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American Pop (1981)

7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 2,518 users  
Reviews: 60 user | 24 critic

The story of four generations of a Russian Jewish immigrant family of musicians whose careers parallel the history of American popular music in the 20th century.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Tony / Pete
...
Frankie (as Marya Small)
Jerry Holland ...
Louie
...
Bella
Jeffrey Lippa ...
Zalmie
Roz Kelly ...
Eva Tanguay
...
Crisco (as Frank De Kova)
Rick Singer ...
Benny (as Richard Singer)
Elsa Raven ...
Hannele
Ben Frommer ...
Palumbo
Amy Levitt ...
Nancy
...
Leo Stern
Eric Taslitz ...
Little Pete
Gene Borkan ...
Izzy
...
Beat Poet
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Storyline

"American Pop" is the animated story of a very talented and troubled family starting with 19th century Russia and moving through several generations of musicians. The film covers American popular music from the pre-jazz age through rhythm and blues, 1950s rock 'n' roll, drug-laden psychedelia, and punk rock, finally ending with the onset of New Wave in the early 1980s. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

All those years, all those dreams, all those sons... one of them is going to be a star. See more »

Genres:

Animation | Drama | Music

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| | |

Release Date:

13 February 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Amerykanska muzyka pop  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Some of the gangland scenes are rotoscoped footage from The Public Enemy (1931). See more »

Goofs

When Pete is playing "Night Moves" in the recording studio, his fingers are moving up on the piano although the notes in the song can clearly be heard going high to low. See more »

Quotes

[Louie and Zalmie are performing as the two halves of a dancing horse - Zalmie being the lower half]
Zalmie: Louie?
Louie: Yeah?
Zalmie: I'm 17 years-old. When's my voice gonna change already?
Louie: It's changin'. It's changin'.
Zalmie: I know it's changin'. When's it gonna change for good?
Louie: What's your rush?
Zalmie: I don't wanna be a horse's ass forever.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Disclaimer before soundtrack listings: The following songs were depicted as being written by fictional characters. The producer would like to thank the true composers. See more »

Connections

References Show Boat (1936) See more »

Soundtracks

Crazy on You
Composed by Ann Wilson, Nancy Wilson and Roger Fisher
Arranged by Lee Holdridge
See more »

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User Reviews

 
What's cooler than cool? Ice cold!
22 April 2004 | by (Orlando, Florida) – See all my reviews

American Pop is very well one of the finest animated features I have ever seen. The story surrounds four generations of father and sons, the events in their lives painted across the backdrop of the evolution of music. The movie begins with a young boy and his mother fleeing the chaos in turn-of-the-century Russia, where they migrate to the states. The young boy sets things off with the clamor of jazz bands in a burlesque parlor, and the movie ends in the late 70s, with a drug dealing man desperate for a start in the music business. So, the story traces some sixty years of music, offering a highly extensive soundtrack and featuring all sorts of musical genres as a way of teaching histories and cultures.

The first thing that truly caught my attention with this movie was not the story (because the story itself is pretty unusual when you're not used to this style to begin with), but the incredible animation. Long before computer graphics and surpassing any animation styles of earlier Bakshi films, the characters of American Pop are so life-like even down to the smallest details of hair texture or breathing. I was just aghast to watch it purely for the artistic effort of the film, as it simply one of Bakshi's best (rid yourself of those preconceived notions based on earlier Bakshi films you may've seen like 'Heavy Traffic'), and certainly one of the best animated films I'd ever seen.

There are many Bakshi trademarks going on here. Some of the animated scenes get pretty wild and often mix life action backgrounds with animated foreground characters, especially during the hallucination scenes that take place during the mock Jefferson Airplane scenes. It's quiet a scene, man.

American Pop is definitely a rich education in music as it touches on everything from radio jazz, swing, classical, rock n' roll, psychadellia, and hell, even punk. In fact, the general elements of American Pop are often more interesting than the characters and situations. I highly recommend watching it.


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