8.0/11
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340 user 130 critic

This Is Spinal Tap (1984)

R | | Comedy, Music | 2 March 1984 (USA)
Trailer
1:36 | Trailer

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ON DISC
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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2,174 ( 129)
2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

Life on the road was never this funny! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Music

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

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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 USA:

$30,835, 4 March 1984, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$244,557, 31 December 2000
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.70 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The actors are all competent musicians, and the soundtrack is actually them playing. See more »

Goofs

During the rehearsal when the album "Smell the Glove" first arrives, the horns of the skull stage prop in the background are alternately missing and attached. 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

Cups And Cakes
Written by Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Rob Reiner and Harry Shearer
Arranged by Harlan Collins
Performed by Michael McKean and Christopher Guest
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Rockumentary is a mockumentary
28 May 1999 | by See all my reviews

This is FANTASTIC! Writers Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer in collaboration with director Rob Reiner have created a satire so dead-on its target that it might be scary if it wasn't so hilarious.

Filmmaker Marty DiBergi, taking a break from dog food commercials, is determined to capture the sights, sounds and smells of his favorite rock group, the legendary Spinal Tap, on their latest U.S. tour. They're a 20-year old heavy metal outfit from England centering around lead singer David St. Hubbins (McKean), lead guitarist Nigel Tufnel (Guest) and bass guitarist Derek Smalls (Shearer). The rest of the band is a revolving door of personnel including a series of unlucky drummers who have met with bizarre demises. The new tour is the first the band has made of America in years, and unfortunately the they seem to have lost about as many fans as they've lost brain cells. When asked if the smaller venues that the band is playing on this tour means they are losing popularity, manager Ian Faith (Tony Hendra) quickly dismisses the idea. The band's fans are just becoming more "selective," he says.

Still, the group is received well at their initial shows--that is if the gig hasn't been canceled, if their balky stage props don't malfunction, and if the band can find its way to the stage from their dressing rooms. But the tour is one disaster following another. Fans don't show up for autograph sessions at record stores. Radio stations play their oldies and ask, "where are they now?" To top things off, David's girlfriend Jeanine (June Chadwick), the band's Yoko Ono, arrives. She soon starts contributing her ideas, such as having the band dress in fantasy creature costumes and recording their music "in Dubly."

Even with all this trouble, the band feels things will pick up if they can just get their new album released. But Polymer Records refuses to distribute "Smell the Glove" with its lurid cover art. Eventually it's released with a solid black record sleeve, with nary a word or picture on it. This turns out to be a reverse image of the Beatles' white album in appearance, artistic success and sales. The band sinks so low as to be billed second to a puppet show at a theme park. The pressures are just too much and as the tour limps to a close the long life of Spinal Tap seems at an end. But rock & roll is a funny business...

Throughout we're treated to the band's rock & roll wisdom and philosophy. For instance, Nigel lets Marty in on one of the reasons for their success--loud amplifiers. While the volume settings on other bands' equipment might just go to 10, theirs goes to 11! Asked if there's really a difference, Nigel replies, "Yeah, well it's like... one louder, innit?"

There are tons of cameos by all sorts of people, including some funny portrayals of PR flacks by Fran Drescher and Paul Shaffer. This is a brilliant comedy that, despite all the parody, loves its subject. Treat yourself to it.


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