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Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1978)

Trailer
2:53 | Trailer
Small town band hits it big, but they must battle a nefarious plot in the music industry.

Director:

Michael Schultz

Writers:

Henry Edwards, Tom O'Horgan (play) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Frampton ... Billy Shears
Barry Gibb ... Mark Henderson
Robin Gibb ... Dave Henderson
Maurice Gibb ... Bob Henderson
Frankie Howerd ... Mr. Mustard
Paul Nicholas ... Dougie Shears
Donald Pleasence ... B.D. Hoffler
Sandy Farina ... Strawberry Fields
Dianne Steinberg Dianne Steinberg ... Lucy
Steve Martin ... Dr. Maxwell Edison
Aerosmith ... Future Villain Band (FVB)
Alice Cooper ... Marvin Sunk (the 'Sun King')
Earth Wind & Fire ... Earth, Wind & Fire
Billy Preston ... Sergeant Pepper
Stargard Stargard ... The Diamonds
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Storyline

Ever since they were sent into World War I battle in 1918, Sergeant Pepper and his Lonely Hearts Club Band of Heartland, USA have been spreading the message of joy and love to the world, which has made them and Heartland famous. Upon Sergeant Pepper's death in 1958, the band's instruments have been housed on display at Heartland City Hall as symbols of that love and joy. Before his death, Sergeant Pepper asked his adolescent grandson Billy Shears to take on the reins of forming his own band to continue to spread the message of joy and love. With Billy's brother Dougie Shears as their Manager, Billy, now an adult, and his three best friends, brothers Mark, Dave, and Bob Henderson, embark on their lives as a new Lonely Hearts Club Band. They quickly come to the attention of Hollywood music producer B.D. Hoffler Of B.D. (Big Deal) Records. With the boys off to Hollywood to spread the words of joy and love to the world, enter into Heartland the evil and demented Mr. Mustard, an ex-real ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Only their music could conquer the forces of evil See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 July 1978 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$18,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$20,378,470

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$20,378,470
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo (35 mm prints)| 70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Paramount Pictures was the international distributor. Nearly 30 years later, Paramount sold its music publishing arm, Famous Music, to Sony/ATV Music Publishing, which has owned the publishing rights to most Beatles songs since 1995. See more »

Goofs

While Earth Wind and Fire are performing, the trumpet player is holding his instrument in the air while you can hear a trumpet playing. See more »

Quotes

Mr. Kite: [over Strawberry Fields' funeral procession, right after "Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight"] ... The instruments were safely back in Heartland; but was it worth such a cost? Could anybody or anything make all well again, like it used to be in Heartland?
See more »

Crazy Credits

The old black-and-white Universal Studios logo with a biplane circling a globe is used at the start of the film with added animated explosions in color going off around it. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Cinema Snob: Bollywood Friday the 13th (2019) See more »

Soundtracks

She Came In Through The Bathroom Window
Music and Lyrics by John Lennon and Paul McCartney
Performed by Peter Frampton, The Bee Gees
Produced by George Martin
By Arrangement with Northern Songs Limited
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

"It Was Twenty Years Ago Today..."
21 December 2003 | by cchaseSee all my reviews

Naw, actually, it was twenty-FIVE years ago today, that producer Robert Stigwood had a flea placed in his ear by SOMEBODY, (maybe agent/co-producer Dee Anthony, who repped both the Bee Gees AND Peter Frampton at the time,) and the flea said: "What is the greatest rock-and-roll album of all time? Who right now are the greatest, most popular music stars? And how can you possibly lose if you combine them both?"

Answer that question with a question: How could you possibly WIN???

To those who decry the defacing of a sacred cow, first of all, and pay close attention to this, people: THIS MOVIE IS A PRODUCT OF ITS TIME. Nothing in the late Seventies succeeded (or exceeded, as it were) like excess. If big was good, then bigger was even better, and the King of Media Overkill was Robert Stigwood at this period. Which was his standout quality, and his company's undoing. (Not to mention the undoing of quite a few careers along the way.)

Second of all, as it has already been pointed out, the timing SUCKED, even moreso than the movie itself. The SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER backlash was just beginning with PEPPER'S release, and even though Peter Frampton had proven himself still able to chart with such current hits as his cover of "Signed, Sealed and Delivered" and "I'm In You," (please hold your snickers), his album sales had begun to wane, a surefire indicator that his status as a pretty-boy guitar god was fading fast.

For the most part, the audience demographic the movie was aimed at was served as well as they could be. None of the teenybopper females in the theater audience I saw it with, (yes, I DID see it in a theater), gave one whisker on a rat's bee-hind that the album the movie was derived from was a classic, or that George Martin actually produced the soundtrack (well, most of it.) They sighed in rapture on cue when a dreamy closeup of The Brothers Gibb or Frampton came whizzing by, or sobbed uncontrollably at the 'oh-my-GAWD-this-is-so-maudlin' ending. I swear, THIS is the audience the producers should've seen it with, when the reviews came in chopping the entire project to shreds.

So, for a movie that represents everything that was both bad AND good about That Decade simultaneously, was there anything of merit to observe? YES. First of all, for the most expensive musical ever made in its day ("tupping the bill" at a whopping $60 mil plus), every cent is evident on-screen. Owen Roizman (who shot THE EXORCIST) managed to get every shot right, even if the pastels were enough at times to send an epileptic into grand mal seizures, and there was enough condescending sweetness for twelve diabetic comas.

Also, contrary to the rabid rantings of Beatlemaniacs everywhere, the soundtrack is the best part of the movie. I guess what makes it so hard for most people to watch, are the scenes that are almost painful indicators of what the movie COULD'VE been, because the energy and drive is so different from the rest of the goings-on.

Meaning Aerosmith's ball-busting cover of "Come Together," the finger-snapping, funk-injected "Got To Get You Into My Life" from Earth, Wind and Fire, and Steve Martin's super-manic "Maxwell's Silver Hammer," echoing his even better turn to come in LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS. No matter how much the remainder may induce severe bouts of wincing and cringing, these moments almost redeem Henry Edwards' "Yellow-Submarine-on-peyote-buttons" screenplay. ALMOST.

I bought this (and I'd be embarassed to tell you how much I spent) for a So-Bad-It's-Good movie party I decided to throw for some friends on New Year's Eve. Just to see if it was as bad as I remembered, (and as bad as people have credited it to be), I gave it a spin just for old time's sake. Time does heal old wounds, I guess, and as much as I snickered, groaned and chortled at the outlandishness of it all, I have to admit that at the very least, I was entertained. Kind of like when you're watching virtually nothing on Saturday night, until a rerun of "Donnie and Marie" comes on Nick At Night. And though you'd never tell your friends you did, you watched every painfully corny moment of it...and actually enjoyed it.

So that's how I think of PEPPER now, as a very secretively guilty pleasure.

And for those reading that last line and yelling "Is he CRAZY??? This is the BLACK HOLE OF MUSICALS!!" I can only say this: you have not lived as long as I have, or seen as many movies to be able to make that statement with any kind of confidence.

How do I know? Let me ask you: have you ever seen the musical version of LOST HORIZON? Mae West in SEXTETTE? Lucille Ball in MAME? Go sit through even ONE of those, boys and girls. I dare you. We can talk about really bad musicals after you've weathered THAT ordeal. I did...and lived to tell about it.


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