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
Harrison Ford was asked to cut his hair for the film. He refused, stating that his role was too short, and offered to wear a hat instead. See more »
The Beach Boys song "All Summer Long" - which plays over the end credits - was released in the Summer of 1964 although the movie is set in the Summer of 1962, some two years before the song's release. But the characters do not hear it, only we do; and it is a suitable way of moving into the post-1962 "future". 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 ...
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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 »
I remember watching this movie on May 31, 2002, the night before my high school graduation and when I watch this film, it reminded me of the things that happened with me throughout my senior year: from a guy I knew, who cheated on his girlfriend with a cheerleader, to the terrorist attack that tore America apart; causing Americans to go against one another, from the crushes, the heartbreaks, prom night, to Spider-Man being the movie of the year, graduation rehearsal, and technology becoming the new aspect in my life and when I watched American Graffiti, it reminded me of when the good times meant something with those around me.
The film takes place in 1962 California, a pre JFK assassination which showed the innocence of youth crusin' the streets and talking to buddies outside of their windows as they drive; now, in today's world it's a bloodbath. Even the music played a part of innocence back in the 60's where artist such as Fats Domino, Beach Boys, Bill Haley and the Comets, The Platters, even Chuck Berry were a pain in the butt to most of the adults of that time, but a joy. Now? Songs about sex, drugs, and murder have become the new waves to today's youth of America.
American Graffiti has four teenage boys who cruise in different directions in their hometown where some question their own faith. The main character in the story is Curt Henderson (Richard Dreyfuss) who is about to leave east for college where he is dubious on whether or not he should leave town in order to start a new life. Yet his friend Steve (Ron Howard) encourages him to leave and tells him not to crawl back into his little nest. All night, Curt cruises the streets with his sister Laurie (Cindy Williams) and Steve, where he sees a blonde woman driving a white T-Bird who mouths "I love you." Now Curt is on the hunt to find this blonde woman as he encounters a gang called The Pharaohs who want to pound him after he scratches the gang's car.
The next character is Steve whose Curt's best friend and happens to be dating Laurie and wants to rush things as quickly as possible. He wants to break up so they can see other people; but later when they are named King and Queen at the homecoming dance, they are together again where he tries to have sex with her. Yet, things don't work out well between them, and Steve questions his own destiny on whether he should stay or not, leaving Curt to be right as usual.
John Milner (Paul LeMat) is the hotshot of the state who doesn't want to leave town because he is afraid that everything will change. After the beginning of the film he talks to Curt about "The Pickin's are really getting' slim" that everything is changing in terms of music, girls, crusin' the street even from his friends departing. He cruises the streets where he accidentally picks up an underage girl (MacKenzie Phillips) who becomes more of a pal to John as they listen to Wolfman Jack and hear good old time music. Yet, John is up for a little competition, as a new drag racer by the name of Bob Falfa, (Harrison Ford) wants to race him.
The other character of the gang is Terry "The Toad," Fields (Charles Martin Smith) the nerd who drives a mophead, gets to take Steve's car for a ride in the town. Yet, as he tries to impress people, he meets one girl Debbie (Candy Clark) who decides to go with Terry after she hears about him talking about his "new" car. Terry who thinks he is a reject is now proved that he is a man as he cruises the streets with the girl on his arms, and just trying to prove that even nerds have their moments as well.
American Graffiti in my opinion is a retrospect of the good times that people had when everything was innocent, in an era where crusin' was important, especially rock n' roll. But as time changes on, people will always remember the good times.
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