Let it Be (1970)

Let it Be (1970)

“Yeah, okay, well — I don’t mind. I’ll play, you know, whatever you want me to play.”

Tensions are high as the Beatles craft music together and perform a final rooftop concert in London.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Beatles Films
  • Concert Films
  • Documentary
  • Musicians

This infamously downbeat documentary about the Beatles rehearsing for what would be their final album together — “Let It Be” — remains a valuable glimpse at their behind-the-scenes music-making, albeit through the prism of accomplished musicians ready to move past their years of highly successful collaboration. The most eerie footage is of ghostly Yoko Ono glued to Lennon’s side — there couldn’t be a more potent visual image of a wedge driven between the “boys” (though of course, she wasn’t solely responsible for the band’s breakup by any stretch). The close-up scene of McCartney singing the title song during rehearsals (it’s an apt eulogy for the band’s dissolution) is quite satisfying, and the final rooftop performance is both anarchic and bittersweet. Be forewarned you may need to revisit A Hard Day’s Night (1964) after viewing this one, to boost your Beatle spirits.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Many revealing instances of the band’s playful yet contentious working relationships with one another

  • McCartney and bandmates performing “Let It Be”
  • The fun but ultimately bittersweet finale concert on the rooftop

Must See?
No, though of course it’s an absolute must for Beatles fans. Listed as a Cult Movie in the back of Peary’s book.


2 thoughts on “Let it Be (1970)

  1. Not must-see. Again – being a concert film, it more or less already has a built-in audience and others will be less drawn to check it out. Beatles fans will do so without encouragement.

    That said – I *am* something of a Beatles fan and I thought it was… ok. Listening to the soundtrack separately, in this case, might easily suffice.

  2. A hard film to see and mainly because the Beatles don’t like it. No surprise, as it doesn’t paint them in a very sympathetic light.

    I found it interesting but not really enjoyable. Definitely not a must see.

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