Fritz the Cat (1972)

7.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 9/10

Social commentary is pretty good at points

Gets a bit sidelined in the commentary plot by sex and drug stuff

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Fritz the Cat

Studio:  Aurica Finance Company

Genre(s):  Animated/Comedy/Adult

Release Date(s):  April 12, 1972

MPAA Rating:  X


Orgy gone wrong…

Fritz is a struggling student in New York City in the height of peace moment.  As Fritz and his friends try to score, Fritz, like others, finds himself drawn to various moments including race relations and socialists group out to fight the government.  After freeing himself with a weed, Fritz heads to the West where he might find himself finally in over his head.

Directed by Ralph Bakshi, Fritz the Cat stirred controversy by being X-Rated and starting a trend of X-Rated cartoons.  The movie adapted the underground comic of the same name by R. Crumb which started in January 1965 and propelled both R. Crumb and Bakshi into the spotlight by becoming a cult hit.


Do I smell bacon?

Fritz the Cat was a small time comic with a rabid fan base.  R. Crumb had developed the character in 1959 and made him a modern cartoon character.  Crumb used the cartoon book style as a means to say things that couldn’t be said in mainstream comics and could be written off as satire coming from Fritz.  Bakshi and Crumb couldn’t come to an agreement over the Fritz the Cat movie and the movie essentially got sold out from under Crumb by his wife.  Crumb hated the movie (and sued to have his name removed), but regardless ended up profiting from its massive success.


Molested by Pink Women on Parade

The style of Fritz the Cat is very interesting.  Bakshi doesn’t use rotoscoping like he came to be famous for in later films.  This is a more traditional style of animation that also pokes fun at the powerhouse known as Disney both in theme (Mickey and Donald are seen during the bombing of the riots caused by Fritz in the African-American neighborhoods) and looks (Fritz is seduced by a giant pink girl aka “Pink Elephants on Parade” from Dumbo which also featured African-American crows).  You can see Fritz’s influence in current things like TV Funhouse which takes regular dialogue and applies animated art to it to “humorize” it.

Fritz is rated X…Bakshi always argued this and he has a good point.  Are nude cartoons like looking at nude photography…and they’re not even human though they have human qualities.  If Fritz the Cat came out today, it still would be Rated-R (not for the nudity as much as for the language and content).


Yeah Jive Turkey…I’m down with your cause brother!!!

The film is intentionally racist and it is part of its commentary.  Fritz tries to interact with the “blacks” aka crows because for students at that time it is hip and the thing to do.  It doesn’t show any equality or sympathy for the cause, and Fritz ends up starting a riot which leads to destruction of an African-American neighborhood…It is commentary like this where Fritz does actually excel, but the movie is derailed a bit by some over-the-top sex and drugs which seem beneath some of the message.

Fritz the Cat is a unique film and started a trend.  The movie was followed by a sequel The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat in 1974 which didn’t have Crumb or Bakshi involved.  The movie is a cult classic and fans of animation (and cult films) need to see this movie.  The movie is dated, but it is alright since it is commenting on the time period in which it was made.

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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