I Wanna Hold Your Hand is a 1978 movie that marks the directorial debut of Robert Zemeckis, and the first film that Steven Spielberg executive produced. It stars Nancy Allen, Wendie Jo Sperber, Susan Kendall Newman, Theresa Saldana and Bobby Di Cicco.
It's February 9th, 1964, and The Beatles are bringing the fever of Beatlemania to the United States for the first time. Specifically, it's the band's debut on The Ed Sullivan Show, and they were about to be greeted with a history-making reception from America, and potentially go deaf from their newfound fanbase.
This movie follows some teenagers - hysterical fangirl Rosie, recently engaged Pam, aspiring photographer Grace, Beatle-hater Janet, obnoxious bully Tony, and Larry, who's driving - on their quest from Maplewood, New Jersey to New York, to get to see the Beatles in person - both for their appearance at the Ed Sullivan Theatre, and at the hotel where they're staying. Upon arrival in the city, they have to contend with a rabid crowd of Beatlemaniacs outside the hotel, a ton of security, and Richard, a Beatles superfan. Hilarity Ensues.
The soundtrack of the movie features many early Beatles songs: "I Want to Hold Your Hand," "Please Please Me," "I Saw Her Standing There," "Twist and Shout," "Money (That's What I Want)," "She Loves You" and much more.
Tropes associated with I Wanna Hol- OH MY GOD!!! OH MY GOD IT'S PAUL!!! I'M GONNA DIE!!!
- Abusive Parents: In New York, we meet Peter, a young boy with a mop top haircut, but shortly afterward we meet his grouchy, domineering, shaming father who stole Peter's Ed Sullivan tickets from him and won't give them back unless he buzzes off his hair.
- Big Applesauce: By way of Joisey.
- Broad Strokes:
- The band are depicted as the last act of the night, with the sole performance of "She Loves You." In actuality, they performed twice on the show, and played some other songs as well, including "All My Loving," "Till There Was You," "I Saw Her Standing There" and "I Want To Hold Your Hand." This may be a case of Rule of Drama.
- Ed Sullivan (well, this film's version of Ed Sullivan) claims he first saw the Beatles perform in England while on a trip with his wife, but in actuality, he first saw their performance on the CBS Evening News. The booking was based on Sullivan seeing the huge reaction to the Beatles at London's Heathrow Airport, which delayed his flight.
- Celeb Crush: Rosie, Pam and Grace all have this to varying degrees, but Rosie goes hard.
- Celebrity Resemblance: A Running Gag. The huge crowd at the hotel go nuts at anything that even looks like a mop top hairdo.
- Crowd Song: The crowd make one up while waiting to catch a glimpse of the band.
- Cut the Juice: A particularly grandiose example gets ultimately averted. Tony steals a fire axe from the CBS studios, climbs the tower outside and attempts to cut the satellite signal to "end this Beatles bullshit once and for all!" Fortunately, lightning strikes his axe and he falls.
- Dogged Nice Guy: Larry.
- Drives Like Crazy: Larry on his way to the theatre near the end, with a terrified Grace in tow.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Poor Larry does this after Grace runs off to impersonate an escort.
- Expy: Each of the four girls shares the first letter of their first name with one of the Beatles, and has a personality that corresponds loosely to that Beatle's public persona:
- Pam = Paul (according to the authors' outline, both are "together and cute")
- Janis = John ("worldly, cynical")
- Grace = George ("quiet and serious")
- Rosie = Ringo ("clutzy and short")
- Fangirls: And some Fanboys, like Peter!
- Foreign Culture Fetish: Rosie, because the Beatles are British.
- Groupie Brigade: As is typical in any portrayal of Beatlemania, but this movie plays it up to the point of it being a Running Gag.
- Hatedom: In-universe example. A Beatles backlash gets some time in this movie, most often through Janet and Tony.
- HeelFace Turn: Janet finally warms up to the phenomenon in the latter half of the movie.
- Hipster: Janet is a 60s version of this.
- Innocent Innuendo: The scene where Grace is forced to hide in a hotel room closet, and hears a man and a female escort giggling and moaning. By the time she gets out, she finds her rubbing mayonnaise on his bald head.
- I Take Offence to That Last One: Richard, when he and Rosie are confronted by a cop.Sergeant Brenner: Now I got you, you little shithead!Richard: Who are you calling "little?"
- It's Popular, Now It Sucks!: Invoked. Rosie accuses Janet of being this kind of person.
- Jerkass: Tony is a lecherous, bullying, spiteful, lunkheaded prick. In his first scene he invites himself on the trip by jumping from his buddies' car to theirs, then steals Larry's wallet and looks through it.
- Also, Peter's stern, old-fashioned dad, who insists on cutting Peter's hair to "look like a marine."
- Pam's fiance, Eddie, turns out to be a grouchy stick-in-the-mud, and Pam calls the engagement off before the show.
- The Oldest Profession: Grace attempts this, in a last ditch effort to get money for the tickets. It doesn't exactly work out as planned.
- Otaku: Richard, to ridiculous levels.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The main cast, of course, most of whom are obviously great friends (besides Tony), but all of whom have radically different ways of dealing with the stress of New York, and the madness that is Beatlemania.
- Reality Ensues: Rosie refuses to get off a hotel elevator with the others because she wants to try and get closer to the Beatles. She's literally caught by security at the next floor up.
- Serious Business: All things Beatles, especially to Rosie and Richard.
- Shout-Out: So many Beatles references. An old lady complains in an elevator to Rosie that fans are behaving "all helter skelter."
- Slapstick: There's a lot of chases and tumbling over things in this movie. Rosie is usually involved.
- Squee!: The Movie.
- Stalker with a Crush: Non-romantic example... maybe. While Rosie is a screaming fangirl, Richard is absolutely obsessed. He even set up a Stalker Shrine in the hotel. And it's not even his room!
- "Stop Having Fun" Girl: Janet whenever she goes on her anti-Beatle tirades. She even interrupts an ENG report on the street to yell "Exterminate the Beatles!"
- The Vamp: Grace pulls this trope to get Larry to drive them all to New York. And almost does it again to impersonate a female escort.
- We Need a Distraction: Takes two tries at this to get the tickets away from Peter's dad.