"Heavy Traffic" Is Released

Heavy Traffic is a 1973 American animated film written and directed by Ralph Bakshi.

The film, which begins, ends, and occasionally combines with live-action, explores the often surreal fantasies of a young New York cartoonist named Michael Corleone, using pinball imagery as a metaphor for inner-city life. Heavy Traffic was Bakshi and producer Steve Krantz's follow-up to the successful but controversial film Fritz the Cat, the first animated feature to receive an X rating. Though producer Krantz made varied attempts to produce an R-rated film, Heavy Traffic was given an X by the MPAA. The film received positive reviews and is widely considered to be Bakshi's biggest critical success.

Heavy Traffic represents a follow-up to animator Ralph Bakshi's first feature film, Fritz the Cat (1972). The central character is Michael, the ingenuous son of an Italian father and Jewish mother. An aspiring cartoonist, Michael leaves home in a huff and outrages his family by conducting an affair with an African-American woman. Heavy Traffic was originally intended to be a cartoon adaptation of Hubert Selby's notorious novel Last Exit to Brooklyn, but negotiations fell through, and Bakshi was obliged to cook up a similar but not identical "mean streets" plotline. (Last Exit to Brooklyn was made as a live-action film in 1989.) ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide