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Heavy Traffic (1973)

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1:21 | Clip
An "underground" cartoonist contends with life in the inner city, where various unsavory characters serve as inspiration for his artwork.

Director:

Ralph Bakshi

Writer:

Ralph Bakshi
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Joseph Kaufmann Joseph Kaufmann ... Michael Corleone
Beverly Hope Atkinson Beverly Hope Atkinson ... Carole
Frank DeKova ... Angelo "Angie" Corleone (voice)
Terri Haven Terri Haven ... Ida Corleone (voice)
Mary Dean Lauria Mary Dean Lauria ... Molly (voice)
Jacqueline Mills Jacqueline Mills ... Rosalyn Schecter (voice)
Lillian Adams ... Rosa (voice)
Jamie Farr
Robert Easton
Charles Gordone Charles Gordone ... Crazy Moe (voice)
Michael Brandon ... Voice characterization
Morton Lewis Morton Lewis ... (voice)
Bill Striglos Bill Striglos ... (voice)
Jay Lawrence Jay Lawrence ... (voice)
Lee Weaver ... (voice)
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Storyline

An animated feature which begins, ends and occasionally combines with, live-action filmed on location. A white dropout struggles to create comics and animated films, drawing inspiration from the harsh, gritty world around him. Still sharing his run-down apartment with his middle-aged parents, an oafish slob of an Italian father and a ditzy nut-case of a Jewish mother, he is ridiculed and looked down upon by his friends, hypocrites who run with violent gangs and the Italian Mafia, and a shallow Black girl who makes her living downtown with the pimps and pushers. This cartoonist gets a chance to pitch a film idea to a movie mogul, but the story proves too outrageous: a far-future Earth, destroyed by war and pollution, where a mutant antihero challenges and kills God. Complications ensue when the cartoonist's parents react in irrational ways to his various involvements. Written by orb

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The amorous life and misadventures of a virginal young pinball player...his Chicks...his Chums and a host of assorted weirdos in all colors. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Half way into production as Bakshi was fired (before being re-hired). A different director stepped in and animated a train sequence in which Michael goes to visit his brother-in-law. He is on a subway and witness' a woman sleeping while two men begin to undress her. Michael just watches. As the woman wakes up, she screams "rape" toward Michael. This was in the original script, but was scrapped when Bakshi returned to the project, as he felt the scene was in bad-taste. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Michael: What makes you happy? What makes you happy? Where do you go? Where do you go? Where do you hide? Where do you hide? Who do you see? Who do you see? Who do you trust? Who do you trust? Who do you screw? Who do you screw? What kills the pain? What kills the pain? Game up, game win. Bug around, set it straight. Transaction. Play it hard, hurts so bad. Gotta win. Everyone loses. Everthing loses. Gotta win big. Sick and tired of losing. Where does it all go? Where does it all go? Where ...
See more »

Alternate Versions

In 1974, the film was cut and rereleased with an "R" rating, replacing the previous "X" rated version. See more »


Soundtracks

Scarborough Fair
Performed by Sergio Mendes and Brasil '66
Courtesy A & M Records
See more »

User Reviews

 
You won't soon forget it. Give it a try.
4 June 2019 | by GiraffeDoorSee all my reviews

Heavy Traffic is a wild ride of a movie. It's not very accessible or intelligible but it's rather fascinating as one man's delving into his own history and imagination.

Doubtlessly a very personal movie. Sort of like 8 and a half if 8 and a half was made by a graffiti artist. A lurid and grotesque affair, itself like a piece of graffiti splattered on an inner city wall. It is deliberately unlovely in its caricature of urban life complete with racial stereotypes, italic mobsters and bizarre transsexuals.

There's not much plot beyond these episodes of life and that's the point. Gradually the film becomes more about two alienated individuals, a cool black prostitute and an unsullied Jewish Italian Cartoonist, transcending differences in ethnoreligious background to try and make something in this bleak world even if it means being as brutal as everyone else is. I feel the usage of stereotypic images of black people, gays, jews etc. helps even a tolerant viewer break into the mindset of people at this place and time where the colour of your skin and whether you wore a cross, crucifix or a 6 pointed star meant everything about who you are.

There's a certain lyricism in the way the movie is handled; the way that one can try and find beauty of sorts even in the ugliest of back drops and that's what I like most about the movie; it's an artist genuinely putting a piece of themselves on the screen with less regard about how many people like it but who likes it. It's ambitious and stylized but strangely unpretentious about it since it does nothing in half measures where we meander from sordid realism to daliesque bizarrity with a kitsch twist.

The trailer was spot on: "it's funny, but it's not a comedy; it's animated but it's not a cartoon". That sums it up pretty well.

This didn't charm me the way some other of Bakshi's movies did but often a movie is an oblique view into the mind of the maker. Here we've had a chance to get more or less a full view.


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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Italian | Yiddish

Release Date:

17 November 1973 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Heavy Traffic See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,343,341
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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