Fritz the Cat is a 1972 American adult animated coming of age comedy film written and directed by Ralph Bakshi as his feature film debut. Based on the comic strip of the same name by Robert Crumb, the film was the first animated feature film to receive an X rating in the United States. It focuses on Fritz (voiced by Skip Hinnant), an anthropomorphic feline in mid-1960s New York City who explores the ideals of hedonism and sociopolitical consciousness. The film is a satire focusing on American college life of the era, race relations, the free love movement, and left- and right-wing politics. Fritz the Cat is the most successful independent animated feature of all time, grossing over $90 million worldwide.
The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat is a 1974 American adult animated comedy film directed by Robert Taylor. It features a series of drug-induced vignettes both related and unrelated to life in the 1970s. Starring Skip Hinnant as the voice of the titular feline protagonist, the film is a sequel to Fritz the Cat, the first animated film to receive an X rating in the United States. Unlike its predecessor, Nine Lives received an R rating.
Cool World is a 1992 American live-action/animated fantasy film directed by Ralph Bakshi, and starring Kim Basinger, Gabriel Byrne and Brad Pitt. It tells the story of a cartoonist who finds himself in the animated world he thinks he created, and is seduced by one of the characters, a comic strip vamp who wants to be real. Cool World marked Bakshi's return to feature films after nine years. The film was originally pitched as an animated horror film about an underground cartoonist who fathers an illegitimate half-real/half-cartoon daughter, who hates herself for what she is and tries to kill him.
Wizards is a 1977 American animated post-apocalyptic science fantasy film about the battle between two wizards, one representing the forces of magic and one representing the forces of industrial technology. It was written, produced, and directed by Ralph Bakshi. Wizards is notable for being the first fantasy film made by Bakshi, who was previously known only for urban films such as Fritz the Cat, Heavy Traffic and Coonskin. It grossed $9 million theatrically from a $1.2 million budget, and has since become a cult classic.
Fire and Ice is a 1983 American animated adventure-fantasy film directed by Ralph Bakshi. The film, a collaboration between Bakshi and Frank Frazetta, was distributed by 20th Century Fox, which also distributed Bakshi's 1977 release, Wizards. The animated feature, based on characters Bakshi and Frazetta co-created, was made using the process of rotoscoping, in which scenes were shot in live action and then traced onto animation cels. The screenplay was written by Gerry Conway and Roy Thomas, both of whom had written Conan stories for Marvel Comics. Background painter was James Gurney, the author and artist of the Dinotopia illustrated novels. Thomas Kinkade also worked on the backgrounds to various scenes.
Heavy Traffic is a 1973 American adult animated comedy-drama 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 and coolly 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 rating by the MPAA. The film received positive reviews and is widely considered to be Bakshi's biggest critical success.
Coonskin is a 1975 American live action/animated crime film written and directed by Ralph Bakshi, about an African American rabbit, fox, and bear who rise to the top of the organized crime racket in Harlem, encountering corrupt law enforcement, con artists, and the Mafia. The film, which combines live-action with animation, stars Philip Thomas, Charles Gordone, Barry White, and Scatman Crothers, all of whom appear in both live-action and animated sequences.
BONUS DISC: American Pop is a 1981 American animated musical drama film starring Ron Thompson and produced and directed by Ralph Bakshi. It was the fourth animated feature film to be presented in Dolby sound. The film tells the story of four generations of a Russian Jewish immigrant family of musicians whose careers parallel the history of American popular music.