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.

Director:

Ralph Bakshi

Writer:

Ronni Kern

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Cast

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

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Taglines:

The State of the Art in Living Animation. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Rotoscoped footage of James Cagney and Jean Harlow dancing from the 1931 film The Public Enemy (1931) is included in the ballroom dance scene when Bella is singing "Bill". See more »

Goofs

When Tony meets the waitress in Kansas, he asks her a number of questions which are references to songs about the state. He asks her, "Is everything up to date here?" which references Rodgers and Hammerstein's song "Kansas City" from the musical "Oklahoma!" However, that song actually concerns the Kansas City in Missouri, as another song from that show indicates. 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.
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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 »

Alternate Versions

In some versions of the film, dialog has been redone in at last two scenes, presumably to make points more clear. For example, in Little Pete's first scene, he is asked what his Dad would say about him hanging backstage with a rock band. In one version, Pete says "Nothing. He's dead." In the other version, he instead says "I never met my Dad. He's some kind of mystery" (which serves as a better setup for information learned later) Also, Tony returns to the band's apartment after his release from the hospital, only to find they have moved out. In both versions, under 'People Are Strange,' we hear him on the phone with a friend, but the phone conversations begin completely differently. In one we never learn what happened to the band, only that they seemed to have moved out and left Tony behind, while in the other we learn that the band has gone on to big things, with a gold album. Both versions' phone calls end the same way, though, with Tony desperately asking his friend for money or drugs. See more »

Connections

References I Love Lucy (1951) See more »

Soundtracks

A String of Pearls
Music by Jerry Gray
Lyrics by Edgar De Lange (as Eddie De Lange)
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User Reviews

 
Well Done. Aces for Bakshi
17 July 2007 | by 70shoeSee all my reviews

What a genuinely interesting and touching film. The rotoscoped animation may not be everyone's cup of tea but it works just fine here. I honestly think it's use was a big plus as it gives this human story a human, life like quality.

If this was done today it would be slopping over with re-do tunes by current pop nobodies to jam onto a "music from and inspired by" CD not to mention it would be poorly cast with Hollywood no talents.

The casting here doesn't leave you straining to identify celebs, it just has good actors portraying good characters. You focus on the story of the family, which after all is the point.

Underrated and very much worth your time.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Hebrew | Russian | Yiddish

Release Date:

13 February 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

American Pop See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,500,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby | SDDS (1997 Re-Release)| Dolby Digital (1997 Re-Release)| DTS (Digital DTS Sound) (1997 Re-Release)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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