The Beatles - Composing The Beatles Songbook: Lennon And McCartney 1957 - 1965

6.81 h 19 min200913+
This film reviews the partnership, music and impact of Lennon and McCartney as composers. From the day they met in 1957 until the release of the Rubber Soul album at the end of 1965, the film dissects and contrasts, reassesses, providing one of the finest films made about the band during this period. Drawing on rare footage, classic performances, penetrating revelations from friends of the pair.
Thomas Arnold
English [CC]
Audio languages
Rentals include 30 days to start watching this video and 48 hours to finish once started.
Add to Watchlist
Add to
By ordering or viewing, you agree to our Terms. Sold by Services LLC.
Write review

More details

Content advisory
Foul languagesexual content
Purchase rights
Stream instantly Details
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Available to watch on supported devices

Other formats


4.4 out of 5 stars

102 global ratings

  1. 68% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 16% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 7% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 3% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 6% of reviews have 1 stars
Sorted by:

Top reviews from the United States

PGReviewed in the United States on March 4, 2021
1.0 out of 5 stars
Terrible for the most part
Verified purchase
Being a big Beatles fan for 50 years and playing in a tribute band for 14 years I was looking forward to watching this. While there were some aspects that were accurate and interesting (especially from the musicians interviewed) there were a few prominent people in the movie that were so one-sided to John Lennon I had to read the liner notes and and figure out who put this out. Whoever did apparently has the backing of the Lennon estate. I cannot stand to watch Beatles documentaries that proclaim to give an honest account when the so-called experts clearly have favorties. I am a fan. I do not have favorites. I have favorites songs by all members. The Lennon and McCartney songwriting was a partnership. They each contributed to each other's works. In addition, to disregard George Harrison, Ringo Starr and George Martin in those finished songs is a crime. There was one musician who gave George Martin props but that was it. Robert Christgau is so unapologetically biased towards John Lennon I finally turned it off when he said he "doesn't mind Yesterday now.. as long as it is sung my someone else" . If you are doing a songbook analysis of their work with fans in mind (or even students who would like to be enlightened ) why the hell would you be saying that you don't like the voice of the 22 year old who wrote and sang the most recorded song of the 21st century??! If you cut Robert Christgau out of the video I would have given it 4 stars.
2 people found this helpful
pftwangerReviewed in the United States on May 2, 2016
2.0 out of 5 stars
No depth here: Watch the documentary about Apple instead!
Verified purchase
They're so busy trying to prove their own preconceptions--that Lennon and McCartney never wrote separately until the tail end of the time frame documented here, that they blow right by the facts that Lennon wrote Please Please Me by himself, and that he and McCartney tag-teamed on both A Hard Day's Night and We Can Work it Out. This is superficial, and even worse, Christgau's self importance is hard to swallow. I have seen the future of rock critic pomposity, and it's name is Christgau.
10 people found this helpful
Laura S.Reviewed in the United States on September 10, 2016
4.0 out of 5 stars
Not bad!
Verified purchase
Not bad! The narrative of the documentary itself is nothing groundbreaking, and the clips and photos are basically just a retread of material from Anthology and elsewhere (and yes, the performance clips feel very short, though that's probably for legal reasons). But almost all of the contributors have interesting insights, either into the personal history of Lennon and McCartney (Miles, Cleave, and Voormann) or from a musicological perspective. Particularly enjoyed Ingham's comparison of the different takes on blues in "Hard Day's Night" versus "Can't Buy Me Love." (Apparently he wrote a Rough Guide for them as well, interested to see if he does similar analyses there.) The only sour note (heh) is from Christgau, whose only critical opinion seems to consist of repeating "Paul was a hack, John was a genius. I like John better" for each song. (Though it's funny to watch his hot takes be refuted by all the other talking heads, who are actually giving insightful commentary.)
7 people found this helpful
JohnnyCapsReviewed in the United States on August 21, 2015
4.0 out of 5 stars
Was this about Robert Allen Zimmerman or the Beatles?
Verified purchase
Learned a few things. But WAY too much emphasis on Bob Dylan's influence on the Beatles. I grew up in the '60's was very much into the music of that time and although I'm sure Dylan was somewhat of a factor he was not the factor that some of the commentators in this documentary tried to push. While watching it there were moments when I thought I was watching a tribute to Dylan and not "The Beatles Songbook". Still, overall, I liked it.
One person found this helpful
WoodReviewed in the United States on March 29, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
Most of it is fun, but I doubt either songwriter would recognize any ...
Verified purchase
For the most part, this is a collection of fawning music critics attempting to convey deep insights into what Lennon and McCartney were doing as composers psychologically. Most of it is fun, but I doubt either songwriter would recognize any of their balther.
2 people found this helpful
W. MarlerReviewed in the United States on August 12, 2016
1.0 out of 5 stars
I enjoyed the music and the history
Verified purchase
I enjoyed the music and the history, but beyond thatI this is nothing more than a bunch of guys saying things to try and justify the money they were paid to be a part of this film. John would say bollocks and Paul too. It's just a lot of conjecture and nonsense.
4 people found this helpful
Mimereader2Reviewed in the United States on October 8, 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars
This documentary brims with enlightening surprises about an especially interesting ...
Verified purchase
This documentary brims with enlightening surprises about an especially interesting creative relationship, though personally I'd have added a few strong nods to Harrison, as later work evidences his genius. And I'd have mentioned that Ringo's pre-Beatles position with the Butlin's Holiday Camp already established him nationally as a worthy artist to be enticed in.
K WittReviewed in the United States on May 20, 2015
4.0 out of 5 stars
This was really interesting to watch to better understand what was going on behind their writing and ...
Verified purchase
This was really interesting to watch to better understand what was going on behind their writing and the timeline in relation to other things going on. I only held back on 5 stars because one of the commentators wasn't very objective and I got annoyed by that. But well worth watching.
See all reviews