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This Is Spinal Tap

Since the antics of so many heavy metal bands already teeter on the edge of self-parody, it would have been no surprise if this spoof 'rockumentary' about a comeback tour by a has-been English rock group had turned out to be a one-joke movie. In the event, Reiner's brilliantly inventive script and smart visuals avoid all the obvious pitfalls, making this one of the funniest ever films about the music business. Filmed in cinéma vérité style, it follows the group from venue to venue, observing the trials and tribulations of life on the road, personal tensions within the group, and problems with expanding egos. Interviews with the group fill in the details of their chequered musical career: they have trouble keeping their drummers, one of whom choked on vomit (somebody else's), while another spontaneously combusted on stage. Most importantly of all, the musical numbers acutely mimic the crashing drums, thudding bass lines, whining lead guitar solos, and juvenile, sexist lyrics of heavy rock.

Release details

Duration: 82 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Rob Reiner
Screenwriter: Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, Rob Reiner
Cast: Christopher Guest
Michael McKean
Harry Shearer
RJ Parnell
David Kaff
Rob Reiner
June Chadwick
Ed Begley Jr
Anjelica Huston