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Heavy Traffic

49 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
New from Used from
(Sep 05, 2000)
"Please retry"
DVD Video
$14.70 $7.88

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Editorial Reviews

"Heavy images, crazy violence, insanity verging on insecurity and brilliance" (Films & Filming)! Heavy Traffic, the second feature from writer/director Ralph Bakshi (Fritz the Cat), combines a quick-edit pace, a frenetic story line and an array of eye-popping animation and live-action styles. "Powerful, raw and valid" (Los Angeles Times), this "remarkable blend" of filmic styles is a "hypnotic, life-giving experience" (The Hollywood Reporter)! Michael, a young artist who lives with his neurotic mother and two-timing father, escapes the absurd and often ugly side of life on New York's tough streets by satirizing its rich yet wacky characters in wildly entertaining cartoons. From the gruff homeless and wisecracking prostitutes to gun-toting gangsters and corrupt cops, Michael's world becomes an outlandish kaleidoscope of shocking images and horrifying events that are either a testament of his wild imagination or a reminder of the strangeness of reality.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Joseph Kaufmann, Beverly Hope Atkinson, Frank DeKova, Terri Haven, Mary Dean Lauria
  • Directors: Ralph Bakshi
  • Writers: Ralph Bakshi
  • Producers: Mark L. Rosen, Samuel Z. Arkoff, Steve Krantz
  • Format: Animated, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English, Italian, Yiddish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: MGM
  • DVD Release Date: September 5, 2000
  • Run Time: 76 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0792846818
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,459 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Heavy Traffic" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Solo Goodspeed on October 15, 2000
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I remember very well the effect this film had on me right after leaving the theater; everywhere I looked on the drive home, people looked like cartoons. In Heavy Traffic, animation artist Ralph Bakshi presents us with a look at life in the early 70s (late 60s?), city style .... and this city is gritty, not entirely pretty ....
Michael Corleone (not the only reference to other popular films of the times) scribbles away at his drawing board while his Catholic father and Jewish mother wage Armageddon outside his door. He finds comfort and release seeing the world as an absurd, psychotic cartoon. Pretty much a loner, his main connection to the outside world is a black bargirl named Carol who works right downstairs from him and slips him drinks for his entertaining sketches. An unfortunate incident with a drag queen associate costs Carol her job, and she and Michael end up out on the streets together, since he can't seem to make ANY sort of job situation come together. They form a sort of hustling alliance, with him as her pimp, and they nosedive into dark urban realms of the quick buck and the inevitable personal compromises involved.
All this is interposed with images of live city backdrops and numerous references to a pinball game. Ralph Bakshi's animated vision is a moving work of underground pop art which, despite limitations, was a groundbreaking achievement that pushed the frontiers of American animation thousands of miles. I can see the influence of this film (and Bakshi's work in general) on the likes of Matt Groening, Don Bluth, and yes, even parts of Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
Heavy Traffic is dark, rude and dangerous. At times it has an almost experimental feel, moving at a stream of consciousness pace more than any conventional narrative.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Chris W. Kientz on November 6, 2006
Format: DVD
Heavy Traffic will likely never receive the attention or respect it deserves as a piece of honest to goodness Americana. Like most of Ralph Bakshi's most personal work, it is rough hewn, obscene (though never pornogaphic) outrageous and damn honest. Along with Coonskin and Fritz the Cat, Heavy Traffic is about life in the 60's (in fact, taken together these three films form a kind of animated triptych). All three films are about revolution of one kind or another, personal or social, contain plenty of poetry, both visual and narrative and are more about life as we know it then the fantasy of life as we might wish it to be, which seems to be the standard for most animation today. Let's hope that eventually Ralph will get his due as a pioneer of animation.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Eric Noble on November 10, 2009
Format: DVD
"Heavy Traffic" is a masterpiece of animation, despite the flaws it has. It dares to tackle with more complex human emotions and issues, far more than had ever been done since the Golden Age of Animation. The story deals with the trials and tribulations of young Michael Corleone (yes, that's his name), a 22 year-old Half-jewish, Half-Italian aspiring cartoonist. He lives with his parents, Angelo and Ida Corleone, whose relationship make Al and Peg Bundy look like Ozzie and Harriet. The film also talks about life in 1973 New York (tough place to be).

First off, there is a lot of great animation in here, although it lacks precision and professionalism , although I chalk that up to lack of funds for pencil testing and Bakshi's relative inexperience with feature animation. However, the animators do manage to get the personality of the characters across quite well. The characters in this film feel real, although they have caricatured appearances, but in some ways, the cartoony drawing style of the movie enhances the emotional realism of the characters. They're both lovable and deplorable at the same time, which makes them feel like real people. You'll never see Mickey Mouse or even Bugs Bunny do any of the stuff they do in this movie. One of the most interesting aspects of this movie is that it prides itself on being a animated movie. A lot of animated films have followed the Disney pattern of trying to disguise the animated factor by following a live-action pattern (trying to emulate live-action). This film tries to do what can only be done in animation. As such, there is a lot of surreal moments loaded with symbolism, although you will have to watch it a few times to get them. A key strength to any Bakshi film, but particularly his early ones, is collage of different styles.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Alex Petchenev on July 7, 2005
Format: DVD
What is to be highlighted: The highest quality of this truly classic surrealistic piece. I take it as a qualifying American answer to such European surrealistic classics as Luis Bunuel's "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie." Each absurd of our life, pictured there, is blown-up to a quite visible and sensible proportion. It is my opinion, that "Heavy Traffic" even surpasses "Fritz the Cat," regarding such qualities as range and depth of depicted ugliness of the "dark side" of human nature.

Also important is than not everybody appreciates surrealism. Therefore, this item is not for everyone, and especially is unsuitable for not mature audience (because of quite credible quality of certain graphic scenes).

I find as no surprise that some of the most notorious faces from "Heavy Traffic" can be spotted in recent times in many places, take "The Simpsons" as example.
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