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This Is Spinal Tap (1984)

R | | Comedy, Music | 2 March 1984 (USA)
Spinal Tap, one of England's loudest bands, is chronicled by film director Marty DiBergi on what proves to be a fateful tour.

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1,580 ( 150)

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ON DISC
2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Kimberly Stringer ...
Heavy Metal Fan
Chazz Dominguez ...
Heavy Metal Fan
Shari Hall ...
Heavy Metal Fan
R.J. Parnell ...
David Kaff ...
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Jean Cromie ...
Ethereal Fan
Patrick Maher ...
New York M.C.
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Storyline

In 1982 legendary British heavy metal band Spinal Tap attempt an American comeback tour accompanied by a fan who is also a film-maker. The resulting documentary, interspersed with powerful performances of Tap's pivotal music and profound lyrics, candidly follows a rock group heading towards crisis, culminating in the infamous affair of the eighteen-inch-high Stonehenge stage prop. Written by Jeremy Perkins <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Does for rock and roll what "The Sound of Music" did for hills

Genres:

Comedy | Music

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

2 March 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$55,854 (USA) (8 September 2000)

Gross:

$4,671,831 (USA) (6 October 2000)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.70 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Early home video versions of the film, which included the mock music video "Hell Hole" and other extras, had a disclaimer inserted at the very end saying that the band did not actually exist. See more »

Goofs

While David and Nigel normally play guitar, they both play bass during Big Bottom because that's what the song requires. It's a musical joke. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Marty DiBergi: Hello; my name is Marty DiBergi. I'm a filmmaker. I make a lot of commercials. That little dog that chases the covered wagon underneath the sink? That was mine. In 1966, I went down to Greenwich Village, New York City to a rock club called Electric Banana. Don't look for it; it's not there anymore. But that night, I heard a band that for me redefined the word "rock and roll". I remember being knocked out by their... their exuberance, their raw power - and their punctuality. That ...
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Crazy Credits

There are no opening credits after the title is shown. See more »


Soundtracks

Rock & Roll Creation
Written by Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Rob Reiner and Harry Shearer
Performed by Michael McKean, Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
On the fine line between stupid and clever... kind of like lukewarm water
7 March 2007 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Not too long ago, my classmates and I were allowed to bring in a DVD of our choice as it was nearing the end of the school term. Knowing that these pop culturists wouldn't be too happy to watch one of my 'arty cult films', I didn't give a shite and brought in 'This is Spinal Tap'. They quite happily agreed to put it on after I told them it was funny and had swearing in it. But soon, boredom started to sink in with the class. "Crap", they labelled it. "Boring", they yelled. After less than ten minutes, my teacher was changing the disk to, wait for it… 'The Others'. One of my chums, being a fan of the film, dismissed them as idiots. However, I told him it was all a matter of taste and that they would be much happier settling down to watch their 40-year-old virgins and American pies than this more subtly-coloured tin of paint. So as I walked over to the front of the classroom, tail between my legs, to pick up my DVD my teacher leaned over and said, "Don't worry, I liked it. You have to be cultured to enjoy this sort of thing." And you know what, she's right.

To be quite frank, 'Spinal Tap' is just like marmite. You'll either love everything about it or hate every frame of it. Some people say it's like watching wet paint dry, others say it was so funny it gave them a hernia. I definitely fall into that latter category. After the umpteenth viewing, I still find it painfully hilarious!

But that's not the only reason for seeing it. It's also a totally accurate, observational and witty deconstruction of rock's strutting pretensions. If you're someone who thinks rock bands take themselves far too seriously, you need this movie. If, on the other hand, you feel like rock stars should forever be treated like gods and worshipped on a regular basis, you might just want to avoid this. After all, when Aerosmith's Steven Tyler had finished watching it he said he just felt like he wanted to throw himself off a cliff! It reveals the utter shallowness of rock 'n' roll without even flinching!

If you're also a lover of in-your-face laugh-out-loud got-it-straight-away humour, just stay away. Far, far away. This is intellectual stuff. You have to possess intelligence to enjoy it. I've never met any stupid people who did enjoy this film.

Director Rob Reiner really shows how broad his range is with this (his best in my opinion!), bringing every authentic detail, no matter how seemingly minor, to the screen effortlessly with a wonderfully sharp cast. Its still a challenge to get my head around the fact that this is from the same tubby Santa Claus look-alike who made 'The Princess Bride' and 'Stand By Me'! Reiner has always been a man with extraordinarily wide horizons and always will be, constantly entertaining cinema-goers with so many different stories!

The film's fly-on-the-wall mockumentary style works wonders, getting some beautiful performances from its actors (namely Michael McKean and Christopher Guest) and adding to its 'natural' feel. Many films, mainly British ones, have imitated this style ever since. Even one of the film's actors and co-writers has stuck to the hip of this film for the most part of his career, coming up with new and even more outlandish 'mockumentaries' to entertain and sate his legion of followers.

On each viewing, you'll erupt into laughter at the discovery of a new joke. Then for weeks on end, you'll be quoting it to your friends and everyone you know. It's like a treasure trove without a bottom!

To finish this not-so-critical analysis, I can never find any fault or flaw even after the innumerable viewings I've had. I never get bored of it either. I think the reason I like this so much is, honestly, because it was made for people like me!


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