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American Pop (1981)

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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
...
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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ralph Bakshi: as the voice of the piano player who tells a pregnant Bella that her song "is going to be a big hit. I think you should try it out." See more »

Goofs

The German Soldier who shoots the pianist is wearing an American Helmet with a Swastika painted on the front (which was not the case in any German forces during the war). Also, his weapon is obviously a semi-automatic rifle but he fires it full-automatic as though it were a sub-machine gun. See more »

Quotes

Zalmie: Hey, Louie. I just seen the most beautiful thing I ever seen in the whole world.
Louie: Some pre-Prohibition booze, huh?
Zalmie: No. I seen the stripper gettin' dressed.
Louie: A stripper gettin' dressed ain't beautiful unless she's ugly to begin with.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Special thanks to the late, great Jimi Hendrix. See more »

Connections

References I Love Lucy (1951) See more »

Soundtracks

Anything Goes
Composed by Cole Porter
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Good. Especially if you're a music geek, like me.
23 November 2003 | by (Ontario) – See all my reviews

I love the animation style used in this movie. The interlacing of real footage and photos from earlier times brings a level of realism not seen in many animated films. The characters move realistically as well; minute body language is portrayed well. Voice overs are great. Of course it's not "Disney quality", but it's got a grittiness to it that truly makes it original.

Now I can see how one could criticize this movie. Basically, it all depends on how you watch it. If you watch it as a drama, you'll be disappointed. The plot is very centered around the one tragic late hippieish character, and is pretty simple and predictable. But there's a certain amount of charm within the overall story, kind of a sad, but beautiful shine.

If you watch it more as a musical, the movie works fine. The songs chosen are fantastic, and they totally underline the feel of the scenes in which they are used. In one of the first scenes, taking place in Czar-era Russia, there is no dialogue, only subtitles (giving it a great historical feel). The soundtrack is a sad and stirring Russian song sung acappella. You really get a sense of what the characters were going through.

This style continues throughout the movie. One of the most emotional scenes, for me, takes place in a cornfield, with the character torn apart with what he's done with his life. Janis Joplin's version of "Summertime" (an interesting choice, perhaps a hint of a throwback to earlier eras, as it is a Gershwin tune) as haunting as ever plays as the character cries. Messed up. But well done.

Jimi Hendrix has a cameo. A pseudo-Joplin/Slick character has a major role. A Sex Pistols parody jams it out. Late 70s corporate goons are running the studio. Great fun.

And that's how you have to enjoy the movie; and that's probably why music geeks will love it more than anyone else.


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