American Pop

Critics Consensus

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Total Count: 18


Audience Score

User Ratings: 7,127
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Movie Info

The rise and growth of American popular music through the 20th century is reflected in the lives of four generations of one family in this animated drama directed by Ralph Bakshi. Zalmie (voice of Jeffrey Lippa), a Russian Jew, emigrates to America, and tries to struggle along as a comic and musician in vaudeville, until an injury suffered in World War I ends his singing career. Zalmie's son Benny (voice of Richard Singer) inherits his father's love for music, and when he grows to adulthood, he joins a jazz combo as a pianist; his career is cut short, however, when he's killed while fighting in World War II. Benny's son Tony (voice of Ron Thompson) is also bitten by the music bug and is determined to make his mark as a songwriter; he becomes involved in the Beat poetry and music community in San Francisco, and later falls in with a pioneering psychedelic band. Along the way, Tony fathers an illegitimate son named Pete (voice of Eric Taslitz), and ends up becoming Pete's guardian in New York City without realizing he's the boy's father. After Tony's death, Pete supports himself by dealing drugs, while struggling to make his dream of becoming a rock star a reality. Ralph Bakshi achieved American Pop's unique look through a process called "rotoscoping" -- shooting the scenes with live actors, and then tracing their movements onto animation cells.

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Critic Reviews for American Pop

All Critics (18)

Audience Reviews for American Pop

  • Sep 06, 2010
    This movie is just a retrospective on American music in cartoon form, I've always wondered why Bakshi made this movie. It's boring and uninteresting.
    Aj V Super Reviewer
  • Apr 12, 2010
    In an hour and a half American Pop covers a stunning amount of territory. both thematically and narratively. This might be the most polished animation in a Bakshi film, with a fantastic soundtrack and vibrant style.
    Mike T Super Reviewer
  • Jan 01, 2009
    A beautifully animated story of the evolution of American music told through the trials of four generations of a Jewish family. Ralph Bakshi films aren't your typical animated films. They dealt with issues that most filmmakers would never attempt. This is no different, although it's much less hard edged than most of his previous films (Fritz The Cat, Heavy Traffic, and Coonskin). He's able to convey an emotion through his work that is somewhat lacking in most animated features. His characters are real people, with real problems, not just your average 2-D cartoon fodder (with the possible exception of The Lord Of The Rings and Wizards). This isn't to say that there aren't other fantastic animators out there, with great stories to tell, but for me, Bakshi is king.
    Shane D Super Reviewer
  • May 07, 2007
    I really liked this film. I found it interesting and the music is fantastic to listen to.
    Marion R Super Reviewer

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