Skip to main content
BFI logo











Screenonline banner
Hard Day's Night, A (1964)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

At a railway station, The Beatles (John, Paul, George and Ringo) run, hide and adopt disguises in order to evade their fans.

Cocooned on a London bound train, they are accompanied by Paul's irascible, wayward Irish grandad, their manager Norm and factotum Shake. In their carriage, a middle-aged gent, clearly a member of the class that thinks they own the railway (''I fought the war for your sort") challenges the group over opening a window and playing a radio.

After Ringo rejects a 'come hither' advance from a sophisticated lady in another carriage, they join Norm and Shake in the buffet car, where they make passes at two schoolgirls. Grandad causes a scene and is placed in the baggage compartment, where the lads join him. The Beatles engage in a jam session with the schoolgirls watching. The train arrives at Paddington, where hoardes of waiting teenage fans are held back by police.

In their hotel room hundreds of fan letters have arrived. Ringo receives an invitation to visit Le Circle casino club. This is seized upon by granddad who steals an elderly room attendant's suit and visits the club himself. The Beatles visit a nightclub, and on their return to the hotel find the stripped room attendant in a cupboard, who tells them what happened. Recognised by the Le Circle doorman in spite of their casual dress, the four manage to rescue granddad.

A limousine takes The Beatles to a television studio, where they are topping a variety show (which also features dancers, operetta excerpts and a magician) that evening. Again, there are hordes of fans outside. The four attend a press reception. During rehearsals, the television director becomes increasingly anxious, as the Beatles continually 'do their own thing' rather than follow the diktats of those in authority like himself. They take a break on the fire escape and visit a nearby playing field, where they are told to move on as it is "private property".

George visits an advertising agency where Simon, concerned with spotting "tomorrows trends today", is launching a new range of shirts for teenagers. As George is regarded as a 'trendsetter', Simon wants his opinion (pre-scripted, of course). George tells him what he really thinks of the shirts. Ringo does his own thing and goes walkabout along a river bank, where he chats to an urchin, visits a secondhand clothes shop and a pub. He is soon taken to a police station, as is granddad for aggressively hawking Beatles publicity photos. Granddad escapes and George, Paul and John arrive to rescue Ringo, and are subsequently chased by policemen.

The Beatles perform their songs on the TV show before a hysterical studio audience of teenage girls, climaxing with 'She Loves You'. The performance is a triumph, to the amazement of the TV director. The Beatles are bundled into a helicopter, and as it takes off into the stratosphere their publicity photographs are scattered to the crowds below.