The Compleat Beatles, released in 1982, is a two-hour documentary chronicling the career of the Beatles. Although it has since been supplanted by the longer and more in-depth documentary Beatles Anthology, The Compleat Beatles was for many years largely regarded as the definitive film about the Beatles. The word "compleat" is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the intentional misspelling of "Beetles" and a reference to the famous book on fishing, The Compleat Angler.
Narrated by actor Malcolm McDowell, it includes extensive interviews with a number of sources close to the Beatles. Some of the people interviewed are producer George Martin, their first manager Allan Williams, Cavern Club DJ Bob Wooler, music writer Bill Harry, and musicians Gerry Marsden, Billy J. Kramer, Marianne Faithfull, Billy Preston, Lenny Kaye, and Tony Sheridan. The film also includes archival footage of interviews with members of the Beatles and their manager Brian Epstein. Authors Nicholas Schaffner and Wilfrid Mellers are among the commentators who offer their views on the band's career. The Compleat Beatles also features early concert footage, behind-the-scenes background on the making of their albums, and candid footage of their often obsessed, hysterical fans.
Directed by Patrick Montgomery, the film was produced by Delilah Films/Electronic Arts Pictures and released theatrically by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and United Artists in 1984.