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American Graffiti (1973) Poster

Goofs

Anachronisms 

Television sets in the store window are early-1970s models.
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The movie is set in 1962, but a cinema marquee advertises Dementia 13 (released in 1963). This was done on purpose by George Lucas, because Dementia 13 was Producer Francis Ford Coppola's first movie.
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When Carol and John are walking through the junkyard they go past many 1963, 1962, 1961, and 1960 cars. It would be improbable for these "late model" cars to already be in a junkyard in 1963. There is a 1963 Studebaker Lark, a 1961 Pontiac, and a 1960 Ford for instance.
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When John is stopped by the policeman, he's a few feet from a movie theater. The movie poster is for Cabaret.
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When Milner has a run-in with Officer Holstein, the Wolfman Jack montage we hear on the radio includes a clip from the song "Grazing In The Grass" by Hugh Masekela, released in the late 1960s.
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The coin telephone at Mel's is a model that didn't go into general use until the late 1960s.
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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.
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While it was plausible for the double yellow road striping to be seen on USA roads in 1962, during a car chase scene there is a road with what seems to have yellow dashed striping in place along with white center lines. Yellow dashed center lines were introduced from the beginning of 1972, and therefore the researchers to the film must have accidentally overlooked a section of road that had just been re striped.
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The pinball machines that the Pharaohs rob are all newer than the 1962 setting of the film. Buckaroo-1965 Base Hit-1967; Royal Guard-1968; Wild Wild West-1969; SkyRocket-1970; Vampire-1971.
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Guitar played by lead guitarist of Herby and the Heartbeats at the sock hop plays a post-1966 Fender Stratocaster (with the CBS headstock, and a rosewood fretboard which wasn't made till late '62).
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At the airport when Curt is ready to leave for college, there is a 1964 van parked nearby.
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The Citroen 2CV Curt drives, which has three windows on each side, was not in production until 1966.
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Just before Curt goes to sit down on the car to watch TV he is running through the intersection on foot and behind him there is a 1973 Olds Cutlass.
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Terry wears a pair of blue and white suede shoes and eventually near the end while sitting on the curb of Mels Diners he is wearing white suede shoes.
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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.
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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 these were not issued until about 1970.
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Wolfman Jack's radio broadcasts throughout the film are ostensibly airing on Mexcian station XERB, as identified by various jingles. However, in 1962 (when the film is set) he was broadcasting for another station, XERF; he would not move to XERB until 1965.
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In one of the first cruising scenes where Toad is trying out his new wheels, he drives past a 1967 Impala parked on the curbside.
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Audio/visual unsynchronised 

When the 4-engine DC7 airplane takes off, the sound heard is a 6-engine B-36 (a very distinctive sound).
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Boom mic visible 

During the Curt/Wolfman scene, the boom mic is seen moving in the reflection on the studio window behind Wolfman Jack.
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Near the end of the movie, Steve throws Toad and Debbie out of his '58 Chevy at Mel's Drive-In. As Toad and Debbie are stepping out of the car, there is a reflection of a boom mic moving along the left rear portion of the car's roof.
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Character error 

Though Debralee Scott is listed as "Falfa's Girl" in the credits, she is only riding with him in earlier scenes. She is mysteriously gone later and replaced by an uncredited blonde actress. Later the blonde also disappears without explanation and Falfa "picks up" Cindy Williams character.
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When Terry is trying to buy liquor, the sign on the door of the liquor store, although apparently appropriate to the period ("Winston" ad), says "Push" on the "Pull" side of the door.
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When Carol runs from the Studebaker to Milner's coupe, she reaches through his passenger window to open the door with the inside latch handle, without trying the exterior handle (which isn't working, as Toad does the same thing); however, Carol would not yet have known that.
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Continuity 

In the beginning, Falfa's 55 has chrome wheels. But when he rolls the car, it has painted wheels.
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While talking to Curt at the radio station, Wolfman Jack pulls the tone arm off of a turntable. Seconds later, he does it again.
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When Wolfman Jack is talking to Curt, the position of the top-right-hand tape in the rack behind him keeps moving up and down by one slot between shots.
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In the latter half of the film, it's alternately sunrise/still night between shots.
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While listening to Wolfman Jack at Mel's, Curt hears the Wolfman say that he'll be going off the air in five minutes at midnight. Curt goes to the studio to make a request, but the clock in the background shows that it's only 7:25 pm.
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Falfa and Milner prepare for the street race (their first meeting). Falfa has a blonde sitting next to him in the '55 Chevy. When the light turns green, they take off. During the next few cuts of the two cars racing down the street, there is no passenger visible in Falfa's car. When the next light turns red, Falfa guns his car to go through the red light, and the blonde passenger has reappeared.
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When Curt boards the plane, a large notation above the door says "Radar Equipped". However, when the plane takes off, the suitably large wording is no longer seen on the aircraft.
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Leaving Steve's car, Toad and Debbie take a blanket and walk off to the left beside the canal. When they return they are coming up from the right.
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While John and Carol are cruising, the pack of Camels rolled up in John's sleeve switch front showing to back showing through the shirt fabric.
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John Milner's hot rod is missing the front license plate in some scenes.
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The license plate on the Studebaker with the girls from Turlock is the same as the plate on Steve's '58 Chevy.
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When Carol is on the hood of the car being shaving-creamed, she covers the front windshield with shaving cream and jumps off, but as she runs around the car, there's no shaving cream anywhere on it.
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When Falfa's car rolls over, the trunk lid is open. When it blows up it is closed.
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When Carol and Milner jump out of the car to get the car full of girls, they leave the doors open. When running back in, the doors have been closed.
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After Falfa rolls his Chevy, Milner aids him up the slope to the roadside. Falfa clearly has his white cowboy hat in his hand. Edit scene to the Chevy explosion. Scene cuts back to Milner handing Falfa his white cowboy hat.
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As Toad pours the Old Harper into a coke bottle, it's twilight. When Toad gets back into the car and hands Debbie her drink, the passenger window reveals total darkness.
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When Milner gets blasted with the shaving cream, he wipes it away with his hand - all but a small smudge between his eyes. Even though he missed this smudge, it's clearly gone the next time we see his face.
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The popsicle the radio station DJ is eating disappears.
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Amount of shaving cream on the car when Milner and the young girl began blasting it on there.
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In some scenes, John Milner's yellow coupe has a windshield wiper on the driver's side; in other scenes it doesn't have it.
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Toad crashes his Vespa and walks away, and in the very next shot it is standing up and nicely parked.
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When speaking with Curt outside the hop, Mr. Wolfe's grip on his cigarette changes repeatedly from cut to cut.
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Crew or equipment visible 

When John Milner is cruising the strip for the first time he is supposedly alone in his rod, however right after the guy in the black coupe tells John to watch out for the cops, you can see that there's someone in the passenger seat beside him.
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When John & Carol get out of his car at the stop-light to flatten the tires of the white car, a fully-bearded, red-vested George Lucas is reflected in the passenger window as it's being rolled up.
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Errors in geography 

The radio station that we hear in the movie with Wolfman Jack is XERB in Mexico, not California.
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Falfa and Milner race on Paradise just before sunrise. Paradise Road runs west out of Modesto, but the sun was rising over the mountains, which are clearly visible in the near distance. That shot was likely taken from the ocean side of the Pacific Coast Range near Petaluma, somewhere off of Lakeville Highway.
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Factual errors 

The 327 engine did not appear until 1962 - not 1963. Most likely this model had the 283 power pack but many had 348 engine in the Impala series.
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In the final scene Curt walks toward the airplane's open door to board while the number one engine (left outboard) is starting up. In real life, a pilot would never start an engine on the boarding side with a door still open and passengers behind a running engine.
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When Toad first talks to Debbie in Steve's '58 Chevy, he tells her it has a 327 engine in it. The 327 Chevy engine first made it appearance in 1963.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

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".
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The Botts Dots (raised reflective lane markers) were perfected by Elbert D. Botts in the 1950s.
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Carol's parents won't let her listen to Wolfman Jack partly because he is a "negro." Wolfman Jack in fact is not African American, but because Rythmn and Blues and rock have African American roots, her parents during that era, probably figured that Wolfman was African American.
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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.
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Revealing mistakes 

Not only is Milner's yellow hot rod missing an antenna, it doesn't even have a car radio. It never did and still doesn't have one, the car being now owned in original condition by Rick Figari from San Francisco.
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At the radio station, the control board is a Gates Stereo Yard, the station is AM while a "yard" would only be used at an FM Stereo station. None of the meters moved. None of the lights on the cart machines ever changed.
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The 55 Chevy that rolled was not the same car that was being driven. For one thing, the engine is missing.
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Nowhere is there to be seen a radio antenna on John Milner's coupe. XERB was an AM station, and Milner wouldn't have been able to pick anything except static.
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As Falfa rolls his Chevy on Paradise Road a box wrench is clearly visible, lying on the bottom of the car body after the car comes to a halt.
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See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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