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American Graffiti (1973)

PG | | Comedy, Drama | 11 August 1973 (USA)
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 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 ...
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:

11 August 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Another Slow Night in Modesto  »


Box Office


$777,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


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

Sound Mix:

(Dolby System®)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


One of the main reasons why so many studios initially turned down the script was because George Lucas wanted at least 40 songs on the soundtrack, which would obviously lead to a large bill over the rights to these songs. Universal finally agreed to fund the picture when Lucas' friend Francis Ford Coppola (fresh from the success of The Godfather (1972) the year before) came on board as producer. See more »


When the Wolfman announces Curt's dedication request on the air, he tells the blonde to meet Curt at Burger City - but Curt was waiting at Mel's Drive-In. But if you check the Mel's Drive-In sign at the beginning of the film, you'll see "Burger City" at the very bottom of the sign. 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 ...
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Crazy Credits

At the start of the closing credits, the character and actor names for the main characters randomly appear in time to the opening xylophone notes of the Beach Boys' All Summer Long, which continues to play over the credits. See more »


Referenced in Pawn Stars: Rope a Dope (2009) See more »


Johnnie B. Goode
Written by Chuck Berry (uncredited)
Chuck Berry
Courtesy of Chess/Janus division of GRT Corporation:
See more »

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User Reviews

An eventful summer night for teenagers in 1962 California town
22 May 2005 | by See all my reviews

This multi-layered DVD version of "American Graffiti" is the best trip back to the summer of 1962 Hollywood ever had to offer! The eventful night when freshly graduated high school friends contemplated their futures while immersed in small town America's car-hops, drive-in movies & doo-wop music (the soundtrack is one of the best featured in ANY film!), is shown in "real time".

Richard Dreyfuss is perfect as the smart kid, ready to drive off to college the next morning, but wondering if he's doing the right thing. Ron Howard and Cindy Williams get some practice for their soon to follow "Happy Days", while Charles Martin Smith and Candy Clark are wonderful as the goofus who wants to show a pretty girl a good time.

Wolfman Jack plays himself (and cupid) when he plays a very special request going out from Richard Dreyfuss to his dream girl Suzanne Sommers. Look for a pre-teen McKenzie Phillips and a young Harrison Ford in minor roles. This film is a big winner in my book!

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