This Is Spinal Tap 1984

This Is Spinal Tap

Critics Consensus

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

95%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 65

92%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 127,118

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Movie Info

"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.

Cast & Crew

Rob Reiner
Marty DiBergi
Michael McKean
David St. Hubbins (Lead Guitar, Vocals)
Christopher Guest
Nigel Tufnel (Lead Guitar, vocals)
Harry Shearer
Derek Smalls (Bass, vocals)
R.J. Parnell
Mick Shrimpton (Drummer)
David Kaff
Viv Savage (Keyboards, vocals)
Bruno Kirby
Tommy Pischedda
June Chadwick
Jeanine Pettibone
Fran Drescher
Bobbi Flekman
Christopher Guest
Original Music
Michael McKean
Original Music
Rob Reiner
Original Music
Harry Shearer
Original Music
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News & Interviews for This Is Spinal Tap

Critic Reviews for This Is Spinal Tap

All Critics (65) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (62) | Rotten (3)

  • 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.

    October 23, 2018 | Full Review…
  • For music biz insiders, This Is Spinal Tap is a vastly amusing satire of heavy metal bands.

    March 26, 2009 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • For all its japes and jokes, the movie is really about exhaustion of the spirit: sitting in a bleak hotel suite at 4 a.m. with the bad taste of last night in the mouth and the feeling that tomorrow will not be a better day.

    August 19, 2008 | Full Review…
  • The material is consistently clever and funny, though ultimately the attitudes are too narrow to nourish a feature-length film.

    December 17, 2007 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    February 9, 2006 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • It stays so wickedly close to the subject that it is very nearly indistinguishable from the real thing.

    May 20, 2003 | Rating: 4.5/5

Audience Reviews for This Is Spinal Tap

  • Apr 26, 2016
    Rob Reiner's directorial debut is one of the funniest movies of the 1980's and it oddly enough summed up hard rock/heavy metal's popularity in a mocking manner. "This is Spinal Tap" is about a fictional band named Spinal Tap, a band with the distinction of being called "The World's Loudest Band." A band that loses most of their drummers to strange mishaps including one who choked on someone else's vomit. A band that really never had a hit but follows whatever is popular at the moment. They started out in the skiffle craze that swept Britain before becoming a rock and roll band, then psychedelia and settling on heavy metal where they sort of stuck in that genre for over a decade. At the core of this story is the three main band members, David St. Hubbins (Michael McKean), Nigel Tufnel (Christopher Guest) and Derek Smalls (Harry Shearer). David and Nigel are like brothers but when David's girlfriend Jenny (June Chadwick) it causes a lot of tension among the bandmembers. They are attempting a comeback tour and filmmaker Marty DiBergi (Rob Reiner) is there to film this tour and the chaos and comedy that ensures. It's a film that is so absurd, so fun and so enjoyable to watch that one can't even fathom this may not be a real band. Their songs are good, albeit offensive at times.
    Joseph B Super Reviewer
  • Jun 29, 2015
    Welcome to my 400th review since March 2011! What better movie to take a look at other than 'This is Spinal Tap'. A cult classic. These guys put on a fantastic show over a brief 80 minutes thanks to Rob Reiner's astute portrayal of the rock and roll lifestyle. It's considered a rockumentary. A coined term for this special genre. The laughs are hearty and the dialogue is easily quotable. If you're a lover of music and have taken classes about the history of rock like I did, you'll easily recognize every little nuance they interpret from some of the most famous bands. The one part that slayed me was the Stonehenge bit. It's cleverly written pieces like this that make you look back on what cinema was like back in the day and you only wish there was more like this on a consistent basis.
    Lane Z Super Reviewer
  • Aug 09, 2014
    From Rob Reiner comes the laugh-out-loud rock-n-roll mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap. Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, and Harry Shearer star as the British heavy metal band Spinal Tap as they launch their latest album with an American concert tour. The comedy is hysterical and quite clever in how it satirizes the stereotypes associated with rock-n-rock bands. And, the music itself is pretty good and feels like the heavy metal of the '70s and '80s. Still, at times the film's a little too cartoony and rushes the story. This Is Spinal Tap has some issues, but overall it's a lot of fun and provides plenty of laughs.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Jan 22, 2013
    The 80s cult mockumentary This is Spinal Tap, doesn't have a striking appeal with me. Stylistically it's interesting for the films to satire rock stereotypes, and make the all around setting feel real. Interviewing to dope rock leaders, whose band is getting a "more exclusive audience". I actually never did laugh in this film, I lightly exhaled from my mouth making a "psh" sound, but I never actually had a real chuckle come out of this. It's not the most special of films, but it is decent. It's a film to watch midnight Saturday after drinking some red bulls, that was not the setting I was in.
    Daniel D Super Reviewer

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