A Hard Day's Night

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
A Hard Day's Night Movie Poster Image
Beatles classic is Fab-ulous, but expect lots of smoking.
  • G
  • 1964
  • 87 minutes
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 20 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational value

Sure to rope in new Beatles fans and teach kids about early rock 'n' roll and the influence of the band on every other that followed.

Positive messages

By keeping things light and silly, fame isn't ever taken too seriously here, despite all the screaming, running fans. A few nice messages in the love songs, like "Money Can't Buy Me Love." Teamwork is a theme.

Positive role models & representations

The Fab Four scoff at some of their responsibilities -- answering fan mail can wait until after the party -- but come together in the end for the show. Paul's grandfather is a bit of a cad -- gambling, making bawdy jokes, trying to swindle women, running from the police -- but everyone remains respectful of him. Also, crazed female fans race after the Beatles and cry and scream in the concert hall.

Violence & scariness

Many fans trip while chasing The Beatles, and some others look faint in the audience later. A car is stolen, a dove is squished in a man's sleeve, a woman falls down a hole and is immediately rescued, some running from the police and talk of the mean things they can do to prisoners.

Sexy stuff

A few bawdy jokes, with a mention of an orgy and that Paul's grandpa is "sex obsessed."

Language

One "damn."

Consumerism

This movie is of course meant to sell the album as well. There are also brief glimpses of what looks like a Pepsi bottle and someone is reading a Mad magazine book.

Drinking, drugs & smoking

Lots and lots of (era-accurate) smoking by everyone. Brief drug-related humor (John pretends to snort cocaine from the top of his Pepsi bottle). Lots of drinking at a dance club.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that A Hard Day's Night is a great way to introduce kids to The Beatles -- or, as a family, to just enjoy their glory days. Aside from Paul's naughty grandfather, a lot of heavy smoking (typical of the era), and some brief drug-related humor (which kids may miss entirely), there's very little iffy content here, so just focus on singing along with the soundtrack.

User Reviews

Adult Written byWonderfulTonight August 29, 2009

LOVED THE MOVIE

LOVE THIS FILM! The Best Beatles film!!! A must watch! I loved the movie, music, humor, plot, and everything that there is to the movie. Shows George, Paul, Rin... Continue reading
Parent Written byLilWeiWei December 8, 2013

Great for high schoolers!

As a Beatles fan (And immediate member in one of their families), I think this movie is great. You can teach your kids who the Beatles are, while enjoying their... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bythebeatlesgirl15 February 8, 2011

perfect for everyoneeee

i absolutley LOVE the beatles and im 15.....its a great movie for anyone of any age, and has amazing music :D :D
Teen, 14 years old Written bythundermuffin May 27, 2012

FUN!!!!

AMAZING MOVIE!!!!!! There is one scene that mentions something about an orgy, but that is only one sentence. Literally. No big deal at all. And yes, it was... Continue reading

What's the story?

A HARD DAY'S NIGHT is a surrealistic day in the life of the most overwhelmingly popular rock group of all time. It studies the Fab Four through a typical 36 hours as they ostensibly try to get to the big show on time. Along the way are gags, character vignettes, and musical set pieces.

Is it any good?

The documentary style of this movie masks its tight construction, clever script, and sublime anarchy second only to the Marx brothers. It portrays the Beatles sympathetically -- like the heroine of It Happened One Night, they are constantly told what to do and smothered by all they have.

Part of the humor of A Hard Day's Night is that it is not the members of the Beatles but Paul's grandfather who causes most of the trouble. Musical numbers include "Can't Buy Me Love" and "Should Have Known Better" as well as the title song, its title taken from Ringo's warped syntax after a long recording session.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about crazed Beatles fans in A Hard Day's Night. Are kids surprised to see teens react that way to a band? Are there stars or artists who draw the same reaction today? How has the Internet changed how fans react and communicate with their idols?

  • Families can also talk about all the smoking. Did it represent the same thing as their floppy hair did? How has smoking in the media changed since this movie came out? (Sad but worth mentioning -- George Harrison attributed the throat cancer that killed him in 2001 to his decades of heavy smoking.)

  • What did you think about the style of A Hard Day's Night? Do they still make band movies like this today? Would you rather see your favorite bands have a little fun with their fame or make a serious documentary about their life and work?

  • How do The Beatles demonstrate teamwork in A Hard Day's Night? Why is this an important character strength?

Movie details

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