John Lennon and Yoko Ono on Home-Video & DVD

Although home "sell-through" video cassettes began to appear as early as the mid 1970's, no solo Lennon or Beatles home-video was officially released during John's lifetime. The first commercially available Beatles video in the UK was The Compleat Beatles documentary issued by MGM/UA in October 1982 and originally on sale for a whopping £39.95 (about 8 times the price of a regular Beatles album!), such high prices were not uncommon for home-video's in the early 1980's as most were primarily aimed at the rental market. The long running format war did little to encourage customer confidence in home-video either, though by 1984 it had come down to a choice of two: VHS or Betamax. Sadly the noticeably inferior VHS won out in the end but not before a handful of Lennon video's were issued on Betamax. The first bona-fide UK solo Lennon home-video did not materialize until the release of Imagine in 1985, a seemingly late foray into the market for John, yet all but one of the Beatles movies were also still awaiting release in the UK at the time. Beatle fans in the US had been better served, but importing US videotapes directly into Britain was not an option as NTSC playback was incompatable with British equipment (and vice-versa)*. Such cross-border problems need not have affected DVD's, sadly a regional coding system was insisted upon - although this annoying obstacle was more easily overcome.
In the U.S and Japan, many 1980's/'90's home-video titles were also on issued on 'LaserDisc' (double sided 12 inch discs with an analogue video signal), a format that struggled to make much of an impact in Europe. DVD's first began to appear around 1997 and quickly caught on at the turn of the millennium on both sides of the Atlantic, not least due to the addition of bonus material and commentaries.

The following lists of official Lennon/Ono Home-Video's and DVD's are presented in order of release. Where possible I have used scans of the original version (whether that be American or British in origin). See our Filmography and John Lennon on Television pages for full details of projects originally produced during the 1960's & 1970's. John and Yoko also made a number of guest appearances in films that have since been made available on Video/DVD, details of these less obvious Lennon/Ono releases are dealt with in an appendix at the foot of this page.

*British/European Video Recorders with the added facility of NTSC playback capability would not become widely available (and affordable) until the mid-late 1990's.



John Lennon: Interview With A Legend
In the early hours of 29th April 1975, John was interviewed by Tom Snyder for the US NBC TV programme "The Tomorrow Show", it was to be the last time Lennon was seen inside a TV studio. John talked about Beatlemania, groupies, the Two Vigins cover, the bed-in and his fight against deportation, for which his lawyer Leon Wildes was on hand to explain the finer details of the case. The show was repeated on 9th December 1980, top and tailed with a new introduction and interviews with journalist Lisa Robinson of the New York Post (who had interviewed John on four occasions 1973-80) and Double Fantasy producer Jack Douglas. It was this revised 1980 version that found its' way onto the home-video market in May 1981 when the Karl Video Corp. (KVC) issued an American NTSC VHS cassette*. In Britain, it was left to Select Video to import a Starbox version in 1983 (presumably European in origin), this version was re-titled The John Lennon Interview (VHS 3113/43) and aimed at the rental market, it was 're-promoted' in April 1985 on general sale for around £25. The budget home-video firm Channel 5 issued a more widely available UK version under the title Lennon A Legend on 3rd March 1986 (VHS CFV 01562) priced £6.99, the cover of this 1986 version showed a large picture of John's trademark 'granny glasses' on a light blue background, see here.

*It was re-issued in the US in 1984 (the promotional poster is illustrated left, this artwork was apparently similar to the original sleeve design with a subtle change to the colour scheme), Baker & Taylor video also issued a US version at some point. Please E-Mail urthepob@hotmail.com if you are able to shed any further light on these American tapes.

DVD version
The 9th December 1980 re-broadcast version of "The Tomorrow Show" (with the additional Lisa Robinson and Jack Douglas interviews) was included on The Tomorrow show with Tom Snyder: John, Paul, Tom and Ringo, this being a 2 DVD set released by Shout! Factoryon 1st April 2008 (region 1 NTSC, region 0 PAL). The set also included a 1979 interview with Paul McCartney & Wings and a 1981 chat with Ringo Starr, the cover design was a pastiche of the "Yellow Submarine" animation film.
 



Yoko Ono Then And Now
This 56 minute American documentary was written, produced, directed and narrated by Barbara Graustark (who had interviewed John for Newsweek magazine in September 1980). It included home movies of Yoko as a small child, never before seen Let it be film outtakes (including footage of Yoko jamming with John, Paul and Ringo), various clips from John & Yoko's numerous film projects and TV appearances plus new exclusive interviews with Yoko Ono. It was a revelation at the time of its' release. In the US, Polygram/Music Media Video issued the NTSC VHS home video on 14th October 1984, there was also a LaserDisc version (illustrated). In the UK it was initially screened on the ITV network in a late night slot on Saturday 8th December 1984, although the first section detailing Yoko's life before she met John was edited out and in some regions it was re-titled A Tribute to John Lennon. 11 days later it was released in full on a PAL home video in the UK by Videoform Music (VHS VFV 23 and Betamax VFX 23) for a pricey £25. Various ITV regions repeated the full length version a few years later in a small hours slot before Channel 5 (the home video company, not the TV station) re-issued it in stereo on 9th July 1990 with a new cover design depicting a black & white graphic of John and Yoko during their peace campaign period (VHS only for £10). The documentary is unlikely to ever see a DVD release or another TV repeat, making it one of the more collectable Lennon related home-video's.



How I Won The War
How I Won The War - Original Video Release 1984Although John dominates the video cover, his role in this anti-war/comedy movie was relatively small, but he does pop up every now and then throughout most of its' 106 minute length. Filmed in 1966 and premiered the following year, it was the first project John was involved with after the end of his final tour with the Beatles. Further details can be found on our Lennon Filmography.
This film was originally issued on video in the US by MGM/UA as a limited release in 1984 (VHS and Betamax illustrated), it was housed in a "book" style box where the cover could be turned over to reveal the details of the cast on the reverse. In the UK, How I Won the War was a very late addition to the Lennon video catalogue, MGM/UA eventually releasing it on 10th April 1995 to tie-in with the 50th anniversary of VE day (Victory in Europe) with a different cover picture (VHS SO 50455, priced at £10.99). A US re-issue occurred on 5th December 2000 - again by MGM/UA - and with another revised cover design which now included an image of John with a dove sitting on his head and, bizarrely, a large declaration (or warning) that the content is "Avant-Garde Cinema".... they obviously hadn't seen Smile or Self Portrait!

DVD versions
A long delayed DVD was eventually made available in 2004* (Region 1) and 7th February 2005 (Region 2), these featured a similar cover design to the 2000 American VHS, sadly there was no DVD bonus material.

*Amazon gives a date of 08/Sep/2002 but this may well have been one of the planned release dates that came and went without anything materializing.



Imagine
Not to be confused with the 1988 biopic Imagine: John Lennon, this 1985 home-video was an edited version of an 81 minute film originally shot in 1971 to promote John and Yoko's Imagine and Fly albums. It was basically a collection of promo's and was very much ahead of its time, all of the tracks from the Imagine album were featured plus (on the original film) four from Fly, the film also captured various John & Yoko activities throughout the summer of 1971 whilst George Harrison, Andy Warhol, Jack Palance and Fred Astaire all made cameo appearances. The Imagine and Mrs Lennon sequences were first seen on The Dick Cavett Show in the US in September 1971 but the film itself was not shown in full until over a year later (again on American TV on 23rd December 1972). The title song sequence was resurrected for TV screenings in the wake of John's death in 1980/81 but the bulk of the film remained largely unseen in Britain* until this home video was released by Picture Music International on 11th November 1985 (VHS MVP 99 1101 2 [illustrated] and Betamax MXP 99 1101 4, the price was £14.99)**. Sadly some sections of the original film were excised reducing the running time to 60 minutes - I Don't Want To Be A Soldier and some linking scenes were shortened whilst Yoko's Midsummer New York and Mind Train were cut altogether***. A full length original version on DVD is well overdue.

* The film had only been shown in a handful of selected British cinema clubs in 1973/74.
**The US release was apparently delayed until the following year. It also appears to have been re-issued in 1989 with an alternate sleeve featuring the album cover, this is also how the LaserDisc appeared upon its' release that same year.
**The Tracklisting for the video is as follows:
Imagine, Crippled Inside, Jealous Guy, Don't Count The Waves (this track was from Yoko's Fly album), It's So Hard, Mrs. Lennon  (from Yoko's Fly album), I Don't Wanna Be A Soldier Mama, Give Me Some Truth (this number is preceded by a snatch of Power To The People), Oh My Love, How Do You Sleep?, How?, Oh Yoko! and  John And Yoko (the final number is a re-working of the Wedding Album track and is played over the credits). Full details of the original film can be found in our Filmography.



John Lennon - Live in New York City
A 55 minute video of John, Yoko and Elephant's Memory performing a concert at Madison Square Garden on 30th August 1972. Unlike the original 1972 TV film of the event (entitled One To One*) which was exclusively based on the evening performance, the footage for the Live in New York City home-video was largely culled from the afternoon gig, however this version included all 11 of John's numbers plus 2 of Yoko's** (the 40 minute 1972 TV version only offered 6 from John, 1 from Yoko and 3 from the support acts). The soundtrack was radically remixed and issued as an accompanying album to the home-video, both were first released in America by Sony on 24th January 1986, the visual version available on VHS and LaserDisc. British fans had to wait until 24th February 1986 (probably because the Imagine video had only just been issued) when it was released by Picture Music International (VHS MVP 99 1115 2 [illustrated] and Betamax MXP 99 1115 4).
Surprisingly, this historic performance has yet to see a DVD release, surely it's only a matter of time before an extended edition is made available featuring both the afternoon and evening performances (hopefully with a choice of audio including the original mono soundtrack).

*The original film was not shown in Britian, only Yoko's performance of Move On Fast was seen on British TV in the 1970's when it was broadcast by BBC2's late night Rock programme The Old Grey Whistle Test on 30th January 1973 in order to promote her album Approximately Infinite Universe.
**The tracklisting for the video is as follows:
Power To The People (merely a part of the record played over the PA during the introduction, the video used the afternoon show intro), New York City (from the afternoon show), It's So Hard (afternoon), Woman Is The Nigger Of The World (afternoon), Sisters, O Sisters (Yoko vocal, evening), Well, Well, Well (afternoon), Born In A Prison (Yoko lead vocal, afternoon), Instant Karma! (afternoon), Mother (afternoon), Come Together (afternoon), Imagine (afternoon), Cold Turkey (evening), Hound Dog (evening) and Give Peace A Chance (this was only performed at the end of the evening concert). John's introductions were also a mixture from the afternoon and evening concerts, many of which did not match the choice for the actual performance. Yoko also performed four other songs that were not included on the video, these were Move On Fast (afternoon & evening), We're All Water (afternoon & evening), Open Your Box (afternoon & evening) and Don't Worry Kyoko (afternoon show only).



John & Yoko: The Complete Story
An overly sweetened 150 minute TV 'docudrama' of John & Yoko's life together which had been produced by the Johnny Carson company and premiered on American TV (NBC) as John & Yoko: A Love Story on 2nd December 1985. The project was overseen by Yoko who was said to have rejected three scripts as unsuitable. An actor by the name of Mark Lindsay had been cast as John Lennon until it was discovered that his real name was Mark Chapman! Liverpudlian Mark McGann was the replacement having been initially turned down on the grounds that he was too young (24 at the time, his acting career had actually begun with playing Lennon in a stage musical). American actress Kim Miyori (aged 29) played the role of Yoko Ono and a real life romance developed between McGann and Miyori and they were later married.
In Britain, copyright problems prevented the film from being screened*, its' first appearance in the UK was this retitled home-video released on 19th April 1988 by Sony Video (illustrated), it was the first new Lennon video to be issued on VHS format only and was initially on sale for a staggering £55 - obviously they were aiming it at the rental market (some fans who took the plunge and actually bought the video must have felt aggrieved when their local ITV station showed it later that year, it was broadcast by some, but not all ITV regions in December 1988). In the US it was not issued on home-video until 21st December 1989 with its' original title restored.

*The BBC would probably not have been interested in showing the film as they had produced their own docudrama to commemorate the 5th anniversary of John's passing, a more studious 64 minute affair entitled A Journey in the Life with Bernard Hill playing John. Yoko was provided with a copy which she and Sean watched at the Dakota before giving an interview to the BBC which was broadcast immediately after A Journey in the Life on Friday 5th December 1985.



Sweet Toronto John Lennon
1989 Sweet Toronto VHSThis 55 minute edit of DA Pennebaker's original 140 minute film of the 13th September 1969 "Rock & Roll Revival festival" in Toronto was first screened in the US by Cinemax in October 1988. It included the Plastic Ono Band's entire set* as well as scenes of John and Yoko arriving for the gig. Sequences showing the other artists on the bill were drastically cut, although token performances remain**. The new edit was first released in Britain on 28th April 1989 by Parkfield Publishing (VHS MKM 0001 see full cover/back cover scan) with the American release occuring a few days later on 1st May 1989, both versions included a short interview with Yoko Ono at the beginning of the tape which had been filmed at the London John Lennon Art Exhibition in 1988. Although the tracklisting for the Plastic Ono Band set is identical to the original Live Peace in Toronto 1969 album release, the video version offers a new mix. It was later re-issued in the UK by BMG on 28th October 1991.

*Tracklisting for the Plastic Ono Band set is as follows:
Blue Suede Shoes, Money, Dizzy Miss Lizzy, Yer Blues, Cold Turkey, Give Peace A Chance, Don't Worry Kyoko (Mummy's Only Looking For Her Hand In The Snow) and John John (Let's Hope For Peace).
**Bo Diddley is seen performing Bo Diddley, Jerry Lee Lewis is shown doing Hound Dog, the Chuck Berry number is Johnny B. Goode and Little Richard performs Lucille.

DVD versions
An American region free NTSC DVD version with a new cover was issued on 20th May 1998 by Pioneer Artists (PA-11667), the 1988 Yoko interview was included as an extra. It was re-issued as a region 1 only version with another change of cover on 29th January 2002. A region 2 PAL version was released by Direct Video Distribution Ltd on 18th November 2002 (this had the same cover as the region 1 version), Slam Dunk then re-issued a region 2 disc with a new cover on 28th August 2006.



Imagine: John Lennon
This official Yoko Ono sanctioned biopic was originally given a theatrical release in October 1988, it was a timely antidote to Albert Goldman's notorious biography which had been published a few months earlier. The film was produced by David L Wolper and Andrew Solt, Solt also directed with Sam Egan assisting with the writing. Archive Lennon interviews provided the narration so that John was heard to tell his own story. The film was built around footage of the 1971 recording sessions for the Imagine album at John & Yoko's home studio in Ascot and intertwined with film and TV appearances from Lennon's entire career including his Beatle years. Almost 200 hours of material was cut down to an initial twenty-hour version before a 100 minute master was settled upon. Warner Home Video issued the film in mainland Europe first [VHS illustrated], then in America on 28th April 1989 and Britain (VHS PES 11819) on 8th May 1989.

DVD versions
With demand for a DVD release gathering pace, a two disc region 2 widescreen DVD was eventually issued on 14th November 2005*, the special features included a John Lennon Trivia Track (which doesn't appear to do anything, at least on my copy), A Tribute To John Lennon: The Man The Music The Memories (this was a new 14 minute documentary featuring interviews with the filmmakers and Yoko Ono), John Lennon: Truth Be Told (6 minutes of the 1971 Women's Hour interview that had already been included in its' entirity on an earlier Lennon DVD release), a live acoustic performance of Imagine (17th December 1971 at the Apollo in NYC), "Island House" (outtakes from the 1971 Imagine film which shows John & Yoko choosing a summer house for the island on the lake of their Tittenhurst Park estate, followed by scenes of it being delivered and erected), The Headmaster Looks Back (an interview with Ernest Pobjoy, John's Quarry Bank School Headmaster) and a scene selection menu.

* The Region 1 NTSC DVD version was delayed until December 2005. Those of you with multi region players are advised to seek out the Region 1 version as the Region 2 main feature disc suffers a very noticeable pitch problem (it runs far too fast, to the point of becoming unwatchable), this was blamed on the NTSC to PAL transfer.
 



The Bed In
1990 The Bed In VHSA re-edited version of the previously unscreened John and Yoko produced colour film of the May/June 1969 Montreal bed-in was released in the UK by Picture Music International (VHS MVN 9912613 see full cover/back cover scan) on 3rd December 1990, the American Video Music Inc version was delayed by almost a year and retitled All We Are Saying Is Give Peace A Chance for its' release on October 2nd 1991, there was a LaserDisc version too.
Although admittedly not the most commercial Lennon home video, it does arguably capture the spirit of the times better than any other Lennon release. There are some fascinating discussions and interviews with the likes of Timothy Leary, Dick Gregory and Tommy Smothers, the infamous exchange with Al Capp is also included. A DVD release is well overdue, perhaps it could be paired up with the as-yet unreleased Amsterdam Honeymoon film of the original March/April 1969 bed-in as a 2 DVD set.



John Lennon Murdered
A video released a few days after the 10th anniverssary of John's death, it included the 9th December 1980 edition of ABC News Nightline as broadcast by the American TV network on the day after he was murdered. Only 10 minutes are actually devoted to John with the rest of the programme looking at other world events of the day. Mpi Media Group issued this video in America only on 12th December 1990.
 
 
 
 



Lennon: A Tribute
On 5th May 1990 a three hour "John Lennon Scholarship concert" organised by Yoko Ono took place at the Pier Head in Liverpool, it was broadcast on British TV later that night*. Dave Edmunds was the musical director of the event (John had been a big fan of his 1970 hit I Hear You Knocking), British DJ Mike Read and American actor Christopher Reeve were the on-stage comperes. Yoko and Sean Lennon also intermittently appeared on stage to help with introductions and commentary whilst each of the artists involved were seen (off stage) to offer their thoughts of John/The Beatles before performing a Lennon song**. John also featured by way of some archive clips. Paul McCartney later said that he didn't think that John would have been too hot on some of the acts chosen to appear - the audience certainly voiced their displeasure at the sight of Kylie Minogue (then still in her Stock, Aitken & Waterman period) whilst Wet Wet Wet later spoke of their frustration at having to perform a Lennon song rather than one of their own!
A TV highlights special was planned for what would have been John's 50th birthday in October, this was completed but delayed until 7th December 1990 when it was shown on US Television***. Entitled A Tribute To John Lennon, the 88 minute highlights package was hosted by Michael Douglas and augmented by further archive video performances of Lennon compositions from the likes of Elton John, U2 and Michael Jackson plus Sean performing Dear Prudence****. Most British fans had to wait for the UK home-video release to see this highlights show which was issued by Pickwick Video as Lennon: A Tribute (VHS Stereo PVL 2160 [illustrated]) on 15th April 1991 for £10.99. The US video was issued by Sony on 22nd October 1991 (also as Lennon: A Tribute). As with the concert itself, proceeds from the home-video sales were directed to John and Yoko's Spirit foundation charity.

*The UK TV broadcast was shared between ITV and Channel Four, with ITV showing the first half and Channel Four the remainder.
**Those included on the 5th May 1990 UK broadcast were Al Green, Cyndi Lauper, Dave Edmunds, Joe Cocker, Hall & Oates, Terence Trent D'Arby, Kylie Minogue, Lou Reed, Dave Stewart (not in Liverpool but performing via a satellite link up from LA and seen on the big screens by the crowd), Wet Wet Wet, The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Deacon Blue, Natalie Cole, Lou Gramm, Justin Hayward & John Lodge, Ray Charles (pre-taped video performance), Lenny Kravitz, Roberta Flack,  Randy Travis, The Christians, Ringo Starr (pre-taped video performance), Natalie Cole, Paul McCartney (pre-taped video performance) and finally Yoko & Sean singing Give Peace a Chance with all the acts back on stage to join in.
***The highlights show (with the addition of new material) was broadcast to the UK by 'Power Station' (an obscure satellite channel) on 8th December 1990.
****The full tracklisting for the highlights show/video was as follows (*Tracks marked with an asterix were performed in Liverpool on May 5th 1990):
Elton John Imagine, Natalie Cole Ticket To Ride*, Wet Wet Wet I Feel Fine*, Lou Gramm Eight Days A Week*, Terence Trent D'Arby You've Got To Hide Your Love Away*, Paul McCartney P.S. Love Me Do, Billy Joel Back In The USSR, Randy Travis Nowhere Man*, Joe Cocker Isolation*, Lenny Kravitz Cold Turkey*, Dave Edmunds The Ballad Of John And Yoko*, Hall & Oates Don't Let Me Down*, Al Green Power To The People*, Michael Jackson Come Together, Cyndi Lauper Working Class Hero*, David Bowie Fame, John Lennon Give Peace A Chance and Imagine, Ringo Starr I Call Your Name, U2 Help!, Kylie Minogue Help!*, Roy Orbison Help!, Ray Charles Let It Be, Sean Lennon Dear Prudence.



The John Lennon Video Collection
1992 The John Lennon Video CollectionThis 80 minute, 19 track* collection of solo video's was loosely based on the compilation album The John Lennon Collection which had been released ten years earlier. It was compiled by Martin Smith and issued by Picture Music International (VHS MVN 4910343** see full cover/back cover scan, priced £14.99) on 5th October 1992. The first 10,000 copies were shrink-wrapped with a free copy of a two-track CD single imported from Holland: Instant Karma!/Oh My Love which had been issued in some European countries to tie in with the contentious Nike commercial which had been granted use of John's own recording of the 1970 hit. The American release (on VHS and LaserDisc) was delayed by 6 months until 6th April 1993, it made No. 26 on the Billboard Music Video Chart.
The John Lennon Video Collection was a slick production with each video buffered by a monochrome image changing from negative to positive before Yoko's animated handwriting and a Lennon soundbite introduced the next song. Despite their reputation for filming almost everything they did, John and Yoko did not produce promo films or make TV appearances for many of the original 1969-80 single releases and so newly produced visuals with varying degrees of success were commissioned specially for this home-video. With the exception of a handful of glaring examples, original promo's/TV appearances were included where possible making this a more authentic product than the somewhat collaged mess that was the Lennon Legend DVD released a decade later.

* The tracklisting for The John Lennon Video Collection was as follows:
Give Peace a Chance (original 1969 promo), Cold Turkey (original 1969 promo), Instant Karma! (1970 'Top of the Pops' performance version one with Yoko holding cue cards), Power To The People (John did not produce a promo or appear on TV to promote this single in 1971 and so a new video was created mixing footage of John and Yoko from later that year with somewhat jarring modern day footage of political protest and an annoying marquee of the title, perhaps a montage of late 1960's/early 1970's protests/riots would have yielded better results), Happy Xmas (War is Over) (a promo for this was apparently screened by the BBC in December 1972 but it has since been wiped, for the purpose of this home-video the producers returned to Harlem to capture footage of a modern day choir miming to the song), Mind Games (a TV ad for the Mind Games album featuring John dancing with a man impersonating Her Majesty the Queen was produced in 1973, but here we have to make do with a montage of John & Yoko material from before and after the time of its' original release), Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (John was filmed by the BBC wandering around New York in November 1974 to promote his latest single, that footage should have been used here, but for some inexplicable reason the producers decided to comission an animation of John's drawings coupled with unrelated footage from the Imagine film), #9 Dream (again, unrelated footage from the pre-lost weeked era was utilised for this track). Stand By Me, Slippin' And Slidin' (two songs as originally performed for the BBC's late night Rock show The Old Grey Whistle Test in 1975), Imagine (pedantically placed after the Rock 'N' Roll tracks owing to its belated British single release in late 1975, but at least they used the original 1971 film sequence), (Just Like) Starting Over (No promo for this song was seen in 1980 but this new 1992 video worked well - in that it used contemporary footage which could have been screened at time), Woman (original 1981 video), Nobody Told Me (original 1984 video), Borrowed Time (original 1984 video), I'm Stepping Out (original 1984 video), Jealous Guy (this song was released as a single in Britain in 1985 with a decent video making use of 1971 footage to promote the Imagine home-video which was released at the same time, but the 1988 American 'Imagine:John Lennon' version was used here which shows biopic 'flashbacks' intercut with John recording the song in his home studio), Grow Old With Me(original 1984 video, all of the 1984 video's were screened in the USA on an MTV special that year entitled Milk And Honey) and Imagine (live) (this was the 1975 Lew Grade Tribute show performance). Watching the Wheels is played over the closing credits. John & Yoko made a number of TV appearances in 1972 performing songs from Some Time in New York City, regrettably none of these were included.

**The catalogue number was changed to 4910513 once the initial stocks (shrink wrapped with the free CD) had been exhausted.



John Lennon: One To One
A home video release of the original TV film version of John & Yoko's 30th August 1972 Madison Square Garden concerts was issued in Britain by BMG (BMG 791 138) on 16th November 1992 for £10.99. This version is shorter than the John Lennon - Live in New York City video, it runs for 40 minutes and only includes Come Together, Instant Karma!, Sisters O Sisters, Cold Turkey, Hound Dog, Give Peace a Chance and (over the credits) Imagine, there are also three tracks from support acts: Superstition by Stevie Wonder and two from Roberta Flack: Reverend Lee and Somewhere. A LaserDisc version was also issued (781 138) on sale in the UK for £19.99 (The Japanese LaserDisc version is illustrated).
 
 



The Mike Douglas Show With John Lennon And Yoko Ono
A deluxe box set of five NTSC VHS cassettes was released in America by Rhino/Wea on 26th May 1998. Each tape averaged 73 minutes, one for each of the 5 editions of the show that John and Yoko co-presented as broadcast by WBC during one week in February 1972. A 48-page hardbound book (individually numbered) was also included featuring photographs taken by the show's photographer Michael Leshnov, plus a new interview with Mike Douglas and excerpts from a February 1972 press conference with John, Yoko and Jerry Rubin discussing the show.
See our John Lennon on Television page for details of each show.

DVD version
Rhino appear to have prepared a DVD box set at some point, but it may have been withdrawn.



This Is Not Here
An 18 minute Takahiko Iimura film of Yoko's October 1971 art exhibition (a 10 year retrospective of her work entitled This Is Not Here) at the Everson museum in Syracuse, New York with an interview with Yoko providing the narration, John is also seen in the film. The video version was first issued on 1st June 1999.

DVD version
This Is Not Here was the main feature on a DVD entitled Original Yoko Ono scheduled for release by Art Media K.Y in Japan in late 2006 (said to be region free) featuring a black & white side profile photo of Yoko on the cover. Also included on the disc are "Early Works Yoko Ono" (this was a gallery, mostly of the works exhibited at the Syracuse exhibition) and "An extra film" (billed as 'a controversial film with John Lennon and Yoko Ono on Pop and Avant-Garde'). The package also included a brochure with a Yoko Ono interview by Takahiko Iimura from 1971.



Gimme Some Truth
The first new Lennon product to be issued simultaneously on Video and DVD, this 56 minute film partly realised John's original intention for a TV show which would document the recording of his Imagine album in 1971. Compiled by Yoko Ono and Andrew Solt, it was premiered in Cannes on 5th October 1999. Whilst some of the most memorable recording sessions footage had already found its' way into the 1988 biopic Imagine: John Lennon, there was more than enough previously unseen delights here to make Gimme Some Truth an essential purchase, the only criticism would be of the unnecessary use of scenes already included in or intended for the 1971 Imagine film - this gave the impression that Gimme Some Truth had superseded Imagine when it ought to have been compiled as a companion, the choice of cover photo also added to the confusion. Gimme Some Truth was first shown on British TV by BBC2 on 14th February 2000* before being issued as a Capitol VHS video and region free DVD two months later (17th April 2000, available in both PAL and NTSC**). The DVD version added 7 minutes to the main feature plus, as bonus features, raw footage of John & Yoko being interviewed at their Tittenhurst Park home for a radio programme in the summer of 1971***, an interactive John Lennon discography (offering a sample of one track from each) and the obligatory scene selection****.

*The UK TV premiere was originally scheduled for 11:30pm on the night of Sunday 13th February 2000 but was delayed until 00:58am due to Snooker coverage over running. The US TV premiere (on Bravo) was held back until 17th April 2000.
**The American NTSC version is distinguished by a full height reproduction of the cover photo (The EU PAL DVD has a white panel as illustrated).
***An edit of the bonus interview was originally included in an edition of BBC Radio 2's Women's Hour which was broadcast on Tuesday 9th November 1971, 2:01-2:59pm.
****The tracklisting for the DVD is as follows: 1. Imagine (John demonstrating the song to the other musicians / recording a take / discussing it with Phil Spector and Yoko), 2. Crippled Inside (John sings a snatch of this to Tariq Ali / the regular version played to a montage of clips and photo's from the summer of 1971), 3. Oh Yoko! (attempting an overdub vocal with Phil Spector and then John getting angry with the tape engineer who cannot find the correct verse / John and Yoko in the garden trying to find oneanother in the fog / John doing a full frontal flash to camera), 4. Jealous Guy (clip from the Women's Hour interview / John recording his vocal track in the studio / scenes from the summer 1971 holiday in Japan), 5. It's So Hard (being driven to Yoko's book signing sessions and then surrounded by press and fans / scene at the kitchen table showing John talking with George Harrison and Phil Spector), 6. I Don't Wanna Be A Soldier (on a protest march / another Women's Hour interview clip), 7. Gimme Some Truth (recording the vocal), 8. Oh My Love (discussing the song with George Harrison, Yoko and Phil Spector / rehearsal / Women's Hour clip / recording a take / George and John talk about Ringo and Paul whilst Yoko pours the tea), 9. How Do You Sleep? (John running through the song on piano for George, John says "That's the nasty one" / rehearsing it with the musicians, John sings "How do you sleep ya cunt?" / another grittier take / fan found in gardens and John invites him in for soup), 10 How? (recording the vocal track / picking a spot for the island summer house, John's son Julian calling to them but only Yoko responds), 11. Imagine (listening to a playback / the regualr video), 12. Film Credits (an alternate take of Look At Me played as John and Yoko are seen walking to the sea).



In His Life - The John Lennon Story
An 87 minute dramatisation originally broadcast by NBC in the US at 9pm on 3rd December 2000. Based on an original screenplay by Michael O'Hara, the production focussed on John's teenage years through to the Beatles first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964. It was directed by David Carson with Irish actor Philip McQuillan (23 at the time) playing John. It was released as an NTSC Studio/Sterling VHS video and region 1 Lions Gate DVD on 24th July 2001.
 
 



The Messenger
Hiding behind attractive packaging, this misleading and presumptuously titled unofficial release is definitely one to avoid, not least for the inclusion of an interview that panders to the warped fame seeking fantasies of Lennon's killer (as if the constant re-appearance of a tribute band singing their own excruciating composition plus Words of Love wasn't bad enough!). Haphazardly compiled, much of the content focusses on John's death - The main feature begins with the sound of 5 gun shots, soon to be followed by friends talking about the time John was killed and BBC2's 9th December 1980 Newsnight programme reporting on the murder. Continuing the morbid theme, there's also a section on the death of Brian Epstein. John does actually make an appearance here and there, including a brief clip from his June 1968 colour BBC TV interview which ironically can be found in much greater length on the audio only CD that forms part of the 2 disc + booklet* set (why didn't they just show the whole thing on the DVD?). This release was Australian in origin and first issued as a region free PAL DVD by Waterfall on 27th May 2002, a region 1 NTSC DVD was issued by Video Music inc on 10th September 2002, it was also issued on VHS. Beware - This DVD has also been re-issued as John Lennon Through the Looking Glass in 2006 and it looks like the same material was also used for John Lennon In My Life issued by GMVS on 29th March 2004.

*The booklet is a short biography which erroneously states that John's mother died when he was still an infant and that his Aunt Mimi and Uncle George had to sit him down and tell him the news (In actual fact John's mother died when he 17, his Uncle George had died when he was 12). The section dealing with the entrance of Yoko Ono into John's life is illustrated with a picture of John with May Pang!



John & Yoko’s Year of Peace
An excellent 52 minute documentary looking back at John & Yoko's visits to Canada in 1969 with rare footage from the CBC (Canadaian broadcasting company) archives. As well as covering the Montreal bed-in and the live Plastic Ono Band Toronto performance, the Lennon's meetings with Marshall McLuhan and Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau were also included. It was directed by Paul McGrath, produced by Allan Lysaght and first shown on Canadian TV in December 2000. Among those contributing new interviews to the programme was Yoko Ono. The documentary was issued as an NTSC VHS cassette and region 1 DVD on 17th September 2002 by Image/CBC who also released a region 2&4 PAL disc*, there are no bonus features other than a scene selection menu**. After watching it, one can't but help wish that John had been deported from the U.S. in 1972 and re-located north of the border!

*The dual (2&4) region DVD was released either on the same day or within 2 months of the R1 disc. It appears that a R2 only version was issued by BMG the following year on 28th July 2003.
**The documentary is divided into 15 chapters which are titled as follows: 1. Main Title; Love & Peace, 2. Getting into Canada, 3. The Montreal Bed-In, 4. Celebrity Visitors, 5. Recording Give Peace a Chance, 6. Hoodwinked into Ottawa, 7. The Toronto Rock 'n' Roll Revival, 1969, 8. War Is Over! The Peace Festival, 9. Selling Peace, 10. Hangin' With Hawkins, 11. Meeting with Trudeau, 12. Money Problems, 13. The Death of John Lennon, 14. Imagine, 15. End Credits.



Come Together - A Night For John Lennon's Words And Music
Released by Geneon/Pioneer on 3rd December 2002 (NTSC Region 1 DVD and VHS)*. This was a 95 minute document of the 2nd October 2001 concert staged at New York's Radio City Music Hall (just three weeks after the terrorist attacks of 9/11). Hosted by Kevin Spacey, the show had been broadcast live on US TV by WB & Turner Network Television.

*A region free PAL DVD was eventually issued by Eagle Rock Entertainment Ltd. on 3rd November 2003.
*Artists performing were as follows: Yolanda Adams and Billy Preston Imagine, Dave Matthews In My Life, Stone Temple Pilots Revolution, Alanis Morissette Dear Prudence, Moby, Sean Lennon and Rufus Wainwright Across the Universe, Cyndi Lauper Strawberry Fields Forever, Marc Anthony Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, Shelby Lynne Mother, Nelly Furtado and Dave Stewart Instant Karma, Lou Reed Jealous Guy, Natalie Merchant Nowhere Man, Kevin Spacey Mind Games, Craig David Come Together, Sean Lennon and Rufus Wainwright This Boy, Sean Lennon Julia, Ensemble Give Peace a Chance/Power to the People. There were also guest appearances by Kevin Bacon, Benjamin Bratt, Steve Buscemi, Edie Falco, James Gandolfini, Dustin Hoffman, Yoko Ono Lennon, Tim Roth, Leelee Sobieski and Ben Stiller



Lennon Legend
Sporting an identical cover to the 1997 compilation album of the same name, this DVD actually has more in common with the 2005 compilation Working Class Hero for it boasts re-mastered and re-mixed versions of Lennon's best known classics, some of which are slightly extended in length on the DVD (precious seconds that cannot be heard on any other official release). That was the major plus point, the negative was the problem which had beset the VHS John Lennon Video Collection, exacerbated here with further unnecessary tampering of the visuals, the most glaring example being the performance of the 1975 hit Stand By Me (a perfectly good live 1975 Lennon performance for The Old Grey Whistle Test was now intercut with scenes from the unrelated peace campaign period of 6 years prior). Lennon was always a contemporary artist describing what he was going through at the time and a man who went through many changes - Illustrating these performances with chronologically misplaced footage rarely sits comfortably with the discerning fan and there are also moments of deja vu with the same bits of film cropping up in montages for other songs. In terms of rare material, there were rewards, but it would have been nice to see such treasures presented in their original context.
Primarily aimed at the casual fan rather than the hardcore collector, Lennon Legend was first issued as a region 2 PAL DVD on 27th October 2003 by Parlophone, the region 1 NTSC DVD followed on 18th November 2003 bearing the Capitol logo. There were a handful of extra's** and an 8 page booklet of credits and photographs (all 10 of which were taken in the summer of 1971).

* The tracklisting for Lennon Legend was as follows:
Imagine (original 1971 promo), Instant Karma! (1970 'Top of the Pops' performance version two with Yoko knitting, version one had appeared on The John Lennon Video Collection),  Mother (a new photo montage),  Jealous Guy (footage of John recording his vocal track merged with the sequence used in the original Imagine film, this was possibly the version that was put together in 1985 to promote the British single release & the Imagine home video), Power to the People (as produced in 1992 for The John Lennon Video Collection albeit extended in length here),  Cold Turkey (new video combining 1972 Madison Square Garden footage with film of John and Yoko arriving at court in 1968 following the drug bust),  Love (new video, a mixture of Imagine film clips from 1971 and the 1980 'love making' footage), Mind Games (footage of John filming a promo for Whatever Gets You Through The Night), Whatever Gets You Through The Night (as produced in 1992 for The John Lennon Video Collection), #9 Dream (a new video combining extracts from the Two Virgins, Smile and Imagine films, this was met with much criticism at the time as it showed Yoko on a track that John recorded during his 'lost weekend' with May Pang), Stand By Me (mostly the 1975 Old Grey Whistle Test performance pointlessly intercut with 1969/71 footage), (Just Like) Starting Over (a new photo and memorabilia montage, a far superior video had been produced for The John Lennon Video Collection), Woman (original 1981 promo), Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy) (new video - slow motion sequences from a home video of John, Yoko, Sean and two friends sat and playing by the sea), Watching The Wheels (the highlight of the new video's - this utilised home movies from 1975-80), Nobody Told Me (a new video - yet more Imagine film clips from 1971 and 1969's Apotheosis used to illustrate a track from 1980), Borrowed Time (new video - another montage of clips, some rare, spanning 1968-80), Working Class Hero (new video which mixed stills & Beatles footage with newly shot film of John's childhood home on Menlove Ave. & Strawberry Fields), Happy Xmas (War Is Over) (new harrowing video showing scenes of war and its' inevitable consequences) and Give Peace a Chance (partly the original promo mixed with contemporary late 1960's/early 1970's footage of student riots, anti war rally's, John and Yoko singing the song with a large crowd in 1972 and finally the crowd of mourners singing it outside the Dakota in 1980).
**The special features were as follows:
Working Class Hero (an artificially extended version with interview clips interwoven with the song), Slippin' And Slidin' (as originally performed for The Old Grey Whistle Test on 18th March 1975), Imagine (the 18th April 1975 Lew Grade tribute show performance), Hair Peace (a snatch of March/April 1969 Amsterdam bed-in footage, inexplicably presented here with a time-code), Everybody Had A Hard Year (December 1968 footage of John and Yoko in the back garden singing what would become part of the Beatles song I've Got A Feeling), Animations(a selection of John's drawings animated into brief cartoons of just a few seconds each) and Imagine Instrumental (the backing track set to a montage of photographs).



Inside John Lennon
Passport International released this 80 minute biography DVD as a region free PAL disc on 10th November 2003, an NTSC Region 1 version soon followed on 9th December 2003. Among those interviewed were Allan Williams, Tony Sheridan, Alistair Taylor, Julia Baird and members of the Quarry Men. The cover made no secret of the fact that it was an unofficial release with the word "Unauthorized" emblazened across the front, as a result of which there was no Beatles/Lennon music or performances. Two stories told by Alf Bicknell and Alistair Taylor were added as bonus material.
 
 
 



The Dick Cavett Show - John & Yoko Collection
In contrast to recent offerings, this 2 disc DVD set offered the viewer the chance to step back in time and view the events as they actually happened - as it was seen at the time. Consisting of three ABC (US TV) chat show appearances by John and Yoko in 1971 and 1972, the footage was unedited - except for commercial breaks of course - and the other guests were included*. Disc One contains Cavett's 12th and 19th September 1971 broadcasts: John and Yoko were only scheduled to appear on the 12th September show but they continued talking beyond their alloted time, thankfully ABC continued taping and this was shown the following week. Disc Two has the 11th May 1972 show on which John and Yoko performed two songs live as well being interviewed**. Cavett recalls his meetings with John and Yoko in a bonus featurette Cavett and the Lennons and an 8 page booklet includes an essay by Marc Weingarten***. Housed in attractive packaging, the total running time is 3 hours 30 minutes. The only negative thing to say about this DVD is that it was a region 1 release only, issued by Shout in the US on 1st November 2005.

*Stan Freberg and Robert Citron appeared on the 19th September 1971 show and actress Shirley MacLaine was Cavett's other guests on the 11th May 1972 programme.
** John's Woman is the Nigger of the World and Yoko's We're All Water were performed on the 1972 show.
***Two original trailers are also included on the DVD as Easter Eggs - On disc one Cavett (with Freberg and Citron sat beside him) plugs the 19/Sep/1971 show, whilst on disc two John, Yoko and Shirley MacClaine appear with Cavett as he hypes the 11/May/1972 edition. To view the trailers, highlight 'Play All' and then press down arrow, a caricature of Cavett will now appear - press play.



Lennon: Timeless Portrait
An unofficial 74 minute DVD biography issued by Artemis Strategic on 4th April 2006 (NTSC Region 1) and by Pickwick on 18th September 2006 (PAL Region 2). Apparently it includes John & Yoko press conference footage and 4 bonus features*.

*Tracklisting; 1. Opening 2. First gig 3. John's great wit 4. Bed-in 5. Paul leaves The Beatles 6. Double Fantasy 7. Bonus Feature - How I Won The War 8. Bonus Feature - London Lyceum Ballroom 9. Bonus Feature - Ontario Science Center 10. Bonus Feature - Jutland, Denmark.
 
 



The Spirit Of John Lennon
ILC issued this 60 minute region free PAL DVD on 4th September 2006*, it was described as "an historic attempt to contact [John Lennon's] spirit.... Famed psychics from around the world travel to significant locations in the life of the former Beatle to try to find out more about the fabled musician.". The show had originally been broadcast as a 'Pay per view' event in the USA from 24th April 2006.

*A region free NTSC version was released by Crystal Entertainment on 13th March 2007 with an alternate cover showing a close up picture of an electric guitar.
 
 



Give Peace A Song
Effectively a companion volume to John & Yoko's Year Of Peace, this CBC production (again directed and produced by Paul McGrath and Alan Lysaght) focussed on the peace anthem Give Peace A Chance which had been written and recorded in Montreal during John & Yoko's 2nd and final bed-in event. Yoko Ono and Tommy Smothers were among those who contributed new interviews. Whilst this new documentary was not quite as essential as it's predecessor, it managed to avoid the pitfalls of repetition and was a welcome addition to the Lennon DVD collection having first been screened a year earlier on Canadian TV (9th December 2005). Hip-o/CBC released a region 1 DVD on 3rd October 2006 which ran to 81 minutes in total - the main feature being 45 minutes* with the 35 minutes of bonus material including some raw archive material from the Lennon's visits to Canada in 1969**, there was also a 4 page booklet of credits and stills. Fabulous Films Ltd. issued a region 2 version almost a year later on 27th August 2007.

*The main feature is divided into 6 chapters which are titled as follows: 1. The Bed-In Begins, 2. The Choir Assembles, 3. Recording Give Peace A Chance, 4. Pete Seeger Makes The Song Famous, 5. The Song Lives On, 6. John Lennon Performs Give Peace A Chance.
**The bonus material includes: "Peace Weekend" interview 20/Dec/1969, "Television Interview" 18/Dec/1969, "Press Conference" 17/Dec/1969, "Andre Perry Interview", "Petula Clark Visits The Bed-In" and "Tom Smothers And Judy Steinberg Bonus Interview"



The U.S. vs. John Lennon
Yoko Ono said of this film "Of all the documentaries that have been made about John, this is the one he would have loved". Without doubt the most important of all John Lennon Film/Video/DVD releases (it included contributions from Noam Chomsky no less*), The U.S vs. John Lennon was a 96 minute documentary by David Leaf and John Scheinfeld that told the story of how the American government came to view John Lennon as a serious threat to their chances of being re-elected in 1972 and their efforts to silence him. It was produced by Lionsgate in the mid 2000's amid ever increasing opposition to American foreign policy, thus inviting the viewer to draw parallels between the Nixon administration of the early 1970's and that of present day conditions under George W. Bush. Among those contributing new interviews were Yoko Ono, George McGovern, Gore Vidal, Walter Kronkite, Tariq Ali, Bobby Seale, John Sinclair, Angela Davis, Bob Gruen, Elliot Mintz and Jon Wiener (Wiener was the author of Come Together, a book based on classified FBI files held on the subject of John Lennon). For balance (or amusement), G. Gordon Liddy was also interviewed as well as ex-FBI agents. Rare archive material included colour footage of John defending his 'We're more popular than Jesus' statement in 1966 and a news report showing John on the day he received his green card (which had not been seen since it was first shown in 1976).
The film was given a theatrical release in the USA in September 2006 with a region 1 DVD following five months later on 13th February 2007. The region 2 version was delayed until 2nd April 2007** this had a different cover and menu design depicting a graphic of John forming a part of the American stars & stripes. The special features consisted of additional interview material with present day contributors and a scene selection***.

*The author of this web-site appears on the credits too :-D
** The release of the DVD in Britain occurred three days after it was first shown on BBC Television, to my ears the BBC2 broadcast sounded as though the film had been slightly speeded up and I feared a similar problem that had so obviously affected the R2 DVD release of Imagine:John Lennon, but thankfully no such problem was in evidence on the R2 U.S vs. JL DVD.
***The main feature was divided into 24 chapters and titled as follows: 1. Setting the stage, 2. Growing up, 3. Unpopular War, 4. Total Communication, 5. Honeymooners, 6. Bed Peace, 7. Give Peace a Chance, 8. Impacting the White House, 9. War Is Over! if you want it, 10. A Dreamer, 11. John and Yoko in NYC, 12. Tools against the government, 13. Song for John Sinclair, 14. Monitoring the opposition, 15. Aggressive steps, 16. Harassing the Lennons, 17. Nutopia, 18. Challenging case, 19. Facing forward, 20. Improper interference, 21. Great news, 22. Beautiful boy, 23. Sudden tragedy, 24. Worldwide message. The bonus footage was titled as follows: Theatrical trailer (not on the R2 version), Becoming John Lennon, Power to the People, Dissent vs. disloyalty, Then & now, Walter Kronkite meets the Beatles, The Two Virgins album cover, "Some time in New York", "Imagine", The 'One to One' benefit concert and Yoko Ono Lennon's letter to the parole board. There was also a DVD-ROM feature which offered the text of the Red Mole interview from 1971.



Classic Albums - John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band
"Classic Albums" was an engaging rock documentary series first seen on BBC Television in 1997, intermittent episodes continued to be screened over the years before the John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band edition was initially released on DVD by Eagle Rock Entertainment (PAL & NTSC versions, both region free) on 28th April 2008. Among those interviewed for the 50 minute programme were Yoko Ono, Ringo Starr, Klaus Voorman, Arthur Janov, Jan Wenner and Mark Lewisohn plus Abbey Road studio engineers Phil McDonald and Richard Lush*. The DVD boasted 37 minutes of additional material not included on the TV broadcast**.

*The scene selection is divided up as follows: 1. Introduction, 2. The Plastic Ono Band, 3. Give Peace a Chance, 4. Cold Turkey, 5. Instant Karma, 6. Mother, 7. Hold On, 8. Isolation, 9. I Found Out, 10. Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band, 11. Love, 12. Working Class Hero, 13. God.
**Bonus material - 1. Remember Remember, 2. Working Klaus Hero (Mark Lewisohn's potted history of Klaus Voorman's association with the Beatles/Lennon), 3. Well Well Well, 4. Well Well Well Hidden Praise, 5. Class Divide, 6. Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band, 7. God is Alive and Living in the Eiffel Tower, 8. Mother (Live at Madison Square Garden Aug/1972), 9. Instant Karma ('Top of the Pops' Feb/1970 - Version one [with Yoko holding card instructions]).



John Lennon in Performance
An unofficial region 2 DVD issued by Edgehill Publishing on 17th November 2008, the 70 minute feature was advertised as a "powerful independent retrospective" which drew upon "rare footage of John in performance with the Beatles and in his solo career". Interviewee's include Beatle aides Tony Barrow, Norman Smith, Tony Bramwell and Bill Harry - The same personal also appear on both The Beatles in Performance and Paul McCartney in Performance which were released around the same time.
 
 



Rare and Unseen
A trawl through the ITV archives uncovered a handful of tapes which justified a Lennon volume in a series of DVD's entitled "Rare and Unseen", the 75 minute feature included footage from a 1973 appearance on "Weekend World" (which really hadn't been seen outside the UK and not in that territory since its' original transmission), "Frost on Saturday" (1968), "Man of the Decade" (1969) and "Aquarius" (1972), though sadly none in complete unedited form. Among those offering contemporary thoughts and opinions were Quarrymen member Colin Hanton, Phil Collins and former Beatles press officer Tony Barrow. The region free disc was issued by Wienerworld Ltd on 22nd February 2010.
 
 



Nowhere Boy
This 99 minute dramatisation of Lennon's late-teenage years was screened in UK cinemas from 29th December 2009, the US release was delayed until 8th October 2010. It starred 19 year old English actor Aaron Johnson as Lennon, Kristin Scott-Thomas as Aunt Mimi and Anne-Marie Duff as Julia. John's Uncle George, best friend Pete Shotton, 'step father' Bobby Dykins and Beatle colleagues Paul McCartney and George Harrison were also depicted in the movie which was directed by Samantha Taylor-Wood with a screenplay written by Matt Greenhalgh. Initially the film was going to be based on Julia Baird's dubious book "Imagine This: Growing Up With My Brother" but ultimately Baird received no credit. Icon Home Entertainment issued the Region 2 DVD and Blue Ray version on 10th May 2010, Sony/The Weinstein Company eventually issued the region 1 disc with an alternate cover design on 25th January 2011. A soundtrack album featuring a mixture of 1950's Rock and Roll classics and new recordings by "The Nowhere Boys" also included John's track "Mother" after the film received an endorsement from Yoko Ono.


Lennon Naked
Another dramatisation, this time for BBC television in the UK. It starred 46 year old former 'Doctor Who' actor Christopher Eccleston playing a man who was some 20 years his junior during the period the film was set, 1967-1971. The focus was largely on John's relationship with his father (played by Christopher Fairbank) opening with a scene in which John was reunited with his Dad having not seen him since the age of 5. The 82 minute film was directed by Edmund Coulthard and written by Robert Jones, other characters portrayed included Yoko Ono (Naoko Mori), Cynthia (Claudie Blakley), Paul McCartney (Andrew Scott), Derek Taylor (Michael Colgan), Pete Shotton (Adrian Bower), Julian (Charlie Coulthard) and Arthur Janov (Allan Corduner). It received its' television premiere on BBC4 on 24th June 2010, a 2 Entertain/BBC region 2 DVD followed four days later and a region 1 disc was issued by BBC Warner on 23rd November.
 


Love Is All You Need
Another unofficial collection of archive material, this one directed by Alan Byron and Ashley Hall making use of TV interviews with Yoko Ono as well as Cynthia and Julian from the early 1980's to tell John's story, Julian talks about the car crash in Scotland in 1969 and his father's death. Paul Gambaccini was specially interviewed to provide a commentary. The 83 minute biography was issued as a region free DVD by Odeon Entertainment Ltd on 19th July 2010.
 
 
 
 


LENNONYC
2010 LENNONYC2010 was a high profile year for John in which he would have celebrated his 70th birthday, official products included a new album of unreleased material and a re-mastering of his regular albums as well as this 115 minute documentary film which was first broadcast in the United States on the PBS station on 22nd November. An A&E Home Video region 1 NTSC DVD release followed a day later, it was issued on Blue-ray on 11th January 2011 and a region 2 DVD was also made available around the same time. The film focussed on the years John lived in the United States (1971-1980) pretty much covering the same period as The U.S. vs. John Lennon movie released four years earlier, although this film concerned itself more with John's music and personal life rather than the political/protest angle. Among those interviewed were Yoko Ono, Jonas Mekas, members of Elephant's Memory, Bob Gruen, Jon Wiener, Elton John, Jim Keltner, Earl Slick and Record producer Jack Douglas.
 



 

Guest Contribution Video's & DVD's

Frost on Saturday
David Frost was a well known television interviewer on both sides of the Atlantic who first rose to fame as host of the controversial BBC satire programme "That Was The Week That Was" in 1963, Frost left the BBC in 1967 and in 1968 joined London Weekend Television (a new commercial service for the capital city and surrounding area) where he hosted chat shows on each of the three nights LWT was on the air (Friday, Saturday and Sunday), John and Yoko gave their very first television interview together soon after the station launched, the live appearance on the 24th August 1968 edition of "Frost on Saturday" being one of seven surviving complete programmes that were included on this 2 disc region 2 DVD set issued by Network on 4th October 2010 (There were also Friday and Sunday volumes). Although the cover includes colour photographs from John and Yoko's appearance, the actual programme was transmitted and recorded in black & white. Full details of John and Yoko's appearance on "Frost on Saturday", including a transcript, can be found here.
The Rolling Stones Rock And Roll Circus
Filmed in December 1968, John performed Yer Blues and Yoko did Her Blues*, John is also seen introducing the Rolling Stones section, dancing with the crowd and chatting with Mick Jagger. Due to a pay dispute involving the Rolling Stones and their dissatisfaction with their own performace, the film was not made available to the public until Universal released the home-video with an accompanying soundtrack album in October 1996. A region free DVD was released on October 25th 2004 with an alternate take of Yer Blues included as one of the extras.
*John referred to Yoko's number as "Her Blues" in an interview with John Peel at the time, but it was retitled Whole Lotta Yoko for the official release - presumably this title was a word play on Led Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love (which was not recorded/released until a year after Rock and Roll Circus). John and his backing band (Eric Clapton, Keith Richards & Mitch Mitchell) are referred to on the official release as "The Dirty Mac".
Dynamite Chicken
John and Yoko filmed a contribution for this film in December 1969, it was first shown in 1971. American Home Entertainment released an NTSC Home video on 20th September 1994. A region free DVD was released on 21st February 2005 by Quantum Leap.
Three Friends
Released in 1995 on VHS, this was a 52 minute Jonas Mekas film featuring Happy Birhday To John - the record of Lennon's birthday in 1971, along with some footage of the Lennon/Ono concert in Madison Square Gardens in 1972, the Vigil in Central Park in 1980 and other rare footage. It also features Zefiro Torna, images from the life of George Maciunas with bits of Fluxus events and performances and picnics with friends (Warhol, Lennon and Ono).
Oh Calcutta
John contrtibuted a sketch to the original 1969 stage version which was also used for the 1972 film version. The Uav Corporation released an NTSC home video of the film on July 14th 1980. Jef Films Inc. re-released it in America on October 27th 2003 before their DVD Region 1 version followed a year later on November 30th 2004.
Satan's Bed
An underground film completed in 1965 which included an acting role for Yoko Ono. It was issued on NTSC VHS at some point by Something Weird Video, a region 1 NTSC DVD then included it as part of a double feature (the other film being Scare their pants off) released on 8th January 2002. A region free PAL DVD was issued on 5th September 2005 (again as a double feature with Scare their pants off).

Withdrawn Home-Video

"John Lennon Live"
Described as "A 30 minute documentary of Yoko Ono recording with Elephant's Memory, with John sitting in." Some copies were apparently sold before it was withdrawn. Presumably it contained an edition (or re-edit) of Flipside which had been originally broadcast by American TV in 1973.
 

See also......
John & Yoko Filmography
John Lennon on Television

Off site links....
The Beatles Laserdiscs
John Lennon LaserDiscs & DVD's (for quality artwork scans)
 
 

You Are The Plastic Ono Band