5.9/10
1,722
46 user 19 critic

200 Motels (1971)

"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 »

Directors:

Tony Palmer, Frank Zappa

Writers:

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

Watch Now

From $4.99 (SD) on Prime Video

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Baby Snakes (1979)
Documentary | Comedy | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Rock artist Frank Zappa hosts a concert in New York City. This movie contains tons of on-stage footage, off-stage footage, and animation.

Director: Frank Zappa
Stars: Frank Zappa, Adrian Belew, Tommy Mars
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  

A concert movie showing a performance by the much-loved 1973 incarnation of the Mothers of Invention. An incredible cast of musicians treat us to a selection of blistering, pointillist jazz... See full summary »

Director: Frank Zappa
Stars: Frank Zappa, Ruth Underwood, Napoleon Murphy Brock
Documentary | Comedy | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

Frank Zappa and his band in a digitally recorded live performance at "The Pier" in New York, NY on August 26, 1984.

Director: Frank Zappa
Stars: Frank Zappa, Ray White, Ike Willis
Uncle Meat (Video 1987)
Documentary | Comedy | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

This is a documentary about an unfinished movie. Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention try to film the sci-fi epic "Uncle Meat."

Director: Frank Zappa
Stars: Phyllis Smith Altenhaus, Dick Barber, Massimo Bassoli
Documentary | Biography | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An in-depth look at the life and work of avant-garde musician, Frank Zappa.

Director: Thorsten Schütte
Stars: Frank Zappa, Steve Allen, Angel
Video from Hell (Video 1985)
Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

In a little over an hour, 'VIDEO FROM HELL' provides a preview of current and projected Honker releases, including 'BABY SNAKES', 'THE TRUE STORY OF 200 MOTELS' and 'UNCLE MEAT' (all 1987 ... See full summary »

Director: Frank Zappa
Stars: Phyllis Smith Altenhaus, Dick Barber, Adrian Belew
The Dub Room Special! (Video 1984)
Documentary | Comedy | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
Directors: Dick Darley, Clark Santee, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Frank Zappa, George Duke, Ruth Underwood
Comedy | Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

Using takes and rehearsals discarded from the original edit plus interviews made during the shooting, Zappa reconstructs the bizarre story of 200 Motels, one of the most problematic ... See full synopsis »

Director: Frank Zappa
Stars: Phyllis Smith Altenhaus, Dick Barber, BBC Symphony Orchestra
Animation | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Several pieces of Frank Zappa's music are set against clay animation by Bruce Bickford.

Directors: Frank Zappa, Bruce Bickford
Stars: Bruce Bickford, Frank Zappa
Comedy | Horror | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.8/10 X  

Due to be crowned King of the Netherworld by his mentor Merlin the Magician at a monster's convention Count Downe, the son of Count Dracula, falls in love with the beautiful but human Amber... See full summary »

Director: Freddie Francis
Stars: Harry Nilsson, Ringo Starr, Freddie Jones
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Abandoned by his father at an early age, Jim MacLaine seems to have inherited the old man's restlessness. Despite his apparent intelligence, Jim decides not to take the exams that would ... See full summary »

Director: Claude Whatham
Stars: David Essex, Ringo Starr, Rosemary Leach
Blindman (1971)
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

After fifty mail-order brides intended for miner husbands are kidnapped by bandits, the blind gunfighter hired to escort them heads into Mexico in pursuit.

Director: Ferdinando Baldi
Stars: Tony Anthony, Ringo Starr, Lloyd Battista
Edit

Cast

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 Preston ... Don
Pamela Des Barres ... Interviewer (as Pamela Miller)
Ruth Underwood Ruth Underwood ... Fake Drummer
Edit

Storyline

"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

Genres:

Comedy | Fantasy | Music

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 November 1971 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Frank Zappa's 200 Motels See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$679,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?


Quotes

Rance Muhammitz: [as a TV show host, holding a microphone] Hi Larry, its good to have you back on our panel!
Larry The Dwarf: [holding a magic lamp] Hi Dave, its really great to be back on your panel!
Rance Muhammitz: I'm sure the people at home would be interested to know why such a large force as you is all dressed up like Frank Zappa. Tell us Larry, whats the deal?
Larry The Dwarf: He made me do it, Dave. He's such a creep. He's making me hold this aladdin.
Rance Muhammitz: And why is he making you do that, Larry?
Larry The Dwarf: He wants me to fuck the girl with the harp.
[...]
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 »

Connections

Followed by The True Story of Frank Zappa's 200 Motels (1988) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Beautiful Music in a Layered Environment...."do you worry a lot?" worry no more...
24 June 2011 | by dizozzaSee all my reviews

There is in 200 Motels an expression of insecurity matched by delusions of grandeur creating an atmosphere of low self-esteem. I realize musicians can provide a service that seamlessly blends with our lives, intensifying drama and fun, but seeing 200 Motels again at Anthology Film Archives I remember that the point of composing is to add something new to what's already out there...

Some composers innovate while sounding pleasing, their music blending well with other music of the times... Acceptance may be the composer's most comfortable accomplishment...It is encouraging when people like your music, and perhaps you have also delivered something advancing the possibilities of sound... Zappa was completely capable of fitting in while being innovative and original. He's actually a very successful pop star, and his material was always somewhere within the mainstream of commercial distribution.

He represents the universal reflexive response to rejection: reject! He wasn't accepted because why? He could have stepped into the orchestral shoes of the universally acclaimed Guy Lombardo! What a nice guy easing us into a new year with pleasing sounds.

Anyway, in my rejected adolescent insecurity I wasn't appreciating Muzak. I wanted to hear beautiful explosive sounds, and at the time, 1960's-1970, harmonic innovation was part of pop music, primarily through Burt Bacharach, but also with The Beatles, The Fifth Dimension, The Mamas and the Papas... Other innovators of the time include Edgar Varese, Hans Werner Henze, Luciano Berio, Karl Stockhausen... for me the most accessible of radical orchestral composers is Leonard Bernstein. George Gershwin of course passed away at a young age (38) at the height of his innovations and discoveries...so again with Frank Zappa at 53. It appears that musical innovators are not long for this world and it's amazing what they accomplish in their short lives.

The point here is that 200 Motels pushes away the refined classical crowd with a sense of vulgarity...the funniest outcome will be that a tuxedoed audience will jocularly sing along with the lyrics in the songs....

200 Motels offers great performers and musicians interpreting Frank Zappa's writing, while spoofing his plagiarizing leadership, and they especially deserve to be recognized and glorified... and yes, Frank Zappa, through great effort, offers a path for the advancement of musical composition... I wish making the movie was less contentious... It is beautiful and inspiring.


2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 46 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed