Peter Jackson’s Beatles documentary “Get Back” is a rarity for Disney+ as it contains a handful of scenes that contain smoking and explicit language. Disney outright banned the depiction of smoking in its films and television programs in 2017. No wonder the streaming giant included a disclaimer before the three installments of “Get Back” that reads: “This footage contains explicit language, mature themes, and smoking.” And if Disney had its way, all of the band’s cursing would’ve been removed from the documentary. Jackson revealed as much in a recent interview with NME.
“Paul [McCartney] describes it as being very raw,” Jackson said. “He said to me: ‘That is a very accurate portrayal of how we were then.’ Ringo [Starr] said: ‘It’s truthful.’ The truthfulness of it is important to them. They don’t want a whitewash. They don’t want it to be sanitized. Disney wanted to remove all the swearing and Ringo, Paul, and Olivia [Harrison] said: ‘That’s how we spoke. That’s how we talked. That’s how we want the world to see us.'”
When Jackson showed McCartney and Starr the documentary for the first time, they came back to him with no notes to change anything. As Jackson recalled, “When they got to see the finished thing, I was expecting notes. It would’ve just been normal to get a note saying: ‘Oh, that bit where I say that — could you cut that out?’ Or ‘Could you shorten the conversation there?’ And I didn’t get a single note. Not one request to do anything. One of them said that they watched it and found it one of the most stressful experiences of their entire life. ‘But I’m not gonna give you any notes.'”
“Get Back” has been largely acclaimed by television critics. IndieWire’s Steve Greene awarded the three-part series an A grade in his review, calling it “a riveting and playful look at the band’s last days.” Still, the documentary has tested the patience of many viewers. Each installment runs between two and three hours. The total runtime for “Get Back” is 468 minutes.
“I’d like to say that I didn’t really leave out anything that I thought was important,” Jackson told NME about the runtime, “which is why the duration has crept up to what it is today. I felt acutely — and this is the Beatles fan part of me kicking in — anything I don’t include in this movie might go back in the vault for another 50 years. I was seeing and hearing these amazing moments. I thought: ‘God, people have got to see this. This is great. They have to see this.'”
“The Beatles: Get Back” is now streaming on Disney+.