A brilliant and hilarious documentary-style satire of a has-been British heavy metal band who never really was on an absurd American comeback tour that never quite gets off the ground, THIS IS SPINAL TAP practically birthed the mockumentary style. Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, and Harry Shearer are David St. Hubbins, Nigel Tufnel, and Derek Smalls, respectively--three clueless, self-absorbed men who form the nucleus of Spinal Tap, aging purveyors of overwrought songs with titles such as "Big Bottom," "Smell the Glove," and "Sex Farm." Shot in faux cinema verité-style with director Rob Reiner as fictional filmmaker Marty DiBergi, the film lampoons just about every rock & roll cliché (not to mention every rockumentary cliché) in the book as it follows these fallen rock idols from one disastrous gig to the next. Scenes of the tour's descent from desperation into total collapse are interspersed with interviews in which the band members delightfully prattle on inanely about the none-too-illustrious history and dubious vision of Spinal Tap. THIS IS SPINAL TAP is a striking and acutely hysterical directorial debut for Reiner and a deserved cult classic. Watch for an endless array of cameos by wonderful comic character actors along the way.
Rob Reiner - American Director/Actor
Christopher Guest - American Actor/Comedian/Director
Anjelica Huston - American actress, THE GRIFTERS/THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS
Harry Shearer - American Screenwriter/Actor
Patrick Macnee - British Actor, THE AVENGERS TV Series
Bruno Kirby - American Film and Television Actor
B. Kirby Jr. - American Film and Television Actor
Bruce Kirby Jr. - American Film and Television Actor
Ed Begley Jr. - American actor, ST. ELSEWHERE
Howard Hesseman - American actor, WKRP IN CINCINNATI
Michael McKean - American actor, THIS IS SPINAL TAP, LAVERNE & SHIRLEY
Karen Murphy - BEST IN SHOW
Dana Carvey - American comedian/actor
Fran Drescher - Actress, THE NANNY
June Chadwick - Actress/"Forbidden World"
Billy Crystal - American actor/director, CITY SLICKERS (1991)
Tony Hendra - Actor/"Spinal Tap"
Spinal Tap - British Heavy Metal Group (satirical!)
THIS IS SPINAL TAP is director Rob Reiner's hilariously deadpan mockumentary about a fictional heavy metal band hitting the skids during their U.S. tour. The film has inspired legions of dedicated, obsessive fans who know all of the lines by heart.
Theatrical release: April 1984. Theatrical rerelease: September 8, 2000 (Limited). The three primary actors (Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, and Harry Shearer) all play their own instruments. The hat of Marty DiBergi (director Rob Reiner) reappears in THE PRINCESS BRIDE on the young boy's bedpost. Guest also reappears in THE PRINCESS BRIDE as Count Ruben.
"...[The movie is] required viewing in every musician's tour bus..." - 06/02/2000 USA Today, p.1E
"...A witty, mischievous satire, and it's obviously a labor of love....Delightful..." - 03/02/1984 New York Times, p.C6
Included in The New York Times "10 BEST FILMS OF 1984" - 12/30/1984 New York Times, p.II:15
"...Funny, devastatingly clever and original....As funny a film about the intersection of music and popular culture as has ever been made..." - 09/08/2000 Los Angeles Times, p.C4
"...One of the funniest movies ever made....Reiner fills the frame with background information and subtle touches..." - 01/21/2001 Chicago Sun-Times, p.3
"...The movie is brilliant at telling its story....There are a lot of great visual jokes..." - 09/15/2000 Chicago Sun-Times, p.24
"...Stars Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, and Harry Shearer play fools as only wise men can..." - 05/23/2003 Entertainment Weekly, p.28
"...The greatest rock movie ever....It's not just a comedy -- it's a love story. And it goes to eleven..." - 11/27/2003 Rolling Stone, p.71
"Anytime a movie takes the piss out of a phenomenon, you've got England's loudest band to thank, dead drummers and all." - 12/01/2003 Premiere, p.13
5 stars out of 5 -- "TAP's legend still runs....Endlessly quotable gags fly fast and a whiff of plausibility pervades..." - 10/01/2009 Total Film