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This Is Spinal Tap Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 5.0

    out of 100

    Universal acclaim
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

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

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  • 100

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune

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

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  • 90

    out of 100


    A vastly amusing satire of heavy metal bands.

    Read Full Review

  • 90

    out of 100

    Los Angeles Times Kenneth Turan

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

  • See all This Is Spinal Tap reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 14+

Hilarious, ribald, drug-filled rock send-up.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Spinal Tap is a fictional band, and Rob Reiner's classic "mockumentary" about them highlights their failure. There are moments when the language gets a bit heavy with curse words, but they tend to be short and sporadic. Violence and sex are almost non-existent except for the songs, which tend to be heavy with sexual innuendo. Lots of references to drugs and alcohol. But much of the humor will go right over younger kids' head.

  • Families can talk about the difference between a documentary and a mockumentary. How can you tell which is which?
  • The movie can jump-start a great discussion about the role of marketingin the music business. How much of their success (or lack thereof) doesSpinal Tap owe to marketing versus their own (clear lack of) talent?
  • What is director Reiner trying to say to the audience about the music industry?
  • How does this movie's subject matter relate to the current pop music scene?

The good stuff
  • message true1

    Messages: While the band members are comically tragic failures, they do pursue their dreams. And nobody engages in anti-social or criminal behavior.

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: The group overcomes obstacles by sticking together. That said, there's some bickering, and characters are generally oblivious.

What to watch for
  • violence false1

    Violence: One cartoonish scene in which a man smashes things with a cricket bat.

  • sex false3

    Sex: Lots of sexual innuendo; almost all song lyrics are about sex. Not much actually shown.

  • language false3

    Language: All major curse words used during conversations, mostly when people are angry.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not applicable

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Smoking, some casual drinking.