Help! Movie Poster Image

Help!

(i)

 

Madcap, nonsensical romp with the Beatles.
  • Review Date: November 22, 2007
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Musical
  • Release Year: 1965
  • Running Time: 100 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The Beatles are thoroughly laid-back and whimsical about their predicament, and always help out their mates. The cult members are politically incorrect racial stereotypes of Indians and Hindus, but most of the Anglo characters are exaggerated British types, too. The leading lady is a heroic rescuer-figure.

Violence & scariness

Lots and lots of playful roughhouse-fighting, even escalating up to combat with tanks. Ringo (and others) are threatened continually with human sacrifice via a nasty Bowie knife, yet no blood is shed.

Sexy stuff

One girl seen topless from the rear getting bathed. One background belly dancer.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

Products and tourist destinations, many from yesteryear. Of course, the Beatles' music itself is a product.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Brief verbal reference to "happiness pills." Of course, parts of the movie are borderline "trippy."

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie is replete with playful fighting and slapstick violence, including some "don't try this at home" moments, like when George clings to the roof of a speeding car. There's more than a little bit of insensitive racial/religious stereotyping in the villains, a bunch of (mostly Anglo) actors playing robed cult fanatics from India, but just about all the characters are cartoon caricatures, including the Beatles themselves.

What's the story?

The immortal rock-pop quartet the Beatles (John, Paul, George, and Ringo) star in this full-color, wild farce. It's never explained how, but drummer Ringo is the proud owner of a sacred giant ruby. A fanatical religious cult must sacrifice any human bearing the ring, and so they pursue the Beatles for most of the movie, setting bizarre traps in the Fab Four's gimmicky high-tech mansion, and even attacking them at safe havens like Buckingham Palace. Since the uncanny ring refuses to come off Ringo's finger, the lads consult a mad scientist. What do you know? He starts chasing Ringo as well, claiming that with the ring he and his doofus assistant can rule the world.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

From the same director (Richard Lester) as the Beatles' pitch-perfect screen debut A Hard Day's Night, this is a far less realistic comedy about a band on the run. The practically freeform plot, full of international-intrigue and "mod" vibes, typifies the James Bond 007 spoofs ubiquitous back then, maybe with a touch of embryonic Monty Python spirit. Of course, a handful of great Beatles songs on the soundtrack don't hurt either.

The plot has scant rhyme or reason, just a disconnected barrage of madcap pursuits and ambush episodes in scenic locations, with old-fashioned, random title cards ("Paul's Exciting Adventure on the Floor") in a childish narrative kids might actually follow better than adult viewers. A lot of the British-specific landmarks and topics -- references to the "brain drain" problem, and English Channel swimmers -- will go way over American viewers' heads, though.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of the Beatles as characters, then and now. Do you think this film nails it just as well as A Hard Day's Night or other Beatles features and documentaries? Do you think Help! has stood the test of time? In its daft style-over-substance plot and imagery, does Help! seem like the ancestor of the MTV music video?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 25, 1965
DVD release date:November 6, 2007
Cast:George Harrison, John Lennon, Leo McKern, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr
Director:Richard Lester
Studio:Capitol
Genre:Musical
Run time:100 minutes
MPAA rating:G

This review of Help! was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 13 years old Written bysarah_soda February 26, 2010

Really Amazing!

Yes; the scenario's are considerd 'crazy' and unrealistic; it is a very enjoyable movie for any Beatles fan. The comedy kept me laughing, especially as the Beatles do random things. Overall, very enjoyable!
What other families should know
Great role models
Adult Written byWonderfulTonight August 29, 2009

Fantastic

If you're a Beatles fan, you'll love anything Beatles. This is a really fun movie. It's just a blast of fun, and adventure, with the four mop tops from Liverpool. Amazing music, funny, and a must watch!
Adult Written bywallflower April 9, 2008

Meet the Beatles

The Fab Four are in their prime, the songs terrific and catchy and the whole endeavor is quite simply fun. There isn't much to the plot, but that doesn't matter given all the other things this film has to offer.

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?