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The Beatles Get Back Documentary: How To Watch It And Why

The Beatles
(Image credit: Disney+)

We've all seen Michael Lindsay-Hogg 1970 documentary about the last days of The Beatles, Let It Be. And if you haven't, then know this – spoiler alert! – it's a colossal downer. 

The good news is, no-one needs to watch it ever again. Peter Jackson' s Get Back documentary is now streaming in its entirety on Disney+ and it's the music documentary of the year: 55 hours of unseen footage (shot by Lindsay-Hogg) and 140 hours of unheard audio, edited together over two years to create an eight-hour doc that does nothing less than bring The Beatles back to life.

At the time of writing, Rotten Tomatoes (opens in new tab) has scored Get Back 88% (critics) and 90% (audience) and the only way to see it is by subscribing to Disney+ (opens in new tab)

That's not the drag it sounds. At $7.99/£7.99 for a month, that you can cancel at any time (paying just for that first month), Get Back works out at $1/£1 an hour, even if you don’t watch another thing on the channel. 

It's the music TV event of the year and, unlike most music docs with their focus on sex, drugs and scandal, this one is of particular interest to musicians.  This is a documentary about writing songs, and the joy and agonies of being in a band.

All three episodes are available to stream now.

Disney Plus (opens in new tab) gives you access to Get Back and the entire Disney vault. That doesn't just mean kids classics, but also newer hits like Star Wars spin-off The Mandalorian and scores of classic movies from Alien to The French Connection, Deadpool and more. Get the most value with the $13.99 bundle (opens in new tab) that throws in Hulu and ESPN Plus.

Director Peter Jackson isn't exactly known for his brevity. This is the guy who managed to turn Tolkien's The Hobbit – a relatively slim book for kids – into a three part epic that spanned eight hours. With Get Back, the director's seeming inability to cut has been welcomed with open arms. 

"More Beatles, you say? Lovingly restored and unflinchingly portrayed? A fascinating look at the creative process that's also an insight into the personalities of four men we tend to see as gods? And we get to witness them write those songs in (almost) real time? Count me in."

The reviews have been rave: “Funnier, louder, sadder, realer than anyone even hoped,” said Rolling Stone. "But it’s not really about the making of an album or a concert. It’s a stunningly intimate portrait of a friendship — the world’s favorite foursome."

“In Get Back,” commented Variety (opens in new tab), “we’re not seeing grainy old footage with a fake contempo gloss. We’re seeing the footage de-aged, so that it looks like it was shot yesterday, and so we feel like we’re right there in the room with the Beatles, who look and sound just like themselves. As an act of restoration, Get Back is a marvel.”

The Wall Street Journal (opens in new tab) called it "joyous, tedious, euphoric and fab, “The Beatles: Get Back” feels like a documentary made yesterday rather than 52 years ago, an epic reimagining-cum-excavation

Subscribe to Disney Plus for $7.99/£7.99 a month (opens in new tab)

Scott is the Content Director of Music at Future plc, which means he’s responsible for the editorial strategy on online and print brands like Guitar Player, Guitar World, Total Guitar, Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, Prog, Guitarist and more. He was Editor in Chief of Classic Rock for 10 years and Editor of Total Guitar for 4 years. Scott regularly appears on Classic Rock’s podcast, The 20 Million Club (opens in new tab), and was the writer/researcher on 2017’s Mick Ronson documentary Beside Bowie (opens in new tab)

Over the years Scott has interviewed players like  Jimmy Page, Slash, Brian May, Poison ivy (the Cramps), Lemmy, Johnny Depp (Hollywood Vampires), Mark Knopfler, Robin Guthrie (Cocteau Twins), Will Sergeant (Echo & The Bunnymen), Robert Smith (The Cure), Robbie Robertson (The Band), Jonny Greenwood (Radiohead), Joe Bonamassa, Scotty Moore (Elvis Presley), J Mascis (Dinosaur Jr), Mick Jones and Paul Simonon (The Clash), Pete Shelley (Buzzcocks) and more.