7.5/10
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246 user 101 critic

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

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Steve (as Ronny Howard)
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Terry (as Charlie Martin Smith)
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Joe
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Beau Gentry ...
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Jim Bohan ...
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Deby Celiz ...
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

Where were you in '62? 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:

Another Slow Night in Modesto  »

Box Office

Budget:

$777,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$115,000,000 (USA)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

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

Sound Mix:

(Dolby System®)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The street gang The Pharoahs that "kidnap" Richard Dreyfuss in the film are based on George Lucas' car club cohorts growing up in Modesto called The Faros. See more »

Goofs

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 »

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 ...
[...]
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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 »

Connections

Referenced in Reel Radicals: The Sixties Revolution in Film (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Do You Wanna Dance
Written by Bobby Freeman (uncredited)
Bobby Freeman
Courtesy of Sue-Ellen Productions:
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User Reviews

 
"Where were you in '62?" (Original ad)
28 November 2000 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Nostalgic look at one night/morning of a small California town and some of its teenagers. Story-wise this is nothing new--all the stereotypes are in place--the loving/bickering couple (Ron Howard and Cindy Williams); the rebel (Paul Le Mal) stuck with a 13 year old (Mackenzie Phuillips); the nerd (Charles Martin Smith) having a disastrous date with a blonde (Candy Clark); the hood (Bo Hopkins) showing the good boy (Richard Dreyfuss) a night out and Harrison Ford and Suzanne Somers in small parts.

What makes this movie better than average is the great direction by George Lucas--he fills the Cinemascope screen masterfully; the non-stop soundtrack of 50s/60s hits; a great script and the cast of then-unknowns. It's incredible to see some of these actors so young (especially Ford and Dreyfuss) and full of life. Without this cast, this movie would probably have long-since been forgotten.

So, no great shakes, but very sweet and nostalgic with some good acting. Worth catching. Try to see it letter-boxed or on a big screen.


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