All you need is love. Within the lyrics of the world's most famous songs, lives a story that has never been told. Until now. They lived without rules. They loved without fear. But as the world changed, so did they. From director Julie Taymor comes the most original, exhilarating, spectacular, groundbreaking motion picture of the year.
Miscellaneous In the scene in New York's Port you can see a modern day ferry in the background.
Miscellaneous "Crash" bumpers (able to withstand a 5 mph impact) are seen on the Checker cab. "Crash" bumpers weren't used on cars until the 1973 model year. The cab seen is at the earliest a 1974 model.
Miscellaneous When Jude is on the beach in the "Blackbird" sequence, the wind turbines in The Mersey Estuary can be seen.
Miscellaneous A modern Merseyrail train can be seen crossing a bridge in the background of one of the Liverpool shots.
Miscellaneous In the scenes taking place on the high school basketball court, there are floor markings for a three point arc. High schools did not adopt the three point shot until the 1980s.
Miscellaneous Just prior to the song "Dear Prudence", Max is holding a box of "Cap'n Crunch" cereal with a modern design.
Miscellaneous The bus Dr. Robert is on has a more modern day "Chevrolet" and "V-8" insignia near the hood and front door.
Miscellaneous When Jude is seen packing his stuff in his Liverppol bedroom just after finishing on the docks we can see a Liverpool FC poster on the wall mimicking the famous "This is Anfield" sign. The LFC crest design shown on that poster hadn't come into being in the 60's - in fact it's probably more at home in the late 80's.
Miscellaneous When the two girls are riding bicycles toward the home where they see their mother get bad news, there are modern fiber optic TV cables on the poles around the street. The strain relief loop is highly visible.
Miscellaneous In the scene where Sadie is in the dressing room, she takes a drink from a bottle of Jack Daniels. The neck of the bottle has black plastic on it. In the late 60's, Jack Daniels was sealed with paper tape across the top of the bottle.
Miscellaneous As Jude exits the pub at the end of the film there's a (now commonly seen) security video camera pointed at the pub's entrance - something that wouldn't have existed in the era.
Audio/Video Mismatch When Jo-Jo is playing guitar solo in "Come Together", it sounds like his Telecaster has a whammy bar, which it has not. He even mimes using it with his right hand. But with his left hand he doesn't even bend the strings.
Character Error At the military funeral, the soldiers fold the flag wrong, as the stars should never face down. Soldiers would definitely know this.
Character Error During the "I Am The Walrus" scene, the man sings "coo coo cachoo" when the real lyrics to the original song was "goo goo gachoob".
Character Error When Jude and Max run into each other at Princeton and the books fly everywhere, they leave some papers on the ground.
Character Error Prudence bumps her head as she "comes in through the bathroom window".
Character Error When Lucy quotes the opening lyrics to "I Am the Walrus", she says "I am me, as you are he, as you are me". The correct opening (as sung by Dr. Robert) is "I am HE, as you are he, as you are me".
Character Error After Jude gets off the boat and is speaking with his former girlfriend, her husband comes over and escorts her away. His wedding ring is on his right hand and not his left.
Continuity When Lucy is trying to make it to the roof at the end of the movie the police officers go from having night sticks in their hands to having their hands facing palms out to stop the crowds.
Continuity During the school dance the one of the musicians switches from playing the keyboard to playing the drums in the same song.
Continuity Dr. Robert's bus, when it's rolling into town and when it's on its way to Dr. Geary's place, has two separate cloth chairs on the back of it, but when it pulls away from there without Jude, Lucy, etc., it has a love-seat.
Continuity (at around 1h 50 mins) As Jude is climbing the stairs toward the newsstand, he is wearing a gray boiler suit (coverall). When he pays for his paper and turns away, he is wearing a black jacket and black jeans.
Continuity In the first scene where Jude is at home with his mother, he barely spreads butter over a piece of bread and puts it in his mouth. When he turns around, the butter is spread across the entire piece.
Continuity When Max is playing golf on the roof the beer bottle used for as a tee disappears and reappears between shots.
Continuity Mr. Kite's yellow gloves vanish when he's ushering the group into the tent, then reappear when he's in the tent.
Continuity While the characters are outside Mr. Kite's tent, the lighting and shadows keep changing from a mid-day light to a sunset-like light.
Continuity During the "It Won't Be Long" sequence in Lucy's bedroom with her sister and her sister's friend, the young girls are laying on the bed holding a bowl of popcorn and singing backup to Lucy, in the next shot, when Lucy joins them on the bed, the popcorn has dissolved into thin air.
Continuity During the "Strawberry Fields Forever" sequence, when Jude first starts to paint the big strawberry, his right arm is behind his head before he starts to paint. His arm crosses his body to the left and when the camera shot is zoomed out, his right arm is behind his head again.
Continuity During the "Strawberry Fields Forever" sequence a shot shows Jude's foot splattered with bright red paint. Once the shot cuts away and back, the paint disappears. When the shot then cuts away and back a second time the splattered paint is on his foot again.
Continuity Towards the end where the police are blocking off the Strawberry Jams building, in one scene as Lucy just got back they don't have the batons, but the shot right after they are all holding batons.
Crew/Equipment Visible While Max is fighting in Vietnam during "Helter Skelter" his M16 has a blank firing adapter installed on the end of the barrel, which allows the prop weapon to fire multiple rounds.
Crew/Equipment Visible When Jude was in the first car of the subway during "Across the Universe", a crew can be seen in the window reflection on the right side of the screen.
Errors in Geography The "Dayton" athletic field scene for "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" is filmed in Brooklyn's Red Hook section, in front of the former Port of New York Authority Grain Terminal. When the camera takes Prudence's point of view, the tops of lower Manhattan and Jersey City skyscrapers can be seen over the trees.
Factual Mistake Military deaths are reported to family by two officers, one of which is a Chaplain. The personnel that tell Daniel's mother of his death are both Sergeants.
Factual Mistake The armory which Max enters is actually located on 26th Street and Lexington Avenue in New York City. At the armory there is a gold "69" in the floor when you enter. It represents the Fighting 69th Regiment located in this armory. When Max enters the "69" is not visible.
Errors in Geography In the "With a Little Help From My Friends" scene Jude is "handed" a joint, if you look closely his fingers are touching each other indicating they aren't holding anything. Yet a split second later he coughs out a puff of smoke. This is done because they were filming on Princeton University's campus and they weren't allowed to have actually drugs, so they mimed the joint instead. This is stated in the movie commentary. This was also done to keep the film from receiving an "R" rating.
Revealing Mistakes The boy in the coffin during the "Let it Be" sequence is very clearly breathing.
Revealing Mistakes In the scene where the white women dance on top of the water and, subsequently, fall in, one of the platforms that a dancer (on the right side of the "v") is standing on is clearly visible, covered and uncovered by the waves.
Revealing Mistakes When Lucy shoots the ball in the basketball scene of "It Won't Be Long", she ends up missing, but in the first shot of the ball hitting the rim, it clearly looks like it's going in.
Revealing Mistakes During the "Come Together" dance number in the New York, one of the dancers holding a briefcase trips during the combination.
Revealing Mistakes The movie clearly takes place in November (hence Thanksgiving) in and around New York City and progresses from there, but snow is never seen. Also, it would be way too cold to be driving around with the top down in a convertible.
Revealing Mistakes During the "Happiness Is A Warm Gun" scene, whenever the priest closes the soldier's eyes, meaning that he's died, right before the priests closes the lids, you see the soldier's eyes briefly blink.
Revealing Mistakes When Jojo is walking down the street after the businessmen "dance" his reflection is missing from the window behind him.
Revealing Mistakes The accordion player in Mr. Kite's band is obviously not playing any of the left-hand bass buttons. Instead, his thumb is on the bellows release button which allows him to open and close the bellows without actually playing any notes on the instrument.
Revealing Mistakes As Mr. Kite backs up, he inadvertently bumps into one of the blue people.
Continuity When Max is in the hospital, the bed posts change between the beginning and end of the scene.
Vermont's Bread & Puppet Theater and its circus band are the inspiration and visual references for many of the characters throughout the "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!" sequence. Notable characters replicated for the movie include Uncle Fatso, Washer Women, White Ladies, and the many armed Mother head. The Bread & Puppet Theater is also noted in the film credits.
In the beginning of "Come Together", the man in the station is playing air guitar with his left hand strumming. Probably a reference to Paul McCartney being left-handed.
Although in the scene outside the high school everyone was dressed in jackets, coats, hats etc... It was actually near 80 degrees while filming. In fact, when the camera cut, they brought umbrellas over the principal actors to keep them in the shade.
Sadie's record company is called "Strawberry Jamz" - a play on the Beatles company "Apple Corps."
T.V. Carpio's dad was proud of T.V. for landing the job. He made appearances at the recordings, and was granted permission to participate in the bus scene when I Am The Walrus plays.
The Cavernous club seen in the UK side of the alternating vignettes at the opening of the film is also a reference to the Cavern Club.
French visa # 118210.
The song played by the band before the song "For the Benefit of Mr. Kite" is the Washington and Lee Swing.
The non-existent joint in the "With a Little Help From My Friends" sequence is non-existent to ensure that the movie is not R-rated.
During the number "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite", the blue people surrounding Mr. Kite are a reference to the Blue Meanies from The Beatles animated movie: Yellow Submarine (1968).
The quote "you're either on the bus, or off the bus" is taken from the book "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test," by Tom Wolfe.
Jake Gyllenhaal was considered for the role of Jude.
During "Happiness is a Warm Gun", the dancing priest does the same dance the hippy in "Come Together" does across the crosswalk when he's in the area with the prostitutes.
According to Julie Taymor she used 30 songs of The Beatles as a basis for the script that covers events from 1963 to 1969, but in the film those 6 years are compressed into two years.
The psychedelically painted Porsche parked out in front of the (roof top concert) building was a reference to the 356C Porsche Cabriolet owned and driven by Janis Joplin.
Jude and his nude drawings of himself and Lucy are based on when John Lennon drew some nude drawings of himself and Yoko.
During the "Mr. Kite" scene, Mr, Kite says "Just tune in, turn off, drop out, drop in, switch off, switch on, and explode", which is a reference to a quote from Professor Timothy Leary.
Some scenes are derived from actual 1960s events, such as the violent student protest at Columbia University. The actual explosion at a New York townhouse was the work of the Weather Underground and took place at 18 West 11th Street in Greenwich Village; a photograph of the actual house appears in the movie. The Beatles were also stopped by police while playing a rooftop concert in London while filming Let It Be (1970).
During the underwater scene, Jude and Lucy pose alludes to John Lennon and Yoko Ono on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine Issue 335 (Jan. 22, 1981). They were photographed by Annie Leibovitz.
Director Julie Taymor created the part of Sadie for Dana Fuchs.
The "Why Don't We Do It In The Road" scene is alluding to how 'Brian Epstein' discovered The Beatles.
Sadie's record company is called "Strawberry Jamz" - a play on The Beatles original company "Apple Corps."
The dancing priest in "Happiness is A Warm Gun" (the scene in the hospital) is choreographer Daniel Ezralow.
Joe Anderson was originally being looked at to play the role of Jude, but at the audition, he told Julie Taymor that he was the character of Max and would rather audition for that role instead.
The setting of the Mr. Kite scene - a small tent in the middle of a field, into which a disproportionate number of people enter - is a reference to a scene in Magical Mystery Tour (1967), which also appeared as a scene in a comic book that accompanied the original album.
Early versions of the script had a character named Sgt. Pepper, with "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" set to accompany his scene. The character was scrapped as the script was finalized for production.
Max in a veterans hospital having his next drug shot from a nurse (Hayek) is singing "Happiness Is a Warm Gun" while the hospital floor is spinning like a roulette, alluding to men being casualties of war like in a "Russian Roulette."
When Jude decided to stay in America just to be with Lucy and to continue his artwork, it's a possible reference to the late ex-Beatle Stuart Sutcliffe, who decided to stay in Germany just to be with his girlfriend.
When Sadie plays at the Fillmore, she is billed as Sadie and the Po Boys, a reference to the Creedence Clearwater Revival album "Willie and the Poor Boys."
During Jeff Beck''s instrumental cover of "A Day In The Life", Jude is seen wearing a mack and cloth cap. This is reminiscent of 'Ringo Star''s wearing the exact same clothing in during his "parading" in A Hard Day's Night (1964).
The prosthetic faces of the soldiers during "I Want You" are casts of the face of 'Michael Balderrama', the lead dancer in this sequence.
In the movie Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood)'s boyfriend enlists in the army and is killed in action in Vietnam. In the video for Green Day's song "Wake me up when September Ends" Evan's character's boyfriend enlists in the Marines and is possibly injured or even killed in Iraq.
The Cavernous club seen in the UK side of the alternating vignettes at the opening of the film is the 'New' Cavern Club in Liverpool. The original Cavern Club where The Beatles played in the 60s was closed in 1973 and the site became a ventilation shaft for Liverpool's underground railway. The new club opened in 1984 occupying about 50% of the original site and built with bricks from the original club.
During the performance of Strawberry Fields, the main characters watch TV. In the counter shot we see the same image projected on their faces. This is a reference to the promotional video that the Beatles made to accompany the song when it was released.
The Army officers who tell Daniel's mother that he is dead wear the name tag "Poe" in reference to Lennon's "I am the Walrus".
In the film "Yellow Submarine" during the song "Eleanor Rigby" there is a man trapped in a phone booth. There is a scene in "Across the Universe" when Lucy is calling her mother and she becomes trapped in the phone booth during a riot.
While Sadie and the Po Boys are performing, you can see a Gibson J-160E Acoustic Guitar on the stage, the same model played by John Lennon and George Harrison.
Actors singing the song 'Because' are laid in a field with their heads clustered together as a flower and their bodies resembling flower petals. The grass surrounding them represents the field that the flower is in.
Julie Taymor was inspired by Rafael Fracacio's Butterfly (2003), a psychedelic short film, to create the lethargic experience in the bus sequence and the "I Am The Walrus" clip, in the movie.
When Jude returns to find that Lucy has gone, and sinks down to the floor in grief, a trumpet - very similar to the one Ringo Starr holds on the cover of' Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band' - is leaning against the wall under the window.
The stained glass windows in Jude's apartment feature 45 RPM records as the center of the flowers.
Release prints were delivered to some theaters with the fake title "Love and Freedom".
Although the opening of the film is set at a "Dayton High School" in Dayton, Ohio, no such school exists or ever existed in Dayton. In the 1960s, Dayton had several high schools, none of which had Wildcats as a mascot.
In the scene where Jude and Molly are at the Cavern Club, one of the guitarists on stage is playing a Gretsch Duo Jet guitar, very similar to the one that George Harrison played.
The intro of the film version of "If I Fell" is borrowed from The Beatles's intro to "Good Day Sunshine."
The carnival music playing before Mr. Kite reveals himself is the same music used in a crucial scene in Julie Taymor's previous film Titus (1999).
The dancing club that Jude and his girlfriend Molly went to is based on the Cavern Club where the Beatles played in the 60s. You can even see 4 band members dressed in leather, based on the Beatles' outfits back in the late 50s.
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da": The name Molly (Jude's Liverpool girlfriend) alludes to Molly in the song.
The Word": When discussing Dr. Robert's bus Sadie's manager says "Spread the word".
A Day In The Life": When Jeff Beck's instrumental cover of "A Day In The Life" plays, Jude is reading a newspaper - a reference to the lyric, "I read the news today, oh boy."
I Want You": The famous Uncle Sam recruitment poster is animated to illustrate the song.
Martha My Dear": Jude's mother's name is Martha.
Lovely Rita": Prudence's friend's name is Rita.
Sexy Sadie": Though the character of Sadie is a reference to Janis Joplin, it is also a reference to this song.
Get Back": While JoJo's character is a reference to Jimi Hendrix, it is also a reference to "Get Back" (particularly the first line "JoJo was a man who thought he was a loner/But he knew it wouldn't last.")
Revolution 9": The number of the building where the rooftop concert takes place is #9.
Hello Goodbye": After Prudence enters through the bathroom window, Jude greets her saying "Hello, hello" which can be seen as a reference to "Hello Goodbye" (which was called Hello Hello by McCartney while he was writing it).
She Came In Through the Bathroom Window": When Prudence first enters the apartment through the window, Jude comments "She came in through the bathroom window.
When I'm Sixty-Four": The shipyard employee that gives Jude his paycheck says he thought he'd be doing something different when he was sixty-four.
Salma Hayek specifically requested to appear in the film. When director Julie Taymor mentioned the role of the Bang Bang Shoot Shoot Nurse, Hayek replied, "Just ONE of the nurses, Julie?"
The musical arrangement of "With a Little Help From My Friends" starts out being closely tied to the one used by the Beatles' original 1967 studio recording, but then it segues into sounding much more like Joe Cocker's radically re-orchestrated 1969 cover version of the song, which he performed at Woodstock (this was the version that was also used as the theme song to the TV show "The Wonder Years" (1988). Cocker performs on a different Across the Universe (2007) track, "Come Together" (with Martin Luther McCoy).
Paul McCartney and Yoko Ono were supportive during the film production, and were in touch with director Julie Taymor.
When Jude takes inspiration from the bowl of strawberries, he creates a Jackson Pollock-styled "splatter" painting. This seemingly alludes to Stuart Sutcliffe, once a bassist with The Beatles, who was a painter in the Jackson Pollock style.
This film was released in the United States on John Lennon's birthday (October 9th).
"Because" is sung by exactly nine actors - a reference to the way The Beatles recorded the song - the 3-part harmony vocal performance among John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison is overdubbed three times to make nine voices in all.
Cafe Huh? is a reference to Cafe Wha?, originally in Greenwich Village.
During the number "With a Little Help From My Friends," a prominent poster of actress Brigitte Bardot is a reference to John Lennon's life-long obsession with her.
When the bus arrives at "Dr. Geary's," Jude asks "What is that place?" To which Sadie replies "headquarters of the League of Spiritual Deliverance." An obvious reference to LSD, not only using the letters, but also referring to the experiences that Timothy Leary claimed to result from LSD.
Studio head Joe Roth disliked Julie Taymor's initial cut of the film, and had it re-edited to better suit mass audiences. While Taymor's contract gave her "final cut" rights, Roth hoped to persuade her to allow his version of the film to be released instead. This was unsuccessful though, and Taymor threatened a lawsuit if Roth failed to release her version. Moreover, in exchange for participating in the DVD release and the film's publicity campaign, Taymor forced the studio to sign an agreement that all copies of Roth's edit would be destroyed without ever being released to the general public, and that no further re-edits of the film (barring television edits) could ever be released without her express permission.
The father running away when Jude's mother was pregnant with Jude is based on when John Lennon's father left his family when John was only 4 years old.
Apple Records, the studio owned by The Beatles, is referenced when Jude is trying to draw a green apple, then slices it in half, thus producing the two logos of the company. The close-up shows a sliced apple almost exactly as it is on the logo.
During the number "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite", some of the text that appears in the background is taken directly from the vintage circus poster that inspired John Lennon to write the song.
The rooftop concert toward the end of the film is a reference to the rooftop concert of The Beatles atop Apple Records' headquarters, their final public appearance. The police interrupting the show alludes to how it really was at the Beatles' last concert in London while filming Let It Be (1970).
The painted bus and Dr. Robert (Bono) singing "I am the walrus" is a reference to psychedelic painted bus The Beatles had in their film Magical Mystery Tour (1967), as well as Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters who traveled around the United States in his bus. The punch at the party is of course then "electric" Kool Aid, just like Kesey used at his parties. Finally, when Dr. Robert stops at "Dr. Geary's" place, this refers to Timothy Leary who also experimented with LSD and was often at odds with Kesey.
The following items are a list of references to songs by The Beatles:
The title of the movie, and many of the characters are named after various songs: Lucy, Jude, Max (Maxwell) Sadie, Mr. Kite, Dr. Robert, Prudence, JoJo, Rita.
Helter Skelter" is heard in the pre-title montage, and is also a reference to the scattered method that the scenes are shown.
Doctor Robert": When Jude, Lucy, and Max are at the party for Doctor Robert (portrayed by Bono) they are seen drinking from a bowl of unknown liquid. This is a reference to the lyric, "Take a drink from his special cup, Doctor Robert."
Get Back": A voice is heard yelling "Get Back!" when Sadie leaves the stage during "Oh! Darling".
Strawberry Fields Forever": During the Thanksgiving dinner scene, Lucy's and Max's grandmother remarks that "the cranberry sauce isn't as tangy as last year," referencing the use of the words "cranberry sauce" uttered by John (which was often misheard as "I buried Paul," adding to the myth that Paul was dead.)
Maxwell's Silver Hammer": At college, Max generally goofs off and causes trouble. This is a reference to the song lyric, "Back in school again/Maxwell plays the fool again." Also, when Max and Jude first meet Sadie, she says they seem harmless, then looks at Max and says, "Then again, you coulda murdered your granny with a hammer." Max is later seen "fixing" a fan with a hammer.
Jude's life progression is similar to John Lennon's. As John Lennon did, Jude first lived in Liverpool then soon after that moved to New York City to work as an artist like Lennon. Jude then encounters trouble with the law and is deported (Lennon was arrested as well, but an attempt to deport him failed).
The character of JoJo is a clear reference to Jimi Hendrix. Sadie dresses him up in the purple shirt and bandanna - one of Jimi's most famous stage costumes. JoJo also plays a Fender guitar - the same brand played by his prototype, Jimi Hendrix.
Bono wears a hat with the word YES written across it in reference to John Lennon and Yoko Ono's first meeting in her art studio, where he found a ladder propped against a white wall. After climbing the ladder at the top he found the word "yes". When he asked Yoko why she smiled and said "would you rather it tell you no?"
Daily Variety reported that the filmmakers had to pay the owners of the rights to the songs of The Beatles, publisher ATV/Sony Music and Michael Jackson, about $10,000,000 for the 30 songs used in the film (roughly $330,000 for each song). As a condition of the songs' use, the advertising posters for the film could not mention The Beatles nor the songwriters' names. However, the owners of the rights to the songs of The Beatles were unable to ban the names of John Lennon and Paul McCartney in the film credits.
Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono, Paul McCartney and Olivia Harrison praised the film after seeing it.
A scene when Prudence locks herself in the closet and has to be serenaded out by the other cast members - is a reference to a real occurrence in 1968 at the ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in India where The Beatles, Mia Farrow, Donovan, and others were studying. Mia Farrow's sister, Prudence, was reclusive and did not leave her living quarters to join the other students, inspiring John Lennon to write the song "Dear Prudence." The film also uses the song as a subtle reference to the fictional Prudence character's reluctance to 'come out of the closet' in relation to her sexual orientation.
Sadie, with her fiery red hair and passionate temper, is a reference to Janis Joplin. Sadie is even seen drinking directly from a Jack Daniels bottle during her downward spiral, an action that Janis did regularly with Southern Comfort. Even Janis' throaty singing voice is used by Sadie in the movie.
Paul McCartney enjoyed a private screening together with director Julie Taymor, and expressed how much he liked the film.
In an interview, Evan Rachel Wood and Jim Sturgess said that they were at dinner one day and heard that Ringo Starr would be attending a screening in town. They promptly booked it to the theater and watched their movie with one of the original Beatles. Sturgess then asked Starr what he thought of it. He said he enjoyed it very much.
Director Julie Taymor watched the premiere of Across The Universe sitting next to Paul McCartney. She was nervous about what he would think so when the movie was over she asked if there was anything he didn't like about it and McCartney responded "What's not to like?" McCartney also sang along with "All My Loving" under his breath, a very moving moment for Taymor.
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