Yellow Submarine (1968) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • The Beatles agree to accompany Captain Fred (Lance Percival) in his Yellow Submarine and go to Pepperland to free it from the music hating Blue Meanies.

  • When the music hating Blue Meanies take over Pepperland and freeze everyone within it, including the protectors, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Captain Fred (Lance Percival) and his Yellow Submarine recruit The Beatles to help save Pepperland. Along the way, they fall through the Sea of Time, Sea of Nothing, Sea of Holes, and more. They meet Jeremy Hillary Boob Ph.D. (Dick Emery) and take him with them along the adventure. When at Pepperland, The Beatles "rally the land to rebellion" and take down the Blue Meanies, the four-headed Meanie dog, and the Dreadful Flying Glove (with the songs "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", "With A Little Help From My Friends", "Hey Bulldog", "All You Need is Love"). In the end, we see all four live-action Beatles singing "All Together Now".

  • The Beatles are spirited away in the eponymous yellow submarine to save Pepperland from the dreaded Blue Meanies. Along the way, the singing saviors encounter a surreal feast for both the eyes and ears: phantasmagorical creatures, outrageous landscapes, and colors that throb and vibrate to each and every Beatle song on the soundtrack. It's a drug-free, hallucinogenic journey for the armchair tripper, the peak of which is undoubtedly (and not surprisingly) the "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" sequence. An incredible movie experience at all levels, this movie manages to capture exquisitely and in visual form the beauty and madness of the incomparable Beatles.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Once upon a time or maybe twice there was an unearthly paradise called Pepperland, 80,000 leagues under the sea. Pepperland is inhabited by a group of music lovers who dwell in peace and harmony. The peace of Pepperland is threatened by an attack of the Blue Meanies, who hate all music and beauty. Their attack freezes the inhabitants of Pepperland and destroys all of their art and natural beauty. One inhabitant of Pepperland is the uniformed Fred, who is named Admiral by the Lord Mayor and sent off in Pepperland's Yellow Submarine to seek help in the surface world. Young Fred, as he is called by the ancient Lord Mayor, escapes just in time as the mayor is Bonked by the attacking Blue Meanies.

    (Song:Yellow Submarine) over credits

    Fred arrives in Liverpool, England and spies upon a lonely Ringo (Song: Elanor Rigby) and follows him home in the submarine. Ringo is made confused and nervous by the sneaky sub and fails to find help from a Bobby (policeman). Fred knocks on Ringo's door, explains the plight of Pepperland and asks him for help. Fred enters the cavernous, weird mansion labled The Pier then is picked up in Ringo's car. Ringo is sympathetic but wants to ask the others, so they start to look for Ringo's mates. They first meet the Frankenstein Monster who turns into John, the leader of the Beatles. They find George meditating atop a mountain in the next room, yet also driving in Ringo's car. "its all in the mind" explains George helpfully. Finally, Paul appears from one of the mansion's many doors from an adoring crowd. The Beatles decide to help Old Fred as they have christened him. They depart immediately aboard the Yellow Submarine.

    Non-animated montage of various scenes of London and the English countryside speed by, giving the illusion of flying as the submarine takes off. (The creshendo of music is from the song "A Day in the Life". )

    The Beatles learn the workings of the submarine from Old Fred (Song: All Together Now) as they go beneath the waves. They sail into the Sea of Time and become very young and then very old Senile Delinquents (Song: When Im Sixty Four). They leave the Sea of Time and enter the Sea of Science. (Song: Only a Northern Song).

    Finally they arrive in the Sea of Monsters, where a throng of bizarre creatures dwell, some of whom threaten the submarine. But disaster is always averted by the pressing of a random button. That is, until Ringo hits the Panic Button and is hurled onto the back of a galloping monster. The rest of the Beatles manage to rescue him, but soon after they are swallowed by the dreaded Vacuum Thrask. The Thrask then swallows the entire sea of monsters. The Thrask has nothing left to suck up until it notices its own tail. It sucks up the tail and disappears up its own existence. Luckily, this causes the Yellow Submarine to be thrown clear.

    The Submarine motor has malfunctioned and they come to rest in the blank nothingness that is Nowhere Land. The Beatles notice that there is an inhabitant here, the tiny, poetry spouting Nowhere Man. He introduces himself as Jeremy Hillary Boob, Phd. Jeremy fixes the motor and goes back to his meaningless activities. (Song: Nowhere Man) Ringo feels sorry for Jeremy and invites him aboard.

    They sail for a while, but the submarine conks out again. The Beatles and Jeremy get out to try and repair the ship. Jeremy fixes the screw with bubble gum, but this causes the Yellow Submarine to take off with Old Fred and leaves the rest stranded. They realize that they are in the Foothills of the Headlands. John questions the heads and meets a lady friend. (Song: Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds). They realize that they must be near Pepperland since the ground is covered with pepper. The pepper causes the heads to sneeze, blowing our friends all the way to the Sea of Holes. They remember Old Fred told them that the way to Pepperland was via the Sea of Holes to the Sea of Green. They search the holes and Ringo puts a hole in his pocket. Jeremy is kidnapped by a lurking Blue Meanie while the others are searching for a way out. Finally, they find the Sea of Green and end up in Pepperland just as Old Fred arrives in the Yellow Submarine.

    Old Fred suggests that the Lord Mayor can be revived by music, and the Beatles hum a tune and the Lord Mayor is UnBonked. The mayor notices that the Beatles strongly resemble Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. He suggests that they disguise themselves as the band and rally the land to rebellion. Since their instruments were lost in the Sea of Monsters, they sneak past the sleeping Blue Meanies to the Bandstand where all of the musical instruments are being held.

    They find instruments, and band uniforms belonging to Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. They hide until dawn and make their escape. They are almost caught when George steps on a bagpipe, but they escape and begin to rally and unfreeze the people of Pepperland. (Songs: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and part of A Little Help From My Friends).

    The Beatles then dispatch a group of giant Blue Meanies called Apple Bonkers by standing on each other's shoulders and bonking the giants and their Blue Meanie Sergeant with a huge Baldwin Apple.

    The Chief Blue Meanie and his henchman Max notice what is going on and dispatch the Dreadful Flying Glove to stop the Beatles. However, Glove is defeated by John as he sings (Song: All You Need is Love). Meanwhile, Ringo rescues Jeremy, who gets a boost to his confidence when he accidentally knocks out his guard with a falling apple.

    The Beatles then come across a giant Glass Globe, which encases the real Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. They were trapped at the start of the Blue Meanie attack by an Anti-Music Missile. They cannot open the globe until Ringo remembers that he has a hole in his pocket. He uses the hole to open the globe and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is released. The dopplegangers are greatly amused by their resemblance until the blue four-headed dog attacks.

    Our heroes confuse and defeat the dog by hiding in a player piano (Song: Hey Bulldog). <the Hey Bulldog sequence was omitted from the original theatrical release>

    Jeremy confronts the Chief Blue Meanie and defeats him by quoting poetry that causes the Chief to burst into bloom with pink flowers. The Blue Meanies all run away in confusion.

    The Beatles and Jeremy call on the Blue Meanies to change their ways and join them in the musical fun. The Chief Blue Meanie and Max have a change of heart and the Blue Meanies join and party with their new friends. (Song: Its All Too Much)

    The real Beatles (in a live action sequence) reprise their adventures. John then warns that there are newer and bluer meanies sighted near this theatre! So, the Beatles go out singing. (Reprise: All Together Now).

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