Besides being one of the best musicians of all time George Harrison was also a movie producer and many movies wouldn’t even exist if it wasn’t for him. Back in 1973 famous actor Peter Sellers introduced George Harrison to Denis O’Brien, with hom he created the film production and distribution company HandMade Films.
George Harrison even appeared in one of the most famous movies he produced: Monty Python‘s “Life Of Brian”. He financed the movie by mortgaging his home, action that Python’s Eric Idle later called “the most anybody’s ever paid for a cinema ticket in history”.
So after many box office bombs in the late 1980s and the excessive debt incurred by O’Brien which was guaranteed by George Harrison Harrison, HandMade’s financial situation was really bad. The company ceased operations in 1991 and was sold three years later to Paragon Entertainment, a Canadian corporation. After that, George Harrison sued O’Brien for $25 million for fraud and negligence, resulting in an $11.6 million judgement in 1996.
The 25 movies that were produced by George Harrison:
The Concert for Bangladesh (1972)
The Concert for Bangladesh was a pair of benefit concerts organised by George Harrison and Indian sitar player Ravi Shankar. The intention was to raise international awareness of, and fund relief for refugees from East Pakistan, following the Bangladesh Liberation War-related genocide.
The concerts were highly successful in raising international awareness of the plight of the refugees – thought to number up to 10 million – and a cheque for over US$243,000 was soon sent to UNICEF for relief. In addition, the media lavished praise on George Harrison as an ambassador for rock altruism.
Little Malcolm and His Struggle Against the Eunuchs (1974)
Little Malcolm is a 1974 British comedy drama film directed by Stuart Cooper. It was entered into the 24th Berlin International Film Festival where it won the Silver Bear. The film is based on the stage play Little Malcolm and His Struggle Against the Eunuchs by David Halliwell.
The movie shows an art student is thrown out of college. Depressed, he comes up with the Party of Dynamic Erection, a near-fascist “party” that promotes male sexual dominance. Which attracts a couple of other unsavory confused characters.
Ravi Shankar’s Music Festival from India (1975)
Ravi Shankar’s Music Festival from India was an Indian classical music revue led by sitarist and composer Ravi Shankar intended for Western concert audiences and performed in 1974.
Although he had composed and performed orchestral works in India, as All India Radio’s music director between 1949 and 1956, Ravi Shankar’s only similar project for Western audiences had been when he toured America with his Festival from India orchestra in 1968. The tour featured musicians such as Shivkumar Sharma, Jitendra Abhisheki and Palghat Raghu, with Shankar’s regular jugalbandi partner, sarodya Ali Akbar Khan, joining the ensemble for their concerts in California.
Life of Brian (1979)
Monty Python’s Life of Brian, also known as Life of Brian, is a 1979 British comedy film starring and written by the comedy group Monty Python. Also directed by Jones, the film tells the story of Brian Cohen (played by Chapman), a young Jewish-Roman man who is born on the same day as—and next door to—Jesus, and is subsequently mistaken for the Messiah.
The film was a box office success, the fourth-highest-grossing film in the United Kingdom in 1979, and highest grossing of any British film in the United States that year. Besides it has remained popular and was named “greatest comedy film of all time” by several magazines and television networks.
The Long Good Friday (1980)
The Long Good Friday is a 1980 British gangster film starring Bob Hoskins and Helen Mirren. The storyline weaves together events and concerns of the late 1970s, including mid-level political and police corruption. Also IRA fund-raising, displacement of traditional British industry by property development, UK membership of the EEC, and the free-market economy.
Time Bandits (1981)
Time Bandits is a 1981 British fantasy adventure film co-written, produced, and directed by Terry Gilliam. It stars Sean Connery, John Cleese, Shelley Duvall, Ralph Richardson, Katherine Helmond. Besides Ian Holm, Michael Palin, Peter Vaughan, and David Warner.
The movie tells the story of a young boy accidentally joins a band of time travelling dwarves, as they jump from era to era looking for treasure to steal.
Scrubbers is a 1982 British drama film directed by Mai Zetterling and starring Amanda York and Chrissie Cotterill. It was shot primarily in Virginia Water, Surrey, England and was inspired by the success of the 1979 film Scum.
The movie tells the story of two girls escape from an open borstal. Annetta (Chrissie Cotterill) wants to visit her baby daughter who is being raised in a convent. Carol (Amanda York) plans to be recaptured and sent to the closed borstal where her girlfriend Doreen is being held. So Carol’s plan works. But she is devastated to find that Doreen has a new girlfriend.
The Missionary (1982)
The Missionary is a 1982 British comedy film directed by Richard Loncraine, and starring Michael Palin and Maggie Smith. The movie was produced by George Harrison, Denis O’Brien, Palin (who also wrote the screenplay) and Neville C. Thompson.
The movie is situated in 1905, where after ten years of missionary work in Africa, the Reverend Charles Fortescue (Sir Michael Palin) is recalled to England. There his Bishop gives him his new assignment, to minister to London’s prostitutes. Charles hopes Deborah Fitzbanks (Phoebe Nicholls), his fiancée, will object and give him an excuse to say no to the Bishop. But she is so imperturbably innocent that she totally fails to understand what he is being asked to do, and urges him to do his best. Wealthy Lady Isabel Ames (Dame Maggie Smith) is expected to fund the work. But once she makes it clear to Charles that there will be no contribution unless he shares her bed.
Privates on Parade (1983)
Privates on Parade is a 1982 film adaptation of the Peter Nichols play of the same name about a fictional – and mostly gay – military entertainment group. The “Song and Dance Unit, Southeast Asia” assembled to entertain the troops in the Malayan jungle during the Malayan Emergency.
The movie shows the members of S.A.D.U.S.E.A. (Song and Dance Unit South East Asia) fall in and out of love while trying to dodge Malayan Communist bullets in the late 1940s. Not only that, they have to contend with Bible bashing Major Giles Flack (John Cleese), who creates far more danger than any of the jungle inhabitants. Only gay Acting Captain Terri Dennis (Denis Quilley) seems to be capable of coping with him. But even he isn’t aware of the cowardly Sergeant Major Reg Drummond (Michael Elphick) selling arms to the natives.
Bullshot is a 1983 film, based on the stage play Bullshot Crummond. The name comes from a parody of the 1929 film Bulldog Drummond, on which it is loosely based. Captain Hugh “Bullshot” Crummond (Alan Shearman) is a World War I fighter pilot, Olympic athlete, racing driver, and part-time sleuth. He must save the world from the dastardly Count Otto van Bruno (Ronald E. House), his wartime adversary. Also win the heart of the damsel in distress (Diz White).
A Private Function (1984)
A Private Function is a 1984 British comedy film starring Michael Palin and Maggie Smith. The film was predominantly filmed in Ilkley, Ben Rhydding, and Barnoldswick, in the West Riding of Yorkshire. Following the release, the film topped the box office for the next two weekends in the United Kingdom.
The plot shows a small town in Northern England in 1947, where the citizens endure continuing food rationing. But some local businessmen want to hold a party to celebrate the royal wedding of Princess Elizabeth to Prince Philip. So illegally they decide to raise a pig for that occasion. However, the pig gets stolen by Gilbert Chilvers (Michael Palin) who was encouraged to do so by his wife Joyce (Maggie Smith). Meanwhile, a food inspector is determined to stop activities circumventing the food rationing.
Water is a 1985 British comedy film directed by Dick Clement and starring Michael Caine. It was scripted by Clement and Ian La Frenais. The plot spoofs elements of the comedies Carlton-Browne of the F.O. (1958) and Passport to Pimlico (1948) and the then-recent invasions of the Falkland Islands and Grenada.
Caine plays Baxter Thwaites, a Governor who has ‘gone native’ (similarly to his role in The Honorary Consul), and Billy Connolly as local biracial activist Delgado, supported by the last performance of Leonard Rossiter, as Sir Malcolm Leveridge. In addition, it was one of the last performances of Fulton Mackay.
Mona Lisa (1986)
Mona Lisa is a 1986 British neo-noir crime drama film about an ex-convict who becomes entangled in the dangerous life of a high-class call girl. The film was written by Neil Jordan and David Leland, and directed by Jordan.
Shanghai Surprise (1986)
Shanghai Surprise is a 1986 British-American adventure comedy film directed by Jim Goddard and starring then-newlyweds Sean Penn and Madonna. George Harrison himself appeared as a night club singer. Also recorded several songs for the film’s soundtrack, including the song “Breath Away from Heaven”.
The plot shows Glendon Wasey, that is a sleazy, down-on-his-luck con man struggling to sell glow-in-the-dark neckties in Shanghai. When he encounters the lovely Gloria Tatlock, a missionary nurse who wants to obtain a supply of opium to ease the suffering of her patients. Then he decides to help her get hold of a stolen supply of the valuable drug. But the only problem is that a lot of other people want to secure the stolen opium as well. However, some of them are gangsters, smugglers, thugs and a host of upstanding air force recruits.
Withnail & I (1987)
Withnail and I is a 1987 British black comedy film written and directed by Bruce Robinson. Loosely based on Robinson’s life in London in the late 1960s, the plot follows two unemployed actors, Withnail and “I” who share a flat in Camden Town in 1969. Needing a holiday, they obtain the key to a country cottage in the Lake District belonging to Withnail’s eccentric uncle Monty and drive there. The weekend holiday proves less recuperative than they expected.
Five Corners (1987)
Five Corners is a 1988 American independent crime drama film, directed by Tony Bill from a screenplay written by John Patrick Shanley. The film stars Jodie Foster, Tim Robbins, John Turturro, and Rodney Harvey. It depicts 48 hours in the lives of a group of young New Yorkers in the 1960s.
The film received generally positive reviews from critic. But was a financial disappointment, grossing $969,205 in its limited run against a budget of $5.5 million. The plot shows a psychotic young man that returns to his old neighborhood after release from prison. He seeks out the woman he previously tried to rape and the man who protected her, with twisted ideas of love for her and hate for him.
Bellman and True (1987)
Bellman and True is a 1987 film based on the novel of the same name by Desmond Lowden. It stars Bernard Hill, Derek Newark and Richard Hope. The title comes from an old Cumberland song titled “D’ye Ken John Peel”. The title uses a pun in the term Bellman which in the film’s case refers to a criminal who specialises in disabling intruder alarm systems.
The movie shows Hiller, that is a computer expert, was bribed by group of bank robbers to obtain details of the security system at a newly-built bank. Having obtained the information, he thought he’d seen the last of the robbers. But now they’ve traced him and his son to London. They hold the son hostage and force Hiller to decode the information about the alarm and then to take part in the robbery.
The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne (1987)
The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne is a 1987 drama film made by HandMade Films Ltd. and United British Artists (UBA) starring Maggie Smith and Bob Hoskins. The music score was by Georges Delerue and the cinematography by Peter Hannan.
The story shows Judith Hearne is a lonely, middle-aged, Irish spinster from a good family in distressed circumstances who gives piano lessons independently but is losing pupils. After moving into a rooming house in Belfast, she meets and becomes attracted to the landlady’s widowed brother, the charming James Madden, who has returned from America. Madden notices her inherited jewellery and believes wrongly that she is reasonably well-off and might invest in his business idea.
Track 29 (1988)
Track 29 is a 1988 psychological drama film directed by Nicolas Roeg and starring Theresa Russell, Gary Oldman, Colleen Camp. Also with Sandra Bernhard, Seymour Cassel, and Christopher Lloyd. The writer, Dennis Potter, adapted his earlier television play, Schmoedipus (1974), changing the setting from London to the United States.
The movie shows Lindam that is still tormented by giving up a baby for adoption at 15. She wants a baby, but her husband has enough in his model trains, mistress and being a doctor.
The Raggedy Rawney (1988)
The Raggedy Rawney is a 1988 British drama film starring Bob Hoskins, Dexter Fletcher, Zoe Nathenson, and Zoë Wanamaker. The story is about a young army deserter (Fletcher) in an unspecified time and country, who disguises himself as a madwoman and joins a nomadic gypsy caravan.
The film involves the themes of the destruction and futility of war, the culture of the Romani people. Also the bonds generated by love and family. The film was also co-written and directed by Bob Hoskins. Musician Ian Dury has a small role as a character named Weazel. In addition, the movie marked Hoskins’ debut as a director.
Powwow Highway (1989)
Powwow Highway is a 1989 comedy-drama road movie directed by Jonathan Wacks. Based on the novel Powwow Highway by David Seals, it features A Martinez, Gary Farmer, Joanelle Romero and Amanda Wyss. Besides Wes Studi and Graham Greene, who were relatively unknown actors at the time, have small supporting roles.
The movie depicts the struggles of reservation-dwelling Native Americans in the North Central United States. The main character is an introspective and lovable person in a process of seeking pride and identity through traditional and mystical means of gathering power. His high school friend, who is a Vietnam War Veteran, is exerting power as a highly principled social activist, using a modern rational materialist adversarial model of progress.
How to Get Ahead in Advertising (1989)
How to Get Ahead in Advertising is a 1989 British black comedy fantasy film written and directed by Bruce Robinson and starring Richard E. Grant and Rachel Ward. Interestingly the title is a pun and can be literally taken as “How to Get a Head in Advertising”.
The film is a farce about a mentally unstable advertising executive, Denis Dimbleby Bagley (played by Grant), who suffers a nervous breakdown while making an advert for pimple cream. Ward plays his long-suffering but sympathetic wife. In addition, Richard Wilson plays John Bristol, Bagley’s boss.
Checking Out (1989)
Ray Macklin is obsessed with his own mortality. When a close friend suddenly dies of a heart attack at a barbecue, Ray becomes convinced that every ache, pain and twinge he experiences is a sign of his own impending death. So his unjustified fears lead him into ever more extensive hypochondria.
Nuns on the Run (1990)
Nuns on the Run is a 1990 British comedy film starring Eric Idle and Robbie Coltrane. Also featuring Camille Coduri and Janet Suzman, the film was written and directed by Jonathan Lynn and produced by HandMade Films. The soundtrack was composed and performed by Yello and also features George Harrison’s song “Blow Away”, in addition to Steve Winwood’s “Roll With It”
The movie shows 2 criminals that want to get out of the businesse but their boss kills those leaving. When the men are ordered to rob the triad, they keep the money and hide from their boss, triad and police at a convent, dressed as nuns.
Cold Dog Soup (1990)
Cold Dog Soup is a 1990 British comedy film directed by Alan Metter. It is based on the novel Cold Dog Soup by Stephen Dobyns. Randy Quaid plays a Zen taxi driver whose passenger is trying to dispose of his date’s dead dog Jasper. George Harrison read ‘Cold Dog Soup’ on his first plane trip to the USA during the British Invasion. He credits the book for the Beatles success and vowed to make it into a movie.