“He’s a villain, a real mixer, and he’ll cost you a fortune in breach of promise cases,” joked Paul McCartney in the film “A Hard Days Night.” The year was 1964 and the Beatles were already superstars in their own right, having conquered the world with their catchy pop rock and Liverpool mop tops. For Sir Paul, who turns 70 years old today, it was the first time he and his Beatle bandmates appeared on the big screen.
Though McCartney is best known as a musician, he has made an indelible mark on the world of film. Since then, Macca has had a variety of feature-length movie moments, popping up in musicals (“Give My Regards to Broad Street”), playing bass on a London rooftop (“Let It Be”) and even singing a James Bond theme song (“Live and Let Die”).
In celebration of Paul’s 70th birthday, let’s take a look back at some of his most memorable moments on screen.
‘A Hard Day’s Night’
The big-screen debut of Macca features he and his three bandmates (and his “grandfather”) running around London, being chased by hordes of fans, as they attempt to film a performance for a television show. The movie was a parody on the Beatles staggering popularity.
The second comedy flick from the Fab Four follows the Beatles as they attempt to rescue Ringo from a cult who’ve chosen him as a sacrificial victim.
‘Let It Be’
The last live performance by the Beatles (and arguably the greatest concert in music history), was recorded for the documentary, “Let It Be.” Despite the band bickering and fighting on screen, the four still manage to pull off an entertaining, unannounced show on the top of the Apple records building in London, stopping traffic on the street below and prompting a shutdown by local police.
‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’
The film, named after the Beatles 1967 album, featured the Bee Gees’ Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb, along with Peter Frampton (Billy Shears), as the reformed Sgt. Pepper’s band. The movie included covers of Beatles songs by other bands and celebrities (including this wacky version of “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” by comedian Steve Martin.)
‘Live and Let Die’
The 1974 James Bond movie starring Roger Moore featured a theme song composed by Paul and Linda McCartney and performed by Macca’s band Wings. The track is still one of the most popular themes in the 007 canon.
‘Give My Regards to Broad Street’
Similar to “A Hard Day’s Night,” this day-in-the-life musical starred Paul and Linda McCartney and Ringo Starr, as themselves. The plot revolves around Paul attempting to locate the masters to his new album, which have been stolen by an employee.
‘The Royal Tenenbaums’
Wes Anderson’s movies are no stranger to classic rock-heavy soundtracks. In his 2001 film, “The Royal Tenenbaums,” Wes had the Mutato Muzika Orchestra cover the Beatles’ “Hey Jude,” (a song credited to Lennon-McCartney, but mainly written by Sir Paul, himself).
Though McCartney and the Beatles did not provide voice work to the characters (well, other than the songs), the film was eventually endorsed by the group, after having reservations due to the negative reception of their last project, the TV special “Magical Mystery Tour.” Here, the song “All Together Now,” written primarily by McCartney, plays to great effect as the crew begins turning the ship on.
‘Magical Mystery Tour’
Speaking of the “Magical Mystery Tour” movie, which debuted on BBC1 in 1967, it ended up being a critical disaster for the band. But, oh well, at least it gave us McCartney singing “A Fool on the Hill”…on a hill!
‘Across the Universe’
Though it got mixed reviews from critics, “Across the Universe” still attempts to pay tribute to the Beatles in a new and unique way. Julie Taymor’s visually stunning musical is just one of the dozens of movies to reimagine the Beatles music. This scene features the McCartney-penned “I’ve Just Seen a Face,” covered by actor Jim Sturgess
Earlier on Moviefone: