AFI Movie Club: THIS IS SPINAL TAP – American Film Institute



THIS IS SPINAL TAP – directed by Rob Reiner and written by Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer and Rob Reiner – is ranked #29 on AFI’s list of the all-time greatest comedies!  

Watch Jack Black announce the film:


Movie Trivia about THIS IS SPINAL TAP

DID YOU KNOW Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer and Rob Reiner originated the idea of spoofing a British rock band while working together on Reiner’s television parody special THE TV SHOW? 

DID YOU KNOW that THIS IS SPINAL TAP is Rob Reiner’s first feature film as a director? 

DID YOU KNOW Penelope Spheeris was originally asked to direct THIS IS SPINAL TAP? She ultimately turned it down but did go on to direct the documentary rock trilogy THE DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION. 

-DID YOU KNOW the three leads play their own instruments and do their own singing in the film? 

-DID YOU KNOW because of the film’s small budget, the five cities depicted in the band’s U.S. tour were all filmed in Los Angeles? 

-DID YOU KNOW that THIS IS SPINAL TAP was significantly edited down, including a subplot with Cherie Currie – original singer for The Runaways – who was cast as a love interest? 

-DID YOU KNOW the film features cameos by comedians Billy Crystal and Dana Carvey as mimes? 

-DID YOU KNOW the film has its own IMDb rating scale to reflect Nigel Tufnel’s famous quote that the amps “go to 11”? 

Learn more at the AFI Catalog.


The movie doesn’t end at the credits: Family-friendly Discussion Questions 

Join the conversation on Twitter and Instagram now using #AFIMovieClub. Or post your responses in the comment section below. 

-What were the most laugh-out-loud moments of the movie? What were the most outrageous scenes of rock and roll excess? 

-Which Spinal Tap band member do you like the most? 

-Which real-life British rock stars do you think might have inspired the filmmakers? 

-What did you think of the characters ad-libbing throughout? Could you tell that the film wasn’t scripted? 

-THIS IS SPINAL TAP marked the first of several mockumentaries created by Christopher Guest. Do you have a personal favorite? 

-Why do you think THIS IS SPINAL TAP has achieved cult status? 

-How would you rate THIS IS SPINAL TAP? 


Watch Carl Reiner and Billy Crystal talk about their favorite scenes from THIS IS SPINAL TAP in this exclusive AFI Archive video:


New to AFI Movie Club? Want to learn more?

In this time when we are reminded “There’s no place like home,” AFI has created a global, virtual gathering of those who love the movies. Each day’s film is accompanied by fun facts, family-friendly discussion points and material from the AFI Archive to enrich your viewing experience.

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