This Is Spinal Tap


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.



Total Count: 63


Audience Score

User Ratings: 127,037
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Movie Info

A spoof about a filmmaker making a documentary about a once-famous, now almost forgotten British heavy metal band returning to the United States after 17 years for a concert tour.


Michael McKean
as David St. Hubbins
Christopher Guest
as Nigel Tufnel
Rob Reiner
as Marty DiBergi
Harry Shearer
as Derek Smalls
Tony Hendra
as Ian Faith
R.J. Parnell
as Mick Shrimpton
David Kaff
as Viv Savage
Bruno Kirby
as Tommy Pischedda
Ed Begley Jr.
as John 'Stumpy' Pepys
Fran Drescher
as Bobbi Flekman
Patrick Macnee
as Sir Denis Eaton-Hogg
Billy Crystal
as Morty the Mime
Howard Hesseman
as Terry Ladd
Paul Shaffer
as Artie Fufkin
Fred Willard
as Lt. Hookstratten
Kimberly Stringer
as Heavy Metal Fan
Chazz Dominguez
as Heavy Metal Fan
Shari Hall
as Heavy Metal Fan
Jean Cromie
as Ethereal Fan
Patrick Maher
as New York MC
Danny Kortchmar
as Ronnie Pudding
Memo Vera
as Bartender
Julie Payne
as Mime Waitress
Dana Carvey
as Mime Waitress
Sandy Helberg
as Angelo DiMentibello
Robin Menken
as Antelo's Associate
Zane Buzby
as Rolling Stone Reporter
Jennifer Child
as Limo Groupie
J.J. Barry
as Rack Jobber
George McDaniel
as Southern Rock Promoter
Paul Benedict
as Tucker 'Smitty' Brown
Cherie Darr
as Fame Groupie
Lara Cody
as Fame Groupie
Andrew J. Lederer
as Student Promoter
Russ Kunkel
as Eric 'Stumpy Joe' Childs
Diana Duncan
as Jamboree Bop Dancer
Gina Marie Pitrello
as Jamboree Bop Dancer
Brinke Stevens
as Girlfriend (uncredited)
Joyce Hyser
as Belinda
Gloria E. Gifford
as Airport Security Official
Archie Hahn III
as Room Service Guy
Charles Levin
as Disc & Dat Manager
Anjelica Huston
as Polly Deutsch
Chris Romano
as Little Druid
Daniel Rodgers
as Little Druid
Fred Asparagus
as Joe 'Mama' Besser
Rodney Kemerer
as L.A. Party Guest
Paul Shortino
as Duke Fame
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Critic Reviews for This Is Spinal Tap

All Critics (63) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (60) | 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.

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

    Mar 26, 2009 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    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.

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

    Dec 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.

    Feb 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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