(Editor’s Note: We hope you enjoy this repost of a classic Retroland article)
Yellow Submarine was neither the first film to feature the Fab Four, nor the first time we saw them in animated form, but that didn’t stop it from becoming a beloved classic. Released in 1968, with a decidedly psychedelic look and a score that included a collection of some of the band’s best music, Yellow Submarine took us on an unforgettable journey – all the while imparting the peaceful message that “all you need is love.”
In the film, the Blue Meanies have stolen the love, peace, and music from the good citizens of Pepperland. Old Fred makes a run for it, and goes to seek the help of the Fab Four in his yellow submarine. Their journey back features a sea of monsters, wayward holes, science and time. They easily escape from every danger with their low key banter, and make it back to Pepperland to defeat the Blue Meanies and their Blue Glove with little more than a healthy dose of love and music.
The plot was just a loose excuse for a series of colorful, psychedelic animations accompanying the songs. New Beatles tunes like “It’s All Too Much” were joined by the classics “Eleanor Rigby,” “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,” “All You Need Is Love” and, of course, “Yellow Submarine.” The clever, Liverpool-accented dialog joined the Peter Max-style visuals for a complete piece of eye and ear candy. Perhaps surprisingly, the actual Beatles didn’t use their own voices for the film’s dialog, relying on actors instead. The musical voices, however, were pure John, Paul, George and Ringo, who do show up in non-animated form at the end of the movie.
Yellow Submarine was released in 1999 on home video and DVD, including the “Hey Bulldog” sequence that was originally cut out of the movie. The film remains a musical and animation classic, one worthy of every Beatles fan’s attention.
If you count Yellow Submarine as one of the favorite films of your youth, we’d love to hear your thoughts in our comments section, as we tip our hats to the lads from Liverpool for this delightful animated adventure.