All This and World War II

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All This and World War II
All this and world war ii (1976 film) poster.jpg
Promotional movie poster
Directed bySusan Winslow
Produced bySanford Lieberson
Martin J. Machat
CinematographyAnthony Richmond
Edited byColin Berwick
Music byLennon–McCartney
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • November 12, 1976 (1976-11-12)[1]
Running time
88 min.
Budget$1.3 million

All This and World War II is a 1976 musical documentary[1] directed by Susan Winslow. It juxtaposes Beatles songs covered by a variety of musicians with World War II newsreel footage and 20th Century Fox films, in a manner meant by the filmmakers to be similar to the 1975 documentary Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? The film was severely mauled by critics and lasted just two weeks in cinemas before being pulled.[2]


The film featured clips from the Nazi Germany army newsreels, various films from 20th Century Fox and other studios, as well as other propaganda films featuring Jack Benny, Edgar Bergen & Charlie McCarthy, Milton Berle, Humphrey Bogart, Richard Burton, Neville Chamberlain, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Clark Gable, Adolf Hitler, Bob Hope, Joseph P. Kennedy, Laurel and Hardy, James Mason, Benito Mussolini, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Joseph Stalin. and James Stewart.[3][4]


The film was researched by Tony Palmer who had previously released All My Loving, a history of 1960s music (1968), and the 17-part rock history documentary All You Need Is Love: The Story of Popular Music.[5] He remade the film in 2016 as The Beatles and World War II.[6][7]

The musical director was Lou Reizner, who also produced the soundtrack album.[2]

Although it was rumoured that Terry Gilliam turned down the offer to contribute animation to the documentary, Russ Regan, who conceived the film, has stated that Gilliam was never asked.[2]


Critics savaged the movie with gusto, audiences stayed away, and Fox promptly yanked the film from release.[4] The reviewer in the New York Daily News wrote that the film's PG rating had to have stood for "Positively Ghastly".[2] It appeared out of competition at Cannes in 1977,[8] has occasionally been shown at film festivals, and even on American cable TV.[2]

BBC2 gained the film a small cult following in the UK when it was screened as part of their fifteen-hour theme night "Rock Around The Clock", which ran from the afternoon of 27 August 1983, into the early hours of the next day.

On June 1, 2007, the film played a single midnight show at Landmark's Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles.[9]


The film has never been officially released on home video or DVD, but bootleg copies of the film are available from several collector-to-collector resources. A fairly high-quality transfer is also available as an unofficial DVD release.[10] A version of this film was released as a DVD plus two CD set by Gonzo Multimedia – TPDVD191 in 2016, entitled The Beatles and World War II, but this is a revised edition by original director Tony Palmer, using different footage and a different soundtrack.[5]


All This and World War II
Soundtrack album by
various artists
ReleasedNovember 5, 1976
LabelRiva (UK), 20th Century (U.S.)
ProducerLou Reizner
Singles from All This and World War II
  1. "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"
    Released: November 18, 1974
  2. "Let it Be"
    Released: November 1975
  3. "Get Back"
    Released: 1976
  4. "We Can Work It Out"
    Released: November 1976
  5. "Magical Mystery Tour"
    Released: 1976
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic [11]

The original intention of the filmmakers was to use actual Beatles music in the film. The decision to use other artists covering Beatles music was made by the film's producers after they realised additional money could be made through a soundtrack album. The decision was a sound one, as the soundtrack actually generated more revenue than the film. The album was released on 25 October 1976 and the film was released on the 11th November 1976.[12]

The album reached number 23 on the UK Albums Chart, with a total of seven weeks on that listing,[2] and number 48 on the Billboard Top 200.[13][14] It also made number 17 on the Dutch album charts and number 37 on the New Zealand album charts.[15] The soundtrack is notable for featuring the solo recording debut of Peter Gabriel, formerly of Genesis, singing "Strawberry Fields Forever".

The LP was also released in 1979 with the title The Songs Of John Lennon & Paul McCartney Performed By The World's Greatest Rock Artists,[16][17] and two of the tracks ("Let It Be" performed by Leo Sayer and "Because" performed by Lynsey de Paul) were released on the Beatles cover version CD album With A Little Help that was issued in Europe in 1991.[18]

The album was finally released on CD in 2006 on the Hip-O Select label[19] and again in 2015 as a limited-issue release on the Culture Factory label, complete with the original gatefold sleeve.[20]

Single releases[edit]

Track listing[edit]

All songs by Lennon–McCartney.



Chart (1976) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[24] 14
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[25] 17
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[26] 37
UK Albums (OCC)[27] 23
US Billboard 200[28] 48

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Erickson, Hal. "All This and World War II: Overview". MSN Entertainment. Archived from the original on February 23, 2012. Retrieved May 26, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Dannelley, Ronnie (August 2005). "'All This and World War II': Rock's Strangest Film". Rock 'N Roll Case Study. Ear Candy Magazine. Retrieved June 28, 2011.
  3. ^ "All This and World War II 1976". The Video Beat. Retrieved June 28, 2011.
  4. ^ a b c Hall, Phil (October 1, 2004). "The Bootleg Files: 'All This and World War II'". Film Threat. Retrieved June 28, 2011.
  5. ^ a b Marinucci, Steve (July 12, 2016). "Wacky Beatles tribute 'All This and World War II' gets makeover and new title". AXS. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  6. ^ NOW Magazine
  7. ^ New DVD/CD "The Beatles and World War II" Features Star-Studded Collection of 1970s Fab Four Covers - Music News - ABC News Radio
  8. ^ Burridge, Shane (2005). "All This and World War II". Archived from the original on March 21, 2015. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
  9. ^ Havens, Edward (May 30, 2007). "All This and World War II". FilmJerk. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved March 26, 2016.
  10. ^ "War is Hell!". Shocking Videos. Mark Johnston Enterprises and Shocking Videos. Archived from the original on August 21, 2011. Retrieved September 5, 2011. ALL THIS AND WORLD WAR II (76) Finally available!
  11. ^ All This and World War II at AllMusic
  12. ^ Billboard 30 Oct 1976 (page 82)
  13. ^ "Top 200 Albums". Billboard. January 1, 1977. Retrieved June 7, 2017.
  14. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Albums, 1955-2001, ISBN 978-0634039485
  15. ^ "All This and World War II". Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  16. ^ "Various – The Songs Of John Lennon & Paul McCartney Performed By The World's Greatest Rock Artists". Discogs. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  17. ^ "Various – The Songs Of John Lennon & Paul McCartney Performed By The World's Greatest Rock Artists". Discogs. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  18. ^ "Various – With A Little Help". Discogs. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  19. ^ "Various – All This And World War II". Discogs. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  20. ^ "Various – All This And World War II – Original Soundtrack". Discogs. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  21. ^ "Lucy in the sky with diamonds in Canadian Top Singles Chart". Library and Archives Canada. Archived from the original on December 13, 2014. Retrieved July 18, 2013.
  22. ^ "All This and World War II". AllMusic. Retrieved December 4, 2011.
  23. ^ a b Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955–1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  24. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 321. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  25. ^ " – Soundtrack – All This and World War II" (in Dutch). Hung Medien.
  26. ^ " – Soundtrack – All This and World War II". Hung Medien.
  27. ^ "Various Artists | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart.
  28. ^ "Billboard 200 Chart". Billboard. Retrieved April 26, 2021.

External links[edit]