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"Where is it all going, where is it all going?"—Michael
Ralph Bakshi cites Heavy Traffic his favorite film in his career. This was originally to be Ralph's first film; however, it was "put on hold" because the producer believed that he couldn't sell this film due to Bakshi's inexperience as a film director; the success of Fritz the Cat, the first animated film to be rated X in the United States, saved the production of Heavy Traffic.
This film provides examples of the following:
- Animated Music Video: Although only in one segment, Chuck Berry's Maybellene is played while in the style of Underground Comics.
- Art Shift: Only happens two times. The scenes that go into underground comic book form, and the live-action at the ending climax of the film.
- Axe Crazy: Michael's mother
- Black Best Friend: Subverted; Carol is Michael's girlfriend.
- Cool Car: The Godfather has one of these.
- Chuck Jones: See Executive Meddling below.
- Creepy Crossdresser: Snowflake.
- Development Hell: Bakshi intended to make this as his first film, but Krantz instead suggested a film based off another property, leading to Fritz the Cat.
- Death by Cameo: A caricature of Ralph gets killed off by Michael during a racket in the movie.
- Executive Meddling: It dodges the bullet from this. During production, Ralph had a bit of a fallout with the producer for not getting paid much from Fritz's success. Ralph was then fired from the film and the direction was given to animation legend Chuck Jones. Chuck declined the offer believing that the film was better off in Bakshi’s hand. You can say Ralph was lucky on this one.
- Gayngster: Snowflake and his brothers.
- Hey, It's That Voice!: If you listen really carefully, you can hear Ralph's voice talking with two other people in one part of the film.
- Hopper Shot : The painting is briefly seen in the background during a scene.
- Roger Rabbit Effect: Some of the scenes in this movie have animated characters over live-action backgrounds; a part has human girls in the backgrounds.
- Take That: Ralph Bakshi really dislikes The Mafia, and the film The Godfather. Which is why the Mafia is really portrayed negatively in this and Coonskin.
- Underground Comics: Michael is an underground cartoonist.
- Wasted Song: The credits song is an instrumental take on "Ten Cent Philosophy", which only appears on the soundtrack in a version with vocals.