Nowhere Boy is a 2009 British biopic about John Lennon's adolescence, his relationships with his guardian aunt and his birth mother, the creation of his first band, the Quarrymen, and its evolution into the Beatles. The film is based on a biography written by Lennon's half-sister Julia Baird. The film received its US release on 8 October 2010, coinciding with that weekend's celebrations of the 70th anniversary of Lennon's birth (9 October 1940).
The drama tells the story of Lennon's (Aaron Johnson) teenage years from 1955–1960 and the start of his journey to becoming a successful musician. The story also examines the impact on his early life and personality of the two dominant females in his childhood – his Aunt Mimi (Kristin Scott Thomas), and his mother, Julia (Anne-Marie Duff). In addition, the film shows the first meeting of Lennon with future Beatles Paul McCartney (Thomas Sangster) and George Harrison (Sam Bell), and the development of their friendship and musical partnership.
- Aaron Johnson as John Lennon
- Kristin Scott Thomas as Mimi Smith
- David Threlfall as George Smith
- Josh Bolt as Pete Shotton
- Ophelia Lovibond as Maria Kennedy
- James Michael Johnson as Stan Parkes
- Anne-Marie Duff as Julia Lennon
- David Morrissey as Bobby Dykins
- Andrew Buchan as Michael Fishwick
- James Jack Bentham as Rod Davis
- Jack McElhone as Eric Griffiths
- Thomas Sangster as Paul McCartney
- Sam Bell as George Harrison
- Christian Bird as Jimmy Tarbuck
- Colin Tierney as Alf Lennon
The film was the directorial debut of conceptual artist/photographer Sam Taylor-Wood. The screenplay was written by Matt Greenhalgh, who also wrote the Joy Division film Control. It was shot on location in Liverpool, and at Ealing Studios in West London. Some of the interior school scenes were filmed at Sacred Heart Catholic College in Crosby. Following the announcement of the film, initial media accounts indicated that it would be based on the book Imagine This: Growing Up With My Brother John Lennon by Lennon's half sister Julia Baird. However, the credits for the completed film do not reference either the book or Baird, with sole writing credit accorded to screenwriter Matt Greenhalgh.
The film received a National Lottery funding of £1.2 million from the UK Film Council Premier Fund, with an additional ₤35,500 from its Development Fund to create the script. The film also received a grant from Film4 (the film division of Channel 4).
The film premiered in the UK on 26 December 2009. Its US release was on 8 October 2010, coinciding with that weekend's celebrations of the 70th anniversary of Lennon's birth.
HanWay Films represented worldwide sales. Distributor Icon Entertainment International took the rights for the United Kingdom and Australia. Mars Distribution acquired the rights for France. The Weinstein Company distributed the film in the USA, Germany and Latin America.
The film had its world premiere on 29 October 2009 at the closing night of the London Film Festival. The film was screened at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival on 27 January. It screened again at the Maui Film Festival in Wailea, Hawaii, on 18 June 2010, and at the Fest for Beatles Fans convention in Chicago on 14 August 2010.
Nowhere Boy was nominated for four British Academy Film Awards: Outstanding British Film, Best Supporting Actress (one each for Anne-Marie Duff and Kristin Scott Thomas), and Outstanding Debut by a British director (Sam Taylor-Wood.)