This Is Spinal Tap (1984): Rob Reiner’s Cult Movie, Parody of Rock Documentary

Two major satires appeared in 1984: This Is Spinal Tap and Repo Man, both studio-released. With Spinal Tap, Rob Reiner made an admirably precise parody of rock documentary in which he plays director Marti Di Bergi, who chronicles the latest American tour of an aging British rock group that’s a working definition of the word has been.

A product of collaboration, this cunning satire is improvised by Reiner and his cast, which includes many familiar faces in cameos: Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer, Tony Hendra, June Chadwick.

A veteran of TV, Guest performed and wrote material for various entertainment programs (a 1976 Lili Tomlin special) and was a member of the “Saturday Night Live” cast. Guest contributed to the script of Spinal Tap, in which he also stars as lead guitarist Nigel Tufnela, of the faux heavy metal band

Spinal Tap became the standard against which all mockumentaries are evaluated. In fact, the movie was so successful that in the 1990s the fictitious group reunited for a series of live concerts and a TV special, further blurring the lines between satire and reportage.