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American Graffiti (1973)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  1 August 1973 (USA)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 58,840 users  
Reviews: 233 user | 96 critic

A couple of high school grads spend one final night cruising the strip with their buddies before they go off to college.

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Title: American Graffiti (1973)

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Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 8 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Steve (as Ronny Howard)
...
...
Terry (as Charlie Martin Smith)
...
...
...
...
...
Joe
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Beau Gentry ...
...
Jim Bohan ...
Jana Bellan ...
Deby Celiz ...
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Storyline

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 Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

...is back! [1978 Re-release] See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 August 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Američki grafiti  »

Box Office

Budget:

$777,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$115,000,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (re-release) (1978)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Filming was beset by a series of misfortunes and disasters. The day before filming was due to start a key member of the crew was arrested for growing marijuana. On the first night of shooting it took so long to get the cameras mounted onto the cars that filming didn't get started until 2 a.m., putting the crew half a night behind schedule before they'd even started. Most of the outdoor footage was to be shot in San Rafael. After the first night of shooting the city revoked the crew's filming permit due to complaints from a bar owner that their blocking off of the main street was costing him business. Filming proceeded in San Rafael for three more nights, then moved to Petaluma, 20 miles away. On the second night of shooting a fire in a nearby restaurant brought fire trucks into the area, their sirens and the resulting traffic jam preventing any filming. See more »

Goofs

When John & Carol get out of his car at the stop-light to flatten the tires of the white car, a fully-bearded, red-vested George Lucas is reflected in the passenger window as it's being rolled up. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Terry Fields: Hey, what do you say, Curt? Last night in town... you guys gonna have a little bash before you leave?
Steve Bolander: The Moose have been looking for you all day.
[hands a check to Curt]
Steve Bolander: They got worried... thought you were trying to avoid them or something.
Terry Fields: What is it? What do ya got?
Curt Henderson: Oh, great.
Terry Fields: That's $2,000 man! Two thousand dollars!
Steve Bolander: 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 »

Crazy Credits

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 »

Connections

Referenced in The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Teen Angel
Written by Red Surrey and Jean Dinning (as Jean Surrey)
Performed by Mark Dinning
Courtesy of MGM Records, Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Seems almost an accidental classic
7 October 2001 | by (las vegas, nv) – See all my reviews

I don't know if George Lucas really knew what he had in this picture--surely the script seemed funny enough, and the thought of the cars and the period music was enticing--but did he really know these "unknown" actors who bring these characters to life? It seems almost a fluke, shot in 29 days and on a tight budget, but "American Graffiti" is a four-star classic. It is perhaps pure nostalgia, mixing pathos and humor, sadness and craziness, hope and reflection, in quiet little bursts of excitement. After cruising with Milner all night, teenage Carol hates to say goodbye but does, waving from her porch with the light on; Toad survives one bad accident after another, but his real moment is in hearing praise from his date (fantastic, husky-voiced Candy Clark, dolled up like a speeding Sandra Dee) just before she says good night; after chasing his dream date all night, Kurt (Richard Dreyfuss, green and anxious, and appealingly bemused) finally gets to talk to the stunning blonde wonder on the telephone, where she whispers a wrenching goodbye. The whole movie is steeped in reflection. It has great, great humor, yet it leaves one with a bittersweet melancholia. For yesterday is in the past, with our music, our memories, and our hesitant farewells.


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