon hands a curling stone with an explosive charge into a game. When it's seen to be 'a fiendish thingie' everyone scatters...and the ticking stone clicks to a stop. The scientist fumes "Useless. Ex-army rubbish - I can't get the equipment!" and it explodes before he can finish talking.
  • Wraparound Background:
    • In-movie variation - in the Bahamas, the police chief welcomes the Scotland Yard detective and presents a squad of policemen for inspection. The squad consists of only four men, the last in the row ducking and heading to the front of the row as the chief and inspector pass by the other three.
    • A more standard version happens a little later when the Beatles decide they're tired of running and want to fight back. After a bit, the camera zooms out and reveals that they're going around in circles.


Video Example(s):


The Beatles' Home

Inside the Beatles' house in Help!. From outside it looks like four houses, but on the inside it's one huge pad, with one section color-coded for each member and each with its own special attribute.

How well does it match the trope?

4.6 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / CoolHouse

Media sources: