It has been a long and winding road, but the long-awaited Peter Jackson-directed documentary “The Beatles: Get Back” will debut over the span of three days — November 25, 26 and 27 — on Disney+.
According to Disney, the documentary’s two-hour installments will feature a “wealth of tremendous footage Peter Jackson has reviewed, which he has spent the past three years restoring and editing.”
The documentary transports audiences to the band’s intimate recording sessions during the 1960s. Jackson, who also directed “The Lord of the Rings,” sifted through more than 60 hours of previously unseen footage and upwards of 150 hours of unheard audio. The unearthed films were salvaged from Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s long-lost “Let It Be,” a 1970 television documentary charting the strife and tension of the four Brits as they write and rehearse 14 new songs in the lead-up to their final album and concert.
“This phenomenal collection of never-before-seen footage offers an unprecedented look at the close camaraderie, genius songwriting, and indelible impact of one of the most iconic and culturally influential bands of all time, and we can’t wait to share ‘The Beatles: Get Back’ with fans around the world,” said Bob Iger, executive chairman and chairman of the board at the Walt Disney Company. The documentary comes from Walt Disney Studios, Apple Corps Limited and WingNut Films Productions Limited.
In one behind-the-scenes clip, a long-haired John Lennon jokes, “And now, your host for this evening, the Bottles.” In another, the bandmates read aloud from a newspaper column about George Harrison facing jail time in France.
For the first time ever, The Beatles’ final live rooftop performance will be seen in its entirety. As expected, the documentary’s music is from the band’s final two albums, “Abbey Road” and “Let It Be.”
“In many respects, Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s remarkable footage captured multiple storylines,” Jackson said. “The story of friends and of individuals. It is the story of human frailties and of a divine partnership. It is a detailed account of the creative process, with the crafting of iconic songs under pressure, set amid the social climate of early 1969. But it’s not nostalgia — it’s raw, honest and human. Over six hours, you’ll get to know The Beatles with an intimacy that you never thought possible.”
Rumors surfaced that Paul McCartney — who turns 79 on Friday, June 18 — and Ringo Starr, 80, had blocked the documentary’s release because it featured Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, 88, too prominently. In December 2020, Jackson gave fans a “sneaky preview” of the documentary just before the 40th anniversary of Lennon’s assassination.
The airing of “The Beatles: Get Back” will be preceded by the release of a book by the same name on October 12. It is the first official tome credited to the band since the 2000 release of “The Beatles Anthology.” The 240 pages will include transcriptions of the band’s recorded conversations and hundreds of photos from the rehearsals.
“There was hours and hours of us just laughing and playing music, not at all like the ‘Let It Be’ film that came out [in 1970],” Starr said of the documentary. “There was a lot of joy, and I think [Jackson] will show that.”