The Beatles Anthology (TV Mini-Series 1995–1996) Poster


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Absolutely fantastic
acebogirlie26 November 2004
In the Beatles Anthology, the three still living Beatles at the time and other insiders review the mythic story of the Beatles in their own point of view.

Including every Beatle event imaginable like Shea Stadium or the Ed Sullivan show, George, Paul, and Ringo comment- along with John's comments from interviews before he died. It also includes interesting insight on many of the songs written- especially on the Sgt. Pepper songs, "Penny Lane", and "Strawberry Fields Forever"

Now, when on Monday it will have been three years since George passed, and nearly twenty-four since John's assassination, this documentary is an amazing way to remember the boys and everything they did and impacted the world with.

It also includes two unreleased songs, "Free As a Bird" and "Real Love", songs John wrote and the others collaborated on.

This documentary is the best to remember the Beatles by.
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Still the best
ebiros220 October 2005
Someone had to make this mini-series, and who would be better than the Beatles themselves ? For instance, who could tell with more believability that George didn't like the album Sgt. Pepper that much than George himself ? In this sense this anthology is very important, because all the information comes directly from the Beatles themselves. This DVD set contains additional comments by Niel Aspenall, and George Martin that's never been seen elsewhere which reveals the back stories about the production of Beatles' music, their earlier days on the road etc. Watch this anthology with video "The Compleat Beatles", "Making of A Hard Days Night" and "The making of Sgt. Pepper" (broadcasted, but unreleased in video) you should get pretty much the whole picture of the Beatles.

If I had one complaint about this DVD set, it's that the music is recorded so much louder than the voice track, and is difficult to find the right volume level to listen to. But of all the Beatles documentary videos that are out there, this one still is the best.
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A Long and Winding Road. . .
Dastari4 April 2003
Having just finished watching this entire series I will keep this short as it is as close to speechless I think I will ever become:

It's been said to me countless times of films that are well over two hours long. It's always something to the effect that the time just flies by and before you know it. . .it's over. I've never known that to be quite as true as it was for The Beatles Anthology. Each episode is well over an hour long, and there are eight of them, but it never seemed like there was a wasted moment. It progressed as eloquently as the band did itself, with ever scene and interview being a logical step forward.

I am a huge Beatles fan, but really didn't expect to like this. I'm not sure why I thought I wouldn't, but something just didn't seem right about it. I'm glad I didn't go with that feeling. It is truly awesome and congers up every emotion I think I'm capable of. I know plenty of people who are not Beatles fans, but I would encourage them to still give this a chance since it really is so much more than just the story of a band.
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Beatles' 'Long and Winding Road' well worth the ride
rkinsler9 April 2003
If you could roll the respective significance of `Citizen Kane,' `Gone With the Wind' and `Lawrence of Arabia' into one film, you might have somewhat of an idea what the Beatles mean to contemporary music. Indeed, while Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly laid the groundwork, the Beatles forever defined the musical and artistic boundaries by which all future pop players would be judged. Indeed, the DVD format has provided modern day audiences with a chance to see why the Fab Four's legacy is something much more significant than a mere history lesson. `The Beatles Anthology' (released April 1, 2003 on DVD) picks up where the 2002-issued collector's edition release of `A Hard Day's Night' left off, providing more insight into the minds and music of the band that put Liverpool on the map. In addition to the in-depth chronology taking viewers on a magical mystery trip through the 1960s, new and never-before-seen material features interviews with Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and the late George Harrison at Abbey Road Studios in May 1995 as they listen to classic Beatles tracks with producer George Martin. The jewel of the release is additional footage of the three one-time mop tops jamming together in George Harrison's garden.

DVD extras? You get them here. Indeed, the DVD release features a bonus disc featuring approximately 80 minutes of material more than the deluxe, eight-volume VHS release that expanded on the ABC special broadcast on Nov. 19, 22 and 23, 1995. Needless to say, all fans of rock music and 20th century pop culture should own this collection.
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Simply Incredible and will live on forever.
jjacomowitz19 December 2001
This is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the help me God. The Beatles Anthology is historical, remarkable and I'm glad to have seen it and own it before I die.

Miss you John and George and love you Ringo and Paulie-- and thanks for fulfilling my life with great music.
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Every Beatles fan should own this!
dbdumonteil19 February 2006
Four DVD and it features all that made the Beatles the only historical force in the world of rock.It does not pass over in silence the less glorious moments (for example the Philippine episode or the doomed let it be sessions) .Some will complain because Lennon's comments had not the "Threetles"' hindsight ,but was there another way to deal with that? The fifth DVD is less interesting but it's a bonus so why complain?Its the equivalent of the Anthologies 1,2 and 3 released on CDs in 1995-6 All the important groups and solo artists should have an anthology like this one.It goes without saying that only the greatest ones deserve it!
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The Center of the Music Universe, 1962-1970
Listmstr14 August 1999
The Beatles were the center of the Pop Music universe for the eight years they were actively recording, an anchor from which all other 60's music radiates. If you are interested in how the best 14 albums ever made came to be, you have to see the whole thing.

The story is told in the words of the Beatles themselves, and a couple others like George Martin and Neil Aspinall (their chief roadie). Along with footage from concerts and their movies, it's several interviews editted together, but you never hear the interviewers, you only hear Paul or George or Ringo or John's response to the question, and it comes together into a seamless history of the greatest band Rock and Roll ever knew.
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The most comprehensive documentary of the greatest band ever!
vjose1010 April 2003
This is indeed the most comprehensive documentary (or "rockumentary") of the greatest band/artist of all time. Although the total length of the newly released 5-DVD box set lasts for more than 11 hours, it sure doesn't feel like it! It doesn't drag a bit at all, and you will be thoroughly entertained from beginning to end. This is essential, not only for all Beatles fans, but also for anyone with even a passing interest in pop/rock music! This collection easily supersedes any previous Beatles documentaries... including the fabulous "The Compleat Beatles"(released in 1982), which is out of print anyways.

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A Gem For Beatles Fans
Desertman8415 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
The Beatles Anthology is a documentary series about the history of The Beatles. Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr all participated in it.

The documentary used interviews with The Beatles and their associates to narrate the history of the band as seen through archival footage and performances. It is a series first-person accounts by the Beatles themselves, with no external "objective" narration. Footage in the Anthology series features voice-over recordings of all four Beatles to push the narrative of the story, with contributions from their producer, road manager and others. As well as telling their story through archival footage, the remaining living Beatles - Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison - appear in interview segments recorded exclusively for the series itself.The late John Lennon appears only in historic archival footage.

It is a must-see for any Beatles fan.No question about it.It gives you new information of on the greatest band that ever performed.Also,it provides rare performances of the Fab Four that have never been seen before.A gem for anyone who likes the British band.Finally,anyone who loves the legendary band could not get enough in this 11-hour documentary.
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Imperfect, but required viewing for any fan
runamokprods10 December 2011
For a Beatle fan (like me) this 10 hour documentary was both thrilling and just a little disappointing.

Thrilling because all the music has been re-mixed, re-mastered and sounds great, because there are lots of details that, even as I fan, I didn't know, because there's more insight than offered elsewhere into their breakup, and more important, into what held them together.

A good job is done of combining new interviews with the then 3 living Beatles, and recorded interviews with John from many sources, so his views and insights aren't missing.

The last couple of hours go deeper than I suspected, and were quite moving.

On the disappointment side there are a few issues. First, at least for me, much of the first half got repetitive. Not much new insight into the birth or meaning of Beatlemania, just lots (and lots and lots) of concert and TV footage, often of them playing the same songs, sometimes obviously just lip-syncing to records.

Also, their personal lives are left out entirely. I understand not focusing on relationships, etc, but there's virtually no mention of wives, divorces, affairs, children, or how any of that intersected with their music and work.

Last, I was sorry it didn't go deeper into the creation of the music itself. While there are lot of great tidbits from the group and George Martin about specific songs, considering there was 10 hours of program, I didn't get enough of how they worked, how they wrote, how they influenced each other. Nor do we get much of their personal views of the world, politics, etc. And somehow the sense of how much their brief 7 years meant to music and to world culture seems missing, or at least not really explored.

Yet, whatever was missing, I tore through the 10 hours in 2 nights, and would have happily seen more.
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A true treasure for any true Beatlemaniac
Sebastiannils114 March 2002
Amazing, I see the four figures on the TV screen and as usual when I see them they I get very concentrated. The interviews are outstanding and all the questions are satisfactory(to say the least) answered.

Paul, Ringo and the late John and George are so good that you wish that you were born in the fifties just so that you could see this band perform live. New things that I did not know of was said mostly about Ringo but some of the others too.

And the music is not so bad either
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Beatles forever!
dkellaway4 February 2002
The Beatles anthology fan-tastic perfect for any Beatles fan, i could watch the Beatles anthology over and over again and not get tired of it. Very interesting throughout with the Beatles themselves talking about what it was like being the center of Beatle mania. You must watch it if you havent already, if you have watched it again! 10 out of 10!
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History is written by the victors
ricanwarrior19 October 2004
I bought the Anthology on DVD from a Warehourse outlet (for a decent price I might add!), and spent the course of a week watching each individual DVD. While I remember watching it when it was telecast in 1995, there was a lot more detail and care put into the DVD including sound enhancement.

As pointed out in previous comments, there are some omissions in the re-telling of the familiar tale. My impression is that if Lennon were still alive, he would offer a less sanitized version of events. Keep in mind that when the documentary was aired by ABC (owned by Disney) there was a compulsion to 'keep it clean'. While the use of marijuana could be quickly noted, there was no way they were going to mention the heavier drug use (Lennons heroin and speed addictions), Epsteins homosexuality and anything from the wife's (girlfriends) POV. Missing were commentaries from the friends they made in Germany and other family members as well.

McCartney has often been criticized over the years for controlling the mythology of the Beatles, and fueling myths such as the Beatles being the first to use feedback on a rock and roll song. Now he is undertaking efforts to rename the order of composer on all of their songs from Lennon/McCartney to McCartney/Lennon. Part of the hubris in writing your own biography is that it is very convenient to cover up your flaws and mistakes as the 'sins of youth', rather than accept them for what they are and build from there.

Perhaps the remaining Beatles can rethink and create a revisionist version of their story that will not gloss over their imperfections and character traits that was part of what made them the seminal icon of Rock and Roll Superstardom.
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Lucy under the Ground
tedg26 January 2008
This comment is on the ten hour version available on DVD.

I'd advise approaching this with caution. What it will mean to you depends a lot on how old you are and what you look for in life.

If you are not old enough to have lived through this, what you will get is the impression that The Beatles were something of a fad. They didn't matter much then, except economically, and matter even less now. The interviews with the older members of the group could give you the impression that they discount the period as well. Hey. It was fun, but that's that.

If you believe that the world works as a collection of emergent forces which can produce lasting change in the universe; if you believe that The Beatles were unique and important agents in this...

Then you will be profoundly disappointed by this.

In 1968, we got an authorized biography of the The Beatles. It was a fluff piece that was part celebration and part disinformation. It was engineered by roadie Neil Aspinall, who in the confusion after Brian Epstein's death assumed control of Apple. This is his project as well, and it is of the same cloth.

We do get interviews with the remaining Beatles, those alive at the time (plus lots from Neil himself). And we do get some of the public history and their songs. But we get none of the real things that were happening. We get no information from insiders and observers. We get absolutely no discussion of any kind on the religious and artistic controversies that were at the core of the dissolution.

So far as John was concerned, we have only what Yoko would allow: that he was as saint. There's nothing about her affair with Paul, her enticing John into a lifelong heroin addiction. There's nothing about the radical shift into tarot and kabbalah. Nothing about his meanness.

Paul comes off as utterly unlikable, which may be fair. But there's nothing about the Asher family experience which was the thing that inserted literacy into the equation. Nothing about Jane and Alice in Wonderland. Nothing about the amazing connections in the intellectual underground of the time and Pepper.

George is surely the most at ease with himself, but it would have been nice for us to learn that in addition to be being genuinely spiritual, he is the most affected by appearance. We don't hear about his obsessions with gentlemanly surroundings, his cosmetic surgery, his racecars or experiments with soma-induced kundalini yoga.

It would have been nice to hear why Ringo's naive but amazingly intuitive drumming spawned many of the songs, and why the others were in awe of his purported past lives.

There are two main trunks of the narrative tradition, at least in the English-speaking world.

One comes to us as human reflection. Its origins are Greek and reflected in the reinvention of the Bible as a Greek text. In popular life, it comes to us through Goethe, Bulwer-Lytton (yes, he matters) and the Kerouak/Ginsburg movement. Bob Dylan is our musical poet from the 60's in this line, and amazingly influential in shaping this thread. All modern irony finds it root here, and by this I mean the large class of symmetric/dissymmetric celebrations that we collectively call irony. And much of noir.

This tradition — because of the way it is put together — writes its own history. So we have many projects, for instance on that man that was a giant, Dylan. (I'm waiting for the Tod Haynes project.)

The other tradition uses external folds. It comes to us through Shakespeare, Joyce, Lewis Carroll and the Beatles. They are even more important in shaping how we dream, and the vocabulary of how many movies twist it. Its also highly reflective but from the viewer's perspective. We can see all the layers. We can build rich metaphors and ambiguities. Its the stuff of solar poetry, not the stuff of religious angst.

But we have essentially no films that tackle the Beatles, excepting that ambitious Taymor project which dealt with the Beatles more as music machine than worldfolders. All we have, basically, is this. Part of the reason is that this branch doesn't value self-reflection unless it is describing it.

We literally know more about Shakespeare than the three songwriting geniuses here. And so all of us waited for this, because we thought we might get some further insight into the nature of the game from 67-69. All of us had low expectations because its Neil's project and Yoko demanded that John only be depicted as a saint. But at least we thought that since they had their shot at exploiting the fab four one more time, we would at least see afterward some insight. I'm writing this 12 years after the Anthology was released, and we are worse off than before.

Because all we have is this. Probably, all we will ever have is this. Its ten plus hours, and three serious minutes with any of their songs after 1966 will tell you more.

Ted's Evaluation -- 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.
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The story of the the Beatles
blanche-23 December 2011
This is a staggering, fantastic eight-part documentary on the history of the Beatles as a group and as individuals, an oral history by them and those closest to them, including George Martin and Neil Aspinall, their tour director.

Besides the Beatles music showcased so beautifully throughout the anthology, probably the best thing is the filmed discussions of Paul, George, and Ringo sitting around a kitchen table discussing their shared past. For me, the other remarkable thing is how they, in fact, seemed to have invented the music video without realizing it.

The anthology goes into quite a bit of detail not only about how the guys grew up, got interested in music, got together, and got started but also a lot about what it was like to be "The Beatles" and how they collaborated. Their story is remarkable because, unlike a lot of other groups, they were always together -- not only making music but on vacations, in India, making movies, and in hotel rooms. They were kids together. And when they grew up, the band ended.

There's not much else to say because if you're a Beatles fan, a baby boomer, whatever you are, you have to see this and experience it in all its brilliance. The end, with "Free as a Bird," is heartwrenching.

This anthology is exciting, funny, bittersweet, sad, entertaining, and thought-provoking. What can I say? It's the Beatles.
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Probably the most complete history of a most remarkable era
armittj21 October 2008
I have watched this Anthology on DVD several times now. Each time I watch it, I cannot help but feel the incredible sense of belonging to that era, the Beatles era. I cannot watch it without being emotional, that sense of not just belonging to the Beatle era but the unmistakable feeling that they were such a big part of my growing up that the loss of John and then George was like losing close and dear family members. The series itself gives terrific insight to the Beatles prolific musical output as a group and then as extremely talented solo, group artists and performers as well as nice people. The ensemble interviews of the then three remaining Beatles, Paul, George and Ringo showed a bonding of friendship and respect which is seldom seen amongst superstar groupings of 30 odd years. I concur that "I am blessed" to have witnessed the story first hand and am eternally grateful to the produces for providing much early work and bits never seen or rarely discussed. I know many of the younger generation who have adopted the music of the Beatles as "their" music. Just proves what a magnificent legacy the Beatles have left the world. 10/10 because we cant give more!
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For Beatles fans a must
preppy-314 August 2004
Very long, exhaustive documentary following the Beatles from their births up until their breakup in 1968. All three of the remaining Beatles are interviewed (as of 1995) to share their views of the band. We even hear John Lennon's thoughts--he recorded quite a large number of tapes about the band before he was tragically murdered.

I saw it on TV back in 1995. It was great but the DVD is 100 times better. The picture and sound are crystal clear and the songs are nice, loud and in stereo (with THREE separate audio options to choose from). There is rare concert and studio footage all during the movie. Just mesmerizing.

However some things are conveniently ignored--their manager Brian Epstein's homosexuality and attraction toward John (purportedly it was consummated); the horrible way they treated him; their drug use is REALLY played down; the hatred that Paul had toward Yoko Ono is ignored and Paul and George's battles are sort of glossed over. Also there is next to no information of their personal lives at all.

Still, this is a definite must-see for all Beatle fans. If only they hadn't ended it with that dreadful "new" song "Free As A Bird".
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Great footage, poor production values
Russ Graham19 April 2008
As a younger Beatles fan latching onto everything Beatles I can find, I was hoping for the ultimate with the Beatles Anthology.

The problem with reviewing the Beatles Anthology is making the distinction between the band, the content and the series. The band are undoubtedly great, the content in the series is unrivaled, but in all honesty the production of the series is very disappointing. The editing looks absolutely amateur, and the cutting in of interviews to tell a narrative does not work. Hearing Paul speak on a topic for minutes and then a three word grab from a poorly recorded historical interview from John is farcical at times. The series really suffers for a lack of a Narrator.

I also found it relatively tame and a selective at times, which you would have to expect from an official project.

But all that said, it's definitely worth watching because of the amazing footage.
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What more can we say about the greatest band ever?
lee_eisenberg18 June 2006
I must say that "The Beatles Anthology" offered a lot of insight into their lives and the impact that they had on the world. And "Free as a Bird" was beyond incredible: it had a mournful tone, and John was the only Beatle who was free at the time (since joined by George).

Anyway, all Beatles fans just have to see this. As it is, in the interviews with Paul, George and Ringo, you can tell that these were all interviews from different times, but that doesn't diminish the quality at all. This is a great anthology, and their really early music is quite something. A miniseries not to be missed. Because all that we need really is love...
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The greatest story ever told by the greatest musicians!!
tlmmtibet9 October 2006
I write this commentary when we remember John Lennon in his 66 years from his birth,regretting forever his stupid death,What can i say about "The Fab 4"?=NOTHING,i repeat:words are not enough to describe them and maybe it's said everything about John,Paul,George and Ringo,but this time they tell the magical and mystery story of their prolifically career as a band never to forget till the end of the times.

The first steps,the birth of the group,the first troubles and painful beginning,the moment to arise(when Bryan Eipstein discover'em at "The CAVERN")after the Hamburg experience,changing their looks and manners, the first hit,arriving to the USA(TOTAL MADNESS!),the funny movies, breaking the rules of the music with "Peppers",the weird journey to the India and The Yoga,Brian deceasing and weakening the unit among the group,the final conflict Lennon-McCartney(or Ono-Eatsman?)when "Let it be" broke the union(the last concert and for free!!),John married Ono(never wished presence in the essays by the another members!),Paul leading the final time not only the music sounds but the business(Applecorps broke down) got tense relations(Klein vs Eastman),the last album recorded,and for my particular opinion the best:"Abbey Road",on August '69,the final split when Lennon blindly quits,Spector trying to save "Let it be" from the forgotten tapes,and Paul announcing in his first solo LP the end of the group.

In the last part of the collection Paul,George,Ringo and the crew explain how they joined their efforts along the Lennon's lost tapes delivered by Yoko Ono for Paul on 1993 to mix them(a sort of feeling of guilt because she broke up the band?),25 years after the magic was born again,the new songs were awesome,better than all the bad junk made by the "new talents",though the new youth unknowns about the good music to understand the good tunes of the wisdom.

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Can't get better!
jjacomowitz3 January 2001
So now you have it all -- the eight videos, the three 2-CD, sets and now the big book. I even have a 2001 Anthology calendar! Anyway, this is life fulfilling. We have been blessed with the Anthology material and THANKS SO MUCH to Paul, George, Ringo and Yoko for doing this. I'm glad we're all friends now and putting together these packages. Miss you so much, John.
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Inspiring to Learn To Play Guitar
sean-ramon15 May 2011
Watching the Beatles documentary got me inspired to learn to play guitar. I found that today it is easier than ever to learn to play guitar with great online resources available.

Learning to play guitar takes hard work. The only place that success comes before hard work is in the dictionary. No matter how much God-given ability you have, you are not exempt from hard work. If you really want to learn how to play the guitar or any instrument for that matter, except for maybe the Kazoo, you must develop a habit of practicing.

The best courses are reviewed on:
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Just the best
Initially broadcast as a TV miniseries to go with the series of three Anthology double-CD albums, this set of eight documentary tapes has the heft and scope of one of Ken Burns's expansive projects. Still, unless you are either a historian or a truly committed fan, you'll find yourself with way more material--particularly about the Beatles' early lives as lads in Liverpool--than you'll want to watch. The documentary material is copious, including early performance films and tapes, at the point before they found their true voices. The actual Beatlemania years--beginning in 1963 and concluding in 1970--feature extensive performance films, as well as home movies and archival material. The best parts, of course, are the interviews with the Beatles themselves, who produced the entire thing. Along with reworking two previously unreleased John Lennon tracks as "new Beatles songs," the Anthology includes some unseen Lennon interview tapes so that his acerbic voice can be heard as well. This stands as a comprehensive document of that heady period, the second coming of rock & roll, as the Beatles took what Elvis had started and expanded upon it exponentially. The tapes give a solid sense of the historical context and the way these four musicians changed the world around them in the 1960s.
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The last great epic
Shaolin_Apu20 September 2006
You don't need to be the biggest Beatlefan on Earth, or even a fan, to enjoy it. The amount of the information and the nice adaptation of it makes it a very pleasant viewing as it never makes too big claims or doesn't throw anything at your face. The point of view is almost microcosmic – it does not get ever boring by being too serious or does not get too banal by being too exact on trivial matters. The Beatles were a very human band of four people in the middle of their own myth.

The Beatles Anthology may not give you the exact answers you have come to look for but, instead, it gives you a lively glimpse to the life of the band that became bigger than anyone had expected. Some people may have wanted more sensation but believe it – this order will eventually be much better. There will be much more rare performances, music and precious comments by the surviving band members and their assistants, and even more music. If you watched this in 1995 from television as it come out you might need to watch it again now in full length edition. Many things have changed after that. Whether you are a big Beatles fan or just getting into the groups' history, the Anthology will be an equal pleasure to you in either case. Because of the music alone you may find it as equally good one each time you'll be watching it.

Certainly the viewpoint is not even attempted to be objective in scientific sense. Nevertheless the autobiography of the Beatles will be a valuable source for further study as you can follow the main scheme with the best possible guide there ever was present – the Beatles themselves.
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the documentary that introduced me to the Beatles, superlatively
Quinoa19849 August 2006
Until I saw this documentary as a kid, I didn't know about the Beatles that much even as I had heard a few of their songs. This documentary then, which originally ran three nights at two hours at a clip, was recorded each night and I watched the tape repeatedly over the years. It's got lots and lots of great music (not just of the Beatles but some others as well, influences in the early rock and roll and rockabilly to Bob Dylan and then to Ravi Shankar), and all of the interviews fold into one another without them becoming disjointed. If anything its quite amusing, and always of interest, to hear the similar sides to the same story, or the different sides to them, both significant and not. But it is incumbent upon most Beatles fans to check out the DVD set, which extends the running time to a point where you basically will not be able to watch it all in one sitting. This doesn't diminish its value in being long; like any other made-for-TV documentary it packs in all the information that would be needed to tell the story, all the little ins and outs (did you know, for example, that there were five Beatles that played only once at shows in Hamburg in 1962?) It's got some magnificent clips to put along to it as well, all archival, with some obscure (like John Lennon reading excerpts from a poetry/kids book he wrote in 64, or the Beatles off on retreat in the Himilayas) and others quite well-known (their movie clips, Ed Sullivan appearances, "All you Need is Love", etc). In short, its not only worthwhile to the fan to seek this out if you have not yet, it's almost essential viewing in some ways, a telling of an epic story of rock and roll, pop culture, mass hysteria, and the 60s all wrapped up around the 'fab-4'. Some of it is also very funny.
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