Help!
A poster for Richard Lester's 1965 musical film 'Help!' starring The Beatles. Movie Poster Image Art / Getty Images

What TIME Got Really Wrong About the Beatles Movie Help!

Jul 29, 2015

It was 50 years ago—on July 29, 1965—that the Beatles movie Help! was released in the U.K., and TIME's critic had a very cynical guess as to why. "Help ! is the Beatles ' all-out try at carving a new career as a screen team before their long love affair with the squealers dies out," the magazine surmised shortly after its U.S. release later that summer. "As such, it is a failure, for as actors they are still nothing but Beatles , without enough characterization—or even caricaturization—to play anything but sight gags."

The second half of that paragraph was pretty accurate: even while playing characters, the Beatles were still unmistakably the Beatles. They never quite managed (with the possible exception of Ringo Starr's turn on Shining Time Station) to fully take on roles other than their own. But the idea that the band needed Help! to boost a dimming star is, in hindsight, dead wrong. Today, decades after their run ended, there are plenty of "squealers" who still love the Beatles.

And, for that matter, who still love Help!

After all, even though the acting was deemed questionable, TIME's critic found plenty to admire: "The charm and experimental spontaneity of A Hard Day's Night has here been replaced by highly professional, carefully calculated camera work and cutting," the review gushed, "plus a story line made out of finely wrought jack-in-the-boxes."

Read the full review, here in the TIME Vault: Chase & Superchase

newsletter
History NewsletterStay on top of the history behind today’s news. View Sample

See Photos of the Beatles on the Brink of Beatlemania

John Lennon;Paul Mccartney;Ringo Starr;George Harrison
The Beatles relaxing poolside, February 1964.Bob Gomel—The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images
John Lennon;Paul Mccartney;Ringo Starr;George Harrison
George Harrison by the pool in Miami Florida, February 1964.
Beatles In Miami 1964
John Lennon poolside 1964
Beatles cavorting in Miami pool, February, 1964.
Ringo gets a hug by the pool, Miami, Florida, February 1964.
George Harrison getting in the pool, Miami, Florida, February 1964.
Paul Mccartney relaxing poolside
George Harrison eating by the pool, Miami, Florida, February 1964.
Ringo Star relaxing on a lounge chair, poolside in Miami, Florida, February 1964.
John Lennon in Miami 1964
George Harrison by the pool in Miami, Florida, February 1964.
Beatle Paul McCartney In Miami Beach
The Beatles in a pool in Miami 1964
John Lennon with tea cup
Paul McCartney in the ocean with fans in Miami, Florida, February 1964.
The Beatles running on the beach in Miami, Florida, February 1964.
The Beatles relaxing poolside, February 1964.
Bob Gomel—The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images
1 of 17
TIME may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.