This Is Spinal Tap

1984 Comedy

Largely improvised by director Rob Reiner and his cast, This Is Spinal Tap looks and sounds like a "real" documentary, with Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, and Christopher Guest as David St. Hubbins, Derek Smalls, and Nigel Tufnel, the key members of a going-nowhere British heavy metal band called Spinal Tap. The "group" started as an informal skiffle band, eventually maturing into an R&B act called the Thamesmen (their hit was "Gimme Some Money"). After going through a psychedelic period with "Listen to the Flower People," the band mutated into Spinal Tap, a hard rock outfit responsible for such albums as "Intravenous DeMilo," "The Sun Never Sweats," and "Bent for the Rent." This Is Spinal Tap finds them in the midst of their first American tour in years as they support their new LP Smell the Glove, with filmmaker Marty DiBergi (Rob Reiner), who specializes in TV commercials, on hand to document the occasion. Just about anything that can go wrong does: shows get canceled, stage props go wrong, wireless guitar pickups start broadcasting air-traffic reports, no one shows up for in-store appearances, David's girlfriend tries to take over the band, they wind up billed second to a puppet show at an amusement park, and the group teeters on the verge of breakup. After the film's initial release, McKean, Guest, and Shearer did a short club tour as Spinal Tap; the "band" reunited in 1992 for a new album, Break Like the Wind, followed by a full-fledged tour and TV special, The Return of Spinal Tap. more..

Director: Rob Reiner

Starring: Michael McKean,Christopher Guest,Rob Reiner,Harry Shearer, Tony Hendra


  • One of the funniest, most intelligent, most original films.

    Roger Ebert - The Chicago Sun-Times

    11 May 2013

  • A heady flow of brilliant stupidity.

    Jay Carr - The Boston Globe

    11 May 2013

  • The rock scene hasn't been the same since this hilarious 1984 comedy.

    David Sterritt - Christian Science Monitor

    11 May 2013

  • Deserves an encore anyway for its invaluable contributions to the vocabulary of rock'n' roll and pop culture.

    - The Chicago Tribune

    11 May 2013

  • That rare comedy that is as completely entertaining now in its it was back then.

    Kenneth Turan - Los Angeles Times

    11 May 2013


  • Best DVD Audio Commentary

    DVD Exclusive Awards (2001)

  • National Film Preservation Board (2002)