Peter Jackson to release restored version of Beatles’ 1970 documentary Let It Be on Disney+

<span>The Beatles performing on the Apple Headquarters’ rooftop in London 1969. The performance was part of filming for the documentary Let It Be.</span><span>Photograph: Mirrorpix/Getty Images</span>
The Beatles performing on the Apple Headquarters’ rooftop in London 1969. The performance was part of filming for the documentary Let It Be.Photograph: Mirrorpix/Getty Images

After decades out of circulation, the Beatles’ 1970 documentary Let It Be has been restored by Peter Jackson’s production company.

Directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, Let It Be captures the recording sessions of the band’s final album of the same title. It was originally released mere weeks after the Beatles officially announced their split. None of the members of the band attended its premiere in 1970.

The documentary has since become remembered as a little-seen curio chronicling the group’s demise, with scenes of internal strife and bickering alongside the frenzy of their month-long recording process.

Related: Now and Then: listen to the ‘final’ Beatles song

Let It Be also served as the starting point for Jackson’s 2021 miniseries The Beatles: Get Back, an eight-hour epic pieced together from nearly 60 hours of behind-the-scenes footage initially shot for Lindsay-Hogg’s film.

Jackson’s version of Let It Be employs the same technology used in Get Back to restore the vintage footage, Variety reports.

Let It Be has not been available in any official form since the early 80s, though low-quality bootleg versions copied from earlier VHS and laserdisc releases have circulated among fans over the years.

“I’m absolutely thrilled that … Let it Be has been restored and is finally being rereleased after being unavailable for decades,” Jackson said in a statement. “I’ve always thought that Let It Be is needed to complete the Get Back story.”

Jackson said that he considers the two projects as “one epic story”.

“Michael Lindsay-Hogg was unfailingly helpful and gracious while I made Get Back,” he continued. “It’s only right that his original movie has the last word … looking and sounding far better than it did in 1970.”

In an interview with the New York Times on Tuesday, Lindsay-Hogg said that Jackson was “the catalyst” of Let It Be’s rerelease, advocating for the project with the Beatles’ company Apple Corps.

In the same interview, Lindsay-Hogg said he had no preconception of the Beatles’ split while shooting his documentary.

“What you see in the movie is that the affection is eternal between the four of them. But they were living very separate lives,” the 83-year-old film-maker told the Times.

“I thought they might go off and do their own thing, follow their heart and release separate albums, but then get together … I didn’t think the Beatles were going to break up till they broke up.”

Let It Be will premiere globally on Disney+ on 8 May.

Let It Be’s restoration arrives during a glut of Beatles news. Earlier this month, James McCartney and Sean Ono Lennon – sons of Paul McCartney and John Lennon – released a song titled Primrose Hill; Ringo Starr also released a new single, February Sky, the same day.

And in February, Sam Mendes announced that he will direct four films centred on each Beatle, due for release in 2027.