200 Motels (1971) - Rotten Tomatoes

200 Motels (1971)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

This comic rockumentary-style musical imparts the experiences of Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention during a prolonged (and largely imaginary) road tour. This roisterous fable is brought to the screen in a number of colorful and improbable episodes without a strong narrative connection, but is accompanied by music composed specifically for the film by Zappa and the Mothers of Invention. The musicians are inspired to bring poetic justice to Centerville, a Midwestern town which is too bland to continue in existence. Among the dramas enacted is the defection of one drummer, the firing of another, and Zappa's announcement to the band and film crew that he would hire the next person to walk in the door, a man who proves to be Ringo Starr's chauffeur. Folk musician Theodore Bikel plays in a number of different roles, and Ringo Starr appears briefly, disguised as Frank Zappa. The Who drummer Keith Moon also makes an appearance.

Watch it now


Theodore Bikel
as Rance Muhammitz / Dave
Ringo Starr
as Larry The Dwarf / Frank Zappa
Keith Moon
as The Hot Nun
Jimmy Carl Black
as Lonesome Cowboy Burt
Frank Zappa
as Himself
Pamela Miller
as Interviewer
George Duke
as Member of Mothers of Invention
Don Preston
as Bif Debris
Howard Kaylan
as Member of Mothers of Invention
Dick Barber
as Industrial Vacuum Cleaner
Jim Pons
as Himself
Ruth Underwood
as Fake Drummer
Judy Grindley
as Chorus Leader
Mark Volman
as Member of Mothers of Invention
View All

Critic Reviews for 200 Motels

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (5)

200 Motels has no particular focal point, being principally an anthology of poor jokes and spectacular audio-visual effects, a few of which might expand the mind, but all of which, taken together, are like an overdose of Novocain.

September 10, 2007 | Rating: 2.5/5

The incidents are often outrageously irreverent. The comedy is fast and furious, both sophisticated and sophomoric.

September 10, 2007 | Full Review…

A real dinosaur.

September 10, 2007 | Full Review…

Zappa's most ambitious compositions (performed by the London Philharmonic) share screen time with nostalgic freak humor.

September 10, 2007

It assaults the mind with everything on hand.

September 10, 2007 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

200 Motels may pass for sophistication in some quarters but sophomoric is a better description. It is a mixture of rock music and fantasy with very little story line.

September 15, 2007 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for 200 Motels


Ringo Starr IS Larry the Dwarf AS Frank Zappa in this druggy pastiche of skits, solarized footage, crude animations, and an operetta about a penis. Most people will wonder what they were smoking when they came up with this; Zappa fans will wonder where they can get some.

Greg S
Greg S

Super Reviewer

200 Motels Quotes

News & Features