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      This Is Spinal Tap

      R Now Playing 1 hr. 22 min. Comedy Music TRAILER for This Is Spinal Tap: Trailer 1 List
      96% 67 Reviews Tomatometer 92% 100,000+ Ratings Audience Score "This Is Spinal Tap" shines a light on the self-contained universe of a metal band struggling to get back on the charts, including everything from its complicated history of ups and downs, gold albums, name changes and undersold concert dates, along with the full host of requisite groupies, promoters, hangers-on and historians, sessions, release events and those special behind-the-scenes moments that keep it all real. Read More Read Less Now in Theaters Now Playing Buy Tickets
      This Is Spinal Tap

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      Critics Consensus

      Smartly directed, brilliantly acted, and packed with endlessly quotable moments, This Is Spinal Tap is an all-time comedy classic.

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      Audience Reviews

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      Chris V If you've ever been in a band, this movie resonates with you. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 02/21/24 Full Review John G I totally concur with the Critics Consensus! Rated 5 out of 5 stars 01/11/24 Full Review Stan C I know everyone loved this movie, but I didn't get even one laugh from it. Rated 0.5 out of 5 stars 11/30/23 Full Review mea s Almost as good as "Almost Famous", but more slapstick. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 11/28/23 Full Review Matthew B Introducing This is Spinal Tap, Marty DiBergi (Rob Reiner) explains that he "jumped at the chance to make the documentary – the, if you will, "rockumentary" – that you're about to see". In fact the right word for the film is ‘mockumentary', a word first used in the 60s, but popularised by Reiner (who also directed This is Spinal Tap) when talking about this movie. Marti does not use the word in the movie as we are given the illusion that this is a real documentary in which the characters do not realise they are being sent up. The film's use of shaky camerawork, interviews, and footage of the band on tour adds to the mock-realism of this spoof documentary which makes fun of the reverential manner of many rock documentaries. Indeed the details that the movie included were so close to home that many rock bands have said that they had similar experiences on tour or deciding record covers. Some people thought that the documentary was about a real rock band. Such is the influence of the movie that rock bands who engage in foolish excesses are now frequently compared to Spinal Tap. Spinal Tap popularised this particular sub-genre of comedy and spawned many imitations. Sad to say its influence on comedies has been mostly negative. There have been a few good spoofs and mockumentaries, but there have been many forgettable ones. This is because the imitators forgot the golden rule of comedy – that what really matters is the quality of the jokes. Mockumentaries are lazy if the writers imagine that the mere fact that they are making movies in this genre is hilarious in itself. The humour lies in the incidental details as much as the technique of moviemaking. In terms of Spinal Tap, the key to making a good mockumentary is editing. If you wish to capture the spontaneous style where actors adlib their way through agreed situations, then it must be remembered that most improvisation is dull. The judicious moviemaker selects only the more inspired moments for the film. Dozens of hours of footage were recorded for This is Spinal Tap, but wisely the makers allowed only an hour and twenty minutes of this to make the final cut. As the group changes its style over the years, this allows Rob Reiner to offer a humorous pastiche of a number of musical genres. In the early 60s the band members perform ‘Give Me Some Money' with the perky but nonsensical lyrics of the time. An absurd flower power phase follows (‘Listen to What the Flower People Say'). Standard rock songs follow, with preposterous stage antics – posturing, show-off guitar solos, wiggling their bums and groins - and juvenile lyrics to songs with titles like ‘Big Bottom' or ‘Sex Farm'. There is also a foray into progressive rock, as the band dabbles in the kind of pretentious but unintelligent music that prog rockers churned out in the 70s. This includes lyrics with daft religious allusions, guitar renditions of Boccherini, solos where a violin is rubbed against a guitar and a Bach-influenced piano work that Nigel has tastefully named ‘Lick My Love Pump'. The live acts of Spinal Tap offer a parody of the gimmicky props that appear at concerts, but with Spinal Tap these have a habit of going wrong. Backstage men are on hand to dutifully lift Nigel off the floor when he cannot rise to his feet during a solo, or to hammer on a pod that fails to open, leaving Derek Smalls trapped for all but the last few seconds of a song. Most notorious is the embarrassing live version of Stonehenge. Nigel asks for a model of the famous monument, but unfortunately his confused measurements lead to an 18-inch megalith being lowered on the stage, much to his disgust: "…there was a Stonehenge monument on the stage that was in danger of being crushed by a dwarf," he complains. The most famous scene in the movie is when Nigel Tufnel shows Marty DiBergi his musical equipment. Nigel shows Marti an amplifier where the volume goes up to 11, which Nigel insists makes it louder than the usual amplifiers. This is Spinal Tap certainly spends a lot of time making fun of the foolishness and excesses of rock bands, but is it a satire? The short answer is yes. The film mocks the pretentions of third-rate rock stars, and exposes the gulf between their self-image and the harsh insights of the real world that keep peeping in. The long answer is yes, but with reservations. There are two kinds of satire, which I will call hard satire and soft satire. Hard satire is the kind that is based on outrage and anger. It works best when it is used to expose the weakness, mismanagement or corruption of people in high places, since its purpose is to defend the weak against the strong. This is Spinal Tap is soft satire. It is not written out of anger against rock bands or to offer a blistering assault on their foibles, because nobody really feels that pop stars are deserving of merciless full frontal attack. They are not authority figures whose misbehaviour poses a threat to us. The worst that can be said of groups like Spinal Tap is that they are foolish, rather than evil. What we have instead is soft satire, one that mocks its subjects but has a sneaking affection for them. All of the lead actors were themselves musical, and performed their own songs. This may explain why many of the songs are catchy and enjoyable to listen to. Rob Reiner et al may find Spinal Tap laughable, but they also feel a gentle identification with the victims of their satire. I wrote a longer appreciation of This is Spinal Tap on my blog page if you would like to read more: Rated 5 out of 5 stars 09/22/23 Full Review Madie R Do you know the difference between this movie and every other comedy? This one goes to 11. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 09/17/23 Full Review Read all reviews Post a rating

      Cast & Crew

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      Critics Reviews

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      Ed Potton Times (UK) Rob Reiner’s mockumentary deserves plaudits for the British accents alone. Aug 29, 2023 Full Review Yardena Arar Associated Press Reiner, with McKean, Guest and Harry Shearer, have done a great job in creating and portraying characters that are dimwitted, cliched and yet oddly endearing. Oct 23, 2018 Full Review Variety Staff Variety For music biz insiders, This Is Spinal Tap is a vastly amusing satire of heavy metal bands. Mar 26, 2009 Full Review Mike Massie Gone With The Twins The hilariousness here is unending. Rated: 8/10 Mar 24, 2021 Full Review Josh Larsen LarsenOnFilm Little riffs of comic genius can be heard amidst the heavy-metal cacophony of This is Spinal Tap... Rated: 3.5/4 Mar 22, 2020 Full Review Brian D. Johnson Maclean's Magazine Documenting the licks and antics of a real band is one thing. Building a movie around a fake one is a challenge of a different order. The key, as Spinal Tap proved, is to fabricate a band that looks, acts and sounds at least as good as the real thing. Oct 18, 2019 Full Review Read all reviews

      Movie Info

      Synopsis "This Is Spinal Tap" shines a light on the self-contained universe of a metal band struggling to get back on the charts, including everything from its complicated history of ups and downs, gold albums, name changes and undersold concert dates, along with the full host of requisite groupies, promoters, hangers-on and historians, sessions, release events and those special behind-the-scenes moments that keep it all real.
      Rob Reiner
      Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Rob Reiner, Harry Shearer
      Production Co
      Spinal Tap Prod.
      Comedy, Music
      Original Language
      Release Date (Theaters)
      Sep 8, 1984, Wide
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Aug 3, 2016
      Box Office (Gross USA)
      Sound Mix
      Stereo, Dolby Stereo, Surround
      Aspect Ratio
      Flat (1.66:1)