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200 Motels (1971)

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"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 »




(story), (shooting script), 3 more credits »
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Title: 200 Motels (1971)

200 Motels (1971) on IMDb 5.9/10

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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
Janet Neville-Ferguson ...
Groupie #1 (as Janet Ferguson)
Martin Lickert ...
Lucy Offerall ...
Groupie #2
Dick Barber ...
Bif Debris - The Vacuum Cleaner
Don Preston ...
Pamela Des Barres ...
Interviewer (as Pamela Miller)
Ruth Underwood ...
Fake Drummer


"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

Plot Keywords:

mothers of invention | band | mime | pun | nun | See more »


Comedy | Fantasy | Music


TV-MA | See all certifications »


Official Sites:




Release Date:

20 November 1971 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Frank Zappa's 200 Motels  »

Box Office


$679,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Unlike most movie musicals, the soundtrack was recorded live as the film was shot, instead of recording the soundtrack beforehand and then lipsynching during filming. See more »


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 »


Referenced in John's Arm: Armageddon (2008) See more »

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User Reviews

Revolutionary video diary & historical (almost) Multimedia show
28 September 1999 | by (Leiden, Holland) – See all my reviews

I watch this remarkable visual document every 5 or 6 months to remind me of the visionary powers of this great composer and musician. Frank Zappa attempts to weld together several totally different worlds of artistic behaviour. There's the nice, successful middle of the road stuff, personalized by Starr and Moon. The traditional Classic music is shown and half-ridiculed. The almost always invisible groupie scene plays it's part (no actresses here, only the real girls)like it did as a short lived musical group the GTO's (the true meaning is lost; some say Girls together only or outrageously) Frank even took one of the groupies ( Miss Lucy ?) into his home to play nanny to his children. Last, but not at all least, are the Mothers. I omit the of invention part as this was the idea of the record company to soften the blow to the female part of America's silent majority. It was the beginning of the Flo and Eddie period, which Frank sometimes explained on stage as the result of a famous DJ saying that he could make the Mothers as big as the Turtles. Well, Frank used to say: If you wanna be as big as the Turtles, have a few Turtles in your band. The movies shows in a half hidden and symbolic way the craziness of the world, the moral dilemma's and the influence of religion on the psychological development of mankind. This is the first big step into Zappa's conceptual continuity idea, which sadly ended with his death. The movie is a monument to his genius.

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