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American Pop (1981)

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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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Zalmie should have been a star, but there were complications. Benny could have been famous, but life got in the way. Tony had a brush with success, but had to let it go. So it was up to Pete to grab it, hold it, and make himself heard. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Hebrew | Russian | Yiddish

Release Date:

13 February 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Amerykanska muzyka pop See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$6,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Tony was most likely modeled after Lou Reed (circa 1973). See more »

Goofs

The German Soldier who shoots the pianist is wearing an American Helmet with a Swastika painted on the front (which was not the case in any German forces during the war). Also, his weapon is obviously a semi-automatic rifle but he fires it full-automatic as though it were a sub-machine gun. See more »

Quotes

Palumbo: Don't you think it's time for a wedding?
Zalmie: How can I ask her? I don't have a cent.
Palumbo: You should have thought of that before you got her pregnant.
Zalmie: Who thinks at a time like that?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Special thanks to the late, great Jimi Hendrix. 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

Featured in AniMat's Classic Reviews: A Scanner Darkly (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Crazy on You
Composed by Ann Wilson, Nancy Wilson and Roger Fisher
Arranged by Lee Holdridge
See more »

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User Reviews

 
I'm amazed that this isn't in the top 50 for animation
2 October 2002 | by Mellow_BiafraSee all my reviews

I thought this film was one of the finest animation films I have ever seen. The film continually keeps building and building until it peaks at the end when the last guy becomes a star. It almost has the feel of a documentry on life in a America by the way it continually keeps pounding the nail on the head in terms of the storyline and the action scenes cut to music were absolutely brilliant. Considering this film was ahead of anything even close to this (even ahead of MTV for gods sake) it's far and away one of the finest animation films ever made. I think anyone grading this film before a eight just isn't looking at this film as a film and instead putting it against a Disney film or something that's pretty but has no point. For my money I'd easily stack this film against any other animation ever made. Also I saw some people nay saying this film because of the soundtrack, but it's all a natural progression man and in this film it shows the progression of life and music and in 1981 that's what was popular and I thought it was a great choice since it's still listen-to-able today.

Extremely great film, if you haven't yet... Go see it now!


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