It's the proverbial end of the summer 1962 in a small southern California town. It's the evening before best friends and recent high school graduates, Curt Henderson and Steve Bolander, are scheduled to leave town to head to college back east. Curt, who received a lucrative local scholarship, is seen as the promise that their class holds. But Curt is having second thoughts about leaving what Steve basically sees as their dead end town. Curt's beliefs are strengthened when he spots an unknown beautiful blonde in a T-bird who mouths the words "I love you" to him. As Curt tries to find that blonde while trying to get away from a local gang who have him somewhat hostage, Curt may come to a decision about his immediate future. Outgoing class president Steve, on the other hand, wants to leave, despite meaning that he will leave girlfriend, head cheerleader and Curt's sister, Laurie Henderson, behind. Steve and Laurie spend the evening "negotiating" the state of their relationship. Meanwhile... Written by
The film was previewed before an audience of young people in Northpoint Theater, San Francisco, on a Sunday morning, with Universal Pictures head Ned Tanen in attendance. In a story that is now legendary in Hollywood, Tanan was not impressed with the film, despite a good audience reaction, and called it "unreleasable". Francis Ford Coppola, enraged at the comment, offered to buy the film from Universal (some stories claim he offered to write the check then and there) while the exhausted, burned-out and ill George Lucas watched in shock. A compromise was finally reached in which Universal could "suggest" modifications to the movie, a resolution Lucas was not happy with, as it took control of the film away from him. See more »
While it was plausible for the double yellow road striping to be seen on USA roads in 1962, during a car chase scene there is a road with what seems to have yellow dashed striping in place along with white center lines. Yellow dashed center lines were introduced from the beginning of 1972, and therefore the researchers to the film must have accidentally overlooked a section of road that had just been re striped. See more »
Hey, what do you say, Curt? Last night in town... you guys gonna have a little bash before you leave?
The Moose have been looking for you all day.
[hands a check to Curt]
They got worried... thought you were trying to avoid them or something.
What is it? What do ya got?
That's $2,000 man! Two thousand dollars!
Mr. Jennings gave it to me to give to you. He says he's sorry it's so late, but it's the first scholarship the Moose Lodge has given out. And he, uh, says they're ...
[...] See more »
Worded epilogues prior to the credits shows what happen to the characters following the movie. While this has since become commonplace in films, it was considered innovative at the time. See more »
As many people know, George Lucas is most famous for the fact that he wrote a certain series of fantasy films. Most of those films certainly were a great achievement, but one thing that many Star Wars fans overlook is the other entries in Lucas' list of directorial credits; one of which is this film, American Graffiti. The movie tells the story of the last night in town for a bunch of school kids about to leave to go to college. Now, this might not seem like a great base for a classic movie to work from; and it isn't, it's the handling that makes it great. In spite of his latest batch of movies, Lucas has shown with this movie that he has the talent to create an innovative and groundbreaking movie in spite of the plot. It's this fact that made Star Wars work so well, and it's nice to see the same effort transplanted into an earlier film that doesn't have the special effects and grandiose that Star Wars had. The energy and vitality that Lucas gives his multiple stories makes for a great ride, and American Graffiti is a lot of fun throughout.
The film is most notable for the way that it captures the American youth of the sixties. It benefits from a great soundtrack that adequately helps to achieve this, and includes the likes of Buddy Holly and The Beach Boys. The film takes place in one night, and makes use of a number of different characters and story lines; all of which are interesting and unique. A lot of which are also really funny, and this is where my favourite part of American Graffiti comes in. The film works because it's such a good time, and the way that Lucas shows us that ensures that we have just as good a time as the characters on screen are having. The events that befall the characters in the movie will no doubt touch a nerve with anyone that has gone through childhood
things such as splitting up with your girlfriend, to being forced
into doing things that could get you into trouble...all the way to asking an adult to go into a store to buy alcohol for you are shown with great care, and show that Lucas obviously knew what he was doing when he took on this movie. On the whole...it's very good stuff indeed.
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