5.9/10
1,646
47 user 19 critic

200 Motels (1971)

"Touring makes you crazy," Frank Zappa says, explaining that the idea for this film came to him while the Mothers of Invention were touring. The story, interspersed with performances by the... See full summary »

Directors:

,

Writers:

(story and screenplay), (shooting script) | 2 more credits »
Reviews

Watch Now

From $4.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Baby Snakes (1979)
Documentary | Comedy | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Rock artist Frank Zappa hosts a concert in New York City. This movie contains tons of on-stage footage, off-stage footage, and animation.

Director: Frank Zappa
Stars: Frank Zappa, Adrian Belew, Tommy Mars
Uncle Meat (Video 1987)
Documentary | Comedy | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

This is a documentary about an unfinished movie. Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention try to film the sci-fi epic "Uncle Meat."

Director: Frank Zappa
Stars: Phyllis Smith Altenhaus, Dick Barber, Massimo Bassoli
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  

A concert movie showing a performance by the much-loved 1973 incarnation of the Mothers of Invention. An incredible cast of musicians treat us to a selection of blistering, pointillist jazz... See full summary »

Director: Frank Zappa
Stars: Frank Zappa, Ruth Underwood, Napoleon Murphy Brock
Documentary | Comedy | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

Frank Zappa and his band in a digitally recorded live performance at "The Pier" in New York, NY on August 26, 1984.

Director: Frank Zappa
Stars: Frank Zappa, Ray White, Ike Willis
Animation | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Several pieces of Frank Zappa's music are set against clay animation by Bruce Bickford.

Directors: Frank Zappa, Bruce Bickford
Stars: Bruce Bickford, Frank Zappa
Video from Hell (Video 1985)
Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  

In a little over an hour, 'VIDEO FROM HELL' provides a preview of current and projected Honker releases, including 'BABY SNAKES', 'THE TRUE STORY OF 200 MOTELS' and 'UNCLE MEAT' (all 1987 ... See full summary »

Director: Frank Zappa
Stars: Phyllis Smith Altenhaus, Dick Barber, Adrian Belew
Comedy | Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

Using takes and rehearsals discarded from the original edit plus interviews made during the shooting... See full synopsis »

Director: Frank Zappa
Stars: Phyllis Smith Altenhaus, Dick Barber, BBC Symphony Orchestra
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mark Volman ...
Member of Mothers of Invention
Howard Kaylan ...
Member of Mothers of Invention
Ian Underwood ...
Member of Mothers of Invention
Aynsley Dunbar ...
Member of Mothers of Invention
...
Member of Mothers of Invention
...
Rance Muhammitz / Dave
...
The Hot Nun
...
...
Groupie #1 (as Janet Ferguson)
Martin Lickert ...
Jeff
Lucy Offerall ...
Groupie #2
Dick Barber ...
Bif Debris - The Vacuum Cleaner
Don Preston ...
Don
...
Interviewer (as Pamela Miller)
Ruth Underwood ...
Fake Drummer

Comic-Con 2017: All Aboard the IMDboat

 | 

July 20 to 23, 2017

Get entertainment news, trailer drops, and photos with IMDb's coverage of 2017 San Diego Comic-Con featuring host and IMDboat captain Kevin Smith. Watch our exclusive celebrity interviews, and tune in to our LIVE show from 3:30 to 5 p.m. PDT on Saturday, July 22.

Browse Our Guide to Comic-Con

Edit

Storyline

"Touring makes you crazy," Frank Zappa says, explaining that the idea for this film came to him while the Mothers of Invention were touring. The story, interspersed with performances by the Mothers and the Royal Symphony Orchestra, is a tale of life on the road. The band members' main concerns are the search for groupies and the desire to get paid. Written by George S. Davis

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Fantasy | Music

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

|

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 November 1971 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Frank Zappa's 200 Motels  »

Box Office

Budget:

$679,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Cited as the first British-made example of the videotape-to-film process. See more »

Quotes

Lonesome Cowboy Burt: So long as I get some beer and I get paid, you can make me do anything, I'm professional!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The closing credits are super-imposed over a number of production-related documents, including sheet music, scripts, shooting directions, memos and expense reports. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Indestructible Man (1992) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Bizarre!
18 February 2006 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

There is no film quite like 200 Motels, but a lot of its very strange appearance (especially when viewed on a cinema screen) is due to its videotape source. (Actually, it isn't the first film released theatrically, to have been originated on this medium. One of the versions of Jean Harlow's biography to be released in 1965 used something called 'Electronovision', which is much the same thing, although it seems suspiciously like an afterthought over a successful TV play in that case.) The 1971 double album was my introduction to Zappa's music, back in 1973, and I first saw this film in 1978, on a double bill with - wait for it - Annie Hall. Now, that's bizarre. I was mesmerised by this messy production, but everyone in the cinema, including my friends, seemed to hate it. Even by 1978, the effects were dated, and the sound quality left a lot to be desired. However, ten years later, when I saw the film in on VHS, I scooped it up, and I still enjoy it.

More satire and music would have been welcome in place of the cast and orchestra being forced to recite childish swearwords, although it must be realised that this is an exercise to defuse the effect of 'bad language', much as Shaw did with Pygmalion (the original play has the word 'bloody' repeated over and over, opposed to achieving the comedy shock effect as in the 1938 movie) There are some very well worked out scenes, such as the stars' dressing-room/racehorse chute sequence, and the dialogue between Jim Black and Theodor Bikel, and maybe sufficient time and budget would have yielded more of the same.

The music was sufficient to launch me into thirty years of collecting Zappa's music, and I still enjoy it today - it's more fulfilling to listen to than the movie is to watch, but the movie is worth seeing, as long as you are not expecting anything too coherent.

In amongst the confusion is a worthwhile film about groupies, and genius, and the sadness, as opposed to the glamour, of the life of rock stars, and I can't help feeling that someone with fifty million dollars to spend could do worse than remake this. It's about time Zappa's output reached a wider audience. Stop remaking films that were fine as they were, you guys. We didn't need another Planet of the Apes, Tim Burton! Do a film about Frank Zappa. Johnny Depp could play Frank!


16 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?