All You Need Is Cash

All You Need Is Cash
(also known as The Rutles)

DVD cover
Directed by Eric Idle
Gary Weis
Written by Eric Idle
Neil Innes
Starring Eric Idle
Neil Innes
John Halsey
Ricky Fataar
Michael Palin
George Harrison
Bianca Jagger
John Belushi
Dan Aykroyd
Gilda Radner
Bill Murray
Distributed by NBC (USA)
BBC Two (UK)
Release dates
  • March 22, 1978 (1978-03-22)
Running time
76 minutes
Country United Kingdom
United States
Language English

All You Need Is Cash (also known as The Rutles) is a 1978 television film that traces (in mockumentary style) the career of a fictitious British rock group called The Rutles. As TV Guide described it, the group's resemblance to The Beatles is "purely — and satirically — intentional."

The film was co-produced by the production companies of Eric Idle and Lorne Michaels, and directed by Idle and Gary Weis. It was first broadcast on 22 March 1978 on NBC, earning the lowest[1][2] ratings of any show on American Prime time network television that week. It did much better in the ratings when it premiered in the UK on BBC2 less than one week later.

The music and events in the lives of the Rutles paralleled that of The Beatles, spoofing many of the latter's career highlights. For instance, the animated film Yellow Submarine is parodied as Yellow Submarine Sandwich, and the song "Get Back" became "Get Up And Go". Songs from the film were released on an accompanying soundtrack album.


All You Need Is Cash was one of the first films of its kind, and an inspiration for the successful Rob Reiner cult comedy This Is Spinal Tap, released in 1984.

The Rutles were played by Eric Idle, John Halsey, Ricky Fataar, and Neil Innes. The band originally appeared in a sketch on Idle's program Rutland Weekend Television. The sketch was later re-broadcast on the American television show Saturday Night Live. For the film, Fataar replaced David Battley as Stig.

All You Need Is Cash is a series of skits and gags that illustrate the fictional Rutles story, closely following the chronology of The Beatles'. Innes, a former member of the British musical comedy group Bonzo Dog Band and associate of the Monty Python troupe, became acquainted with the Beatles when the Bonzo Dog Band had a cameo appearance in the movie Magical Mystery Tour in which they performed "Death Cab for Cutie". Paul McCartney had also produced the Bonzo's only hit single, I'm the Urban Spaceman, composed and sung by Innes. Fourteen of Innes' songs were released on a soundtrack album (the CD version added six songs omitted from the original vinyl album). The album was both critically and commercially successful and was nominated for a Grammy award for Best Comedy Recording of the year. The orchestrations and arrangements for the Rutles recordings were made by film composer John Altman. John Halsey, Ricky Fataar, and Neil Innes performed their own respective musical and vocal parts, but Eric Idle's vocals were sung [slightly sped up] by Ollie Halsall, who also played the lead guitar parts.

The film has many cameo appearances by both British and American comedians, including Monty Python, Saturday Night Live, and Rutland Weekend Television. George Harrison has a cameo role as a television journalist conducting an interview outside the headquarters of Rutle Corps, oblivious to the stream of people coming out of the building carrying items stolen from the office; this is a reference to the Beatles' famously plundered Apple Boutique and Apple Headquarters, where even the ceiling lining was looted. The interview ends abruptly as the microphone is stolen out of his hand.

The film also features cameos from Idle's fellow Python Michael Palin; several SNL cast members including Gilda Radner, John Belushi, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Al Franken, and Tom Davis; Bianca Jagger as Dirk McQuickly's wife Martini; Ronnie Wood as a Hells Angel; and Mick Jagger, Paul Simon, and Roger McGough as themselves. The Beatles publicity was also parodied. London was awash with posters saying "The Rutles Are Coming", analogous to the "The Beatles Are Coming" poster.

The program fared well on its British debut on BBC television. The film's cult status grew from the success of the soundtrack album, and after its release on the new medium of home video.


Subsequent re-releases

The show has been released on DVD, originally in a 66-minute version incorporating cuts for syndication, later in a "special edition" restored to its full length of 72 minutes and with extras including a commentary by Idle. The full-length version replaces a spoof newsreel voiceover by Idle with an American-sounding announcer.

The soundtrack was reissued on CD. It included additional tracks from the original television sessions remixed in stereo by Neil Innes. Innes, Fataar and Halsey returned in 1996 to record The Rutles Archaeology, but without the involvement of Eric Idle.

See also




External links and references

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