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American Graffiti (1973)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  1 August 1973 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 60,806 users  
Reviews: 237 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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Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »



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


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


Where were you in '62? See more »


Comedy | Drama


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

1 August 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Američki grafiti  »

Box Office


$777,000 (estimated)


$115,000,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (re-release) (1978)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Fred Roos, a former casting director on The Andy Griffith Show (1960), suggested Ron Howard for Steve Bolander. Howard accepted the role to break out of the mold of his career as a child actor. See more »


Wolfman Jack's radio broadcasts throughout the film are ostensibly airing on Mexcian station XERB, as identified by various jingles. However, in 1962 (when the film is set) he was broadcasting for another station, XERF; he would not move to XERB until 1965. See more »


[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 »


Referenced in Why Do Fools Fall in Love (1998) See more »


That'll Be the Day
Written by Jerry Allison, Buddy Holly and Norman Petty
Performed by Buddy Holly
Courtesy of Decca Records
See more »

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User Reviews

The Best Teen Film Ever Made.
30 May 2004 | by See all my reviews

"I just love it when guys peel out." -Debbie Dunham

American Graffiti is the best film about teenagers. It actually has a point, unlike the other teenage films where all that they do is get drunk and party. American Graffiti is about different types of teenagers doing different things on the last night that they all have together in 1962 after graduating. They all actually learn about themselves and what they want to do with their lives. One of the older

teenagers, Curt, is planning on leaving the next day. Steve is trying to work out his relationship with Curt's sister, while John and Terry have their own dates for the night. American Graffiti is a wonderful film on many levels. It is both funny and serious. A great direction by George Lucas and a fine cast with Ron

Howard, Richard Dreyfuss, Cindy Williams, Paul LeMat, Charles Martin Smith,

Candy Clark (Oscar-nominated), MacKenzie Phillips, Harrison Ford. One of the

best films of the 70's and the only teen film in my memory that has had the

pleasure of being nominated for Oscar- Best Picture. 10/10 stars.

52 of 70 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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