Photograph of The Rutles band with orange text.
In the midst of the Beatles craze in the 1970's, comedian Eric Idle (best known for his writing and acting in Monty Python) aired a clip of The Rutles on both BBC-2’s series Rutland Weekend Television and American NBC’s Saturday Night Live. The clip shown on Saturday Night Live on October 2, 1976, was such a hit with viewers that Idle was approached to create a longer film, which Saturday Night Live producer, Lorne Michaels, would also produce. Idle wrote the whole of All You Need Is Cash besides the music, which was written by Neil Innes, whom Idle had previously worked with on the Rutland series. The parodies in the satirical film, All You Need is Cash, are considered by many to be extremely similar in essence to the Beatles’ originals, both in music and video.
The Beatles had varying reactions to the film and the portrayal of themselves by musicians and comedians. George Harrison had been involved in the project for its duration. John Lennon loved it, but mentioned that one of the songs was too close to their original. Ringo Starr enjoyed the more upbeat scenes. Paul McCartney wasn’t thrilled with the film, but was said to have changed his mind after his wife found it funny.
The cover art and promotional pieces mimic the photographs used on the American sleeve for Beatles' songs, “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” and, “I Saw Her Standing There.” The positioning of The Rutles matches that of The Beatles, and the attire is strikingly similar. The main differences between the two is that The Rutles’ image was colorized and meant for comedic purposes.