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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.

Director:

George Lucas
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Popularity
1,073 ( 264)

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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:
Richard Dreyfuss ... Curt
Ron Howard ... Steve (as Ronny Howard)
Paul Le Mat ... John
Charles Martin Smith ... Terry (as Charlie Martin Smith)
Cindy Williams ... Laurie
Candy Clark ... Debbie
Mackenzie Phillips ... Carol
Wolfman Jack ... Disc Jockey
Bo Hopkins ... Joe
Manuel Padilla Jr. ... Carlos
Beau Gentry Beau Gentry ... Ants
Harrison Ford ... Bob Falfa
Jim Bohan Jim Bohan ... Holstein
Jana Bellan ... Budda
Deby Celiz Deby Celiz ... Wendy
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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:

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

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 August 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Another Slow Night in Modesto See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$777,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$115,000,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$115,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

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

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Dolby System®)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At the hop when Steve and Laurie are introduced to lead a dance the song playing is 'Smoke Gets in Your Eyes' by The Platters which is the same song Richard Dreyfuss and Holly Hunter dance to in Always (1989). See more »

Goofs

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. 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 »

Alternate Versions

One minor digital effect has been added, at the request of director George Lucas, and can be found on the 1998 Collector's Edition DVD and VHS. In the original theatrical release, when the movie title credit appears on screen in front of Mel's Drive-In, all that is seen behind the diner are buildings and a cloudy/grey sky. On the Collector's Edition DVD and VHS, a sunset with clouds has been digitally added in where the cloudy/grey sky originally was. The original shot used in the film can be seen at the opening of the American Graffiti documentary, which is on the same DVD/VHS. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Can't Hardly Wait (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Peppermint Twist
Written by Joey Dee and Henry Glover (uncredited)
Joey Dee and The Starliters (as Joey Dee & The Starlighters)
Courtesy of Roulette Records:
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Thanks George Lucas !
24 March 2003 | by BruceCorneilSee all my reviews

As the plot and the characters of this movie have already been thoroughly discussed elsewhere , perhaps I can just make one additional observation in regard to the wider influence that it had during its initial release.

Specifically, the outstanding success of this landmark film was largely (although not entirely) responsible for starting the "retro" craze that quickly grew into a major international subculture and is still going strong today. Although, back in the '70s we used the word "nostalgia".

The movie's soundtrack album, which was nothing more than a compilation of 1950s and early 60s Top 40 hits, generated massive sales figures across the globe and immediately triggered a flood of similar vinyl offerings from other record companies.

Being the ripe old age of 13 in 1973, I totally lost interest in the music of the day and started to collect many of the aforementioned compilation albums.

Again, as others have correctly pointed out, the initial retro scene was mainly confined to the musical side of things which included the establishment of "Oldies" radio stations. It wasn't long, however, before the general mood of nostalgia became more widespread with an increasing number of people becoming interested in other pop culture commodities of the era such as movies,TV shows, cars and clothes.

Pretty soon the whole thing exploded and the "Good Old Days" suddenly became big business. And why not? There's some fabulous entertainment to be found in the archives for those who care to look.

Give me 'dem ole' time movies any day of the week! In fact, when you look back, I think we owe a debt of gratitude to George Lucas and the gang for giving us "American Graffiti". It started a positive and enjoyable marketing trend which has brought a great deal of pleasure to millions over the years. And that's a pretty nice legacy for any movie to leave behind.


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