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Best of the Beatles: Pete Best - Mean, Moody and Magnificent

35 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

We all know how The Beatles got started. John, Paul, George and Ringo playing the Cavern. Right? Wrong! In Best of the Beatles, Pete Best along with Beatle insiders tell the vivid, compelling story of the creative forces that produced The Beatles, from The Casbah to Hamburg, and right through the first Abbey Road recording date.

People with far more tenuous connections to the Beatles than drummer Pete Best, the subject of Best of the Beatles, have written books, made films, and otherwise tried to cash in on their moment in the Fab Four's sun. Best, after all, was a member of the band, a claim that only two other fellows (the late Stu Sutcliffe and Jimmy Nicol, who very briefly replaced Ringo Starr when the latter fell ill) besides the Fabs themselves could make; he was with them during their heady early days in Germany, and when their popularity in Liverpool began to explode. But that was before the Beatles, with Starr in the drummer's seat, started writing songs in earnest and making records, and history, with producer George Martin and the EMI label. Released more than 40 years after his tenure ended, this DVD begs the question: other than Beatle obsessives and completists, who really wants to sit through a two-hour (plus an hour of extras) documentary about Best and the group's early days? That's not to say that Best isn't a decent fellow. Though still perplexed by his dismissal, he shows no rancor, and he genuinely enjoys reliving his glory days. What's more, the filmmakers have assembled an impressive bunch of talking heads (including Cynthia Lennon, close pals Klaus Voorman and Astrid Kirchherr, and right-hand man Neil Aspinall) to weigh in on the topic. But it seems a bit futile, not to say desperate, to still be claiming that Best was a great drummer ("If you didn't see the Beatles at Cavern Club with Pete Best, you haven’t seen the Beatles" is one refrain), not to mention the most handsome and popular of the group. It's one thing to be in the Beatles; to be a Beatle is something else. If nothing else, Pete Best lacked the charm and wit that helped make them the phenomenon they became. Good guy? Sure. But he wasn't a Beatle. --Sam Graham

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Peter Best
  • Directors: Geoff Wonfor
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Lightyear
  • DVD Release Date: August 30, 2005
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000A8AWVE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,844 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Kevin R. Oppendike on September 2, 2005
Format: DVD
I wondered what to expect from this DVD. I wasn't overly confident that it would be worthwhile but was pleasantly surprised with what I found. The production quality is on par with that of the Beatles Anthology discs. Pete Best and others who were there (including Astrid Kircherr, Klaus Voorman, Cynthia Lennon, & Neil Aspinal) reminisce about the early days of the Beatles in Liverpool and Hamburg. Pete tells about his experiences during the early years of the band from it's formation up until the time of his firing. Best seems to have a very good memory and appears to enjoy telling stories about those early days. Best is probably the only person left to give an accurate first hand account of those formative years of the group (George and John are gone, Ringo wasn't there, and Sir Paul is known to fudge Beatles history to better suit his desired image). Best does not seem bitter at all, especially after all the years that have passed. One of the major points he (and others) apparently want to get across in this film is that he was not fired because he wasn't a good enough drummer. It seems that even now Pete doesn't really know why he was fired. He tells how it happened but apparently wasn't really ever given a reason and that does still bother him. All in all a very interesting documentary and a must have for any serious Beatles fan's DVD library. I never really gave much thought to Pete Best before watching this. Most Beatle histories tend to marginalize Best, but this DVD gives him a chance to set the record straight that he was there and he did play a definite role in the early Beatles rise to fame.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Elfinstone on October 7, 2005
Format: DVD
I had seen Pete Best on tv several times over the years and he always seemed to be shy and nervous, without much spark. I didn't know whether to attribute this to his natural personality or to his sense of being beaten down by life, to have been so close and lost one of the greatest prizes of our generation - membership in The Beatles. So I didn't expect much from this documentary. Boy was I surprised. Instead of being a self-serving piece of drivel, it filled in some missing details in the early career of The Beatles, their skiffle days (represented by a poignant rendering of an old song by Ken Brown) and Hamburg. I loved the interviews with Klaus, Astrid, Cynthia, Neil and the other Liverpool regulars. They added color to what has been rehashed over and over again in books. There was a piece of footage of Pete from the old days and I was surprised to see he was not only good looking but had a sparkle in his eye. He certainly would have attracted my attention if I had been a Liverpool teenager. Yet he didn't really fit with the other three. Ringo shared the wit and the cheekiness of the other three that made the Beatles so endearing to their audiences, especially in America. Pete seems to have let go of the bitterness of what happened. This DVD is certainly worthwhile for those interested in Beatles history.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Joe Vance on September 20, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This DVD is an amazing review, by those in the know, of the 1960-1962 early Beatles era which McCartney, Lennon & Harrison always seemed to rush through and bow out of when asked to recount those days. Mention the name Pete Best in an interview with Richard Starkey and he gets wound up. There must have been some reason for never disclosing the true reasons for the dismissal of Pete Best as drummer of The Beatles, otherwise there might not have been offered, over the years, a host of phony stories, lies and lame excuses, which among other things, unfairly painted Pete Best as a poor drummer. This DVD also, finally, explodes the myth that Stuart Sutcliffe was useless as a bass player. Stuart, whom all hardcore Beatles fans love just for being there, was indeed holding his own in the band as told by Klaus Voorman who was inspired by Stuart to pick up a bass and learn to play himself.

It's odd that, of those who ever gave an opinion on Pete's musicianship, that virtually all of the musicians from the bands who actually heard The Beatles play, (and some of those are represented in this DVD), have given Pete an excellent rating, all except the members of Pete's own band, although today, as in his comment in "WingsSpan", McCartney admits that Pete was a great drummer... finally. And Sir Paul, if you're reading this, or if perhaps you're having one of your servants read this to you, I would say the following: When you come off your tour (which the average Macca fan, including myself, could not afford to attend), consider giving Pete a call, make an appointment to visit The Casbah, and bring your guitar.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By P. Gabor on November 7, 2005
Format: DVD
Great care was put into creating this DVD and it is not a low budget hack some might fear. This is a top quality documentary made by some who made the Anthology DVDs with the help of people who were actually there. With this DVD you get a better understanding of the early years all presented in the entertaining style of the Beatles Anthology. A perfect bonus DVD to be put right next to the Anthology box set.

Many 'only read about before' people, great stories, interesting facts, some never seen footage and pictures. Top release! Get it and have a wonderful 2+ hours. NOW the story is told. Thanks Pete, Roag etc...
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Best of the Beatles: Pete Best - Mean, Moody and Magnificent
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