Also films featuring Yoko Ono as an actor.
Sony/The Weinstein Company, January 25th 2011
98 minutes. ”On 1970’s ”Mother,” John Lennon sang, ”You had me, but I never had you.” Fine artist-turned-filmmaker Sam Taylor-Wood delves into the story behind those words, starting with a 15-year-old Lennon (Kick-Ass’s Aaron Johnson, a star in the making), who lives in Liverpool with his impish uncle George (David Threlfall) and imperious aunt Mimi (Kristin Scott Thomas, all pin curls and British reserve). George’s death spurs Lennon to seek out Julia (Anne-Marie Duff), his birth mother, who turns out to be surprisingly fun and flirtatious (their scenes together carry a subtle sexual tension). The mother of two daughters, Julia welcomes the opportunity to reconnect with her son, even if her common-law husband (David Morrissey, Duff’s Is Anybody There? costar) doesn’t share her enthusiasm. She introduces John to rock and roll and teaches him how to play the banjo–useful information when he switches to the guitar–but she also suffers from mood swings and can’t always meet his emotional needs. Torn between the mother who raised him and the one who gave him life, John funnels his frustrations into music, forming the Quarrymen, but then he meets Paul McCartney (Bright Star’s Thomas Sangster) and revamps the lineup to work in George Harrison and his art school colleague Stu Sutcliffe (whose biography formed the basis for Backbeat). As Lennon aficionados know, John’s relationship with Julia didn’t come to a happy end, but she would have a profound effect on his life–and provide the inspiration for this tenderhearted tribute.”
A&E Home Video, 2010
112 minutes. ”LENNONYC is the story of one of the most famous and influential artists of the Twentieth Century, and how he found redemption not in the public adoration he craved as a youth, but in the quiet and simple pleasures of fatherhood. And, though he wasn’t a typical immigrant, his story is certainly an immigrant’s tale. Lennon came to New York City in 1971, seeking what every other immigrant who has washed up on its shores has sought: freedom-the freedom to be himself and not ’Beatle John,’ the freedom to love without the overwhelming public scorn he and Yoko had suffered in London, and, simply, the freedom to live a normal life. LENNONYC tells this story with never before-released in-studio recordings, concert film only recently transferred to HD, and a trove of Lennon/Ono compositions-some in versions previously unheard. It also contains interviews with those closest to Lennon during this period in his life-friend and photographer, Bob Gruen; musical collaborator and drummer, Jim Keltner; May Pang, Lennon’s companion during his ’lost weekend;’rock superstar, Elton John; and Jack Douglas, the producer of Double Fantasy.”
BBC Warner, 2010
90 minutes. ”Christopher Eccleston (Doctor Who, Heroes) stars as one of the most enduring and enigmatic figures of the 20th Century, John Lennon, in this riveting drama. One quarter of “The Fab Four,” peace activist, visual artist, and author, John Lennon was a man whose personal life was never short on drama, intrigue and eventually, conspiracy. Thirty years after his death, Lennon Naked presents an inside look at the hugely popular musician as he moved from a Beatle to an icon. It covers a period of wildly fluctuating fortunes from 1964 to 1971, a time of worldwide adulation at one extreme but a combination of frustration and despair at the other. From the death of father-figure and manager Brian Epstein, his break-up with first wife Cynthia and his fascinating love affair with Yoko Ono, through to his spiraling drug use and decision to leave England for New York, this is the story of an artist destroying everything to find himself. ”
the U.S. vs. john lennon
By David Leaf and John Scheinfeld
Lions Gate, February 13th 2007
96 minutes. ”The compelling and provocative story of John Lennon’s evolution from beloved Beatle to outspoken artist and activist to iconic inspiration for peace, and how, in the midst of one of the most tumultuous times in American history, Lennon stood his ground, refused to be silenced and courageously won his battle with the U.S. Government.”
In Japan this film was released with a new title Peace Bed Amerika vs John Lennon on December 8th 2007.
original yoko ono
By Takahiko Iimura
art media K.Y., Japan
Release date postponed
This region-free DVD will feature two films about Yoko Ono and her work by Takahiko Iimura.
night of the half moon
Yoko Ono performing with Sean Lennon and Vincent Gallo, recorded live at Tonic on Feb. 19, 2005. Tonic sells this DVD at their website: ”Did you miss Yoko Ono’s 2005 Birthday benefit at Tonic? This special DVD contains 20 minutes of footage including a performance of Snow Falls Silent, I Remember (I Miss You) and a beautiful segment of the internationally acclaimed ONOCHORD. Tonic was honored to host this event and here’s your chance to catch a glimpse at home.”
the dick cavett show – john lennon & yoko ono
Sony Music, 2005
Amazon: ”John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s two visits to The Dick Cavett Show stand out from their numerous television appearances as their most relaxed, in-depth interviews. Clearly they enjoyed being with Cavett. They even cast him in one of their films. The September 11, 1971, show is notable as the first American television interview John gave after the breakup of The Beatles. So comfortable were the Lennons that after the show was over they continued talking with Cavett. The additional portions of that first interview were shown as part of The Dick Cavett Show on September 24, 1971. During that visit they’d discussed coming back and giving a live performance. True to their word, for their appearance on Cavett’s show on May 11, 1972, they returned with Elephants Memory and each sang one song.”
pink floyd – london 1966-1967
Navarre Corporation, 2005
Amazon: ”Short film showing Pink Floyd recording songs, for director Peter Whitehead’s 1967 feature ”Let’s Spend Tonight In Swinging London”. These sessions were recorded on 01/11/67-01/12/67 at Sound Techniques in London. Also shown in the film is the ”14 Hour Technicolour Dream Extravaganza” happening at Alexandra Palace, in London, in April 1967, which also featured Yoko Ono, on the same bill. John Lennon & Indica Art Gallery owner John Dunbar are in the audience.” 30 min.
Although Yoko Ono is mentioned in the DVD introduction, she does not appear in the actual footage: another woman performs her Cut Piece at Alexandra Palace. In reality this DVD is not about Pink Floyd’s music or performance that much either: it’s basically an art film by Peter Whitehead.
By Frederick Baker
”Bag-in” with John Lennon and Yoko Ono alias Bob Hewis and Ka Rudorfer DJ: Roedelius (composed together with the Fratelli Brothers the original music for Imagine IMAGINE.) Related image on the right.
lennon legend – the very best of john lennon
Emi Distribution, 2003
Amazon: ”The late John Lennon’s life and work are plainly visible in this stirring collection of short films and music videos, some very familiar while others, produced posthumously, will be new to many viewers. The set includes the classic ”Imagine” clip, which begins with a haunting scene of John and Yoko walking through an early morning fog and concludes with Lennon’s performance in an all-white room. More rare is a Top of the Pops live performance of ”Instant Karma” and a wonderful film accompanying ”Mind Games,” in which a solo Lennon clowns around Central Park, thrilling passersby, playing with kids, and dancing. ”Woman” is a montage of the last days and hours of Lennon’s life, while ”Watching the Wheels” is a compilation of home movie footage from the star’s semi-reclusive Dakota years. Extras include a live ”Slippin’ and Slidin’,” and a startling bit of ”Julia” absentmindedly picked on guitar.”
come together: a night for john lennon’s words and music
Geneon Entertainment, 2002
Press release: ”John Lennon’s music and visions of universal peace have continued to inspire the world even after his passing. This special tribute brought prominent musical artists together on October 2nd, 2001, and was full of prayer and hope in the wake of the recent and tragic events of September 11th, with proceeds going toward healing efforts for the City of New York. Hosted by Academy Award-winner Kevin Spacey, this all-star concert was broadcast live on the WB Television Network and Turner Network Television from Radio City Music Hall. Imagine (Yolanda Adams and Billy Preston), In My Life (Dave Matthews), Revolution (Stone Temple Pilots), Dear Prudence (Alanis Morissette), Across the Universe (Moby, Sean Lennon, and Rufus Wainwright), Strawberry Fields Forever (Cyndi Lauper), Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (Marc Anthony), Mother (Shelby Lynne), Instant Karma (Nelly Furtado and Dave Stewart), Jealous Guy (Lou Reed), Nowhere Man (Natalie Merchant), Mind Games (Kevin Spacey), Come Together (Craig David), This Boy (Sean Lennon and Rufus Wainwright), Julie (Sean Lennon), Give Peace a Chance/Power to the People (Ensemble). Guest appearances by Kevin Bacon, Benjamin Bratt, Steve Buscemi, Edie Falco, James Gandolfini, Dustin Hoffman, Yoko Ono Lennon, Tim Roth, Leelee Sobieski, Kevin Spacey, and Ben Stiller.”
blueprint for a sunrise
Promotional DVD, 2000
YES Yoko Ono book’s CD’s songs transformed into a visual experience. Tracklist: 1. The Paths 2. Are You Looking For Me? 3. It’s Time for Action 4. Outtro. 24 minutes.
john & yoko’s year of peace
Image Entertainment, 2000
Press release: ”The year: 1969. Headlines blare war and civil unrest while John Lennon and Yoko Ono are in love. The eccentic rock ’n’ roll couple has just gotten married, and more than happy to be together, they want to change the world. Lying in a hotel bed surrounded by journalists, they announce their mission for peace and invite the rest of the world to symbolically climb into bed with them and share their dream. People call them silly, naive, even ridiculous, yet one famous couple’s bed-in spread new hope that there really could be an end to war, hate and violence. Here is rare footage from that amazing time, including footage from John and Yoko’s wedding, the infamous bedside confrontation between John and conservative cartoonist Al Capp, Lennon debating media expert Marshall McLuhan, and meeting Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. Now twenty years after Lennon’s murder, Yoko and others involved in the peace mission reflect on the events of that magical, mystical year.”
gimme some truth – the making of imagine
All Movie Guide: ”While Imagine wasn’t John Lennon’s first solo album, it was the work that clearly reaffirmed his place as one of the leading pop music visionaries of his day following the messy breakup of the Beatles in 1969. Gimme Some Truth: The Making of John Lennon’s Imagine Album uses behind-the-scenes footage to document the production of one of Lennon’s most enduring works. The album itself also appears in newly remixed and digitally remastered form, as approved by Yoko Ono.”
mike douglas show with john lennon and yoko ono
Five videotapes which contain John Lennon’s and Yoko Ono’s five day long appearance in The Mike Douglas Show in 1972. Rhino: ”The Mike Douglas Show set was indeed the brink of the Apocalypse as the shows cohosted by John Lennon and Yoko Ono were taped. Much preparation and pre-production aside, nobody really knew what was going to happen once the cameras started rolling. The Douglas talent bookers had contacted the Lennons in mid- December ’71, a few days after the couple had appeared at the huge December 10 Free John Sinclair rally in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with Rubin, Seale, and other activists in this new ”Rock Liberation Front” (as Rubin had dubbed it from the stage). (–) At the beginning of Day 1, the couple brought out an empty canvas, which they and Mike signed. Other guests and studio audience members would sign it during the week, and the finished Unfinished Painting would be auctioned off and the proceeds donated to charity. The guest autographs went great, except at the end of the week Unfinished Painting was also covered with obscene epithets and drawings added by the five audiences. While passing the Unfinished Painting out to the audience that first day, John and Yoko also urged everyone to ”reach out and touch” the person next to them, just as a gesture of friendliness. That went okay; even Mike seemed to get into the spirit. Yoko introduced her Mend Piece later that show, the idea being that you start with a broken teacup, and piece it back together a little by little, day by day, show by show, until it’s whole again.” Mike Douglas (1998): ”John and Yoko were on the right track – just way ahead of their time.”
By Sarah Pirozek
Palm Pictures, 1998
All Movie Guide: ”Sarah Pirozek filmed this documentary combining interviews with concert footage of the 1996 San Francisco Tibetan Freedom Concert, which attracted 100,000 people to Golden Gate Park. The film’s executive producer, Beastie Boy Adam Yauch, is a Buddhist who initiated the concept of the annual concert. Included are current-events clips (the Dalai Lama addressing Congress, President Clinton announcing a continuation of trade despite China’s treatment of Tibetans). With numbers (or partial performances) from top groups (A Tribe Called Quest, Beastie Boys, Bjork, De La Soul, Foo Fighters, Fugees, Richie Havens, John Lee Hooker, Biz Markie, Tim Meadows, Yoko Ono, Pavement, Rage Against the Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sonic Youth, Smashing Pumpkins), this film was distributed to one city at a time and marketed like a concert tour.”
sweet toronto/keep on rockin’
Pioneer LDCA, 1998 (DVD)
(Lennon: Live Peace in Toronto, 1988 (VHS)
All Movie Guide: ”In 1969, John Lennon made his split from the Beatles official by making his first concert appearance as a solo act; appearing with the hastily assembled Plastic Ono Band (featuring Eric Clapton on guitar), he performed at a rock festival in Toronto on a bill featuring some of the greatest performers of the first rock era. This D.A. Pennebaker documentary of the show features one song each from Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Little Richard, as well as Lennon’s complete set.”
the rolling stones: rock and roll circus
Director: Michael Lindsay-Hogg
ABKCO Video, 1996
This performance video includes also music performances by John Lennon and Yoko Ono. All Movie Guide: ”Fans of late ’60s rock and roll will find this documentary to be a rare and precious jewel, as it contains shining performances from such giants as The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and The Who. Originally planned as a television special in 1968, it was shelved shortly after filming because the manager of the Stones, who were acting producers of the show, felt that another of the acts, The Who, upstaged them. The show is set up as a circus with the musicians appearing in elaborate psychedelic costumes. Other performers include Taj Mahal, Marianne Faithfull, and the only recently formed Jethro Tull.”
john lennon and yoko ono: the bed-in
Music Video Dist., 1995
jonas in the desert
Director: Peter Sempel
All Movie Guide: ”Evidently shot over a decade, this documentary portrait of Lithuanian-born filmmaker-poet Jonas Mekas examines his life and career as a director (The Brig, Guns of the Trees), film critic (Village Voice), film historian, magazine editor (Film Culture), teacher (NYU), film distributor (Film-Makers’ Cooperative), and founder of Manhattan’s leading avant-garde film showcase (Anthology Film Archives). Mekas had a significant influence on the New York avant-garde, as indicated in interview segments with Yoko Ono, Andy Warhol, Martin Scorsese, Allen Ginsberg, and others. Past films made by Mekas are seen in clips. German filmmaker Peter Sempel has chosen to assemble this profile in an oblique and elliptical manner not inappropriate for his unique subject.”
the misfits – 30 years of fluxus
Director: Lars Movin
The promo-only video to accompany the release of Onobox. Features an interview with Yoko Ono by Kate Pierson and the music videos Walking On Thin Ice, Goodbye Sadness and Hell In Paradise. Yoko Ono’s music videos make this video release very intriguing and worth having. Seeing the music video for Walking On Thin Ice for the first time was very touching for me because of the way images of Yoko Ono intertwine with her brilliant and sad music.
the john lennon video collection
EMI / Picture Music International, 1992
19 songs by John Lennon, for instance Give Peace A Chance, Cold Turkey, Power To The People, Happy Xmas (War Is Over), Woman, Nobody Told Me and Jealous Guy, with wonderful and classic John&Yoko footage. Six videos were specially created by Yoko Ono for this video collection from her own archive material, and this collection also includes live performances by John Lennon, for example Instant Karma performed in Top Of The Pops.
Cameras: Phil Niblock, Takahiko Iimura
Takahiko Iimura’s website: ”An origin of art-performance, Yoko Ono, Nam June Paik, Dick Higgins, George Brecht, Allison Knowles, Ben Patterson, Jackson Mac Low and etc. Destroying a violin by Nam June Paik, and dressing with bandage all the body of the players in a concert by Yoko Ono, with such radical actions Fluxus shocked not only art world, but also a society at large. Document of international avant-garde group, a Fluxus performance in New York, 1991, which reproduced by the member of Fluxus, a historical performance, an origin of art-performance, in early1960s, with the works of the artists: Yoko Ono, Nam June Paik, Dick Higgins, George Brecht, Allison Knowles, Ben Patterson, Jackson Mac Low and etc. Video version of unreleased documentary by Takahiko Iimura.” 30 minutes.
peace tapes: vol. 1
All Movie Guide: ”Learn about the people involved in the peace movements of the ’60s and the ’80s with this collection of interviews.” Interview with Yoko Ono included.” -> John&Yoko and the Bed-Ins in 1969
john cage: i have nothing to say and i am saying it
Kultur Video, 1990
All Movie Guide: ”John Cage: I Have Nothing to Say and I Am Saying It is a ”performance biography” of American avant-garde composer John Cage. The 56-minute program takes an in-depth look at the man and the artist through interviews with Robert Rauschenberg, Laurie Anderson, and Yoko Ono. Cage’s silent piano piece, ”4’33″”, is performed in full, and excerpts of pieces written for percussion instruments, conch shells, and ”five radios and a reader” are also featured. Cage’s collaborative work with choreographer Merce Cunningham is highlighted.”
by Yukihiko Tsutsumi
Yoko Ono performs as a bag lady in the movie. Yoko Ono about the film in ”A Critical Cinema” by Scott MacDonald: ”I was a bit concerned what it might mean to enact a bag lady, in terms of future projections. But I reasoned that there are actors who die many times in films, but live long lives, so actually enacting death makes their real lives longer. Well, in the first scene it was a beautiful April day, one of those I’m-glad-to-be-in-New-York days, and I’m wearing these rags and I’m pushing an empty baby carriage in this beautiful green environment. And as I was doing it, I remembered the song “Greenfield Morning” and the line, “I pushed an empty baby carriage all over the city.” That was the first song we recorded for Yoko Ono’s Plastic Ono Band, and I think it’s in Grapefruit, too- I mean the instruction “Push an empty baby carriage”. So I’m pushing the baby carriage and I’m thinking I don’t want to know about this. That aspect of projection is interesting, isn’t it?”
zbigniew rybezynski: a collection
john lennon: live in new york city
Music Video Dist., 1989
Videolog: ”John Lennon and Yoko Ono, backed by the Elephant’s Memory Band, play at a benefit concert for mentally handicapped children. The Madison Square Garden concert includes performances of the following songs: ”Power to the People,” ”New York City,” ”It’s So Hard,” ”Woman is the Nigger of the World,” ”Sisters Oh,” ”Well Well Well,” ”Instant Karma,” ”Mother,” ”Born in a Prison,” ”Come Together,” ”Imagine,” ”Cold Turkey,” ”Hound Dog,” and ”Give Peace a Chance.”
imagine: john lennon
Director: Andrew Solt
Warner Bros., 1988
This documentary was assembled from 240 hours of footage from Yoko Ono’s personal archives: John Lennon from the early days to the end. I have seen this document at least 20 times, but still it manages to touch me deeply every time… This is the definite John Lennon documentary, the one you should really watch and experience.
yoko ono: then & now
Written and directed by Barbara Graustark
Media Home Entertainment, 1984
In this documentary Yoko Ono reflects on her life, before and after John Lennon. An in-depth look at one of the best-known women in contemporary pop culture. 56 minutes.
memorial one step festival
A DVD of the Japanese festival with Yoko Ono’s related interview.
one to one
Filmed in 1972
A concert in aid of mentally disabled children and adults in Madison Square Garden. John Lennon and Yoko Ono with Elephants Memory band perform alongside with Stevie Wonder, Roberta Flack and Sha Na Na.
yoko ono: this is not here
Director: Takahiko Iimura
Footage from the exhibition This Is Not Here from 1971. The director Takahiko Iimura about the footage: ”A document of the Yoko Ono retrospective art show with John Lennon as guest artist, ”This is not here” held at Everson Museum, New York, 1971. The film begins with Yoko’s speech at the press conference that continues throughout the film as she talks about ”radical art”, a non-violent one, and advocates ”total communication”. Many important art objects and installations of Yoko’s are seen as the camera goes along with Yoko and John through the installation. Allen Ginsberg and George Maciunas were two of the many other guest artists who participated in the exhibition.” 18 minutes.
ten for two
Director: Steve Gebhardt
Produced by Joko Film, 1971
All Movie Guide: ”If you ever wondered why the U.S. government wanted to deport John Lennon, you have only to look as far as this documentary, which was withheld from distribution for the 18 years it took to settle all the legal matters relating to the incident. In fact, given the views of the F.B.I. and other government agencies at the time, what is more surprising is that he was allowed back in. The cause for this documentary is that, in 1970 or 71, John Sinclair was sentenced to a ten year prison term for possession of two marijuana cigarettes; hence the documentary’s title, Ten for Two. This was no ordinary drug bust, as Sinclair was the head of the Rainbow People’s Party and the sentence he received was, in everyone’s minds, political punishment not commensurate with his crime. In protest, a large number of performers and counter-culture protestors gathered for a concert in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The concert featured Stevie Wonder, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Alan Ginsberg and many others. Political figures included Black Panther leader Bobby Seale, Rennie Davis and Jerry Rubin, to name just a few. This documentary shows many of those performances, and also shows Sinclair when, three days after the concert, he was released from prison.”
diaries, notes and sketches
Director: Jonas Mekas
All Movie Guide: ”Underground filmmaker Jonas Mekas presents a collection of home movies, outtakes and unfinished projects. A picnic in Central Park with friends is show as are Allen Ginsberg and Norman Mailer in an anti-war protest march. John Lennon and Yoko Ono are shown in their celebrated honeymoon where they answer questions from the media in a Toronto hotel room to promote peace.”
Director: Ernie Pintoff
All Movie Guide: ”This film contains a collection of commercials, interviews, and music featuring Joan Baez, Richard Pryor, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Lenny Bruce, Andy Warhol, and Allen Ginsberg.”
let it be
Apple / United Artists, 1970
All Movie Guide: ”The dissolution of the Fab Four is captured on camera in Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s documentary, a filmed record of the sessions for what would become the Beatles’ final release, Let It Be. (Abbey Road, cut shortly after these sessions, was in fact the group’s final recording, but it was released a year before these often-delayed songs.) Included is footage shot at the famous rooftop concert that was the Fabs’ final live appearance. The Beatles are shown rehearsing, performing, arguing and recording and allow the cameras to record their every word and note in the recording studio. (–)” Also Yoko Ono can be seen in this film.
how i won the war
Directed by Richard Lester
All Movie Guide: ”Among the first of the late 60s anti-war films that reflected growing concern over the Vietnam War, How I Won the War takes a cold, dark look at the Good War, World War II. In adapting Patrick Ryan’s 1963 novel, screenwriter Charles Wood and director Richard Lester offered a narrative fractured by characters making side comments to the camera, stylized cinematography, inserts of newsreel war footage, and plenty of absurdist humor and slapstick. Ernest Goodbody (Michael Crawford) is a bumbling British officer who manages to get most of his small company of musketeers killed while on a mission in North Africa to set up a cricket pitch behind enemy lines for officers of the advancing British army. The rest of the company dies in an ensuing campaign in Europe near the war’s end, but all of the men continue to march along, appearing as monochromatic ghosts. (Original prints of the film intercut real battle footage tinted to match the color of the soon-to-be ghost soldier. Some prints of the film, including one shown on Turner Classic Movies, present the newsreel shots in black and white, undercutting the stylized touch.) The story is framed as a flashback, with Goodbody relating his version of events to a German officer (Karl Michael Vogler), while the real version of events, demonstrating Goodbody’s ineptitude, plays out on screen. Among the supporting players are John Lennon, who had worked with Lester on A Hard Day’s Night and Help; Roy Kinnear, a Lester regular, as a fat soldier who is certain his wife is cheating on him; Jack MacGowran as the troop’s designated fool, and Michael Hordern as a general almost as oblivious to his suffering men as Goodbody.”
Director: Marshall Smith
All Movie Guide: ”Yoko Ono, best known for her avant-garde music, art, and her marriage to John Lennon, stars in this low-budget thriller that tells the story of a pusher’s girl friend who finds herself entangled in a deadly web after her lover decides to stop selling dope. He is then pursued by three heroine addicts, and his supplier who doesn’t want to lose the income. Both sides decide to try to catch the girl so they can lure the ex-dealer into their clutches. Fortunately, the addicts start chasing the wrong girl. Unfortunately, the supplier captures and eventually kills her, forcing her lover to return to dealing.” An unfortunate B-movie.