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That'll Be the Day is a 1973 Britishmarker film starring David Essex and Ringo Starr, written by Ray Connolly and directed by Claude Whatham. It is set in the late 50's/early '60s and partially filmed on the Isle of Wightmarker.

Plot summary

Abandoned by his father as a child, suburban school dropout Jim MacLaine (David Essex) leaves home and drifts through a succession of dead-end jobs until he finds an outlet for his frustration in rock 'n' roll. Tossing away the chance of a college education much to the consternation of his mother, alienated MacLaine becomes a lowly deckchair attendant before streetwise friend Mike (Ringo Starr) gets him a job with the fun fair. The initially shy MacLaine quickly becomes a heartless fairground romeo leaving a trail of broken hearts in his wake. Eventually the prodigal son returns home to run the family store and marry his girlfriend, but despite the birth of a son, restless Jim feels the lure of rock’n’roll again.


The film was praised at the time for its gritty realism. Many of the characters were played by musicians who had lived through the era portrayed in the film including Ringo Starr, The Who's Keith Moon, John Hawken of The Nashville Teens and Billy Fury.

The film was produced by David Puttnam and is loosely based on the Harry Nilsson song "1941". A sequel, Stardust, was released in 1974.



Both That'll Be the Day & the sequel Stardust

Neil Sedaka - Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen

Maxine Brown - Oh No Not My Baby

Bobby Vee - Take Good Care Of My Baby

Del Shannon - Hats Off To Larry

The Zombies - She's Not There

Bobby Darin - Dream Lover

Billy J Kramer & Dakotas - Do You want To Know A Secret

Dave Edmunds & The Electricians - Da Do Ron Ron

The Beach Boys - I Get Around

The Drifters - Up On The Roof

Diana Ross & Supremes - Baby Love

The Chiffons - One Fine Day

Little Eva - The Locomotion

Tommy Roe - Dizzy

The Fortunes - You've Got Your Troubles

Martha Reeves & The Vandellas - Dancing In The Street

Carole King - It Might As Well Rain Until September

Little Stevie Wonder - Uptight

Jan & Dean - Surf City

Cat Stevens - Matthew & Son

Barbara Lewis - Baby I'm Yours

Barbara Lewis - Make Me Your baby

Jimmy Ruffin - What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted

The Shirelles - Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow

The Box Tops - The Letter

Mamas & The Papa's - Monday Monday

Lovin' Spoonful - Summer In The City

Award Nominations

BAFTA Best Supporting Actress: Rosemary Leach.

BAFTA Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles: David Essex.


An independent Radio Drama recording project was completed in 2008 entitled 'That'll be the Stardust!' which continues the story of Jimmy Maclaine jr. (son of Jim Maclaine). The website featuring the complete drama is now online (see external link below).

External links

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