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Tales of the Rat Fink (2006)

John Goodman , Ted Rosnick , Ron Mann  |  NR |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: John Goodman, Ted Rosnick, Alex Xydias, Paul Le Mat, Ann-Margret
  • Directors: Ron Mann
  • Writers: Adam Cawley, Solomon Vesta
  • Producers: Ron Mann, Bill Imperial, Martin Harbury, Michael Boyuk
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Shout Factory
  • DVD Release Date: October 31, 2006
  • Run Time: 78 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000H6SY3M
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #166,473 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Tales of the Rat Fink" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Big Daddy Lives! - Rare interviews with Ed "Big Daddy" Roth
  • Rat Fink Reunion - Painting Jam with Ed Roth and Von Dutch
  • Big Daddy's Garage - Virtual Art Gallery
  • Interview with Director Ron Mann
  • Deleted Scene
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • The Sadies Music Video

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

From the award-winning director of Comic Book Confidential and Grass comes Tales Of The Rat Fink, Ron Mann’s wildly inventive bio about Renaissance man Ed "Big Daddy" Roth, who engineered a shift in mid-twentieth century culture with his customized cars, "monster" T-shirts and America’s alternative rodent—"Rat Fink".

Mann’s largely animated documentary-style film features the voice talents of:

• John Goodman 8-time Emmy® Nominee (The Big Lebowski)
• Ann-Margret Academy Award® Nominee (Carnal Knowledge)
• Jay Leno
• Brian Wilson (The Beach Boys)
• Stone Cold Steve Austin
• Tom Wolfe (author of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test)
• Matt Groening (creator of "The Simpsons")
• The Smothers Brothers
• And many more!


• Big Daddy Lives! — Rare interviews with Ed "Big Daddy" Roth
• Rat Fink Reunion — Painting jam with Ed Roth and Von Dutch
• Big Daddy's Garage — Virtual art gallery
• Interview with director Ron Mann
• Deleted scene
• Theatrical trailer
• The Sadies music video

Canadian filmmaker Ron Mann has specialized in making counter-cultural documentaries since 1978, and Tales of the Rat Fink is his masterpiece. Rarely has the combination of technique and subject matter been presented with such symbiotic perfection, and Mann's tribute to Ed "Big Daddy" Roth will appeal to anyone who recalls the glory days of hot rods and custom cars. Roth pioneered customizing in the late '50s, taking his cue from the legendary Von Dutch (whose automotive pinstripes "flowed like jazz") to become the first hot-rodder to sculpt custom cars out of fiberglass, the first to airbrush custom "monster" designs on T-shirts, and the inventor of Rat Fink, the "anti-Mickey Mouse" adopted as the drooling mascot of rodders, surfers, model-building hobbyists and assorted misfits throughout the '60s. Roth's best-known custom cars--The Outlaw, The Beatnik Bandit, Mysterion and others--remain timeless classics of southern California's custom-car culture, and they're all shown here on dazzling display.

It's a pity Roth (1932-2001) didn't live to witness Mann's exquisite collaboration with animator Mike Roberts, whose dynamic contributions bring Rat Fink to life in all his wretched glory. John Goodman splendidly narrates as a posthumous Roth, looking back at his creations as numerous pop-cultural icons (Ann-Margret, the Smothers Brothers, and author Tom Wolfe, who first brought Roth to the world's attention) lend their voices to custom cars that "talk" with flashing headlights, similar to (but more reverent than) Pixar's Cars. It's a perfect way of honoring Roth, the culture he created, and the enduring legacy of his "weirdo" ingenuity. Mann's playful tribute makes it perfectly clear that Roth and Rat Fink embody a creative spirit that will live forever. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pushing the boundaries of traditional documentaries! November 28, 2006
By Cubist
Ron Mann is a Canadian filmmaker who specializes in documentaries about alternative culture; be it comic books with Comic Book Confidential, a famous dance craze with Twist or marijuana culture with Grass. His latest film, Tales of the Rat Fink, playfully profiles Ed "Big Daddy" Roth who helped popularize the customization of cars in the 1950s. Roth saw automobiles as much more than just modes of transportation but rather blank canvasses just waiting to be adorned with his stylish artwork or to be rebuilt from the ground up in his own unique way.

Mann does a fantastic job of taking us back to the `50s with period music and plenty of archival footage. However, his documentary is far from traditional as he has Roth narrate his own life but voiced by actor John Goodman. Mann also gives several classic cars their own voice as they tell their own story and how they contributed to hot rod car culture. It's an unusual move that takes a little getting used to but for those who have seen Mann's other documentaries it is merely a natural progression of his idiosyncratic style - kind of like Roth himself.

Mann animates still photographs and instead of having someone drone on about the different kinds of paint jobs, shows it through stylized animation techniques and footage of cars being customized. Throughout it all, he has Roth's most famous creation, Rat Fink (his answer to Mickey Mouse - a bright green mutant rat - whom he had grown tired of and created a symbol of everything that was cool and dangerous about the hot rod culture), bridges each segment via animated interludes and accompanied by the surf music of the Sadies. Tales of the Rat Fink does an excellent job immersing us in the custom car culture, how it came to be and its distinctive characteristics.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fitting Tribute to THE Rat Fink January 18, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
A respectful homage to Ed Roth by those who knew , and loved him. If you are a fan ,you should have this already.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fink fan April 8, 2012
Format:Amazon Instant Video
love this inside view on big daddy's legacy...
this is kustom kulture's history & roots and a big part of today's hot rod scene.
great documentary.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Long Live the Rat Fink November 9, 2006
Yeah this is cool, a tribute to "Big Daddy" Ed Roth and his Rat Fink creation and it took a Canadian film maker to do it (go Canada). Ed Roth finally gets the respect he deserves. Find out how much that is cool today was started by Ed. Learn of the beginnings of hot rod customizing. I only knew a little about the man but after seeing this film many of the questions I want to ask Ed Roth myself were answered. It also filled me with laughter. The animation is brilliant and hilarious, what is next a Saturday morning cartoon? Great overall package, love it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Old School March 8, 2007
I grew up in the 60's-70's & Im still a motor head,It brings back the good old days,if you don't know what went on in those days,you will find it fascinating < far out-cool > I always wonderd about Ed Roths real life,now I know.Anybody else out there??
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worthy Rat Fink Video April 5, 2007
I'm 50, and I grew up building the models and reading the magazines, always loved the cars, and when they become art, that is just more magic. I loved this production, it brought a lot of my scattered knowledge of Big Daddy into the whole story and very fun and modern production. I'm recommending it to anyone who is interested.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ed Roth Video May 13, 2007
Very good movie. Has alot of funny scenes. You will want to watch it more than once. Great addition to any Rat Fink Collection.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining documentary December 22, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I bought this DVD for my husband because he's always wanted to know about the rat fink. When we sat down to watch it we figured it would be a amateur video like alot of hotrod DVD's. To our amazement this movie is filled with great editing, famous voices, and kept our interest until the end. It's a great movie to explain when and how hotrods came about. It a documentary that is fun to watch over and over. It keeps you hanging on your seat and waiting for more.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 7 days ago by Les Triggs
3.0 out of 5 stars everything was fine, except the disc holder was broken
everything was fine, except the disc holder was broken, so the disc was shaking around and scratched as hell. worried me.
Published 1 month ago by david carlin
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 3 months ago by alex carlos
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A goofy DVD that will appeal to ex-biker dads everywhere.
Published 3 months ago by Joshua J. Merrill
4.0 out of 5 stars Crappy Documentary but Entertaining None-the-less
If you rent/purchase this expecting a provocative exposé or a reflective introspective on Ed "Big Daddy" Roth then I have to ask, "Who are you?!? Read more
Published 4 months ago by Captain Funky Junk
5.0 out of 5 stars Big Daddy Rides on
Cool inside stories from the RF cave. Good in depth info on the cars and creations Must have for fans
Published 6 months ago by mark schwartz
5.0 out of 5 stars It's so good I purchased another to send to my brother!
A must have for street rod aficionados, muscle car owners and gear heads alike. I also have the Rat Fink T-shirts and this ranks right up there with them!
Published 7 months ago by marty r
4.0 out of 5 stars GIFT
I bought this as a gift for a friend, and it shipped quickly, came in original packaging, and looks to be in great shape. Read more
Published 10 months ago by christal strimple
1.0 out of 5 stars Grating Hot Mess of a Doc
Sorry but this is a thin and completely scatter brained documentary. Sound effects, animations, voice overs and effects are obnoxiously loud at their best and seizure-inducing at... Read more
Published 11 months ago by 77Jim
2.0 out of 5 stars I've been Rat Fink
This DVD was a little disappointing with the hokey animations , the plus side was it did have some very interesting photos an original videos .
Published 12 months ago by John Baker
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