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Film facts: How I Won the War

On September 5th 1966, John Lennon flew to Hanover, Germany, to begin filming How I Won the War. The Beatles had just finished touring and were free to explore other artistic avenues. John had received a call from director Dick Lester who offered him a small role in his upcoming film; Lester previously directed A Hard Day's Night and Help! for The Beatles.

How I Won the War is a black comedy based on Patrick Ryan's novel of the same name. Lennon was given the small role of Private Gripweed, his one and only acting job outside of the Beatles. 

 "There were many reasons for doing it: a) it was Dick Lester and he asked me; b) it was anti-war; and c) I didn't know what to do because The Beatles had stopped touring and I thought if I stopped and thought about it I was going to have a big bum trip for nine months so I tried to avoid the depression of the change of life by leaping into the movie. The thing I remember is that Dick Lester had more fun than I did." - John Lennon  
John Lennon on the set of How I Won the War as Private Gripweed, 1966.

John Lennon on the set of How I Won the War as Private Gripweed, 1966.

Ringo Starr, Cynthia and John Lennon at the premiere of How I Won the War, October 18th 1967.

Ringo Starr, Cynthia and John Lennon at the premiere of How I Won the War, October 18th 1967.

Writing Strawberry Fields Forever

While filming subsequent parts of the movie in Spain, John rented a property in Almería. It was there where he was inspired to write Strawberry Fields Forever. The villa he was staying at reminded him of a Salvation Army garden near his childhood home in Liverpool.

Film Premiere

All four Beatles plus their wives and girlfriends attended the premiere of How I Won the War on October 18th 1967, at the London Pavilion. The film was also attended by Jimi Hendrix, Cass Elliot of the Mamas and the Papas and Cilla Black. 

After the film's screening The Beatles attended a party at Portland Place, where Cilla Black had an apartment.  

John Lennon on the set of How I Won the War as Private Gripweed, 1966.

John Lennon on the set of How I Won the War as Private Gripweed, 1966.

John Lennon on the set of How I Won the War as Private Gripweed, 1966.

John Lennon on the set of How I Won the War as Private Gripweed, 1966.

 John Lennon on the set of How I Won the War as Private Gripweed, 1966.

 John Lennon on the set of How I Won the War as Private Gripweed, 1966.

 John Lennon on the set of How I Won the War as Private Gripweed, 1966.

 John Lennon on the set of How I Won the War as Private Gripweed, 1966.

John Lennon on the set of How I Won the War as Private Gripweed, 1966.

John Lennon on the set of How I Won the War as Private Gripweed, 1966.

Film poster for How I Won the War, 1966. 

Film poster for How I Won the War, 1966. 

John Lennon on the set of How I Won the War as Private Gripweed, 1966.

John Lennon on the set of How I Won the War as Private Gripweed, 1966.

 John Lennon on the set of How I Won the War as Private Gripweed, 1966.

 John Lennon on the set of How I Won the War as Private Gripweed, 1966.

John Lennon playing cricket on the set of How I Won the War, 1966.  

John Lennon playing cricket on the set of How I Won the War, 1966.  

John Lennon playing cricket on the set of How I Won the War, 1966.  

John Lennon playing cricket on the set of How I Won the War, 1966.  

John Lennon on the set of How I Won the War as Private Gripweed, 1966.

John Lennon on the set of How I Won the War as Private Gripweed, 1966.

John Lennon on the set of How I Won the War as Private Gripweed, 1966.

John Lennon on the set of How I Won the War as Private Gripweed, 1966.

Buy How I Won the War on Amazon (US or UK)

John Lennon on the set of How I Won the War as Private Gripweed, 1966.

John Lennon on the set of How I Won the War as Private Gripweed, 1966.

 John Lennon on the set of How I Won the War as Private Gripweed, 1966.

 John Lennon on the set of How I Won the War as Private Gripweed, 1966.

John Lennon on the set of How I Won the War as Private Gripweed, 1966.

John Lennon on the set of How I Won the War as Private Gripweed, 1966.

John Lennon on the set of How I Won the War as Private Gripweed, 1966.

John Lennon on the set of How I Won the War as Private Gripweed, 1966.

John Lennon on the set of How I Won the War as Private Gripweed, 1966.

John Lennon on the set of How I Won the War as Private Gripweed, 1966.

John Lennon on the set of How I Won the War as Private Gripweed, 1966.

John Lennon on the set of How I Won the War as Private Gripweed, 1966.

Director Dick Lester cutting John Lennon's hair for How I Won the War, 1966. 

Director Dick Lester cutting John Lennon's hair for How I Won the War, 1966. 

John Lennon on the set of How I Won the War as Private Gripweed, 1966.

John Lennon on the set of How I Won the War as Private Gripweed, 1966.

John Lennon on the set of How I Won the War as Private Gripweed, 1966.

John Lennon on the set of How I Won the War as Private Gripweed, 1966.

Poster for How I Won the War, 1967.

Poster for How I Won the War, 1967.

John Lennon on the set of How I Won the War as Private Gripweed, 1966.

John Lennon on the set of How I Won the War as Private Gripweed, 1966.

French poster for How I Won the War, 1967.

French poster for How I Won the War, 1967.

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