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54 Years After Its Release, ‘Let It Be,’ the Beatles’ Last Movie, Is Finally Available for Home Viewing


One night in 1983, I wandered through the Sam Goody record store in New Jersey’s Burlington Mall in my usual quest for new albums. It was a year or two before compact discs became popular, and decades before digital downloads. It was also 14 years before DVDs, and I spotted a copy of the Beatles’ last move, “Let It Be,” on sale (for about $19.95 or so) on VHS videotape. Since I had never seen it, I thought I’d add it to my already expansive collection of Beatles albums and videotapes.

 It was simply an impulse purchase. I had no idea that the movie version of “Let It Be” would soon be withdrawn from circulation by the remaining three Beatles and their business associates for the next four decades. Last month though, “Variety” reported that the two surviving Beatles and the wives of the late John Lennon and George Harrison have finally deigned to allow it to be seen once again:

For decades, the attitude toward the documentary “Let It Be” in the Beatles‘ camp seemed to be: Let it rest in peace. But the film is finally going to be seen again. A restored version of the 1970 movie is coming soon to Disney+, the same service that brought fans “The Beatles: Get Back,” the 2021 Peter Jackson docuseries that used outtakes from director Michael Lindsay-Hogg‘s original film.

The documentary will re-premiere on Disney+ May 8, certain to be a red-letter day for Beatles fans who have spent most of their lives wondering if it would ever be let out of the vault again. Not only has the 1970 film been dusted off, but it’s been restored by Peter Jackson’s Park Road Post Production using the same technology employed to make the vintage footage in “The Beatles: Get Back” look and sound as revitalized as it did.

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