The Beatles' 1970 film 'Let It Be' to stream on Disney+ after decades out of circulation

The Beatles' final movie hasn't been available to watch in decades, but it's finally making a comeback with a little help from Peter Jackson.

A restored version of the 1970 Beatles documentary "Let It Be" will be released May 8 on Disney+, the streaming service announced Tuesday. Jackson's Park Road Post Production restored the film from its original negative and remastered the sound using the same technology utilized on the director's 2021 docuseries "The Beatles: Get Back."

"Let It Be," which chronicles the making of the Beatles album of the same name, was originally released just one month after the band broke up.

The original movie has been unavailable to fans for decades, last seen in a LaserDisc and VHS release in the early 1980s.

'They were different animals': Beatles doc 'Let It Be' is more than a shorter 'Get Back'

"The Beatles: Get Back" took a deep dive into the lives and recording sessions of The Beatles and led up to their famous rooftop concert in January 1969.
"The Beatles: Get Back" took a deep dive into the lives and recording sessions of The Beatles and led up to their famous rooftop concert in January 1969.

"So the people went to see 'Let It Be' with sadness in their hearts, thinking, 'I'll never see The Beatles together again, I will never have that joy again,' and it very much darkened the perception of the film," director Michael Lindsay-Hogg said in a statement. "But, in fact, how often do you get to see artists of this stature working together to make what they hear in their heads into songs."

Jackson's "The Beatles: Get Back" similarly took fans behind the scenes of the writing and recording of the "Let It Be" album using Lindsay-Hogg's outtakes, although the 1970 documentary features footage that wasn't in "Get Back," the announcement noted.

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In 2021, Jackson told USA TODAY that the original 1970 documentary is "forever tainted by the fact The Beatles were breaking up when it came out," and it had the "aura of this sort of miserable time." He aimed to change that perception with "Get Back," for which the filmmaker noted he was afforded much more time to show the full context than was possible in the original 80-minute film.

"I feel sorry for Michael Lindsay-Hogg," he added. "It's not a miserable film, it's actually a good film, it's just so much baggage got attached to it that it didn't deserve to have."

The director noted at the time that he went out of his way to avoid using footage that was in "Let It Be" as much as possible, as he "didn’t want our movie to replace" the 1970 film.

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In a statement on Tuesday, the "Lord of the Rings" filmmaker said he is "absolutely thrilled" that the original movie will be available to fans who haven't been able to watch it for years.

"I was so lucky to have access to Michael's outtakes for 'Get Back,' and I've always thought that 'Let It Be' is needed to complete the 'Get Back' story," Jackson said. "Over three parts, we showed Michael and The Beatles filming a groundbreaking new documentary, and 'Let It Be' is that documentary – the movie they released in 1970. I now think of it all as one epic story, finally completed after five decades."

He added that it's "only right" that Lindsay-Hogg's movie "has the last word" in the story.

Contributing: Kim Willis

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Beatles 'Let It Be' movie to stream on Disney+ in Peter Jackson print