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American Graffiti (1973)

 -  Comedy | Drama  -  11 August 1973 (USA)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 55,160 users  
Reviews: 226 user | 95 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)

American Graffiti (1973) on IMDb 7.5/10

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Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 9 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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After an encounter with U.F.O.s, a line worker feels undeniably drawn to an isolated area in the wilderness where something spectacular is about to happen.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Richard Dreyfuss, François Truffaut, Teri Garr
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
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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

Two boys are scheduled to leave for college in the morning. Each has his own doubts. They spend a final evening cruising the strip and have every adventure possible before dawn when they will each have to decide what they will do. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

college | night | school | car | summer | See more »

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

11 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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

About 300 pre-1962 cars were needed to create the cruising scenes, and over a thousand car buffs who responded to ads in the local newspapers were interviewed. See more »

Goofs

Curt watches The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet on televisions in a store window, sometime close to midnight. Sitcom reruns were not late-night staples in 1962, and "Ozzie & Harriet" was never scheduled later than 9:00 PM in prime time. 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

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 »

Connections

Featured in Hollywood's Top Ten: Cool Cars (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Maybe Baby
Written by Buddy Holly and Norman Petty
Performed by The Crickets
Courtesy of Decca Records
See more »

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User Reviews

The great, seminal '60s nostalgia flick
1 June 2004 | by (California) – See all my reviews

I was born at the beginning of the next decade--1970--yet "American Graffiti" was a chord that rippled throughout my life.

My father, who, like George Lucas, grew up in California's Central Valley, said this movie perfectly captured what it was like to grow up there--street cruising, hot rodding, picking up chicks, pulling pranks. Though this movie necessarily sidesteps the boredom inherent in growing up in the pesticide-choked San Joaquin Valley, the place itself is not as important the time it explores. It was a time just before the 1960s descended into the beginning of the end of American culture--the prototypical middle America that existed in almost all its small towns and now has substantively disappeared thanks to the urbanization and suburbanization of much of this country.

The ensemble cast, including so many that went on to become hugely successful in Hollywood--Ron Howard, Cindy Williams (well, with Laverne & Shirley at least), Richard Dreyfuss, and of course Harrison Ford (not to mention Lucas himself)--is handled with great skill from such a young director and reinforces the mystery why Lucas has so horribly mishandled Star Wars Eps. I and II. Lucas simply has been at the Ranch too long and his brilliant career has arrived parked in the garage at a large, entirely perfunctory business and media empire.

Anyway, regardless of Lucas' drift far away from the cutting edge, "American Graffiti" still stands as a kind of monument to his precocity. It is the kind of movie that hits every note with effortless precision, which I think is less the effort of great editing as it is a combination of youthful exuberance and actors and a director at essentially the beginning of their ascent as some of the best in the business.

This movie also withstands the test of time simply because it works magically both for those who have no particular emotional connection to the '60s and for those who were there on nearly equal levels. There is tremendous humor and naturalistic character play and dialog that few can help but be drawn into. Anyone with any sense of history will acknowledge that all the characters are standing at the edge of the deflowering and self-destruction of America in the '60s. It is a time of tremendous innocence, change, and harrowing decisions. The Bay of Pigs, Cuban Missile Crisis, and Vietnam haven't happened yet.

With Iraq and terrorism chewing at our consciousness every day, it's pretty easy for modern youth to identify and yearn for the nostalgia of such innocence.


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