200 Motels (1971) - Rotten Tomatoes

200 Motels (1971)

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Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

This comic rockumentary-style musical imparts the experiences of Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention during a prolonged (and largely imaginary) road tour. This roisterous fable is brought to the screen in a number of colorful and improbable episodes without a strong narrative connection, but is accompanied by music composed specifically for the film by Zappa and the Mothers of Invention. The musicians are inspired to bring poetic justice to Centerville, a Midwestern town which is too bland to continue in existence. Among the dramas enacted is the defection of one drummer, the firing of another, and Zappa's announcement to the band and film crew that he would hire the next person to walk in the door, a man who proves to be Ringo Starr's chauffeur. Folk musician Theodore Bikel plays in a number of different roles, and Ringo Starr appears briefly, disguised as Frank Zappa. The Who drummer Keith Moon also makes an appearance.

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Cast

Theodore Bikel
as Rance Muhammitz / Dave
Ringo Starr
as Larry The Dwarf / Frank Zappa
Keith Moon
as The Hot Nun
Jimmy Carl Black
as Lonesome Cowboy Burt
Frank Zappa
as Himself
Pamela Miller
as Interviewer
George Duke
as Member of Mothers of Invention
Don Preston
as Bif Debris
Dick Barber
as Industrial Vacuum Cleaner
Howard Kaylan
as Member of Mothers of Invention
Jim Pons
as Himself
Ruth Underwood
as Fake Drummer
Mark Volman
as Member of Mothers of Invention
Judy Grindley
as Chorus Leader
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News & Interviews for 200 Motels

Critic Reviews for 200 Motels

All Critics (6) | Top Critics (5)

200 Motels has no particular focal point, being principally an anthology of poor jokes and spectacular audio-visual effects, a few of which might expand the mind, but all of which, taken together, are like an overdose of Novocain.

Full Review… | September 10, 2007
New York Times
Top Critic

The incidents are often outrageously irreverent. The comedy is fast and furious, both sophisticated and sophomoric.

Full Review… | September 10, 2007
Variety
Top Critic

A real dinosaur.

Full Review… | September 10, 2007
Time Out
Top Critic

Zappa's most ambitious compositions (performed by the London Philharmonic) share screen time with nostalgic freak humor.

Full Review… | September 10, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

It assaults the mind with everything on hand.

Full Review… | September 10, 2007
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

The film is a marvelous whirl of color and visual effects, with some fine animation and Zappa's delicious wit present throughout the entire production.

Full Review… | September 10, 2007
TV Guide

Audience Reviews for 200 Motels

½

76% What seems like pure insanity to most, makes perfect sense to those touring, and those associated with the biz. This is Zappa's interpertation, an experimental work of art. Those who oppose drugs and counter culture will despise this film.

FilmGrinder Stone
FilmGrinder Stone
½

Ringo Starr IS Larry the Dwarf AS Frank Zappa in this druggy pastiche of skits, solarized footage, crude animations, and an operetta about a penis. Most people will wonder what they were smoking when they came up with this; Zappa fans will wonder where they can get some.

Greg S
Greg S

Super Reviewer

½

At the time I saw this film, I looked EXACTLY like Mark Volman. That was the only interesting thing about the movie.

Martin Teller
Martin Teller

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