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This Is Spinal Tap

January 6, 2011

714. This Is Spinal Tap
Directed by Rob Reiner
USA, 1984
IMDB | allmovie

Reviewed by Rachel
Roughly third viewing


A mock-rockumentary following the British heavy metal band Spinal Tap on what proves to be a rather eventful tour.

Essential Scene:

The band’s lead guitarist, Nigel Tufnel (Christopher Guest), plays a beautiful piece of music on a piano, as the documentary’s director Marty DiBergi (Rob Reiner) looks on.

Marty: It’s very pretty.

Nigel: Yeah I like it. I’ve been fooling around with it for a few months now, it’s very delicate.

Marty: It’s a bit of a departure from the kind of thing you normally play.

Nigel: Yeah well it’s part of a trilogy, a musical trilogy I’m doing in D minor, which I always find is the saddest of all keys, really. I don’t know why but people weep instantly when you play it.

[Nigel harmonizes along with the piano]

Nigel: Baaaaaa, baaa.. That’s the horn part.

Marty: It’s very pretty.

Nigel: You know, just simple lines intertwining, you know, very much like – I’m really influenced by Mozart and Bach, and it’s sort of in between those, really. It’s like a Mach piece, really. It’s sort of…

Marty: What do you call this?

Nigel: Well, this piece is called “Lick My Love Pump.”


My baby fits me like a flesh tuxedo
I’d like to sink her with my pink torpedo

Big bottom, big bottom
Talk about bum cakes, my girl’s got ’em
Big bottom drive me out of my mind
How could I leave this behind?

~ “Big Bottom” by Spinal Tap

First we had Don’t Look Back. Then we had Let It Be. Then came This Is Spinal Tap. What do you mean you’ve never heard of Spinal Tap? The hot licks of Nigel Tufnel? The face melting vocals of David St. Hubbins?

Okay, I’ll stop it now…

Spinal Tap was so believable as a documentary that viewers were complaining that, although they enjoyed the film, they had never heard of the band. In a strange twist, that would probably happen to Spinal Tap even if they had been a real band.

Anyone who has been involved in the music industry or been on tour in some shape or form will know that the film is almost painfully authentic. Terrible venues, relationship troubles, buggered-up hotel bookings and tiny pieces of bread.

The beauty of Spinal Tap is the lead actors (Michael McKean, Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer) really do have great musical abilities, as well as being able to write/improvise memorable and hilarious set pieces — all whilst impressively nailing English accents.

Definitely a film to revisit often!

David St. Hubbins: I believe virtually everything I read, and I think that is what makes me more of a selective human than someone who doesn’t believe anything.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 6, 2011 7:05 pm

    OMG, I LOVE this movie!!!!

  2. Jess Q. permalink
    February 22, 2011 8:56 pm

    Christopher Guest amazes me. Not that I’m an expert on accents or anything, but for years I had no idea he wasn’t English.

    A quick look at IMDB says his father was British. I guess that explains it?

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