I was 7 years old when Fritz the Cat first hit the screen, and while I didn't see the film for the first time until I was well into my twenties, the film nevertheless had a lasting impact on my childhood. This film had taken on a reputation of mythical proportions in my Brooklyn hometown neighborhood, partly due to the older teens on my street who were all too eager to share shocking details contained therein, as only the best subversive intentions can do, and further securing the film's status as "every parent's nightmare". To a child about to undergo serious growing pains and a naturally growing curiosity towards all things "adult-related", Fritz the Cat was very much my earliest childhood memory of the themes of sex, drugs, rock-n-roll, racism, you name it, and it was a symbol for naughtiness that all coming of age kids couldn't wait to catch a sneak peak of, or at least couldn't wait to reach the age when we could view such subject matter freely.
As a movie, it hasn't lost any of it's impact in 30 years, and fewer films truly capture the grittiness and raw edge of New York city in the 70's (French Connection is another good example). I dare say that it could be considered more offensive now than ever, as I fear that today many just might not "get it," despite our self-proclamation that we've come a long way in maturity and tolerance of such sensitive issues. Modern society has become so politically correct and desensitized to controversial issues that we're less tolerant and understanding of the original intent of a film such as this, especially when it's messages are not consistent with our modern value system. Thus, some of the obvious stereotypes presented in this film (such as the pigs portraying cops and the crows portraying blacks, for example), could never be presented in a film today. Granted, these images were meant to be offensive in the 70's as well, but they were obviously taken in a different light back then, as they were indicative of a specific brand of biting satire found in the 70's and hippie culture and a reflection of how that particular generation could openly address such social issues. These issues, such as racism, are clearly still relevant today, we just address them in a different manner, which is why Fritz the Cat still has potency yet is more or less looked upon as a curious time capsule of a bygone era today.