The film is based on interviews conducted by the writer/director Iain Softley with Astrid Kirchherr and Klaus Voormann in the spring of 1988.
The soundtrack to the movie includes no songs written by members of the Beatles, but various songs the group performed in Hamburg, written and recorded by other artists.
Rather than re-create the period sounds, iconoclastic, rebellious musicians were recruited (as a producer noted, The Beatles' pre-recording stage act was "the punk of its day"). This was done to better convey the way the music came across to the audience, at the time. The musicians were all members of well-known American rock bands:
* Dave Pirner (Soul Asylum): vocals
* Greg Dulli (The Afghan Whigs): vocals
* Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth): guitar
* Don Fleming (Gumball): guitar
* Mike Mills (R.E.M.): bass guitar
* Dave Grohl (Nirvana): drums
The original recording of "My Bonnie," performed by Tony Sheridan with the Beatles as a backing group was used in the film, the only use of a real Beatles performance.
Additionally, the film's distributor, PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, was then under common ownership with the label which owned the rights to release and distribute the Beatles' music from the Hamburg days, Polydor Records.
|Stephen Dorff||Stuart Sutcliffe|
|Sheryl Lee||Astrid Kirchherr|
|Ian Hart||John Lennon|
|Gary Bakewell||Paul McCartney|
|Chris O'Neill||George Harrison|
|Paul Duckworth||Ringo Starr|
|Scot Williams||Pete Best|
|Kai Wiesinger||Klaus Voormann|
|Jennifer Ehle||Cynthia Powell|
|Wolf Kahler||Bert Kaempfert|
|James Doherty||Tony Sheridan|
Hart also played Lennon in the film The Hours and Times. Bakewell later reprised his role as McCartney in the television film The Linda McCartney Story, as Williams again played Best in the television movie In His Life: The John Lennon Story.
Paul McCartney was not impressed with the movie, stating:
"One of my annoyances about the film Backbeat is that they've actually taken my rock 'n' rollness off me. They give John the song 'Long Tall Sally' to sing and he never sang it in his life. But now it's set in cement. It's like the Buddy Holly and Glenn Miller stories. The Buddy Holly Story does not even mention Norman Petty, and The Glenn Miller Story is a sugarcoated version of his life. Now Backbeat has done the same thing to the story of The Beatles."
Backbeat at the Citizens' Theatre
Re-imagined for the stage by the original writer and director of the 1994 film, Iain Softley, Backbeat premiered at Glasgow's Citizens Theatre on 9 February 2010 featuring a live band.
|Alex Robertson||Stuart Sutcliffe|
|Isabella Calthorpe||Astrid Kirchherr|
|Andrew Knott||John Lennon|
|Daniel Healy||Paul McCartney|
|Jamie Blackley||George Harrison|
|Oliver Bennett||Pete Best|
|Justin McDonald||Klaus Voormann|
|Kate Hodgson||Cynthia Lennon|
|Paddy Lannigan||Bruno Koschmeider|
|Robert Reina||Bert Kaempfert|
|Charles Swift||Tony Sheridan|