By Ralph Bakshi

  • Genre: Ralph Bakshi
  • Release Date: 1975-09-20
  • Advisory Rating: R
  • Runtime: 1h 22min
  • Director: Ralph Bakshi
  • Production Company: Albert S. Ruddy Productions
  • iTunes Price: USD 9.99
  • iTunes Rent Price: USD 4.99
From 50 Ratings


Fritz the Cat and Wizards helmer Ralph Bakshi subsequently directed the über-controversial animated feature Coonskin. Bakshi opens and closes the film with a live-action tale that stars Scatman Crothers, Philip Michael Thomas, Charles Gordone, and the legendary Barry White. Three African-American men escape from prison and are later gathered up. In between, an animated tale using animal characters from African-American folklore -- Brother Rabbit (voiced by Thomas), Brother Fox (voiced by Gordone), and Brother Bear (voiced by White) -- entering a white-dominated ghetto environment and diverging into different paths; one becomes a crime overlord, the second sells the first out to the Mafia, and the third establishes himself as a media-exploited sports icon. Completely misread as a racist work upon release, the film actually entails Bakshi's satirical excoriation of bigotry via the tongue-in-cheek use of black urban stereotypes. The director laces the film with profane ghetto dialogue and street slang; though animated, this is not a picture for children. Variety wrote of the work, "Beyond Bakshi's cinematic style, his stories seem haunted by a worldliness that is torn between cynicism and tortured humanism. There is heart in his plots, so superficial putdown is totally absent. What is present [is] the evidently sincere empathy of a social surgeon." The legendary Albert S. Ruddy (The Godfather) produced.