I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1978) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
43 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
What a cute movie!
San Franciscan2 April 2002
I never saw this until just today--I was afraid it would turn out to be a dumb film like "Beatlemania!" was--but it turned out to be one of the innocently charming films I've ever seen.

I am a big Beatles admirer, but I wasn't around for this particular time period (I grew up with them during the 70s instead). But this film was sure a fun treat to watch! Delightful slapstick, lots of times completely unbelieveable, but who cares? The fun is in watching these very likeable characters (except that annoying nerd who was goofy and funny but not likeakle, and the Beatle-hater who tries to axe the show... LITERALLY) go through their exciting and silly adventure in their attempts to get tickets.

I was really laughing HARD while watching this one, and highly recommend it!

Out of all the characters, the one whom I fell in love with the most was the one young girl who wanted more than anything else in the world to see her beloved Paul McCartney. Long dark hair, just *slightly* chubby, having cute puppy dog eyes and wearing a sweet little pink bow in her hair, I felt so sorry for her. She wanted SO much to see Paul, and it was both funny and terribly heartbreaking at the same time to watch her rush into a phone booth to call the radio station with the correct answer for a Beatles trivia contest and be so anxious with her handful of dimes that she practically *THROWS* them at the phone.

My favorite lines declaring the Beatles one of life's happiest pleasures come at a scene when the bride-to-be is driving with her future husband (who gives the impression with his short onscreen time that he'd be a real CREEP to her!). Check this scene out and listen to her lines, they're priceless to Beatle fans everywhere.

I'm afraid I'm not a good judge concerning whether or not non-Beatle admirers will react so favourably to this one... but if they dig slapstick and watching people go berzerk over such ridiculous things as the everyday napkins celebrities use, they just might. I mean hey, I love the Beatles, but I would NEVER go for the nonsense that goes on here! So for both Beatle fans and non-fans, I think it's safe for me to say that this movie works as both a fun piece of nostalgia and a satirical look of human nature gone wild and how crazy some will go when it comes to beloved icons.

Oh, and I'm sure Paul finds it VERY flattering as well! Hee hee...
26 out of 27 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
It's Better Than You Might Think
IrisNo114 August 1999
I thought that this was one of the most interesting comedies ever! It's hysterically funny from one point to another about these three young girls who are HUGE fans of the Beatles and would do anything just to see them on Ed Sullivan. What a great idea for a movie. It's amazing! It's one of the greatest films I ever saw, and that anyone can enjoy!
24 out of 25 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Just simple fun
MarioB5 June 2000
I never heard of that movie in 1978! I saw it a few years ago and I was asking myself why I never heard of that film in 1978! This is not a great comedy movie : just plain fun and entertainment, in a very creative and honest way. Even if there's some cliche (the old-fashioned rocker of the 1950's, the beatnik girl, the cars) I think it captures very well the Beatlemania in a teenage 1964 point of view. Young actresses are very good and comedy situation are pleasants. I also love the idea of hearing only the voices of the Beatles, and showing only their feet, as if they were adultes in a children comic strip. I have this on tape - thanks to PBS! - and I watch it once a year, just for smiling.
16 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A Masterpiece
Brainy-26 November 2000
There is a scene that takes place about three quarters of the way through this film that is not only one of the ten funniest scenes in the history of movie-making, but probably does even a better job of summing up what the year 1964 was all about than Dr. Strangelove. It involves Christian Juttner, who must confront an evil looking one-eyed barber, and a snake-like pair of electric clippers.

And forget Burt Lancaster & Deborah Kerr on the beach in "From Here To Eternity." For sheer lustful passion, that scene doesn't even come close to Nancy Allen's roll in the hay with Paul McCartney's Hoffner bass.

A flawless masterpiece!
21 out of 24 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A Definite Must See For Any Beatles Fan!{Spoilers!!}
Cosmic_Cre25 March 2004
Warning: Spoilers
I have always been a massive Beatles fan for as long as I could remember, but I have to admit that after seeing this film, my love for them went to an even higher level.

Let me explain... now, I'm what you would call a late generation fan. I wasn't even THOUGHT of in 1964 because at the time, my mom was only 10 and my father was 12. So, with that said, I don't know anything personally about Beatlemania or what this performance meant to the nation at that time or what it was like just being a teenager during this time. That is, until I watched this movie. Watching this film and the antics of these characters is possibly the closest I will ever come to experiencing first hand what Beatlemania was like. It was like I was an unofficial member of this group of kids as they are trying desperately to get tickets to see the Beatles live on the Ed Sullivan show, all this starting by them trying to sneak into the Beatles' hotel.

I loved that Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale made a wonderful dynamic by NOT making all the characters involved Beatles fans which made the film that much more believable. Let's face it... as popular as the band was then(and now), they did have a great number of detractors and they were brilliantly represented in this movie by Susan Kendall Newman as politically driven, Janis who feels the Beatles are nothing but meaningless drivel and Bobby Di Cicco as macho greaser, Tony who thinks they just suck, period. Their presence was a great contrast to the rest of the cast, especially Wendie Jo Sperber as the sweet, cherubic Rosie, the most fanatical of the bunch that at one point of the film, she literally throws herself from a moving car just so she can get to a phone booth to win Beatles tickets on a radio call-in contest. The rest of the cast is rounded out by Nancy Allen as Pam, a bride-to-be roped into this adventure against her will and ends up having fortunate luck of accidentally ending up in the Beatles' hotel suite; Theresa Saldana as Grace, the career minded, future reporter who wants exclusive pictures of the band and will do anything(literally) to get them; Marc McClure as Larry, who has a crush on Grace and is willing to do anything to help her achieve her goal and Eddie Deezen as Richard who is Rosie's equally fanatical partner in crime as they reek havoc throughout the hotel.

Another thing I thought was a great direction taken by Zemeckis and Gale was to use Beatle sound-a-likes, not look-a-likes and to have the guys' faces hidden. This decision was terrific for this reason: the casting director could have auditioned actors until the cows came home and NONE of them would have been good enough to play the Fab Four. None. Thank goodness Robert and Bob realized that the power just in the Beatles' voices and music was enough not only to be the soundtrack of the film, but allowed we the audience to imagine the real Beatles instead of insulting us by making us accept four actors that would have most definitely paled in comparison to the real thing. I feel that even attempting this would have seriously cheapened the film and wouldn't have given it the impact that it has. It almost has the feel of it being a sort of time capsule and most certainly shows us the difference between hearing about what happened from someone else and being there. The film made me feel like the latter, like I was actually there.

So, long story short, the movie is a must-see for any Beatles fan. It'll make you relive the energy and excitement of Beatlemania or if you're like me, who was not around during this time, will show you first hand exactly what it was like.
10 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The 60's and the Beatles
Petey-101 March 1999
When you think about the 60's, what do you remember from that decade? The Beatles of course! And this movie tells about the 60's and the Beatles. And there are these American teenagers who just have to see this British group called the Beatles. And what would be a better way to see them than go to Ed Sullivan show, where the Beatles perform.And believe me, it's not going to be that easy. I Wanna hold your Hand is a great movie with great actors. Although this movie was made in the 70's, it shows you what the 60's was all about.
14 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Hysterically funny
Boyo-27 March 2000
A cast of unknowns with a young Robert Zemeckis as director made a movie as memorable as the Beatles themselves! Especially Wendie Jo Sperber, who is the most hysterical of all the fans, and Nancy Allen, who actually gains access to their hotel room at one point. This movie is very funny and it helps if you're an admirer of the Beatles, but anyone would like it.
11 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Amusing, nostalgic hysteria...
moonspinner551 October 2005
Group of girlfriends scheme to see The Beatles when they come to New York City to appear on Ed Sullivan's television program in 1964. Fresh, fast-paced representation of obsessed fandom, coupled with canny recreation of an nostalgic era. Unfortunately, the story has nowhere in particular to go in the third act and resorts to ridiculous slapstick. Still, for the first three-quarters of the way, a very bright, sometimes exhilarating feature which never found its audience (the majority of the press it generated was in regards to Steven Spielberg's co-producer association). The young cast is quite good, though they are sometimes encouraged to overdo it. **1/2 from ****
13 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
She Loves You, Yeah Yeah Yeah
bkoganbing12 April 2009
The most important thing about the Beatles arriving in America in January of 1964 to appear on the Ed Sullivan Show is not even mentioned in I Wanna Hold Your Hand. The fact is we were a nation in mourning with our young president slain. The Beatles coming to America was the first thing as a country we got any kind of excited about.

I Wanna Hold Your Hand is the story of four young teen girls from New Jersey, Nancy Allen, Wendy Jo Sperber, Susan Kendall Newman, and Theresa Saldana and their quest to see the Beatles up close and personal and maybe get tickets to the Ed Sullivan Show. They inveigle young Marc McClure who is the son of a funeral director in their town to use his limousine, the better to get up to the hotel the Liverpool Lads are staying at. They also pick up Bobby DiCicco who hates the Beatles as foreigners and who are taking the place of his idols the Four Seasons. He's on a mission of his own to halt the broadcast by fair or foul. As history tells us he failed, but you got to see what intervened to prevent him from carrying out his task.

Best in the film is Wendy Jo Sperber, the Beatlemaniac on steroids. She is hilarious in her attempts to get to her Fab Four. Most annoying in the film is Eddie Deezen the nerdy kid she teams up with in her quest. I mean he comes off like SuperNerd, his lack of social graces is painful to watch.

Pieces and whole songs from The Beatles are heard throughout the film, fans will love it. Robert Zemeckis who directed and wrote the film had a real feel for those crazy times in New York in 1964.
10 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Funny film!
HeartMonger26 June 2004
I remember seeing this film at three-thirty in the morning when I couldn't sleep and I was in the sixth grade. It was really funny and kept me awake until about five fifteen in the morning...and I had school to go to! Needless to say I never went back to sleep, and at school all I could talk about was this film. The film, directed by Robert Zemekis and produced by Steven Spielberg, is about the pandemonium that ensued when the Beatles came to America to play for Ed Sullivan. Naturally, this film being about teenagers, it appealed to a younger crowd, but an older one at this day and age, as it was the older crowd who were alive and witnessed this chaos. Nancy Allen and Theresa Saldana are great(what ever happened to her?) Wendie Jo Sperber as usual does a fine comedic performance, while Mark McClure and Eddie Deezen have funny little side roles. Written by Bob Gale and Zemeckis, this one is sure to be a laugh riot, almost as laugh out loud as 1941, but with more real life issues and realistic tones. A Funny Film!
10 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Beatlemania :-)
Blueghost5 October 2004
I'd never thought I'd see this film again.

I first saw this film on what used to be the old "Movie of the Week" program on ABC. I'd never heard of the film, but a Beatles' "revival" of sorts was sweeping the nation; courtesy the Stars on 45 remixes, that were being broadcast all over radio at the time. "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" was shown in that spirit.

Why this film failed at the box office I'll never understand. Even with a low marketing budget one would think that word of mouth would've helped boost this film's profits. Myself, I laughed when I saw the cleaned up version aired on television, circa 1979 or 1980. I caught sections of a rebroadcast some years later on another station, but had never managed to see it in its entirety again until now.

Now I own a copy on DVD, and laughed all over again at the adventures and misadventures of an eclectic group of young people trying to see the fab-four. The humor is witty, physical and intelligent, and the general overall feel of the film catches the period that was the early-mid 1960's when the Beatles shot to stardom, and then onto legendary icons. And the portrayal of the fans is spot on. Seeing the throngs of screaming teenage girls brings back memories.

Overall the film is very good, but again, as per my previous comments on other films, this film was made in a time when movies were made for everyone, and the audience was more adult not just in age but in attitude. This being so there're a couple of off color remarks made by the characters, but nothing with the fervor nor frequency of today's excessive use of same abusive language.

Do yourself a favor and help give this fantastic movie new life by renting or buying it. Relive the 1960's and Beatlemania! You won't regret it :-)
6 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Historically Accurate and Very Funny!
mrb19804 July 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Anyone who lived through the early days of U.S. Beatlemania--as I did--should enjoy "I Wanna Hold Your Hand". The movie is a very vivid recreation of an outrageously hysterical event: The Beatles' first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, February 9, 1964.

The plot concerns several young women whose dream is to see The Beatles at Ed Sullivan's studio in New York. Most of the early part of the film deals with the fans attempting to break into the Beatles' hotel room, the second half shows the girls attempting to gain admission to Sullivan's show. There are some fairly slow spots about 3/4 through the film, but the climactic scenes about Ed Sullivan are very fresh and funny.

The cast is fine, including Will Jordan with his on-target impersonation of Sullivan, and the actresses playing the fans (Nancy Allen, Wendie Jo Sperber, Theresa Saldana, etc.) are just wonderful. Nancy Allen's adventures in the Beatles' hotel room--with her cuddling Paul McCartney's bass guitar and "harvesting" hair from a hairbrush--are hilarious and absolutely priceless.

Just about everything clicks in this funny, happy film. Whether you remember February 1964 or not, it's well worth seeing.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
What a Fun Movie
beatleman61 December 2005
** I am writing this review having just heard of Wendie Jo Sperber's passing from breast cancer today. Her performance as Rosie, the Paul obsessed teen, was absolutely priceless. I hope fans of this film will take a moment to remember her and her work to help others.** I Wanna Hold Your Hand was a movie that came and went very quickly in 1978. For the life of me I can't understand why. I saw this film a year or so later on HBO and thought it was one of the funniest movies I had ever seen. It is about a group of friends trying to score tickets to the Beatles first performance on the Ed Sullivan show in February, 1964. Each person has their own reason for wanting to be there, and the storyline follows each one as they try to reach that goal. The period detail is excellent, even down to having WINS radio personality Murray the K playing himself in a cameo. The young cast does an excellent job of pulling us into their world and helping us feel what it must have been like on that Sunday in February. I must add that, contrary to an earlier reviewers claim that there were not many Beatle songs heard in the film, there were in fact many songs represented. Obviously, in 1964, there were only about two dozen songs available to the public and most of them are in there.

While I found this film to be extremely entertaining, viewers not as familiar with this period of the Beatles history may miss out on some fun. There are innumerable "in" jokes and references that will go over some heads. However, as a movie it stands by itself. I still laugh in the same places I did almost thirty years ago, and still find something new with every viewing. If you are in the mood to relive a little nostalgia or need a good laugh, give this little movie a chance. I'm sure most of you won't be disappointed.
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
With Eddie Deezen as a Beatlemaniac, what could go wrong?
lee_eisenberg25 November 2005
As someone who never experienced Beatlmania when it first started, "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" helps me experience it as best as possible. The plot centers on some teenage girls who want to see the Fab Four on "The Ed Sullivan Show" in 1964. But the movie's highlight is geeky Eddie Deezen as Richard "Ringo" Klaus. His performance alone pretty much carries the movie. Of course, the movie's real star is the music. With all of the Beatles' songs, there's never a dull moment in the movie. Also really funny is Bobby DiCicco as Beatle-hating Tony Smerko; he has some great scenes. It's hard to believe that Robert Zemeckis started here.

As an extra note, many of the cast members appeared in "1941" the next year. Needless to say, Eddie Deezen played the same sort of character.
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Teens go ga-ga over moptops
helpless_dancer31 March 2002
One of the funniest comedies I've seen in years. These teens went way beyond the call of duty in order to see the Fab 4 and their antics were truly hilarious. An absolutely perfect story showing the enthusiastic excitement of Beatlemania; including loads of old Beatle songs and a ending which was just right. What a trip!
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
I love this movie!
r_katt5 August 2003
There are a very few "throw-away" movies that impress me. "The President's Analyst," "Flashback," "Bachelor Party," "Summer School,' and "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" are five of them. Robert Zemeckis shows his early talent as he directs a handful of then-unknown actors and comes up with a really cool sleeper hit! This film works on many levels. It accurately portrays the 60's on many levels, how teens "suffering" from Beatlemania reacted to the Fab Four, how they were exploited, and how America responded to the British invasion. The way Zemeckis utilizes actual Beatles clips with look-alike actors is awesome. I Wanna Hold Your Hand reminds me alot of Zemeckis' film, "Used Cars" which used several of the actors from "I Wanna Hold Your Hand."
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Just a Beatles Fan Fiction Brought to Life!
SingingMedusa19 July 2002
Not like that's a bad thing, of course! "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" is a HILARIOUS and historical film-a must see for any true Beatles fan! Imagine yourself trapped under a Beatle's bed in 1964, like "Pam Mitchell" in the movie! Or how about getting to race away in a car with the mop tops sitting right in the back seat! I know there are SEVERAL Beatles fan fiction authors out there who have imagined the possibilities at least ONCE in their lifetime! You gotta see it!
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The week-end that helped perk up a mourning nation.
yenlo20 June 2002
JFK had been assassinated a couple of months earlier and the country was still in a somewhat depressed mood. However a new rock & roll group from England was gaining interest. Then on one memorable weekend in Feb of 64 they arrived in the states to appear where else? On the Ed Sullivan Show. After that week-end the country perked up and began to smile a bit more. This film while essentially intended to be zany does pretty fairly capture the mood of what went on. The Beatles played two sets that night on Sullivan and this film showed the program ending after they came on and did their thing which wasn't totally accurate but so what. One interesting feature is that the Beatles faces are never seen except with actual footage of the original February 9th broadcast and even then it's on the screen of the television cameras as they captured them on the stage.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Enjoyable fluff
otter12 March 1999
It's nothing more than fluff to be sure, a story about teenage girls who leave the comfortable suburbia of 1963 to find tickets to the Beatles' first appearance on American TV, the historic Ed Sullivan show. Naturally they have all sorts of silly adventures, find love, and learn about themselves, like every other teen road movie ever made. But this one is good-natured, lively, and funny; the performances are good; there's a fine sense of the period (so many things were just beginning then); and I just like seeing a story about teenage fans. It's a totally crazy yet exhilarating state of mind, and fun to go back to what it was like.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Neglected comedy classic
preppy-315 August 2007
This takes places on February 8 1964 when the Beatles first appeared on the Ed Sullivan show. It's about 6 teenagers (4 girls, 2 boys) who want to see them for various reasons. Rosie (Wendie Jo Spreber) LOVES the Beatles; Janis (Susan Kendall Newman) hates them and wants to protest; Pam (Nancy Allen) is along for the ride and is getting married the next day; Grace (Theresa Saldana) is a reporter who wants an interview with them; Tony (Bobby DiCicco) is a hood and Larry (Marc McClure) drives them from NJ to NY to see them. Various complications occur.

I'm way too young to remember back then (I was only 1!) but I heard this perfectly captures exactly what it was like back then with the hundreds of screaming girls trying to see the Beatles. The film is full of gags flying fast and furious. Not every one works and the film does have its dead spots (Allen being in their hotel room is kind of silly) but, all in all, this is lots of fun. The cast is young and appealing--Allen and Sperber especially are good. Also Will Jordan doing Ed Sullivan is more than a little amusing and it's always good to see Dick Miller (playing a police sergeant). Unfortunately Eddie Deezen is in this too and I find him completely annoying. Still, this is a must for Beatles fans and anyone who wants a good funny comedy. This was completely ignored when it came out but has since acquired a cult.

Scenes to watch for: Jordan's opening talk to staff, a barbershop sequence (you'll know it), the concert sequence at the end (beautifully shot) and listen closely to Jordan's final line. Fast, funny and loads of fun.

"I want you to be prepared for excessive screaming, hysteria, hyperventilation, fainting, fits, seizures, spasmodic convulsions even attempted suicide--all perfectly normal. It merely means these youngsters are enjoying themselves."
5 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
important as a gloss on 'Gump', and superb in its own right.(possible spoilers)
the red duchess22 March 2001
Warning: Spoilers
If Robert Zemeckis has a theme, it is that of crossing boundaries - be it of place, time, genre, mindset, lifestyle - and the transformative effect that accompanies this act. So while 'I Wanna hold your hand' seems to follow a conventional narrative arc, whereby a group of friends separated by crisis are reunited (I wanna hold your hand), order is not simply restored.

For some, the transformation isn't that major - the fulfilment of desire; the attaining of boyfriend/girlfriend, and all the changes in sexuality and identity that implies; a realisation of one's own humility in the face of a power far greater than one's hubris - but for Pam, the film's unlikely heroine, transformation is literally lifechanging, on a personal as well as historical level, as she abandons the 1950 lifestyle open to her - marriage and docile wifehood to a dull conformist - and embraces the liberation promised by the 1960s.

This is experienced as both a sexual and existential dilemma, with its site in the appropriately Beatles-free group hotel room, where sexual release is displaced onto fan worship, and the change in personality and identity is so great that she gets a fright when she glimpses her reflection in a mirror.

The film opens with a very stern boundary, a police cordon around the Beatles' hotel on the eve of their first American telecast - Do Not Pass. The leads spend the movie trying all manner of increasingly desperate means to do just that. their overflowing hysterical desire is being continually foiled by the proliferating police; in conventional psychoanalytic terms, Desire being repressed by Law. Much is made of the way the leads are rebelling against their backgrounds, parents (either caricatures or very nasty), religion, social expectations; their continued thwarting by the Law leads to wild criminal acts against the Law. All of this rebellion is celebrated just as the Beatles and the 1960s issued in a bright new age of freedom.

it is appropriate that this struggle between repression and release should centre on an absence, the Beatles, ever-elusive, reduced to signifiers (accents, clothes), fetishised (we never see them in full, just backs, feet, hair etc.), their bodily reality transformed into secular Turin shrouds (the beds they slept in; the grass or carpet they walked on); at one stage even a mop is mistaken for a Beatle. To achieve privacy of identity they must adapt disgraces that negates that identity.

The brilliant finale, a recreation of the historic Ed Sullivan show, recreates every detail EXCEPT the Beatles, who are projected on TV monitors, the real men having been swamped by a cultural construct. The dream chased by these kids is ultimately a phantom, while their own transformations are very much linked to the body, as if in an extension of the religious metaphor, the man part of the Beatles has etherealised and has been transmitted to the acolytes.

This underlying cynicism belying the affectionate good cheer, and the wonderfully inventive comedy (often inspired by silent slapstick comedy) reveals, fully formed, the arch ironist of 'Forrest Gump'. The Beatles may be a force for good, but they replace one conformity with another - dissenters eventually succumb; alternative musics exist but are drowned out by the Mersey Roar. The liberation of spontaneous urges that was Beatlemania is shown to be a relentlessly mediated event, quickly profiting big business interests; while the publicity surrounding Pam's adventures in the hotel bedroom are uncomfortably cross-cut with the prostitution scene in another hotel room, old men explotiting young women. Unobtrusively ominous hints of Vietnam and the bursting of this particular bubble litter the fun, and the Expressionist nightmare in the barber shop, where the threatening seats seem to extend for ever, is one of the best things Zemeckis has done.
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
wistful insanity
dustybooks20 December 2004
What happened to Robert Zemeckis? Once upon a time, with Bob Gale, he crafted top-notch comedies unsurpassed by anybody. Gale has been sorely missed since the Zemeckis glory days of this, USED CARS, and the BACK TO THE FUTURE films, but Zemeckis' own retirement from screen writing hurts just as much.

This is because the material he chooses lacks the inherent excitement of his work with Gale. What's more interesting: Carl Sagan space movie or Kurt Russell in a used car lot? With these people in charge, the latter wins out easily, and this first effort, released before the Spielberg-directed "1941," is perhaps the best of the Zemeckis/Gale collaborations.

The setting of I WANNA HOLD YOUR HAND is New York City, February 1964, just after the Beatles have landed. A group of teenagers descend on the Ed Sullivan Theater with disparate motivations: a Fabs fanatic (Wendie Jo Sperber) who hooks up with Beatles obsessive Eddie Deezen (in, believe it or not, a flawless performance), an ambitious young photographer, Nancy Allen as the prudish, tentative bride-to-be who ends up in the Beatles' hotel room, and a stuck-up Peter, Paul & Mary fan determined to stamp out the Beatles. The quiet loser with the car, the laughably clueless tough guy, the kid who needs a haircut, all adding up to a divine celebration.

This frantic comedy has the same urgent, blissful atmosphere that makes Richard Lester's A HARD DAY'S NIGHT such an endless delight, and even if Zemeckis can't match the inherent importance of the earlier film, he certainly can evoke its spirit. The characters in this utterly original comedy are all flawlessly developed, and the payoff never feels like a cheat. It helps Zemeckis and Gale that the Beatles were such a brilliant band -- their music lights the movie up -- but they also share with Lester a keen eye for just what the genius of that music really meant to the world, and the result is a real jewel. Its dismal performance at the box-office (along with that of USED CARS) is still an injustice even if the movie has redeemed itself since.

Check out the recently-released Universal DVD of I WANNA HOLD YOUR HAND, with an excellent commentary by Zemeckis and the always-informative Gale (who, to be fair, does confuse Brian E. with Neil A. at one point, but we forgive him, don't we?).
4 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Great flick captures Beatlemania
stevenfallonnyc29 August 2003
This film is simply the best film to ever show how "Beatlemania" really was, it really gives you a feel of what it must have been like for the teens of 1964 anticipating the arrival of The Beatles on Ed Sullivan. Lots of familiar faces in the cast, especially the gorgeous Nancy Allen, and the dude who plays Jimmy Olsen in the original Superman films.

Of course you have to suspend belief to a small degree, you have to ignore that the actors playing The Beatles live don't have the moves shown on the real Ed Sullivan show at the same time on TV monitors down totally even, but that can be easily forgiven because that's a tough job. Plus as all Beatlesheads know, the group didn't perform just one song on the show (anytime they were on Sullivan they always played more than one). But hey this is a movie so dramatic license is needed, and watching the crowd go completely nuts as The Beatles perform "She Loves You" brings everything to a satisfying climax, in more ways than one apparently for Nancy's character. And a great ending!

Of course this can't begin to touch "A Hard Day's Night" but it is second only to that film in showing what Beatlemania was in 1964 as the band took over America. And two years before John's "we are bigger than Jesus" comment (taken out of context of course, but John WAS a wimp for apologizing) it is good to see that God wasn't going to allow anything to stop The Beatles broadcast!

The one bad thing about this film is that it has Steven Spielberg's name on it, because he is an overrated hack, but thankfully he is just the "executive producer" and didn't actually direct the film, because then it'd be horrible.
4 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Fun flick
on_the_can8 April 2009
The most remarkable thing about this movie for me is the fact that it made me feel nostalgic for an era I was never even part of. I'm a classic rock fan so the Beetles aren't anything new to me although I'm far from a Beetlemaniac, yet I some how missed the '60's while watching this.

It also made me nostalgic for a forgotten era of comedy. This movie is not hysterical...but it's a fun story involving several intertwining characters and plots that you care enough about to stay interested. All in all it's a very entertaining film. We don't seem to get too many of these anymore. I'm a huge fan of Apatow films and others of the like, those movies have far more laughs per minute than "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" but will they still be entertaining 30 years from now? Who knows? Only time will tell...but this one's been time tested and I was pleasantly surprised by it.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
mistake to scatter
SnoopyStyle19 February 2016
The Beatles are coming to America to perform on Ed Sullivan's show. In New Jersey, engaged Pam Mitchell (Nancy Allen), Grace Corrigan (Theresa Saldana) and Rosie Petrofsky (Wendie Jo Sperber) are eager to go. Janis Goldman (Susan Kendall Newman) intends to protest their bad music. Grace recruits Larry Dubois (Marc McClure) for the limo from his family funeral business. They are joined by irreverent delinquent Tony Smerko (Bobby Di Cicco). They arrive at the hotel surrounded by a mob of young girls. The group scatters as they try to sneak into the hotel. Rosie finds Beatles collector Richard Klaus (Eddie Deezen).

It's a wild wacky time as the teens try to get to the seminal cultural event. The problem starts with the fact that not all of the six characters are friends. This disparate group is itching to come apart and that's exactly what they do. In fact, they scatter into six single individuals. The missing aspect of this wacky misadventure is friendship. The movie concentrates on the crazy hijinx but without the friendship, I don't care. The story could split the group but it needs to keep some of the kids together. The movie fails to deliver the relationships.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed