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Heavy Traffic

Catalog Number
26016
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Primary Distributor (If not listed, select "OTHER")
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VHS | SP | Slipcase
77 mins (NTSC)
N/A | N/A | N/A
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Heavy Traffic (1973)

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The amorous life and misadventures of a virginal young pinball player...his Chicks...his Chums and a host of assorted weirdos in all colors.
Heavy Entertainment!

More Spice from the makers of Fritz the Cat!

It's animated, but it's not a cartoon. It's funny, but it's not a comedy. It's real. It's unreal. It's heavy.


Heavy Traffic represents a follow-up to animator Ralph Bakshi's first feature film, Fritz the Cat (1972). The central character is Michael, the ingenuous son of an Italian father and Jewish mother. An aspiring cartoonist, Michael leaves home in a huff and outrages his family by conducting an affair with an African-American woman. Heavy Traffic was originally intended to be a cartoon adaptation of Hubert Selby's notorious novel Last Exit to Brooklyn, but negotiations fell through, and Bakshi was obliged to cook up a similar but not identical "mean streets" plotline. (Last Exit to Brooklyn was made as a live-action film in 1989.)

Heavy Traffic is a 1973 American adult animated black comedy film written and directed by Ralph Bakshi.[3] The film, which begins, ends, and occasionally combines with live-action, explores the often surreal fantasies of a young New York cartoonist named Michael Corleone, using pinball imagery as a metaphor for inner-city life. Heavy Traffic was Bakshi and producer Steve Krantz's follow-up to the successful and coolly controversial film Fritz the Cat, the first animated feature to receive an X rating. Though producer Krantz made varied attempts to produce an R-rated film, Heavy Traffic was given an X rating by the MPAA. The film received positive reviews and is widely considered to be Bakshi's biggest critical success.

Although Heavy Traffic received an X rating from the Motion Picture Association of America, more theaters were willing to screen adult-oriented animated features because of the success of Fritz the Cat, and Heavy Traffic was a box office success.[6] Ralph Bakshi was the first person in the animation industry since Walt Disney to have two financially successful films back-to-back.[1] The film is considered to be Bakshi's biggest critical success. Newsweek wrote that the film contained "black humor, powerful grotesquerie and peculiar raw beauty. Episodes of violence and sexuality are both explicit and parodies of flesh-and-blood porn [...] a celebration of urban decay."[10] Charles Champlin wrote in The New York Times that the film was "furious energy, uncomfortable to watch as often as it is hilarious."[10] The Hollywood Reporter called it "shocking, outrageous, offensive, sometimes incoherent, occasionally unintelligent. However, it is also an authentic work of movie art and Bakshi is certainly the most creative American animator since Disney."[10] Film website Rotten Tomatoes, which compiles reviews from a wide range of critics, gives the film a score of 88%.[12] Vincent Canby ranked it among his "Ten Best Films of 1973".[6] The film was banned by the film censorship board in the province of Alberta, Canada when it was originally released.[10]

Michael Barrier, an animation historian, described Heavy Traffic and Fritz the Cat as "not merely provocative, but highly ambitious." Barrier described the films as an effort "to push beyond what was done in the old cartoons, even while building on their strengths

Release Date: August 11, 1973

Distrib: American International

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