Assist! is a 1965 British musical comedy-adventure movie directed by Richard Lester, starring The Beatles and that includes Leo McKern, Eleanor Bron, Victor Spinetti, John Bluthal, Roy Kinnear and Patrick Cargill. The second movie starring The Beatles following Lester’s A Exhausting Day’s Evening, Assist! sees the group battle to report their new album whereas making an attempt to guard Starr from a sinister cult and a pair of mad scientists, all of whom are obsessive about acquiring one in every of his rings.[3] The soundtrack was launched as an album, additionally referred to as Assist!

The movie had its Royal World Premiere on the London Pavilion Theatre within the West Finish of London on 29 July 1965 within the presence of Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon and the Earl of Snowdon. Whereas not reviewed on the time with the identical excessive stage of admiration as their first movie, the movie is now credited with influencing the event of music movies.


Screenshot of The Beatles in Assist!

An jap cult (a parody of the Thuggee cult) is about to sacrifice a girl to their goddess, Kaili. They discover that she will not be sporting the sacrificial ring. As a substitute, Ringo Starr, drummer of The Beatles, has the ring, despatched to him by the supposed sufferer, who’s a fan of The Beatles. Decided to retrieve the ring and sacrifice the woman, the chief priest, Clang, a number of cult members, and excessive priestess Ahme go away for London. After failed makes an attempt to steal the ring with out Ringo noticing, they confront him in an Indian restaurant. Ringo learns that he would be the subsequent sacrifice if he doesn’t hand over the ring. Nonetheless, the ring is caught and he can’t take it off.

The Beatles are chased round London by members of the cult. After a jeweller fails to chop the ring off, the band resorts to the bumbling efforts of a mad scientist and his assistant; when his gear has no impact on the ring, the scientist decides that he should by some means purchase it.

The band runs to the Austrian Alps and narrowly escapes a entice there, due to Ahme, who’s secretly aiding The Beatles. To remain secure, they ask for defense from Scotland Yard.

They’re hidden in Buckingham Palace, narrowly avoiding seize by the scientist. Then they flee to the Bahamas, adopted by the cops, the scientist, and the cult members. After Ringo is sort of captured, the police have the opposite Beatles pose as him as a way to ensnare the cult members. Regardless of their finest efforts, nonetheless, the scientist catches Ringo and hides him aboard a ship the place he intends to chop off his finger to get the ring. Ahme rescues Ringo by giving the scientist a shrinking resolution in change. The 2 of them dive into the ocean to flee, however Ringo can’t swim and they’re each captured by Clang and his followers.

In the long run, when Ringo is about to be sacrificed on the seashore, the ring out of the blue comes off. He places the ring on Clang’s finger, who’s then chased by his personal cult because the track “Assist!” performs.


  • John Lennon as himself
  • Paul McCartney as himself
  • George Harrison as himself
  • Ringo Starr as himself
  • Eleanor Bron as Ahme
  • Leo McKern as Clang
  • John Bluthal as Bhuta
  • Patrick Cargill as Superintendent Gluck
  • Victor Spinetti as Foot
  • Roy Kinnear as Algernon
  • Alfie Bass as Doorman
  • Warren Mitchell as Abdul
  • Peter Copley as Jeweller
  • Bruce Lacey as Lawnmower
  • Durra as Stomach Dancer
  • Mal Evans as Channel Swimmer (uncredited)
  • Gretchen Franklin as Neighbour (uncredited)
  • Dandy Nichols as Neighbour (uncredited)
  • Jeremy Lloyd as Restaurant Patron (uncredited)
  • John Louis Mansi as Priest / Thug
  • Viviane Ventura as Lady on the sacrificial altar (uncredited)


In line with interviews carried out with Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr for The Beatles Anthology, director Richard Lester was given a bigger price range for this movie than he had for A Exhausting Day’s Evening, due to the industrial success of the latter. Thus, this function movie was in color and was shot on a number of abroad areas. It was additionally given a extra in depth musical rating than A Exhausting Day’s Evening, supplied by a full orchestra, and together with items of well-known classical music: Wagner’s Lohengrin, Act III prelude, Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (“Ode to Pleasure”), and, throughout the finish credit and with their very own comedian vocal interpretation, Rossini’s Barber of Seville overture. The unique title for the movie – solely modified to Assist! very close to to its launch – was Eight Arms to Maintain You.[4] As such, Capitol Data’ authentic pressings of the “Ticket to Journey” single function the subheading: From the United Artists launch “Eight Arms to Maintain You”.

Assist! was shot in London, Salisbury Plain, the Austrian Alps, New Windfall Island and Paradise Island within the Bahamas, and Twickenham Movie Studios, starting within the Bahamas on 23 February 1965. Starr commented in The Beatles Anthology that they have been within the Bahamas for the recent climate scenes, and subsequently needed to put on gentle clothes regardless that it was reasonably chilly. Tony Bramwell, the assistant to Beatles supervisor Brian Epstein, acknowledged in his ebook A Magical Thriller Tour that Epstein selected the Bahamas for tax causes. In line with The Beatles Anthology, throughout the restaurant sequence filmed in early April, Harrison started to find Indian-style music, which might be a key factor in future songs comparable to “Norwegian Wooden”. Filming completed on 14 April at Ailsa Avenue in Twickenham.

The ski scenes have been shot at Obertauern, a small village in Austria. One motive this location was chosen was that the celebrities of the movie have been much less more likely to be recognised there than at one of many bigger resorts with many British vacationers. The Beatles have been in Obertauern for about two weeks in March 1965 together with a movie crew of round 60 individuals. Locals served as ski stunt doubles for The Beatles, who stayed on the lodge “Edelweiss”. A lot of the crew have been primarily based within the lodge Marieta, the place one night time The Beatles gave an impromptu live performance on the event of a director’s assistant’s birthday. This was the one time they ever performed on stage in Austria.[5]

The Beatles didn’t significantly take pleasure in filming Assist!,[6] nor have been they happy with the tip product. In 1970, John Lennon stated they felt like extras in their very own movie:

The movie was out of our management. With A Exhausting Day’s Evening, we had quite a lot of enter, and it was semi-realistic. However with Assist!, Dick Lester did not inform us what it was all about.

Ten years later Lennon was extra charitable:

I notice, trying again, how superior it was. It was a precursor to the Batman “Pow! Wow!” on TV – that sort of stuff. However [Lester] by no means defined it to us. Partly, possibly, as a result of we hadn’t spent quite a lot of time collectively between A Exhausting Day’s Evening and Assist!, and partly as a result of we have been smoking marijuana for breakfast throughout that interval. No person may talk with us, it was all glazed eyes and laughing on a regular basis. In our personal world. It is like doing nothing more often than not, however nonetheless having to rise at 7 am, so we turned bored.[7]

A contributing issue was exhaustion attributable to their busy schedule of writing, recording and touring. Afterwards they have been hesitant to start one other movie venture, and Assist! was their final full-length scripted theatrical movie. The Beatles noticed the 1968 animated movie Yellow Submarine (through which their characters have been voiced by actors, they usually themselves made solely a token look) as a beneficial technique to full their dedication to United Artists for a 3rd movie. Many followers have assumed that the cartoon didn’t fulfill the contract, however Let It Be (1970) was the movie not related to the unique three-picture deal.[8]


The Beatles stated the movie was impressed by the basic Marx Brothers movie Duck Soup;[9] it was additionally instantly satirical of the James Bond collection of movies.[10] On the time of the unique launch of Assist!, its distributor, United Artists, additionally held the rights to the Bond collection.

The humour of the movie is strongly influenced by the summary humour of The Goon Present, through which the director had private and direct expertise within the conversion of the radio format to tv, and private working expertise with Peter Sellers particularly.[11] Beatles recording producer George Martin had additionally produced information for the Goon Present group. McCartney has all the time stated that The Beatles’ type of humour was taken from the Goon Present. Most of the movie’s ideas are derived from Goon Presents, such because the presence of untamed animals, music, fourth wall-breaking jokes and abstractions such because the closing assertion that concludes the movie.

Working title

Among the many authentic working titles for the movie have been Beatles Section II and Eight Arms to Maintain You. The latter title was printed on the one “Ticket to Journey” as an upcoming movie. Due to this, the phrase has been used as a title for an album by Veruca Salt and for songs by the Goonies and by the Brittles, a Beatles-pastiche band.

Assist! was settled on because the movie’s title in April, main Lennon to jot down the track “Assist!” that very same night time. The official title was introduced on 14 April. Apart from Eight Arms to Maintain You, this title received over solutions from Harrison (Who’s Been Sleeping in My Porridge) and United Artists producer Walter Shenson (The Day the Clowns Collapsed).[12] The Beatles had additionally instructed Excessive-Heeled Knickers, a play on the title of Tommy Tucker’s 1964 hit track “Excessive-Heeled Sneakers”.[13]

“Haze of marijuana”

The Beatles later stated the movie was shot in a “haze of marijuana”. In line with Starr’s interviews in The Beatles Anthology, throughout the Austrian Alps movie taking pictures, he and McCartney ran off over the hill from the “curling” scene set to smoke a joint. Starr recalled:

A hell of quite a lot of pot was being smoked whereas we have been making the movie. It was nice. That helped make it quite a lot of enjoyable … In one of many scenes, Victor Spinetti and Roy Kinnear are enjoying curling: sliding alongside these huge stones. One of many stones has a bomb in it and we discover out that it will blow up, and should run away. Effectively, Paul and I ran about seven miles, we ran and ran, simply so we may cease and have a joint earlier than we got here again. We may have run all the way in which to Switzerland. When you have a look at footage of us you’ll be able to see quite a lot of red-eyed photographs; they have been purple from the dope we have been smoking. And these have been these clean-cut boys! Dick Lester knew that little or no would get accomplished after lunch. Within the afternoon we very seldom obtained previous the primary line of the script. We had such hysterics that nobody may do something. Dick Lester would say, “No, boys, may we do it once more?” It was simply that we had quite a lot of enjoyable – quite a lot of enjoyable in these days.

Within the Beatles Anthology Director’s Lower, Harrison admitted that they have been smoking marijuana on the airplane experience all the way in which to the Bahamas. Their co-star Eleanor Bron recalled:

John did as soon as provide me a joint. And I obligingly tried to take a bit of puff. I knew there was some particular means of doing it – however I do not smoke anyway. So I took a bit of puff after which thought, “That is so costly. I mustn’t waste it!” And gave it again to him. In order that’s your definition of naïve, I feel.

McCartney additionally shared a few of his recollections of after they have been filming Assist!:

We confirmed up a bit stoned, smiled rather a lot and hoped we would get via it. We giggled rather a lot. I bear in mind one time at Cliveden (Lord Astor’s place, the place the Christine Keeler/Profumo scandal went on); we have been filming the Buckingham Palace scene the place we have been all speculated to have our fingers up. It was after lunch, which was deadly as a result of somebody might need introduced out a glass of wine as properly. We have been all a bit merry and all had our backs to the digital camera and the giggles set in. All we needed to do was flip round and look amazed, or one thing. However each time we would flip spherical to the digital camera there have been tears streaming down our faces. It is OK to get the giggles wherever else however in movies, as a result of the technicians get pissed off with you. They suppose, “They don’t seem to be very skilled.” You then begin considering, “This is not very skilled – however we’re having an ideal snort.”

The photographer Michael Peto was commissioned in 1965 to take nonetheless images throughout the making of the movie; these turned identified for his or her candid and expressive high quality. In the course of the digitisation of the Michael Peto Assortment, which is held by Archive Providers, College of Dundee, in 2002, 500 beforehand unpublished images of The Beatles taken throughout the making of Assist! have been reported to have been uncovered.[14][15][16][17] Now These Days are Gone, a restricted version quantity of Peto’s images specializing in The Beatles pictures was produced in 2006 with deluxe editions of the ebook signed by Richard Lester. An exhibition of the images to mark the ebook’s launch was held at Hoopers Gallery, Clerkenwell, in January 2006.[18][19] One other exhibition of the images was held on the College of Dundee in 2007 as a part of the college’s fortieth anniversary celebrations, with the exhibition then transferring to the Nationwide Conservation Centre, Liverpool.[20][21] In 2011 the images have been exhibited in Dundee, as a part of the Scottish Beatles Weekend, and on the Proud Gallery in Camden.[22][23]


The songs performed throughout the movie are:

  • “Assist!”
  • “You are Going to Lose That Lady”
  • “You have Acquired to Disguise Your Love Away”
  • “Ticket to Journey”
  • “I Want You”
  • “The Evening Earlier than” (interspersed with excerpts of “She’s A Girl”, with an explosion on the finish not heard on The Beatles’ industrial recordings. Additionally performed as an instrumental)
  • “One other Lady”
  • “She’s a Girl” (heard within the background, on a tape machine, and underground within the Salisbury Plain scene)
  • “A Exhausting Day’s Evening” titled on the US soundtrack album as “One other Exhausting Day’s Evening” (performed by Indian musicians and as an instrumental medley comprising “A Exhausting Day’s Evening”, “Cannot Purchase Me Love” and “I Ought to Have Recognized Higher”)
  • “I am Completely happy Simply to Dance with You” (performed by a band throughout the bike-riding scene)
  • “You Cannot Do That” (performed as an instrumental throughout the Austrian Alps sequence)
  • “From Me to You” titled on the US soundtrack album as “From Me to You Fantasy” (performed as an instrumental throughout scenes of makes an attempt to take away the ring from Ringo’s finger whereas he sleeps within The Beatles’ communal home)

The seven essential songs fashioned the primary aspect of the British launch of the Assist! album. The second aspect consisted of different new Beatles songs recorded on the identical time or shortly afterwards. The US album, launched by Capitol Data, contains the seven movie tracks together with instrumental soundtrack songs orchestrated by Ken Thorne. As well as, the US Assist! opens with a hidden monitor stylised as a satirical “James Bond Theme” earlier than the title monitor. Early pressings of the US model of the album 1962–1966 embrace this hidden monitor banded as “Assist!”, and later pressings, when the UK catalogue was made the official and solely catalogue of Beatles albums, omit it. The tip credit are performed over Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville”.

Vital response

Upon its launch, critiques for Assist! have been combined. The Every day Specifics reviewer discovered Lester’s path “a pleasure to watch” and referred to as The Beatles “the closest factor to the Marx Brothers for the reason that Marx Brothers”. Against this, the Every day Mirror, Britain’s best-selling newspaper on the time, stated Assist! relied too closely on “the likeable vacant grin of John Lennon, the sleek appeal of Paul, the long-haired beauty of George, and the darkly villainous appears to be like of the Lengthy-Nosed One [Ringo Starr]”, and that these qualities have been inadequate to hold a movie.[13] In his up to date assessment in The New York Instances, movie critic Bosley Crowther acknowledged: “It is a fiasco of farcical whimseys which can be thrown collectively on this movie – a muddle of mechanical gimmicks and madcap chases … Humorous? Thrilling? Totally different? Effectively, there’s nothing in “Assist!” to check with that wild ballet of The Beatles racing throughout a playground in “A Exhausting Day’s Evening”, nothing as wistful because the ramble of Ringo round London on their own … The boys themselves are exuberant and uninhibited in their very own genial means. They simply grow to be awfully redundant and – dare I say it? – boring.”[24]

In a retrospective assessment, Leslie Halliwell describes the movie as an “[e]xhausting try to outdo A Exhausting Day’s Evening in lunatic frenzy, which matches to point out that some abilities work finest on low budgets. The humour is a frantic cross between Hellzapoppin’, The Goons, Goofy, Mr. Magoo and the shade of Monty Python to return. It appears to be like good however turns into too tiresome to entertain.”[25]

Assist!’s pop artwork type influenced the Batman TV collection and the path of the up to date promoting trade. Though Lester’s depiction of Indian tradition was largely unfavourable and stereotypical, the movie’s deal with Kali and different Hindu themes anticipated the counterculture’s fascination with Indian philosophy and music.[26] In his ebook 1965: The Yr Trendy Britain Was Born, cultural commentator Christopher Bray views Assist! as “one of many central surrealist texts” of the Sixties, and the movie that finest captures the “magical weirdness” of London earlier than the commercialisation that accompanied its worldwide recognition because the world’s “Swinging Metropolis”.[27]

Ronnie D. Lankford of AllMovie describes Assist! as a “forerunner to music movies”, including: “Lester appeared to seek out the appropriate tone for Assist!, creating an pleasant portrait of The Beatles and by no means permitting the movie to take itself too critically. His type would later be co-opted by Bob Rafelson for the Monkees’ tv collection within the ’60s and has continued to affect rock musicals like Spice World in 1998.[28]

On assessment aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the movie holds an approval ranking of 89{ae90547d17d4d74b17007ee836a04674fd006933c139011dc78eb03c100070a7} primarily based on 27 critiques, with a median ranking of seven.2/10. The web site’s critics consensus reads: “Assist! finds the Fab 4 displaying their infectious appeal and humor in an enjoyably madcap journey.”[29] On Metacritic, it has a weighted common rating of 58 out of 100, primarily based on eight critics, indicating “combined or common critiques”.[30]


A novelisation entitled The Beatles in Assist! was written by Al Hine and printed by Dell in 1965.

A sequence that includes Frankie Howerd and Wendy Richard was filmed however unnoticed of ultimate modifying owing to its size. Nonetheless, the sequence was left within the movie novelisation.

Launch historical past

Like A Exhausting Day’s Evening, Assist! was initially distributed theatrically by United Artists – the corporate dealt with distribution from 1965 to the tip of 1980. In January 1981, rights to the movie reverted from UA to producer Walter Shenson, and the movie was withdrawn from circulation.

Assist! was launched a number of occasions in several video codecs by MPI Dwelling Video and The Criterion Assortment. A model was launched in February 1987 in VHS and Beta via MPI, together with a reissue of A Exhausting Day’s Evening the exact same day, and was adopted by a special-edition launch on 31 October 1995. MPI additionally issued a CLV laserdisc in 1995 and two releases on DVD, the primary as a single DVD launch on 12 November 1997 and the second as a part of The Beatles DVD Collector’s Set on 8 August 2000.

LaserDisc releases embrace a Criterion CAV laserdisc and a Voyager CLV laserdisc in 1987, every of which had three pressings. The primary pressings had no UPC on the gatefold covers whereas the opposite two had the UPC both as a sticker or printed instantly on the jacket.

The movie’s switch on the CAV laserdiscs was accomplished accurately in order that no mixing of frames happens and thus actions should not blurry. The supplemental part, which, with few exceptions, has by no means been accessible on some other dwelling video launch, accommodates the next:

  • authentic theatrical trailer (which incorporates deleted scenes)
  • silent dwelling movie footage of the movie set and of the world premiere
  • nonetheless photographs, a few of that are launched by textual content describing the manufacturing historical past of the movie
  • posters
  • sheet music
  • report jackets
  • radio advertisements (on audio throughout the silent footage)
  • an open interview, initially designed for disc jockeys. By studying prompts on the display, one can faux to speak to The Beatles.

In June 2007, a model of Assist!, sub-titled in Korean, turned accessible on Nonetheless, by July 2007, all dwelling video variations of the movie have been pulled from the market due to rights points involving Apple Corps – now the complete rights holders to the movie. The rights points have been ultimately resolved and Apple Corps/EMI/Capitol launched a brand new double DVD model with a totally restored picture and newly remixed in 2.0 stereo and 5.1 encompass sound of the movie. This got here in customary 2xDVD packaging and 2xDVD deluxe version field set on 30 October 2007 within the UK and 6 November 2007 in America.[31] This newest launch accommodates new featurettes, three trailers (one in every of which is in Spanish), and the aforementioned radio advertisements carried over from the Criterion LaserDisc problem. The movie was launched on Blu-ray format in June 2013 by Common Music, now the house owners of EMI/Capitol Data, utilizing the 2007 restoration.[32]


Area Certification Licensed models/gross sales
Australia (ARIA)[33] Gold 7,500^
Canada (Music Canada)[34] 8× Platinum 80,000^
United States (RIAA)[35] 5× Platinum 500,000^

^ Shipments figures primarily based on certification alone.


  • The Beatles
  • Assist! at IMDb
  • Assist! on the TCM Film Database
  • Assist! at AllMovie
  • Assist! at Rotten Tomatoes

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