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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.


2,004 ( 416)

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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 the rear wheels/axle of Holstein's police car get yanked out by the cable, there is a movie theater in the background. The movie listed on the marquee is Francis Ford Coppola's Dementia 13 (1963). See more »


In the cruising scene, someone in a 1960 Belair is handing something to someone in a 1956 Chevy with a blue California license plate, but the blue plates were not issued until about 1970. 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 »


Party Doll
Written by Jimmy Bowen and Buddy Knox (uncredited)
Buddy Knox
Courtesy of Roulette Records:
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User Reviews

Seems almost an accidental classic
7 October 2001 | by (las vegas, nv) – See all my reviews

I don't know if George Lucas really knew what he had in this picture--surely the screenplay seemed funny enough, and the thought of the cars and the period music was enticing--but did he really know these "unknown" actors would bring these characters to life? It seems almost a fluke, shot in 29 days and on a tight budget, but "American Graffiti" is a classic. It is perhaps pure nostalgia, mixing pathos and humor, sadness and craziness, hope and reflection in quiet little bursts of excitement. After cruising with Milner all night, teenage Carol hates to say goodbye but does, waving from her porch with the light on; Toad survives one bad accident after another, but his real moment is in hearing praise from his date (fantastic, husky-voiced Candy Clark, dolled up like a speeding Sandra Dee) just before she says good night; after chasing his dream date all night, Kurt (Richard Dreyfuss, green and anxious, and appealingly bemused) finally gets to talk to the stunning blonde wonder on the telephone, where she whispers a wrenching goodbye. The whole movie is steeped in reflection. It has great, great humor, yet it leaves one with a bittersweet melancholia. For yesterday is in the past, with our music, our memories and our hesitant farewells. ***1/2 from ****

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