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American Graffiti (1973)

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


1,588 ( 114)

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Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 9 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


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


Comedy | Drama | Music


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

1 September 1973 (Greece)  »

Also Known As:

Američki grafiti  »

Box Office


$777,000 (estimated)


$115,000,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (re-release) (1978) | (rough cut)

Sound Mix:

(Dolby System®)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When Steve and Laurie are introduced at the hop, the MC says "The next dance will be a Snowball, and leading it off are.." A Snowball Dance means the lead off couple (Steve and Laurie in this case) are supposed to dance with each other for only a short period, then split and dance with two others, then they split and dance with four others until everyone is dancing. But Steve and Laurie are so engrossed in their conversation and memories they are oblivious to the others. When you watch the film, notice the other kids in the background looking expectantly for them to split off. See more »


When Carol and Milner jump out of the car to get the car full of girls, they leave the doors open. When running back in, the doors have been closed. 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 »


Featured in Brian Wilson: Songwriting 1961-1969 (2010) See more »


Do You Wanna Dance
Written by Bobby Freeman (uncredited)
Bobby Freeman
Courtesy of Sue-Ellen Productions:
See more »

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User Reviews

The American Garden
5 August 2004 | by (Boston, MA) – See all my reviews

The summer of 1962, for these four Youths, it's the closest they will ever get to the Garden of Eden. The music, the cars, the drinking, the dancing, and the innocence, American Graffiti is a harder film to make than Star Wars. To identify with the generation and to create truth from the characters, George Lucas's masterpiece is American Graffiti. From the town Big shot, the future Race car Driver, the Perfect Couple, and the local Nerd, it is amazing how the audience identifies with all these characters from out past. Like a page out of the high school year book, this movie jumps back into the early 60's, before the war, before the lines were drawn, the age of innocence in America would soon be coming to an end. This is the last party of the summer before the dream finally ends.

94 of 103 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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