Full Episode

Airs Friday, October 9th at 9 pm ET (check local listings) on PBS and the PBS Video App

LENNONYC takes an intimate look at the time Lennon, Yoko Ono and their son, Sean, spent living in New York City during the 1970s.

“New York became a part of who John and I were,” said Ms. Ono. “We couldn’t have existed the same way anywhere else.  We had a very special relationship with the city, which is why I continue to make this my home, and I think this film captures what that time was like for us very movingly.”

Watch the trailer:

“The period that Lennon lived with his family in New York is perhaps the most tender and affecting phase of his life as a public figure,” said Susan Lacy, series creator and former executive producer of American Masters as well as a producer of the Lennon film. “Just as the generation that had grown up with the Beatles was getting a little older and approaching a transitional time in their lives as they started families, they saw this reflected in Lennon as he grew from being a rock star icon into a real flesh and blood person.”

“I have long been moved by the honesty and directness of John’s music,” said Michael Epstein, LENNONYC director, producer and writer. “And, by using never-before heard studio talkback of John from this period, I think I was able to give the viewer a window into John Lennon that had not been put to film before.”

Following the breakup of the Beatles, Lennon and Ono moved to New York City in 1971, where Lennon sought to escape the mayhem of the Beatles era and focus on his family and private life.  At the same time, he created some of the most acclaimed songs and albums of his career, most of them written at his apartment at The Dakota on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, including Mind Games, Whatever Gets You Thru the Night, I’m Losing You, and Woman. He also remained highly active in the anti-war movement as well as numerous other progressive political causes.

As much as New York made an impact on Lennon and Ono by offering them an oasis of personal and creative freedom, so too did they shape the city.  At a time when New York faced record high crime, economic fallout and seemed to be on the verge of collapse, Lennon and Ono became a beloved fixture in neighborhood restaurants, at Central Park, at sports events and at political demonstrations.

Lennon and Ono also bonded with millions of their fellow New Yorkers in their experience as immigrants.  The film traces their struggle to remain in the U.S. when the Nixon administration sought to deport them, supposedly based on a narcotics violation, but which Lennon insisted was in response to his anti-war activities.

LENNONYC features never-before heard studio recordings from the Double Fantasy sessions and never-before-seen outtakes from Lennon in concert and home movies that have only recently been transferred to video.  It also features exclusive interviews with Ms. Ono, who cooperated extensively with the production and offers an unprecedented level of access, as well as with artists who worked closely with Lennon during this period, including Elton John and photographer Bob Gruen (who took the iconic photograph of Lennon in front of the skyline wearing a “New York City” t-shirt).

American Masters: LENNONYC is a co-production of Two Lefts Don’t Make A Right Productions, Dakota Group, Ltd and THIRTEEN’s American Masters in association with WNET.ORG for PBS. Director/writer is Michael Epstein. Executive producers are Stanley Buchthal, Michael Cohl and Susan Lacy. Producers are Susan Lacy, Jessica Levin and Michael Epstein. Susan Lacy is the series creator. Michael Kantor is the executive producer of American Masters.

American Masters is made possible by the support of the National Endowment for the Arts and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  Additional funding for American Masters is provided by Rosalind P. Walter, The Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, Jack Rudin, Rolf and Elizabeth Rosenthal, The André and Elizabeth Kertész Foundation, and public television viewers.

Production Credits Print

Executive Producers
Stanley Buchthal
Michael Cohl
Susan Lacy

Ed Barteski
Deborah Peretz

Produced by
Susan Lacy
Jessica Levin
Michael Epstein

Written and Directed by
Michael Epstein

In Memory
John Winston Ono Lennon

With deepest gratitude and appreciation to Yoko Ono without whom this film would not have been possible

Associate Producer
Emma Pildes

Director of Archival Research
Amilca Palmer

Director of Graphic Design
Brian Oakes

Director of Photography
Michael Chin

Graphic Design and Animation
Paul Docherty
Eric Epstein

Assistant Editor
Shana Kent

Film and Video Archivist to Yoko Ono
Karla Merrifield
For LennonOno

Production Coordination
Amanda Keeley

Archival and Production Consultant
Simon Hilton

Sound Recordist
Roger Phenix

Production Associate
Eva Lipman

Additional Assistant Editing
Paul Docherty
Ariel Mele-Algus
Paul Penczner

Additional Footage Research
Chip Madinger

Post Production Assistant
Meghan Auld
For LennonOno

Graphic Coordinator
Andrew Kachel

Assistant Production Coordinator
Sibyl Bender

Audio Coordinator
Rob Stevens

Archive Consultant
Brian Hendel

For Two Lefts Don’t Make a Right Productions
Elliot Abbott
Jonathan Linden
Liza Abbott
Ana Cielo
Jamie Forshaw

Joe DePlasco
Aliza Rabinoff
DKC Public Relations

Title Design
Brian Oakes Design

Graphic Design Production
Tim D’Amico
Natella Kataev

Auden Oakes

Re-Recording Mixer
Ed Campbell

Supervising Sound Editor
Eliza A. Paley

Sound Effects Editor
Glenfield Payne

Sound Editor
William A. Sweeney

Assistant Sound Editor
Mari Matsuo Colley

Online Editorial
Martin Benn

Benjamin J. Murray
Chris MacKenzie

Lenono Film Archive Colorist
Dave Northrop

Additional Photography
Joel Shapiro
Nigel Reynolds

Additional Sound Recording
Scott Harber
Simon Ware

Assistant Camera
Steve Bowers
Michael Pruitt Bruun
Damon W. Bundschuh
Jonathan Weaver

Armando Salas

Valli O’Reilly
Rosemary Redlin

Production Assistants
Eric Binns
Nate Cummings
Caleb Heller
Bao Nguyen
Pepe N. Urquito
Brian M. Yost

Technical Support
Chip McGowan
Jermaine Pinnock
Sean Riordan

Matthew Chao
Tamar Glatman-Zaretsky
Hillary Hubley
Lauren Kraus
Abigail Saenz
David Tucker

Special Thanks
Jessica Berman-Bogden
Stan Bronstein
Dick Cavett
Danny Cornejo
Fran Curtis
Jack Douglas
Sarah Field
Roberta Findlay
Sandra Furton Gabriel
Leonora Goldberg
Jenny Golden
Ken Hahn
Jonas Herbsman
Maja Hoffmann
David Koh
Toby Mamis
Geraldo Rivera
SHOP Studios
Peter Shukat

Photographs Courtesy of
Dennis Elsas
Michael Epstein
Everett Collection
Getty Images
Bob Gruen
George Kalinsy
Lesley Kearney
Lenono Archive
Michael Leshnov
Iain Macmillan
Cyril Maitland
Jack Mitchell
David Nutter
May Pang
Lilo Raymond
Geoff Rhind
Ben Ross
Nishi Saimaru
Scope Features
Michel Senecal
Kishin Shinoyama
David Spindel
Allan Tannenbaum

Archival Footage Courtesy of
ABCNEWS, Geraldo Rivera, Willowbrook
ABCNEWS VideoSource
Footage World
Getty Images
Historic Films Archive LLC
ITN Source
Lenono Archive
NBC News Archives
NBC News Archives/Daphne Productions
Producers Library
Reelin’ in the Years Productions LLC
Ira Schneider
Streamline Films, Inc.
Thought Equity Motion
The WPA Film Library

Excerpts of “Walden” and “He Stands in a Desert” by Jonas Mekas

“Pop Deux”, Dir. Pierre Desfons, Prod. Maurice Dumay
courtesy of INA–Institut National De L’audiovisuel

Excerpts of “Breathing Together: Revolution of the Electric Family”
by Morley Markson

Archival Audio Courtesy of
BBC Motion Gallery
Dennis Elsas
Lenono Archive
Westwood One

Periodicals courtesy of
e5 Global Media, LLC
Hartford Courant
Los Angeles Times
Rolling Stone
The Washington Post

Lyric Images and Album Covers
Courtesy Lenono Archive

John Lennon’s studio talkback
Courtesy of Yoko Ono

Executive Assistant to Susan Lacy
William Meny

Production Supervisor
Junko Tsunashima

Series Theme Music Composed by
Thomas Wagner

Series Title Designed by
B. T. Whitehill

Music Services
Rosie Fishel
Emily Lee

Series Production Manager
Jane Buckwalter

Business Development
Josh Nathan
Ranfi Rivera
Business Affairs
Odell Nails

Series Publicist
WNET.ORG’s Communications Group

Supervising Producer
Julie Sacks

Series Producer
Prudence Glass

Executive Producer
Susan Lacy

This program was produced by THIRTEEN’s American Masters, Two Lefts Don’t Make A Right Productions and the Dakota Group, Ltd. who are solely responsible for its content.

A Production of THIRTEEN’s American Masters, Two Lefts Don’t Make A Right Productions and the Dakota Group, Ltd

@2010 Two Lefts Don’t Make A Right Productions, Dakota Group, Ltd. and WNET.ORG (separate card – freeze for 3 seconds)