A Hard Day's Night is a 1964 British black-and-white comedy film directed by Richard Lester and starring The Beatles—John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr—during the height of Beatlemania. It was written by Alun Owen and originally released by United Artists. The film portrays a couple of days in the lives of the group. The film is considered to be one of the best and most influential musical films of all-time.
It was successful both financially and critically; it was rated by Time magazine as one of the all-time great 100 films. British critic Leslie Halliwell described it as a "comic fantasia with music; an enormous commercial success with the director trying every cinematic gag in the book" and awarded it a full four stars. The film is credited as being one of the most influential musical films of all-time, inspiring numerous spy films, The Monkees' television show and pop music videos.
Halliwell encapsulates the plot as "Harassed by their manager and Paul's grandpa, The Beatles embark from Liverpool by train for a London TV show." Having escaped a horde of fans, once aboard the train and trying to relax, various interruptions begin to test their patience, prompting George to go to the goods van for some peace and quiet.
On arrival in London, The Beatles are driven to a hotel where they feel trapped. After a night out during which Paul's grandfather causes minor trouble at a casino, the group is taken to the theatre where their performance is to be filmed. The preparations are lengthy so Ringo decides to spend some time alone reading a book. Paul's grandfather, a "villain, a real mixer," convinces him that he should be outside experiencing life instead of reading books, so Ringo goes off by himself. He tries to have a quiet drink in a pub, walks alongside a canal and at one point rides a bicycle along a railway station platform. Meanwhile, the rest of the band frantically (and unsuccessfully) attempts to find Ringo. Finally, however, he returns, after being arrested by the police along with Paul's grandfather, and the concert goes ahead as planned.