The movie “Yesterday” imagines what the world would be like if no one had ever heard of The Beatles. You can guess the impact that would have on the world of rock music, but we’d also be without a handful of great movies that found just the right note because they managed to score a movie moment in the way no other song would do. This list however excludes The Beatles movies like “Yellow Submarine,” “A Hard Day’s Night,” “Help!” and even the “Across the Universe” jukebox musical that are loaded with perfect such moments.
“The Royal Tenenbaums” (2001) – “Hey Jude”
The Mutato Muzika Orchestra, did up this lovely, twinkling, instrumental version of “Hey Jude” that captures the miniature, picturesque quality of the prologue to Wes Anderson’s family dysfunction comedy “The Royal Tenenbaums.” But the smaller in scope orchestration doesn’t change the sweeping, inspiring quality of the melody, and it fits Anderson’s tone beautifully.
“Rain Man” – “I Saw Her Standing There”
It’s just a quick verse, but Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman sharing the Beatles song “I Saw Her Standing There” comes at an emotional turning point in Barry Levinson’s film, when Charlie Babbitt finally realizes it was his brother Raymond singing to him as a child.
“Withnail and I” – “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”
It helps when George Harrison is actually an executive producer on your movie, but the pin drop of Eric Clapton’s guitar solo makes for a beautifully surreal and exciting moment in “Withnail & I,” Bruce Robinson’s autobiographical and alcohol soaked odyssey and cult classic.
“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” – Twist and Shout
As a little kid growing up in the suburbs of Chicago not long after this movie was released, I may or may not have tried to impersonate Ferris Bueller’s lip syncing to The Beatles’ version of “Twist and Shout,” furiously stomping my feet in unison to the “shake it shake it shake it baby now” bit at the end. It’s a movie moment and song so fun that it sparks the entire city to spontaneously get up and dance or even cartwheel through the air.
“Bowling for Columbine” – “Happiness is a Warm Gun”
Love or hate Michael Moore, he’s an expert at mashing up the right pop culture imagery or symbolism with his montage of news oddities and atrocities for maximum, propaganda-like effect. This moment from “Bowling for Columbine” couldn’t be more on the nose, queued up and fired off right as one of his gun-rights advocates says “There’s a lot of whackos out there.”
“Not Fade Away” – “I Want to Hold Your Hand”
“The Sopranos” creator David Chase said that with “Not Fade Away” he wanted to make “a biopic about nobody,” a film that encapsulated the ambitious people you never heard of and that heard the life-changing music of The Beatles and were changed forever, even if their circumstances ultimately didn’t. “What is that,” the film’s lead plainly says when he hears “I Want to Hold Your Hand” for the first time. Other films have used the Ed Sullivan appearance and given the scene a lot more fanfare, but for Chase, that revelation has a far different feeling.
“Once Upon a Time in America” – “Yesterday”
A wistful moment in Sergio Leone’s sprawling, Americana epic. Robert De Niro plays a gangster leaving New York to the sound of an old fashioned, Ennio Morricone score, only to return years later as now an aging, worn old man. As he steps back into 1960s New York to look back on the memories of his former life, Morricone’s score blends into a rendition of “Yesterday” that is as forlorn as the movie itself.
“The Social Network” – “Baby You’re a Rich Man”
“How does it feel to be one of the beautiful people, now that you know who you are,” John Lennon sings on “Baby You’re a Rich Man.” It’s a biting, cynical line as David Fincher slowly brings it in before the credits of his millennial masterpiece “The Social Network,” with Mark Zuckerberg endlessly refreshing his Facebook page to see if his ex-girlfriend will accept his friend request. He has all the money and connections in the world, but who can he really call a friend?
“Love Actually” – “All You Need is Love”
How many couples have attempted their own version of this classic rom-com moment for their own weddings?
“Pleasantville” – “Across the Universe” (Fiona Apple)
The Beatles came after the 1950s sitcom period that “Pleasantville” is set in, but Fiona Apple’s lush and delicately strummed cover of “Across the Universe” wonderfully fits the film’s transformation back into full technicolor all the same.
“A Bronx Tale” – “Come Together”
During this pummeling scene from Robert De Niro’s gangster story “A Bronx Tale,” “Come Together” plays over the top of what starts as a fairly fun and rambunctious fight scene. “Now youse guys can’t leave,” Chazz Palminteri’s mobster Sonny says to a biker gang as he locks them in his bar. After one fighter smashes into the jukebox, the song changes and the mournful violence of the scene sinks in.
“American Beauty” – “Because”
There are a few Beatles songs that adorn the soundtrack for Sam Mendes’s “American Beauty,” but Elliott Smith’s ethereal cover of “Because” perfectly captures the tragic, suburban malaise of the movie as the song plays over the film’s end credits.
“Yesterday” – “Help!”
One of the best moments in “Yesterday” comes as the film’s protagonist Jack Malik is launching his album to the world with a special rooftop concert. But as he’s overwhelmed with stress and pressure from his family, his label and the woman he loves, he takes to the stage and plays a roaring, punk version of John Lennon’s “Help.” As the song closes, Jack screams “help me” in agony, punctuating Lennon’s mournful lyrics on an otherwise pop-rock song.
Read original story 13 Best Movie Moments Featuring The Beatles Music, From ‘Ferris Bueller’ to ‘Yesterday’ (Photos) At TheWrap