''200 Motels'' is an [[MissingEpisode unfinished rock movie]] by Music/FrankZappa from 1971 (Zappa and [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Palmer Tony Palmer]] are credited as co-directors; Zappa directed the performances, Palmer did the visuals). It was released with an eponymous soundtrack. Both the film as well as the album are a surreal {{Satire}} of a rock band on tour. The film stars Zappa's own band members- the Mothers of Invention- as caricatures of themselves. The film also has supporting roles for Music/RingoStarr as Larry the Dwarf (aka Frank Zappa), [[Music/TheWho Keith Moon]] as a nun groupie, Theodore Bikel as Rance Muhammitz and the notorious groupie Pamela des Barres as a reporter. [[TroubledProduction Various problems caused the project to change direction during recordings]]. The budget was cut and one of the band members, Jeff Simmons, left the group halfway. As a result only one third of Zappa's script could be filmed. While the man tried to make something coherent out of it in the editing room the film still ends up as a confusing mess.

While one can only wonder {{What Could Have Been}} if it was actually finished, it's still a visually interesting and often funny film to watch. Compared to Zappa's other film project ''Uncle Meat'' (1988)- even more low-budget- ''200 Motels'' is much more enjoyable. Still the CultClassic can be disappointing for fans who actually want to see Zappa himself, because he's hardly seen in this film and doesn't even have a line. In that respect the two hours and a half ConcertFilm ''Film/BabySnakes (1979)'' gives you more your money's worth.

Before the arrival of Internet ''200 Motels'' was very difficult to find and could only be ordered on video through Zappa's own company. Therefore it is safe to say that the CultSoundtrack album has probably reached more people than this BrokenBase film project. Just like ''Music/ChungasRevenge'' (1970), ''Music/FillmoreEastJune1971'' (1971) and ''Music/JustAnotherBandFromLA'' (1972) the album features Mark and Howie from Music/TheTurtles as lead vocalists and deals with {{Satire}} about rock artists on tour and groupies.

Zappa's original score ran to several hundred pages, and after his death his widow Gail decided to make arrangements to finally give it a formal debut on a classical concert stage. There were a couple European shows in 2000, then in 2013 a version called ''200 Motels: The Suites'', which drew on both the film and the score, got full performances in Los Angeles and London. The LA Philharmonic version was released as an album in 2015 and received a Grammy nomination.

Fan favorites are "Lonesome Cowboy Burt", "She Painted Up Her Face", "Dental Hygiene Dilemma", "Does This Kind Of Life Look Interesting To You?", "Penis Dimension", "Magic Fingers" and "Strictly Genteel".

!! Tracklist of the soundtrack

'''Side 1'''
# "Semi-Fraudulent/Direct-from-Hollywood Overture" (1:59)
# "Mystery Roach" (2:32)
# "Dance of the Rock & Roll Interviewers" (0:48)
# "This Town Is a Sealed Tuna Sandwich (prologue)" (0:56)
# "Tuna Fish Promenade" (2:30)
# "Dance of the Just Plain Folks" (4:40)
# "This Town Is a Sealed Tuna Sandwich (reprise)" (0:59)
# "The Sealed Tuna Bolero" (1:41)
# "Lonesome Cowboy Burt" (3:57)

'''Side 2'''
# "Touring Can Make You Crazy" (2:52)
# "Would You Like a Snack?" (1:23)
# "Redneck Eats" (3:02)
# "Centerville" (2:31)
# "She Painted Up Her Face" (1:42)
# "Janet's Big Dance Number" (1:18)
# "Half a Dozen Provocative Squats" (1:58)
# "Mysterioso" (0:48)
# "Shove It Right In" (2:33)
# "Lucy's Seduction of aBored Violinist & Postlude" (4:02)

'''Side 3'''
# "I'm Stealing the Towels" (2:14)
# "Dental Hygiene Dilemma" (5:11)
# "Does This Kind of Life Look Interesting to You?" (2:59)
# "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy" (3:12)
# "Penis Dimension" (4:37)
# "What Will This Evening Bring Me This Morning" (3:32)

'''Side 4'''
# "A Nun Suit Painted on Some Old Boxes" (1:09)
# "Magic Fingers" (3:53)
# "Motorhead's Midnight Ranch" (1:29)
# "Dew on the Newts We Got" (1:09)
# "The Lad Searches the Night for His Newts" (0:41)
# "The Girl Wants to Fix Him Some Broth" (1:10)
# "The Girl's Dream" (0:54)
# "Little Green Scratchy Sweaters & Courduroy Ponce" (1:00)
# "Strictly Genteel" (11:11)

'''Bonus tracks on the CD'''
# 200 Motels Promotional Radio Spots|CUT 1 "Coming Soon!..." (0:55)
# 200 Motels Promotional Radio Spots|CUT 2 "The Wide Screen Erupts..." (0:58)
# 200 Motels Promotional Radio Spots|CUT 3 "Coming Soon!..." (0:31)
# 200 Motels Promotional Radio Spots|CUT 4 "Frank Zappa's 200 Motels..." (0:13)
# "Magic Fingers" (Single Edit) (2:56)
# ENHANCED TRACK: The original trailer.

* Frank Zappa (bass, guitar, producer, orchestration)
* Mark Volman (vocals)
* Howard Kaylan (vocals)
* Jimmy Carl Black (vocals)
* Jim Pons (vocals)
* George Duke (trombone, keyboards)
* Ian Underwood (keyboards, woodwind)
* Ruth Underwood (percussion)
* Aynsley Dunbar (drums)
* The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

!! 200 Tropes:
* AdamWesting: The Mothers play exaggerated versions of themselves.
* AlbumTitleDrop: Happens during "Semi-Fraudulent Direct-From-Hollywood Overture".
* AlliterativeTitle: "'''D'''addy '''D'''addy '''D'''addy".
* AllMenArePerverts: The Mothers.
* AllWomenAreLustful: The groupies.
* BadBoss: The way the band sees Zappa. Zappa was aware that many felt he was a difficult task master, because he left cassette recordings around to tape people's conversations, something that is also spoofed in this movie.
* BadGirlSong: The suite made of "She Painted Up Her Face", "Janet's Big Dance Number", "Half a Dozen Provocative Squats", "Mysterioso", "Shove it Right In" and "Lucy's Seduction of a Bored Violinist".
* BassoProfundo: Theodore Bikel belting out the first verse of "Strictly Genteel".
* BawdySong: Most tracks are about perverted musicians and lustful groupies.
* BigBrotherIsWatching: Larry the Dwarf (dressed like Zappa) is hiding in the corner of various scenes, often with a tape recorder.
** Rance appears in the middle of two musical sequences, laughing at the others' misery.
* BiggerIsBetterInBed: "Penis Dimension" ponders over the question if penis length is important.
* BreakingTheFourthWall: The film is aware it's cheap looking and mostly filmed on a set.
** During "Strictly Genteel" Theodore Bikel even announces: ''"This, as you might have guessed is the end of the movie. The entire cast is assembled here to bid farewell to you and express thanks for your attendance at this theatre."'' Then he decides to sing a ''"kind of sentimental song that you get at the end of a movie, it's the kind of a song that people might sing to let you and the audience know that we really like and care about you."'' Near the end of the song the band members sing: ''"They're gonna clear out the studio"'' and summarize all the things they're going to do to clean up the set.
* TheCameo: Famous groupie Pamela Des Barres as a rock 'n' roll journalist.
** WesternAnimation/DonaldDuck in the "Dental Hygiene Dilemma" segment.
* CelebrityIsOverrated: Zappa's entire point about rock 'n' roll and touring, told very explicitly during "Touring Can Make You Crazy" and "Does This Kind Of Life Look Interesting To You?"
* CityInABottle: Not directly stated in the final movie, but maybe something was cut telling that [[spoiler:Centerville is a fake city inside the retraining facility. Reinforced by the fact that the characters refers to places like ''fake nightclub'' and ''fake stage'', although it can be simply a chessy LeaningOnTheFourthWall]].
* ContinuityNod
** Parts of "Semi-Fraudulent Direct-From-Hollywood Overture" and "Would You Like A Snack?" are rearranged pieces from "Holiday in Berlin, Full Blown" on ''Music/BurntWeenySandwich'' (1970). Certain portions are repeated again during "I'm Stealing The Towels".
** "Dance Of The Rock & Roll Interviewers" contains a musical phrase from "Mystery Roach" and "A Pound For A Brown (On The Bus)" (from ''Music/UncleMeat'') (1969).
** "This Town Is Like A Sealed Tuna Sandwich" would be quoted again during "Bogus Pomp" on ''Music/OrchestralFavorites'' (1978). The band also appear to drive over a tuna sandwich on the cover of ''Music/JustAnotherBandFromLA'' (1972).
** A plastic bag is mentioned during "The Sealed Tuna Bolero", bringing up "plastic" imagery again from ''Music/FreakOut'' (1966) and ''Music/AbsolutelyFree'' (1967). "Liquor stores" from "Hungry Freaks Daddy" (''Music/FreakOut'') are mentioned again in "Centerville".
** "Aroma" is mentioned during "Dental Hygiene Dilemma", another conceptual continuity topic that Zappa would revisit during "Dirty Love" (''Music/OverNiteSensation'' (1973)) and "Jewish Princess" (''Music/SheikYerbouti'' (1979)).
** Women "painting up their face" in "She Painted Up Her Face" was an image that Zappa visited earlier during "You're Probably Wondering Why I'm Here" (on ''Music/FreakOut'' (1966)) and "Harry You're A Beast" (''Music/WereOnlyInItForTheMoney'' (1968)).
** The character Opal in "Lonesome Cowboy Burt" would later be mentioned again during "Teenage Wind" on ''Music/YouAreWhatYouIs'' (1980), where the lines "where's my waitress?" is also mentioned again. The character in "Teenage Wind" also says he "could go to a midnight show of "200 Motels"". In the same song the teenager protagonist wants to go to a midnight show of "200 Motels". Opal would also reappear on the album ''Music/ThingFish'' (1984). On "No, Not Now" on ''Music/ShipArrivingTooLateToSaveADrowningWitch'' (1982) "cowboy pants" and a "waitress" are mentioned again.
** The line "What is that, musk? It's hip" from "Dental Hygiene Dilemma" would be re-used again during "Packard Goose" on ''Music/JoesGarage'' (1979).
** Billy the Mountain in "Dental Hygiene Dilemma" would reappear during "Billy The Mountain" on ''Music/JustAnotherBandFromLA'' (1972) and "The Adventures Of Greggery Peccary" on ''Music/StudioTan'' (1978) and ''Music/{{Lather}}'' (1996).
** Music/KeithMoon, who plays the nun in this film, would receive another nod in ''"We're Turning Again"'' on Zappa's album ''Music/FrankZappaMeetsTheMothersOfPrevention" (1985)'': ''"We can laugh at Keith Moon's jokes."''
** ''"Penis Dimension"'' and ''"Strictly Genteel"'' refer to winos, which would inspire the track "Wonderful Wino" on ''Music/ZootAllures (1976)''
** Zappa's album "Playground Psychotics" (1992) has a few audio tracks from the "200 Motels" film recordings: ''"I Could Be A Star Now", "If You're Not A Professional Actor", "A Great Guy", "Bad Acting", "The Worst Reviews", "A Version Of Himself", "Going For The Money"'' and ''"Martin Lickert's Story"''.
** Car, dog and lice imagery can be heard during ''"Dental Hygiene Dilemma"'' and ''"Does This Kind Of Life Look Interesting To You?"'' A tie and Germans, other two conceptual continuity elements, are also referenced again.
** And, of course, the topic "groupies" had been referenced earlier on Zappa's albums. The lines "If your dick is a monster" and "Do You Like My New Car?" during "Daddy Daddy Daddy" are a throwback to the album ''Music/FillmoreEastJune1971'' (1971).
** Chrome and shoes, referenced earlier in Zappa's conceptual continuity, are mentioned again during "Magic Fingers".
** "The Girl Wants To Fix Him Some Broth" refers to "Dog broth", causing the chorus to sing "Dog breath?" This is a reference to "Dog Breath In The Year Of The Plague" from ''Music/UncleMeat (1969)''.
** "Little Green Scratchy Sweaters & Courduroy Ponce" refers to Catholic schools with "nuns smashing kids with rulers". Zappa would revisit "Catholic Girls" again during ''Music/JoesGarage''.
** "Strictly Genteel" was performed in an instrumental version on ''Music/OrchestralFavorites'' (1979), ''Music/LondonSymphonyOrchestra'' (1984) and ''Make A Jazz Noise Here'' (1988).
** "Lonesome Cowboy Burt" would be performed live as "Lonesome Cowboy Swaggart" on Zappa's ''Music/TheBestBandYouNeverHeardInYourLife'' (1991), targeting corrupt televangelist Jimmy Swaggart, who was caught with a prostitute in 1988.
* CoolPet: Motorhead Sherwood's newts.
* CoversAlwaysLie: Despite his giant face luring on the film poster and DVD cover Zappa is hardly seen in this movie. His total screen time takes up less than a minute and he doesn't even have a line.
* CreatorCameo: Sort of. Zappa don't star in the movie itself, only appears as a musician in band-only music segments.
* CrossDresser:
** Motorhead Sherwood and Mark Volman
** Keith Moon as a nun.
* CrowdSong: "Penis Dimension", sung by the whole cast with torches, and "Strictly Genteel", sung by the entire cast without torches.
* CultSoundtrack: As explained in the introduction to this article.
* DealWithTheDevil: Rance Muhammitz/The Devil gives away hamburgers and beers, asking in exchange for a [[BloodOath signature in blood]].
* DeepSouth: Lonesome Cowboy Hurt definitely hails from there.
* DerangedAnimation: "Dental Hygiene Dilemma/Does This Kind Of Life Look Interesting To You?"
* DesignStudentsOrgasm: The film poster and album cover, designed by [=David McMacken=]
* TheDevil: Rance Muhammitz.
* DistinctDoubleAlbum: Especially when released on CD, with extra radio promos and a radio edit of "Magic Fingers".
* DreamLand: The narration states that it's a fantasy happening on the road. The movie can also be interpreted as a dream inside the retraining facility for musicians that Larry the Dwarf shows in his monologue.
* EccentricTownsFolk: Centerville has some weird inhabitants!
* FaceOnTheCover: Zappa's face looms above the proceedings.
* ForeignQueasine: Theodore Bikel's line: "Lord, have mercy on the people of England and the terrible food these people must eat."
* GoodAngelBadAngel: Jeff's bad and good consciences fighting over him stealing the towels of the hotel room and quitting the band.
* GreekChorus: Whatever else he is, Rance Muhammitz functions as this. To some extent this is also true of Larry the Dwarf ([[Music/TheBeatles Ringo Starr]] in Zappa disguise.)
* GroupieBrigade: Several songs deal with groupies and rock stars trying to get off with them: "She Painted Up Her Face", "Daddy Daddy Daddy", "What Will I Say The Next Day (To Whatever I Drag To My Hotel Tonight?)", "Magic Fingers", "Penis Dimension",...
* HulkingOut: Don Preston drinks a potion that changes him into a monster.
** Jeff Simmons also changes different shapes and acquires a duck face during the "Dental Hygiene Dilemma" segment.
* ICouldaBeenAContender: In the penultimate scene, "Jeff Simmons" (as played by Martin Lickert) tells Don Preston that he could've been a big rock star if he hadn't joined Zappa to play "comedy music", and Preston agrees.
* IHaveManyNames: Rance Muhammitz also goes by "Devil" and [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking "Opal, You Hot Little Bitch"]].
* IOwnThisTown: WordOfGod is that Rance Muhammitz owns everything in Centerville and runs the town.
* IncrediblyObviousBug: While the band members talk about how Zappa always tapes everything they say in secret he (played by Ringo) is very obviously standing behind them, wearing a hat, sunglasses and a trenchcoat and holding a microphone and a tape recorder. The others don't notice him at all, however.
* IntercourseWithYou: A lot of tracks are about rock stars and groupies trying to score, or as Zappa summarizes it: "waiting for girls they can shove it right in."
* InTheStyleOf: The opening composition "Semi-Fraudulent Direct-From-Hollywood Overture" is done in the style of a typical cheesy Hollywood epic.
* LongTitle: "Semi-Fraudulent/Direct-From-Hollywood Overture"; "Dance Of The Rock & Roll Interviewers", "This Town Is A Sealed Tuna Sandwich", "Lucy's Seduction Of A Bored Violinist & Postlude", "Does This Kind Of Life Look Interesting To You?", "A Nun Suit Painted On Some Old Boxes", "The Lad Searches The Night For His Newts", "The Girl Wants To Fix Him Some Broth", "Little Green Scratchy Sweaters & Courduroy Ponce".
* LovableSexManiac: Aynsley Dunbar.
* LyricalDissonance: "Magic Fingers", which starts out as a very basic sexual rock 'n' roll song with lyrics like: "Ooh the way you looks me sugar, makes me so hot that I could die", and near the end turns into [[spoiler:a disturbing atmosphere with a listing of proposed sexual activies including a golden shower]]
* MillsAndBoonProse: The "hot books" mentioned in "Penis Dimension".
-->''Manuel the gardener placed his burning phallus in her quivering quim.''
* MindScrew: From the first until the last minute.
* MissFanService: Miss Lucy is seen bare breasted in some scenes.
* NightmareFace: Near the end of Schenkel's animation sequence a funny and both creepy photo cut-out of Zappa can be seen with vicious teeth cluttering and clattering up and down.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: WesternAnimation/DonaldDuck has a cameo in "Dental Hygiene Dilemma", obviously not with permission of the Walt Disney Company.
* NoFourthWall: All the characters (Rance and Larry the Dwarf, in particular), are aware that it's all a film.
* OnlyInItForTheMoney: Jimmy Carl Black keeps asking when he'll get paid? This is also a CallBack to lines heard during "Flower Punk" on ''Music/WereOnlyInItForTheMoney'' and the track "If We'd All Been Living In California" on ''Music/UncleMeat''.
* OneManSong: "Lonesome Cowboy Burt".
* OneWordTitle: "Centerville", "Mysterioso".
* PrecisionFStrike: Several, with the first one delivered by a [[Creator/RingoStarr Beatle]]!
* QuestioningTitle: "Would You Like A Snack?", "What Will This Evening Bring Me This Morning?"
* RealLifeWritesThePlot: Much of the film references inside jokes about Zappa's band members, including "Magic Fingers" where Music/JeffBeck's tennis shoes are mentioned, which are used "to beat a groupie off". Zappa did indeed also record band conversations in secret, like the film depicts.
* TheReptilians: The dancing newts during "The Lad Searches The Night For His Newts".
* {{Satire}}: The "plot" is a satire of rock bands touring and looking more forward to scoring with groupies than anything else. The stressful conditions from being on the road are also addressed ("Touring Can Make You Crazy", "Does This Kind Of Life Look Interesting To You?").
* SelfDeprecation: The band members criticize Zappa for being a control freak who tapes their conversations and references their antics in his music. This was all TruthInTelevision, by the way. It also applies to the band members, who willingly portray themselves as only being interested in making money, getting high and chasing groupies.
* ShoutOut:
** Jeff Simmons dreams of quitting the band and forming his own heavy group "like Music/GrandFunkRailroad", for whom Zappa later produced an album: "Good Singin', Good Playin'". Music/BlackSabbath, whom Zappa was a fan of, is also mentioned.
** "Dental Hygiene Dilemma"
--> ''It's just as if Music/{{Donovan}} himself had appeared on my very own TV with words of peace, love and eternal cosmic wisdom" (...) it's the same and mysterious exotic oriental flagrance as what Music/TheBeatles get off on.''
** The monolith of ''Film/TwoThousandOneASpaceOdyssey'' can be seen.
** WesternAnimation/DonaldDuck has a cameo during "Dental Hygiene Dilemma".
** French comic strip artist Creator/{{Gotlib}} spoofed the album cover with characters from his ''Hamster Jovial'' strip. [[https://berichtenuithetverleden.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/gotlib-hamster-jovial-et-ses-louveteaux/]]
** The film is also referenced in the 1974 animated adult film ''WesternAnimation/DownAndDirtyDuck'', where Mark and Howie also played the starring role. In one scene a huge Zappa head even appears on the horizon.
* ShowWithinAShow: Two game shows, one in the beginning, hosted by Rance Muhammitz with the guest Larry the Dwarf and one later on hosted by Flo and Eddie featuring the groupies talking about names of penises.
** Cal Schenkel's animation sequence is also presented this way, being announced as a "dental hygiene documentary short" and having the film reels bounce up and down during the title sequence to make it seem as if a different film reel is put into the projector.
* SirNotAppearingInThisTrailer: Despite centering around Zappa, being directed and composed by him and heavily promoted in the trailers Frank Zappa himself is hardly seen in this film. He is occasionally seen playing along with the group, but his total screen time takes up less than a minute. And he doesn't even have a line.
* SpecialGuest: The film features celebrities like actor Theodore Bikel, Music/RingoStarr, Music/KeithMoon and famous groupie Pamela des Barres.
* SurrealHumor: Zappa's surreal humor comes mostly from bizarre inside jokes that probably could only be enjoyed at his fullest by him and his bandmates, though it's still pretty funny with moments like Flo and Eddie touring around the boring little town of Centerville.
* TitleDrop: "TWOO-HUNDRED MOTEEEELS" during the animation sequence.
* WholesomeCrossDresser: Keith Moon is dressed as a Nun. Later scenes also show Mothers' band members dressed up as women in a bar.