Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

This is Spinal Tap (1984)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

This is Spinal Tap (1984)

In this low-budget rockumentary by director Rob Reiner:

  • the famous "These go to 11" scene in which legendary bogus heavy-metal British rock group singer and lead guitarist Nigel Tufnel (Christopher Guest) bragged about his collection of guitars and his very special Marshall amp to rockumentary, cinema verite film-maker Marty Di Bergi (Rob Reiner) - boasting that the amplifier could go "one louder" up to a volume setting of eleven ("These go to 11") - and his blank response to Di Bergi's query why they just didn't make 10 louder: "Why don't you just make ten louder and make ten be the top number and make that a little louder?"
  • the scene of their arrival in America to endorse their new and controversial album/cover Smell the Glove (filled with vulgar songs such as "Big Bottomed Woman ", "Sex Farm Woman", and the memorable song fusing Bach and Mozart (or M-ach) "Lick My Love Pump" with offensive lyrics) - and attired in complete heavy metal regalia
  • the scene of bass player Derek Small's (Harry Shearer) 'enhanced' embarrassment when caught at an airplane security checkpoint with a cucumber wrapped in aluminum foil stuffed in his pants, after being asked: "Do you have any artificial plates or limbs?..."
  • the scene of Nigel's guitar room where he showed off all of his instruments to Di Bergi, and bragged: "The sustain, listen to it"; Di Bergi responded: "I'm not hearing anything" - when Nigel added: "You would though, if it were playing"
  • the scene at the gravesite of Elvis Presley in Memphis after their show was cancelled when they harmonized on "Heartbreak Hotel"
  • the airforce base concert where the straight audience was disgusted by their song "Sex Farm Woman"
  • and the scene backstage in North Carolina when Nigel was angered because the meat slices for sandwiches were larger than the "miniature bread" slices
  • and the band's convoluted attempts to walk from their basement dressing room to the stage at their Cleveland concert ("Hello Cleveland!")
  • and the disastrous Stonehenge finale in which an undersized stage prop - an 18 inch miniature Stonehenge monolith monument - was constructed (the specifications were doodled on a bar napkin for the designer who claimed: "lan, I was asked to build it 18 inches high! Look, look, look. This is what I was asked to build. 18 inches, right here, it's specified, 18 inches. I was given this napkin, I mean"; Ian responded: "Forget this. F--k the napkin!"); the small monument was lowered to the stage and dwarfed by a pair of midgets cavorting around it, and the discussion that followed: ("I do not, for one, think that the problem was that the band was down. I think that the problem may have been, that there was a Stonehenge monument on the stage that was in danger of being crushed by a dwarf. Alright? That tended to understate the hugeness of the object")
  • the last line of the film after the end credits - Nigel's response when asked if he would be happy being a shoe salesman: "Well, I don't know. What are the hours?"


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