Academy Award winning director Ron Howard’s The Beatles: Eight Days A Week follows a great number of movies, documentaries, books, stories, interviews and articles that have survived the Beatles for over half a century, and yet has something new to say. Focusing on the touring years – half of their eight-year run as the most influential pop band on the planet – the documentary introduces the audience to the Fab Four from Liverpool who became one of the greatest influences on youth culture that the world had seen.

The 97-minute documentary has been crowd-sourced in great part from more than 100 hours of rare video footage, material that was recorded, saved and treasured by fans all around the world, and the Beatles’ own archives. The Beatles Eight Days a Week includes fresh interviews with the band’s surviving members, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, and archival interviews of John Lennon and George Harrison.

‘The Beatles: Eight Days a Week’.

The project began in the early 2000s, when One Voice, One World, a film archivist company contacted Apple Corps Ltd to commission them to locate footage from fans who had captured the Beatles on film or tape back in the 1960s when home video cameras were all the rage. The project was revived a couple of years ago when with producer Nigel Sinclair and director Ron Howard joined hands.

The documentary uses fan footage, photos and audio and video recordings dating from 1963 to 1966. The Beatles Eight Days a Week brings to life unseen and unfiltered images of the young men from those early years when they were going up the ladder, unsure of how high it went. For those who lived through the years of Beatlemania, it is a trip down the most electrifying memory lane. And for those who have only heard the music, seen the videos and heard stories of their influence through the ’60s, the film recreates the feeling of sitting amidst an audience of screaming fans.

The documentary beautifully draws out the early camaraderie, innocence and brazenness of the four musicians before they finally split in 1970. With so much already said and about them, the film takes us to a happy place of easy beginnings and strong friendships. One such memorable snippet is of Starr recalling the pep talks Lennon would give them when they felt down and out and trapped inside their tiny hotel room in Hamburg sometime between 1960 and 1962:

“He’d say, ‘Where are we goin’, fellas?’ And we’d go, ‘To the top, Johnny!’ And he’d say, ‘Where’s that, fellas?!’ And we'd say, ‘To the toppermost of the poppermost, Johnny!’ And he’d say, ‘Riiiiight!’ And we'd all sort of cheer up.

The footage includes snatches of conversations before and during studio recordings, appearances at airports, cheeky retorts at press conferences, and off days in hotel rooms. There are also snatches of the Beatles on tour. Wherever they went, the band found shrieking fans waiting for them.

“It’s not culture. It’s a good laugh,” says McCartney, shrugging off their immense influence. “By the end it became quite complicated, but at the beginning, things were really simple.”

An interview with Ron Howard, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr.

Their performance at the Shea stadium in New York City on August 15, 1965, drew a crowd of 56,000 people. It was the first time the stadium had been used for a rock concert and special amplifiers were made for the audience. In British Columbia, 240 kids from a crowd of 7,000 people ended up in hospitals during a concert.

By the time the Beatles got to their last public gig in 1966 at the Candlestick Park in San Francisco, there was no enjoyment left in performing live. It had stopped being about the music. The end of touring led to definitive and path breaking later albums, including Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club and The White Album.

They performed together for the public one last time. The film includes footage from their performance in 1969 on the rooftop of the Apple Corps office in London, and it is beautiful.

The Beatles performing ‘Don’t Let Me Down’.