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This Is Spinal Tap (1984) Poster

Trivia

This is the only movie on IMDb that is rated out of 11 stars.
After the film opened, several people approached director Rob Reiner telling him that they loved the film, but he should have chosen a more well known band to do a documentary on.
The actors are all competent musicians and the soundtrack is actually them playing.
Ozzy Osbourne has stated that when he first watched the film, he was the only person who wasn't laughing... he thought it was a real documentary.
It is revealed that "37 different people have been in the band over the years". Minus the two original members, one keyboard player, and the original and current bass players. This implies that the band has had 32 different drummers who inexplicably died.
Guitarist The Edge said about this movie, "I didn't laugh, I wept. It was so close to the truth."
Harry Shearer, Rob Reiner, Christopher Guest, and Michael McKean were given $10,000 to write a script. A 20-minute version of the film was made with the money to better demonstrate the improvisation they had in mind. Several scenes from this demo are in the final movie.
Tony Hendra (who plays manager Ian Faith) writes in his memoir "Father Joe" that he attempted suicide the night before the first day of filming. He credits the joy he experienced in making the film with bringing him back from his depression.
During the metal detector scene, the background voices making announcements over the PA are the band members, without their affected English accents.
Nigel rubbing a violin against his guitar during his solo is a parody of Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, who used a violin bow to play his guitar during many concert performances.
There is no actual "Isle of Lucy" in the United Kingdom off England's coast, where Spinal Tap supposedly played a blues/jazz or jazz/blues festival. In one of the most subtle and overlooked gags of the film, they are really just paying homage to the classic television show, I Love Lucy (1951).
Nigel's line about being able to "go out and get a bite" and "you'll still be hearing that one" when describing the sustain on his guitar is a paraphrase of Les Paul's description of the sustain on one of his own guitars, "You could go out and eat and come back and the note would still be sounding." The guitar Nigel is describing is a Les Paul.
In Norway "This is Spinal Tap" opened directly to video over two years later. The title was changed to "Help! We are in the Pop Business!" (="Hjelp! Vi er i popbransjen!") This is a spin on the Norwegian title for "Airplane!" (1980), which was "Help! We are Flying!" (="Hjelp! Vi flyr!"). The poster didn't show any images of the band. Instead it displaying a guitar with a knot on it, similar just like the airplane on the "Airplane!" poster. Throughout the film there is a disclaimer on screen informing us that this was not a real band, this was all fake.
In the first dinner interview scene, Nigel Tufnel (Christopher Guest) is wearing a t-shirt from "Norman's Rare Guitars", which provided many of the guitars used in the production.
Rob Reiner was originally going to be one of the band members, but ended up directing the film after Harry Shearer commented that "he didn't look good in spandex".
There's a common misconception that the "too small Stonehenge" disaster is a parody of Black Sabbath's oversized Stonehenge sets from the Born Again tour. This is impossible, the Stonehenge Spinal Tap scene existed as early as 1982 when the film existed as a 20-minute short. Black Sabbath didn't begin using their Stonehenge sets until 1983.
Much of the dialogue was ad-libbed.
As the film was improvised by all the performers, Rob Reiner, Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, and Harry Shearer went to the Writers' Guild hoping to give proper credit to everyone. The Board of Directors voted 15 to none that the credits should stay as it was including only the four of them.
There is a deleted subplot in the movie which explains the cold sores on the band members' lips: the band takes on an opening act for the tour and the lead singer sleeps with each bandmember, giving each one herpes in turn.
Early home video versions of the film, which included the mock music video "Hell Hole" and other extras, had a special disclaimer inserted at the very end stating that the band did not actually exist.
In the scene where Derek comes and gets Nigel and David to come hear a song from their past on the radio, the radio announcer's voice is being supplied by Harry Shearer, who played Derek.
The band's name was originally going to be spelled "Spynal Tap".
When the members of Spinal Tap talk about their drummer suffocating on vomit, this is a reference to a number of musicians who have died, or who are rumored to have died, in this manner. Among these are Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, Bon Scott of AC/DC, and Big Band-leader Tommy Dorsey.
Nigel talks with DiBergi about being influenced by the masters, including Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Johann Sebastian Bach. During their performance of "Heavy Duty", Nigel's solo (which he plays while standing on the drum riser) is a tribute to Luigi Boccherini's "Minuet from String Quintet in E major, G.275".
According to the cast on the Criterion audio commentary, the production never left Los Angeles county for the shooting of the entire movie.
Derek Smalls (Harry Shearer) is wearing a Shrewsbury Town Football Club shirt in the airport metal detector scene.
Before the first song of the film, an announcer introduces the band with this: "Ladies and gentlemen, direct from Hell, Spinal Tap." This is a play on Venom's intro tape from the early 1980s, which went: Now, from the very depths of Hell...Venom!"
In the final scene, which takes place in Tokyo, Nigel wears Sadaharu Oh's Yomiuri Giants baseball jersey. Oh is the world's all-time Home Run king with 868 Homeruns.
Ranked #1 on Entertainment Weekly's "Top 50 Cult Films of All-Time"
In the course of the film, Spinal Tap has four different drummers: John "Stumpy" Pepys, Eric "Stumpy Joe" Childs, Mick Shrimpton, and Joe "Mama" Besser. These names were inspired by the four different men who played the role of third Stooge in The Three Stooges films: Curly Howard, Curly Joe DeRita, Shemp Howard, and Joe Besser.
Derek Smalls bass-playing technique (playing with one hand, so the other is free to point in the air) is based on the bass player from Saxon.
The lurid cover art for Spinal Tap's "Smell the Glove" was inspired by the misogynistic artwork on Whitesnake's 1979 album "Lovehunter".
Nigel Tufnel's name is a joke on Eric Clapton, derived from "dull name" and "location in London". Eric became Nigel, and "Clapton Pond" became "Tufnell Park": Nigel Tufnel.
According to Rob Reiner on the Criterion DVD commentary, his character's name, Marty DiBergi is an homage to Martin Scorsese (Marty), Brian De Palma (Di), Steven Spielberg (Berg) and either Federico Fellini or Michelangelo Antonioni.
A popular bar/music venue on the east side of Milwaukee changed its name to Shank Hall after the fictitious Milwaukee location at which the band appears midway on their fateful tour.
During the "Big Bottom" sequence, all three front men are playing bass. When listened to on speakers with good low-frequency response, the name "Big Bottom" is appropriate on several levels.
Premiere voted this movie as one of "The 50 Greatest Comedies Of All Time" in 2006.
Marty Di Bergi wears two different US Navy caps - one in the film and one in 'Catching up with Marty Di Bergi' in the Special Features on the DVD release. In the film, the cap appears to read USS Coral Sea OV-48. This should be USS Coral Sea CV-43. The USS Coral Sea was an aircraft carrier in the US Navy 1946-90, the second ship to bear that name. In the special features, the cap is from the USS Wadsworth FG-9, a guided missile frigate in the US Navy from 1978-2002. The Wadsworth was transferred to Poland in 2002 and renamed the General Tadeusz Kosciuszko.
Spinal Tap is infamous for things going wrong with their Stonehenge props. The most famous incident comes from the film, in which the prop is undersized and nearly trampled by a dwarf. On their live tour in support of Break Like The Wind, a package delivery man brings a package with an even smaller model. In The Return of Spinal Tap, the prop is far too large, and the stage crew makes every effort to cram it through the small doorway - unsuccessfully. When performing at Live Aid, the prop (signed by all the other performers) was the right size, but a timing error ruined the effect - the "columns" were lowered without the top crossing piece, and subsequently removed from the stage - only to have the top piece eventually lowered with nothing to land on.

See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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