I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1978) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • In 1964, six teenagers from New Jersey run off to see The Beatles perform on Toast of the Town (1948) in the hope of meeting their idols. However, they don't have tickets. Along the way, they learn new things about friendship and growing up.

  • If they missed Beatles' first appearance in the U.S.A. they would hate themselves for the rest of their lives! So they (six teenagers from New Jersey) set off even though they don't have tickets for the show! The journey is full of surprises and misfortunes but the young ladies are determined to reach to their idols...

  • Beatlemania has swept the US, most specifically New York City, on the eve of The Beatles' first ever performance in the country on Toast of the Town (1948) on Sunday, February 9, 1964. Teenaged friends Pam Mitchell, Grace Corrigan and Rosie Petrofsky of nearby Maplewood, New Jersey are as big Beatles fans as anyone. Grace, who wants to take exclusive photographs of the Beatles to launch her photojournalism career, comes up with a plan for the three of them to get into the hotel where the Beatles are staying. Pam goes along despite her own previous plans to elope with her boyfriend Eddie Lupus the next night, the night of the show. Also along for the ride are their friend Janis Goldman, whose primary activity in life is to protest for a cause (in this case how the Beatles have unfairly taken over all aspect of life), tough guy Tony Smerko who hates the "Limey fairies" but loves Janis, and Larry Dubois whose father has the necessary vehicle to pull off the plan. As they arrive at the hotel on the morning of the show, as the Beatles themselves move between the hotel and the studio for their rehearsal and performance, and as the friends try to track the Beatles movements during the day, the friends get separated. But their day is spent with other people who have their own Beatles related objectives.

  • Six teenagers from Maplewood, New Jersey in various stages of Beatlemania travel to New York City for the first appearance of the Fab Four on the "Ed Sullivan Show." At the start of the film, none have tickets, but all find their way to the studio for the fantastic climax.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • It's early 1964, and Beatlemania is in full swing. It is only days away before the Fab Four appear on CBS' 'The Ed Sullivan Show,' and records are flying off store shelves. In a small town in New Jersey, we are introduced to several characters. These include:

    • Rosie Petrofsky (Wendie Jo Sperber), a Beatles fanatic and devoted fangirl of Paul McCartney
    • Pam Mitchell (Nancy Allen), a quiet girl who is engaged to be married soon
    • Janice Goldman (Susan Kendall Newman), a girl who feels that the Beatles music is encroaching on other, more talented musicians
    • Grace Corrigan (Theresa Saldana), a girl who works for the school newspaper, looking to get her big break

    With time getting closer and closer to the Beatles appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show, the girls hatch a plan to go to New York City and find some way to get on the Ed Sullivan Show and see the Beatles. The girls convince Larry Dubois (Marc McClure) to 'borrow' his Dad's Cadillac, and they take off for New York. However, they are soon joined mid-trip by local 'bad boy' Tony Smerko (Bobby DiCicco).

    Arriving in New York, Larry drives them to the Plaza Hotel where the Beatles are staying, only to find Police on patrol, keeping numerous girls at bay from charging the front doors of the hotel. Tony manages to create a diversion that allows Rosie, Pam and Janice to enter the hotel. From here on out, all of the kids end up going on their own little adventures:

    • Rosie almost makes it to the Beatles' room, but is caught by security. She soon meets Richard 'Ringo' Klaus (Eddie Deezen), who is hiding out in the Plaza Hotel and who is also trying to meet the Beatles.

    • Pam ends finding herself in the Beatles' room by accident, but all her thoughts of her impending marriage are put on hold as she wanders around the room in awe of where she is.

    • Grace manages to sneak backstage onto the Ed Sullivan show set, but is almost caught by a security guard. The guard says that if she can pay him $50, he'll let her backstage during the Beatles' appearance.

    • Janice and Tony manage to help a young boy whose Father wants him to cut his Beatles-like haircut, with the promise that Janice and Tony can have the extra tickets he has to the Ed Sullivan show.

    In the end, almost everyone manages to get a ticket to the performance. Rosie manages to answer a phone-in trivia question, helping her and Richard get in.

    Pam is found in the Beatle's hotel room suite, and their manager gives her a free pass to the night's show.

    The show then goes as planned, and it almost seems that the night will end badly for Larry and Grace who were not able to get in...when they find the Beatle's manager shoving the boys in the back of Larry's black Cadillac, thinking it's their transportation back to the Plaza.

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