46 user 22 critic

200 Motels (1971)

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


Tony Palmer, Frank Zappa


Frank Zappa (story and screenplay), Tony Palmer (shooting script) | 2 more credits »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Mark Volman Mark Volman ... Member of Mothers of Invention
Howard Kaylan Howard Kaylan ... Member of Mothers of Invention
Ian Underwood Ian Underwood ... Member of Mothers of Invention
Aynsley Dunbar Aynsley Dunbar ... Member of Mothers of Invention
George Duke ... Member of Mothers of Invention
Theodore Bikel ... Rance Muhammitz / Dave
Keith Moon ... The Hot Nun
Jimmy Carl Black ... Lonesome Cowboy Burt
Janet Neville-Ferguson ... Groupie #1 (as Janet Ferguson)
Martin Lickert Martin Lickert ... Jeff
Lucy Offerall Lucy Offerall ... Groupie #2
Dick Barber Dick Barber ... Bif Debris - The Vacuum Cleaner
Don Preston ... Don
Pamela Des Barres ... Interviewer (as Pamela Miller)
Ruth Underwood Ruth Underwood ... Fake Drummer


"Touring makes you crazy", Frank Zappa says, explaining that the idea for this movie 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


Comedy | Fantasy | Music


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Frank Zappa originally wanted Sir Christopher Lee to play Rance Muhammitz. 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!
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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 »

Alternate Versions

A laserdisc issue deletes the "Dental Hygiene Dilemma/quasi-Donald Duck on acid" animation sequence. See more »


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

User Reviews

1 May 2004 | by didi-5See all my reviews

It is a long time since I saw this film, so am really going off memory - however I am certain that if I say this is one of the most off-the-wall movies ever made, few who have seen it would disagree!

Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention were an excellent bunch of musicians who had evolved into a bit of send-up on the side by the time '200 Motels' was released. This means it falls rather heavily between being a rock musical or a comedy tour film a la Spinal Tap. Ringo Starr appears as Larry the Dwarf. Keith Moon appears as a nun (now, that's scary!); while, for reasons unknown, Theodore Bikel is there throughout as the spaced out Dave (Bikel was in 'My Fair Lady' as the star pupil amongst other mainstream features).

In good company amongst features such as 'Head' (The Monkees) and 'Born to Boogie' (T-Rex) I suppose '200 Motels' is very much of its time but looks silly and dated all these years on.

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Release Date:

20 November 1971 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Frank Zappa's 200 Motels See more »


Box Office


$679,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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