That'll Be the Day

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  • PG
  • 1973
  • 1 hr 31 min
  • 6.6  (1,367)

That'll Be the Day is a 1973 coming-of-age drama film directed by Claude Whatham and starring David Essex, Ringo Starr, and Rosemary Leach. It tells the story of Jim MacLaine (David Essex), a restless teenager who is determined to escape his mundane life in post-World War II England and become a rock star. Set in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the film follows Jim as he drops out of school and leaves home to pursue his dream of playing music. He meets Mike (Ringo Starr), a drummer in a local band, and they form a group together. Along the way, Jim falls in love with a girl named Jeanette (Rosie Lea) and struggles to balance his personal life with his musical ambitions.

The film explores themes of youth rebellion, class divides, and the changing cultural landscape of Britain in the post-war years. It features a memorable soundtrack of classic rock and roll hits, including songs by Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, and Little Richard.

David Essex delivers a standout performance as Jim MacLaine, capturing the character's mix of ambition, insecurity, and youthful arrogance. Ringo Starr, in his first major acting role, brings a dry wit and subtle charm to the role of Mike. Rosie Lea is also excellent as Jeanette, imbuing the character with a vulnerable sweetness that makes her relationship with Jim all the more poignant.

One of the film's strengths is its attention to detail in recreating the period. From the fashions to the cars to the slang, every aspect of the film feels authentic and immersive. Director Claude Whatham makes excellent use of locations, capturing the gritty beauty of the seaside towns and dance halls where Jim and his friends perform.

That'll Be the Day is not just a nostalgia piece, however. It offers a nuanced perspective on the cultural upheavals of the time, exploring the tensions between the working-class roots of rock and roll and the middle-class aspirations of Jim and his friends. The film also touches on broader themes of social mobility and generational conflict, making it a compelling snapshot of a unique moment in British history.

Overall, That'll Be the Day is a compelling and enjoyable drama with strong performances, memorable music, and a keen eye for detail. While it may not be a groundbreaking piece of cinema, it captures a particular time and place in vivid and entertaining fashion. Fans of rock and roll or period dramas should find much to enjoy here, and even those unfamiliar with the era should appreciate the film's affecting coming-of-age story.

That'll Be the Day
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 31 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.6  (1,367)