Let It Be

Let It Be is a 1970 British documentary movie starring The Beatles and directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg. The movie paperwork the group’s rehearsing and recording songs in January 1969 for his or her twelfth studio album Let It Be. The movie consists of an unannounced rooftop live performance by the group, the final public efficiency of the 4 collectively. Launched in Could 1970, simply after the album’s launch, Let It Be was the final Beatles movie for 51 years.

The movie was initially deliberate as a tv documentary that will accompany a live performance broadcast. When plans for the live performance broadcast had been dropped, the venture grew to become a function movie manufacturing. Though the movie doesn’t dwell on the dissension throughout the group on the time, it supplies some glimpses into the dynamics that will result in their break-up. After the movie’s launch, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr received an Academy Award for Finest Authentic Track Rating.

The movie Let It Be has not been formally obtainable on residence video because the Eighties, though authentic and bootleg copies of the movie nonetheless flow into, and early makes an attempt to launch the movie on DVD and Blu-ray didn’t come to fruition.[1] The Beatles: Get Again, a 2021 documentary utilising footage filmed for Let It Be, shall be adopted by a remastered re-release of the unique 1970 movie.

Content material

The movie observes The Beatles (John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr) from a “fly on the wall” perspective, with out narration, scene titles, or interviews with the principle topics. The primary portion of the movie exhibits the band rehearsing on a sound stage at Twickenham Movie Studios. The songs are works in progress, with discussions among the many band members about methods to enhance them. McCartney dominates the proceedings whereas his bandmates present comparatively little curiosity. Additionally showing are Mal Evans, offering the hammer blows on “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer”, and Yoko Ono at Lennon’s facet always.

At one level, McCartney appears to criticise Harrison’s guitar half on “Two of Us” and a mildly tense dialog takes place between them. McCartney says “I all the time hear myself annoying you” and tells Harrison that this isn’t his intention. Harrison responds that McCartney not annoys him, and that he’s content material to play what McCartney needs or to not play in any respect.

The Beatles individually arrive at Apple headquarters, the place they start the studio recording course of with Harrison singing “For You Blue” whereas Lennon performs lap metal guitar. Starr and Harrison work on the construction for “Octopus’s Backyard” after which reveal it for George Martin. Billy Preston accompanies the band on impromptu renditions of a number of rock and roll covers, in addition to Lennon’s improvised jam “Dig It”, whereas Linda Eastman’s daughter Heather performs across the studio. Lennon listens in silence whereas McCartney expresses his concern in regards to the band’s inclination to remain confined to the recording studio. The Beatles conclude their studio work with full performances of “Two of Us”, “Let It Be” and “The Lengthy and Winding Street”.

Within the closing portion of the movie, The Beatles and Preston give an unannounced live performance from the studio rooftop. They carry out “Get Again”, “Do not Let Me Down”, “I’ve Received a Feeling”, “One After 909” and “Dig a Pony”, intercut with reactions and feedback from stunned Londoners gathering on the streets beneath. The police finally make their option to the roof and attempt to convey the present to a detailed, because it was disrupting companies’ lunch hour close by. This prompts some ad-libbed lyrical asides from McCartney over the last efficiency of “Get Again”. The live performance ends with applause from the individuals on the rooftop and Lennon quipping, “I might wish to say thanks on behalf of the group and ourselves, and I hope we handed the audition!”[2]



After the anxious periods for The Beatles (often known as the “White Album”) wrapped up in October 1968, McCartney concluded that the group wanted to return to their roots for his or her subsequent venture. The plan was to offer a reside efficiency that includes new songs, broadcast as a tv particular and recorded for launch as an album. Not like their latest albums, their new materials can be designed to work properly in live performance, with out the advantage of overdubs or different recording tips.[3] Lennon authorized of the thought[4] whereas Harrison, who spent the ultimate months of the 12 months recording in Los Angeles and visiting Bob Dylan and the Band in upstate New York, agreed that the “new strategy” to recording had benefit.[5]

Many concepts had been floated regarding the location of the live performance. Typical venues comparable to The Roundhouse in London had been mentioned, however in addition they thought-about extra uncommon places comparable to a disused flour mill and an ocean liner. The situation that acquired essentially the most consideration was a Roman amphitheatre in Sabratha, Libya.[6] Not one of the concepts gained unanimous enthusiasm and with time restricted by Starr’s upcoming dedication to the movie The Magic Christian (1969), it was agreed to begin rehearsals with out a agency resolution on the live performance location.[7]

Denis O’Dell, head of Apple’s movie division, steered filming the rehearsals in 16 mm to be used as a separate “Beatles at Work” tv documentary which might complement the live performance broadcast.[7] To facilitate filming, rehearsals would happen at Twickenham Movie Studios in London. Michael Lindsay-Hogg was employed because the director, having beforehand labored with The Beatles on promotional movies for “Paperback Author”, “Rain”, “Hey Jude” and “Revolution”.


The Beatles assembled at Twickenham Movie Studios on 2 January 1969, accompanied by the movie crew, and started rehearsing. Cameraman Les Parrott recalled: “My transient on the primary day was to ‘shoot The Beatles.’ The sound crew directions had been to roll/report from the second the primary Beatle appeared and to report sound all day till the final one left. We had two cameras and nearly did the identical factor.”[8] The chilly and austere circumstances at Twickenham, together with practically fixed filming and periods beginning a lot sooner than The Beatles’ most popular schedule, constrained creativity and exacerbated tensions throughout the group. The periods had been later described by Harrison as “the low of all-time” and by Lennon as “hell … essentially the most depressing periods on earth”.[9]

The notorious trade between McCartney and Harrison[clarification needed] occurred on Monday, 6 January.[10] Round lunchtime on Friday, 10 January, tensions got here to a head and Harrison instructed the others that he was leaving the band.[11] This complete episode is omitted from the movie.[12] He later recalled: “I believed, ‘I am fairly able to being blissful alone, and if I am not capable of be blissful on this scenario I am getting out of right here.’ So I bought my guitar and went residence and that afternoon wrote ‘Wah-Wah’.”[13][14] Rehearsals and filming continued for a number of extra periods; the completed movie solely used a boogie-woogie piano duet by McCartney and Starr,[15] though it was included in such a method that Harrison’s absence was not obvious. In the direction of the top of the ten January rehearsal, Lennon raised the thought of drafting in Eric Clapton to play lead guitar if Harrison didn’t rejoin the band early the next week.[16] Lennon was captured on tape saying, “I feel if George would not come again by Monday or Tuesday, we ask Eric Clapton to play”, including that this might be congenial to Clapton because The Beatles, not like Clapton’s earlier band Cream, “would give him full scope to play his guitar”.[17][18] Years later, Clapton dismissed this concept: “The issue with that was I had bonded or was growing a relationship with George, unique of them. I feel it fitted a necessity of his and mine, that he may elevate himself by having this man that may very well be like a gunslinger to them. Lennon would use my identify from time to time for clout, as if I used to be the quickest gun. So, I do not suppose I may have been introduced into the entire thing as a result of I used to be an excessive amount of a mate of George’s.”[17]

Former Apple Constructing, 3 Savile Row, 2007

At a gathering on 15 January, Harrison agreed to return with the circumstances that elaborate live performance plans be dropped and that work would resume at Apple’s new recording studio. At this level, with the live performance broadcast thought deserted, it was determined that the footage being shot can be used to make a function movie.[7] Filming resumed on 21 January on the basement studio inside Apple headquarters on Savile Row in London.[19] Harrison invited keyboardist Billy Preston to the studio to play electrical piano and organ.[7] Harrison recalled that when Preston joined them, “right away there was 100{ae90547d17d4d74b17007ee836a04674fd006933c139011dc78eb03c100070a7} enchancment within the vibe within the room. Having this fifth individual was simply sufficient to chop the ice that we would created amongst ourselves.”[20] Filming continued every day for the remainder of January.

In the course of the periods, The Beatles performed many songs that weren’t featured within the movie. Some would find yourself on Abbey Street (“I Need You (She’s So Heavy)”, “She Got here in By the Rest room Window”); others had been destined for future albums by McCartney (“The Again Seat of My Automotive”, “Teddy Boy”, “Each Evening”), Lennon (“Gimme Some Reality”, “Little one of Nature” – later reworked as “Jealous Man”), and Harrison (“All Issues Should Cross”, “Is not It a Pity”). The group additionally experimented with a few of their earlier songs (“Love Me Do”, “Assist!”, “Girl Madonna”, “You Cannot Do That”) and performed “I Misplaced My Little Lady” – which was the primary tune written by McCartney, when he was 14.[21]

Attempting to provide you with a conclusion for the movie, it was steered that the band play an unannounced lunchtime live performance on the roof of the Apple constructing. On 30 January, The Beatles and Preston performed on the rooftop within the chilly wind for 42 minutes, about half of which ended up within the movie. The Beatles began with a rehearsal of “Get Again”, then performed the 5 songs that are proven within the movie. After repeating “I’ve Received a Feeling” and “Do not Let Me Down”, takes which had been ignored of the movie, The Beatles are proven within the movie closing with one other move at “Get Again” because the police arrive to close down the present. On 31 January, the final day of filming and recording, The Beatles reconvened within the Apple constructing’s basement studio. They performed full performances of “Two of Us”, “The Lengthy and Winding Street” and “Let It Be”, which had been included within the movie as the top of the Apple studio phase, earlier than the closing rooftop phase.[22]


A tough lower of the film was screened for The Beatles on 20 July 1969. Lindsay-Hogg recalled that the tough lower was about an hour longer than the launched model: “There was way more stuff of John and Yoko, and the opposite three did not actually suppose that was applicable as a result of they wished to make it a ‘nicer’ film. They did not wish to have lots of the soiled laundry, so lots of it was lower down.”[23] After viewing the launched model, Lennon mentioned he felt that “the digital camera work was set as much as present Paul and to not present anyone else” and that “the folks that lower it, lower it as ‘Paul is God’ and we’re simply lyin’ round.”[23] He described Let It Be as a movie “arrange by Paul for Paul” that was typical of the initiatives that, in alienating himself and Harrison, had introduced in regards to The Beatles’ break-up.[24]

Lindsay-Hogg omitted any reference to Harrison leaving the periods and quickly quitting the group, however managed to maintain among the interpersonal strains within the closing lower, together with the McCartney–Harrison trade which he had captured by intentionally inserting the cameras the place they’d not be seen. He additionally retained the scene that he described as “the again of Paul’s head as he is yammering on and John appears like he is about to die from boredom”.[25]

In early 1970, it was determined to vary the deliberate identify of the movie and the related album from Get Again to Let It Be, matching the group’s March 1970 single launch. The ultimate model of the movie was blown-up from full-frame (1.33:1) side ratio 16 mm to 35mm movie 1.85:1 side ratio for theatrical launch, which elevated the movie’s graininess.[26] To create the broader theatrical side ratio, the highest and backside of the body was cropped, necessitating the repositioning of each single shot for optimum image composition.[27][28][29]


Whereas the album Let It Be comprises lots of the tune titles featured within the movie, normally they’re completely different performances. The movie has extra songs not included on the album.

The next songs are listed within the order of their first look, with songwriting credited to Lennon–McCartney besides the place famous.

  • “Paul’s Piano Intro”
    • based mostly on “Adagio for Strings” (Samuel Barber),[30] and titled “Paul’s Piano Piece” on Let It Be… Bare
  • “Do not Let Me Down”
  • “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer”[31]
  • “Two of Us”[32]
  • “I’ve Received a Feeling”[33][34]
  • “Oh! Darling”
  • “Simply Enjoyable”[35]
  • “One After 909”
  • “Jazz Piano Track” (McCartney/Starkey)[36]
  • “Throughout the Universe”[37]
  • “Dig a Pony”[37]
  • “Suzy Parker” (Lennon/McCartney/Harrison/Starkey)[34]
  • “I Me Mine” (Harrison)[38][39]
  • “For You Blue” (Harrison)[40]
  • “Bésame mucho” (Consuelo Velázquez/Sunny Skylar)[41]
  • “Octopus’s Backyard” (Starkey)[42]
  • “You’ve got Actually Received a Maintain on Me” (Smokey Robinson)[43]
  • “The Lengthy and Winding Street”[44]
  • Medley:
    • “Rip It Up” (Robert Blackwell/John Marascalco)
    • “Shake Rattle and Roll” (Jesse Stone, underneath his working identify Charles E. Calhoun)[45]
  • Medley:
    • “Kansas Metropolis” (Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller)[46]
    • “Miss Ann” (Richard Penniman/Enotris Johnson)
    • “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” (Lloyd Value)[46]
  • “Dig It”[47]
  • “Let It Be”
  • “Get Again”


The world premiere of the movie was in New York Metropolis on 13 Could 1970. One week later, UK premieres had been held on the Liverpool Gaumont Cinema and the London Pavilion. Not one of The Beatles attended any of the premieres.[48] The Beatles received an Oscar for Let It Be within the class “Authentic Track Rating”, which Quincy Jones accepted on their behalf.[49] The soundtrack additionally received a Grammy for “Finest Authentic Rating”. Solely Lennon, McCartney and Harrison had been named as recipients by the Recording Academy as a result of perception that they had been the only real composers. They mistakenly missed Starr’s writing credit score on the tune “Dig It”.[50]

Crucial reception

Contemporaneous opinions

Preliminary opinions had been usually unfavourable. Critics took concern with the movie’s technical and conceptual qualities, however in gentle of The Beatles’ latest break-up, centered significantly on it as a doc of the fractured relationships throughout the band.[51] The British press had been particularly important,[3] with The Sunday Telegraph commenting that “it is just by the way that we glimpse something about their actual characters – the way in which through which music now appears to be the one unifying pressure holding them collectively, and the way in which Paul McCartney chatters incessantly even when, it appears, not one of the others are listening.”[48] The identical reviewer lamented that “Watching an establishment such because The Beatles of their movie Let It Be is moderately like watching the Albert Corridor being dismantled right into a block of Nationwide Coal Board places of work”, whereas Penelope Gilliatt of The New Yorker deemed it “a really dangerous movie and a touching one … in regards to the breaking up of this reassuring, geometrically good, as soon as apparently ageless household of siblings”.[51] Time mentioned that “rock students and Beatles followers shall be enthralled” whereas others might contemplate it solely a “mildly pleasurable documentary newsreel”.[52]

Retrospective opinions

Assessment aggregator web site Rotten Tomatoes studies that 75{ae90547d17d4d74b17007ee836a04674fd006933c139011dc78eb03c100070a7} of 12 critics’ opinions are constructive, with a mean ranking of 6.5/10.[53] On Metacritic, the movie has a weighted common rating of 69 out of 100, based mostly on seven critics, indicating “usually favorable opinions”.[54]

Leonard Maltin rated the movie as 3 out of 4 stars, calling it “uneven” and “draggy”, however “rescued” by The Beatles’ music.[55] The TLA Video & DVD Information, additionally ranking it as 3 out of 4 stars, described the movie as a “fascinating have a look at the ultimate days of the world’s most well-known rock group, punctuated by The Beatles’ nice songs and the legendary ‘rooftop’ live performance sequence. … It’s important viewing for all music followers.”[56] Owen Gleiberman of Selection considers the movie to be “extraordinary”, stating that “It was grainy and moody and desultory … It contained moments that, after a number of viewings […] are lodged in my soul.” He provides that although it has not been given a launch on residence media lately, “[Let It Be] has a spot in movie historical past; it is a scraggly elegy, capturing a sure wistful second of reckoning that is a part of The Beatles’ story.”[57]

Lindsay-Hogg instructed Leisure Weekly in 2003 that reception to Let It Be throughout The Beatles camp was “combined”.[25] He believed McCartney and Lennon each preferred the movie, whereas Harrison disliked it as a result of “it represented a time in his life when he was sad … It was a time when he very a lot was attempting to get out from underneath the thumb of Lennon–McCartney.”[25]

Dwelling media

The movie was first launched on VHS, Betamax and LaserDisc in 1981 by Magnetic Video, and on RCA CED videodisc in 1982.[58] The switch to video was not thought-about prime quality; particularly, the already-cropped theatrical model was once more cropped to a 4:3 side ratio for tv. The dearth of availability has prompted appreciable bootlegging of the movie, first on VHS and afterward DVD, derived from copies of the early Eighties releases. The movie was additionally launched on VHS and Betamax in Germany and the Netherlands within the Eighties. These variations weren’t the identical switch because the US launch, as they had been based mostly on the native 4:3 side ratio from the unique 16mm damaging, thus presenting the movie as much less cropped than the US releases.

Let It Be was remastered from the unique 16 mm movie damaging by Apple Corps in 1992, with some footage seen within the 1995 documentary The Beatles Anthology. After extra remastering, a DVD launch was deliberate to accompany the 2003 launch of Let It Be… Bare, together with a second DVD of bonus materials,[25] however by no means materialised. In February 2007, Apple Corps’ Neil Aspinall mentioned, “The movie was so controversial when it first got here out. After we bought midway by restoring it, we regarded on the outtakes and realised: these things remains to be controversial. It raised lots of previous points.”[59]

An nameless trade supply instructed the Day by day Specific in July 2008 that, in accordance with Apple insiders, McCartney and Starr blocked the discharge of the movie on DVD. The 2 had been involved in regards to the impact on the band’s “international model … if the general public sees the darker facet of the story. Neither Paul nor Ringo would really feel comfy publicising a movie displaying The Beatles getting on one another’s nerves … There’s all types of additional footage displaying extra squabbles however it’s questionable if the movie will ever see a reissue throughout Paul and Ringo’s lifetime.”[60] Nonetheless, in 2016, McCartney said he was not against an official re-release, saying, “I preserve bringing it up, and everybody goes, ‘Yeah, we should always try this.’ The objection needs to be me. I do not come off properly.”[61]

In September 2018, McCartney said that Let It Be would most certainly be re-released on Blu-ray and DVD in 2020 to coincide with its fiftieth anniversary, and that the creation of a “new model” of the movie that includes sequences not current within the theatrical launch was being thought-about by Apple.[62] It was introduced on 30 January 2019, the fiftieth anniversary of The Beatles’ rooftop live performance, that the brand new movie, constructed round “55 hours of never-before-seen footage and 140 hours of audio” from the unique 1969 periods, was to be directed by Peter Jackson utilizing the identical restoration strategies as his acclaimed World Struggle I documentary They Shall Not Develop Previous. The intention of the documentary was to offer a brand new degree of perception into the band’s dynamics in the course of the album’s creation, and was made with the cooperation of McCartney, Starr, Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison. Clare Olssen and Jabez Olssen, the producer and editor of They Shall Not Develop Previous, reprised their roles for the movie, whereas Ken Kamins, Jeff Jones and Jonathan Clyde acted as government producers. Jackson’s movie is to be adopted by a remastered re-release of Lindsay-Hogg’s authentic movie.[63][64][65][66][67] The brand new documentary was formally introduced in March 2020 with the title The Beatles: Get Again and a theatrical launch date was initially set by distributor Walt Disney Studios for 4 September 2020,[68] however was then rescheduled to 27 August 2021 as a result of restrictions imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.[69] The theatrical launch was later cancelled in favour of the documentary premiering on Disney+, which it did as a three-part miniseries on 25, 26 and 27 November 2021.[70]

  • The Beatles (2000). The Beatles Anthology. Chronicle Books. ISBN 0-8118-2684-8.
  • Lewisohn, Mark (2000) [1992]. The Full Beatles Chronicle. Hamlyn. ISBN 0-600-60033-5.
  • Matteo, Stephen (2004). Let It Be. 33⅓ collection. Continuum Worldwide. ISBN 0-8264-1634-9.
  • Sulpy, Doug; Schweighardt, Ray (1999). Get Again: The Unauthorized Chronicle of The Beatles’ ‘Let It Be’ Catastrophe. Macmillan. ISBN 0-312-19981-3.
  • Unterberger, Richie (2006). The Unreleased Beatles: Music & Movie. Backbeat Books. ISBN 0-87930-892-3.
  • Rathjen, Friedhelm (2018). Get Again. Die Beatles in Twickenham, 2.–14. Januar 1969 (in German). Version ReJoyce. ISBN 978-3-947261-08-6.
  • Rathjen, Friedhelm (2019). Let It Be. Die Beatles im Apple-Studio, 21.–31. Januar 1969 (in German). Version ReJoyce. ISBN 978-3-947261-09-3.

  • Let It Be at IMDb
  • Let It Be on the TCM Film Database
  • Let It Be at Rotten Tomatoes

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